Best way to sync iPhone/OSX Contacts with Google?

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by asharpe, Sep 26, 2012.

  1. asharpe macrumors newbie

    Sep 26, 2012
    Ok, I'm sure this question comes up again and again, but I'm looking for the best way to keep my Contacts (and preferably calendar too) in sync with Google. I've been using a Mac for quite a few years now. I had an old iPhone 3G for a couple of years, and then it died so for the past year I've been in the Androidosphere. Now I'm back with an iPhone 5.

    Keeping Calendar and Contacts in perfect sync with Google on the Android phone was so perfect and seamless, I was tempted not to even switch back to iPhone. But I did.

    Now this is going to sound a bit silly, but I have always been a little fuzzy on the concept of syncing. For instance, if you "sync" an iPhone with iTunes, does it work in both directions? I.e., if I have 50 songs in iTunes and none on the phone and I "sync," in which direction does the syncing work? Will it add the 50 songs from iTunes to the phone so that the phone matches iTunes, or will it remove all the songs from iTunes so that iTunes matches the phone?

    So I'm running into something similar with Contacts now that I'm on the iPhone 5. I've set up a Google mail account on the iPhone, and also have that same account set up as an Exchange account. My Contacts on my Mac Mini are set to sync with Google. I also have iCloud turned on for Contacts (perhaps iCloud is not necessary?).

    Basically, my iPhone has "synced" with so many things that I now have duples and triples of some entries. My phone rings, and I see two or three slightly different names pop up (Dad or Dad Home, etc). To make things worse, in order to enable Facebook on the iPhone, the iPhone apparently pulls in all the contact info for your Facebook friends. Good grief!!

    I know I've rambled a bit, but what I'm really looking for here is a way to have a "gold standard" (i.e., Google) for contacts that will sync bidirectionally. So if I change/add/delete a contact on my iPhone5, it is reflected in Google. Likewise, if I change/add/delete in my Google account from any computer, I'd like it reflected on my iPhone5. Make sense?

    If I can get this figured out, then I'll move on to syncing the calendar and sharing iTunes over WiFi.

  2. TreoRenegade macrumors regular

    Aug 7, 2008
    Like you, I had gmail/contacts/calendar set to exchange, then added iCloud. Huge mistake, since the result was duplicates up the wazoo. To clean it up, I began by removing iCloud for those 3 Google-related categories. Then, I went to the Google Contacts website, and clicked the find dupes/merge mechanisms. I've had zero problems since then.

    On the iPad, I use Cloud Calendar. Syncs back to the mothership pronto. ditto when i add at the site -- reflected quickly in that app. (On the Mac & iMac, i more frequently use BusySync, avoiding iCal completely.) Otherwise, when I add a contact on the iPad/iPhone, it immediately appears at the Google site, Google Voice app, etc.

    So, IMHO, iCloud is great for some things, but when it comes to Google data, "never the twain shall meet", at least, not in my world!

    Re iTunes - seems to be bi-directional. I use playlists cuz it's easier for me to correctly anticipate what will happen during syncs. I also keep a mirror of my iTunes directory on an external HardDrive, via Hazel rules on the iMac. If the iPhone is empty, it not remove iTunes data. Acts as we want it to, thankfully.
  3. Dwalls90 macrumors 601


    Feb 5, 2009
    Yes it has come up again and again. I've responded to this question several times myself. Google is your friend, literally.
  4. asharpe thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 26, 2012
    Okay, thanks for the tip. I turned off iCloud for contacts, deleted my Gmail account and added Gmail back as an Exchange account, and now everything seems to work correctly.

    I also figured out that phone numbers in Google Contacts to which you give a custom title will not show up on the iPhone. I had my wife's cell number in Google labeled "iPhone" and it would not show up. I changed it to just plain old "Mobile" (one of the drop-down selections in Google Contacts) and voila! There it was.

  5. rswc90 macrumors newbie

    Mar 8, 2008
    iMac, iPhone, iPad sync contacts

    I know this keeps coming up... but here's what just happened to me. First i started with iCloud because my iPhone and iPad WOULD sync through exchange. But my iMac would not. There was no 2-way sync happening. So I tried iCloud and it replicated faster than bunnies! I undid iCloud amd moved all my 20 "groups" into gmail. I deleted my address book and imported it (but the groups never imported (UGH!) I have 1271 contacts on Gmail. I downloaded Smartr Contacts & According to it, I have now more than 2000!

    I am struggling with finding an easy SYNC for iPhone, iPad and iMac. Now I am trying to use gmail and I have put my address book in Dropbox hoping THAT would sync automatically. It does not appear to... UGH this should be simpler!

    Why wouldn't address book sync automatically from Dropbox each time my contacts app was opened from any device? Maybe I didn't wait long enough?!
    Any thoughts would be appreciated!
  6. Siggen macrumors 6502

    Apr 1, 2011
    Oslo, Norway
    I've tried multiple ways. THE ONLY way I even remotely liked was in iOS to sync them with an exchange account.

    And in OS X, you go to contacts, preferences, and accounts, and local, and click syncronize with google.
  7. rswc90 macrumors newbie

    Mar 8, 2008
    I have been doing that through Exchange 2007. But it is not bi directional . My gmail, iPhone, iPad all sync beautifully. My iMac (snow leopard) will not do the bi directional because Exchange will not set up. so if I add something to my computer, it will not show up on my gmail. If I sync my iMac, it still doesn't work both ways. Very strange. Thanks for your reply.
  8. avanpelt macrumors 68030

    Jun 2, 2010
    I, like others, set up an Exchange account for Gmail that syncs contacts on my iPhone 5. When I add or change a contact on my iPhone, it sometimes takes a few minutes but the changes eventually get pushed up to my Gmail contacts.

    On my Mac, I went into the Contacts app preferences and there's an option in there to synchronize with a Google account. I did that.

    The contacts on my iPhone and my Mac appear to keep in sync with my Google contact list just fine.
  9. iHailCarlo macrumors 6502

    Aug 10, 2012
    Best way is to ditch Google altogether. And handle your business through Apple software. It works better anyway.

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