iPhoneTips & How-to

How To Sync Google Contacts & Calendar with iPhone

February 14, 2009 — by Simon Ng74


iPhoneTips & How-to

How To Sync Google Contacts & Calendar with iPhone

February 14, 2009 — by Simon Ng74

Google SyncEarlier, Google announced the public release of Google Sync (Beta) that allows you to sync Google Contacts and Calendar events over the air. Any changes in your Google Contacts or Calendar will be pushed directly to your iPhone. If you’re a regular user of Gmail and Google Calendar, you’ll probably find Google Sync useful.

So, how do you setup Google Sync with iPhone?

Note: To use Google Sync, your iPhone should be running on firmware 2.2 or up.

Backup your Contacts using iTunes

Before, I go deep into the How-To. There is a catch in setting up Google Sync. All contacts and calendar events will be removed during the setup process and replaced with your contacts in your Google account. So, make sure you sync all contacts via iTunes to Google before configuring Google Sync.

It’s pretty straightforward to backup your Contacts:

1. Connect your iPhone or iPod Touch to your computer using the USB cable.
2. Open the iTunes application.
3. Select your iPhone and click “Info”.
4. Check the “Sync Google Contacts” option and you’ll be prompted to enter your username & password of Google account.


5. Enter your Google account and click “OK”.
6. Click “Apply” to start upload your contacts to Google account.

Wait until the sync process completes. All contacts on iPhone should have been uploaded to your Google account. You can login Gmail to further validate the contacts. The contacts should be found under your “My Contacts” group.

Configure Google Sync on iPhone

Now, you should be ready to configure Google Sync on iPhone.

1. On your iPhone home screen, tap “Settings” application.
2. Next, tap “Mail, Contacts, Calendars”
3. Tap “Add Account….”, followed by “Microsoft Exchange”.


4. In the Email field, enter the name of the Google account.

Google Sync - exchange_setting

5. Leave it blank for the “Domain” field.
6. Enter your Google Account email address for the “Username” field.
7. For “Password” field, type in your Google Account password.
8. Tap “Next” at the top of your screen.
9. Next, a new “Server” field will show up. Enter “m.google.com”.
10. Tap “Next” at the top of your screen again. You may be prompted with a warning message. Just “Accept” it.


11. Select the “Contacts” and “Calendar” for sync. Presently, the “Mail” option is not supported yet. So, only enable “Contacts” and “Calendar”.


12. Tap “Sync” to confirm the synchronization and then tap “Sync” again for the data loss warning.


That’s it. Google Sync should now erase all your Contacts and start synchronizing them from your Google account. So, if you go to “Contacts” on iPhone, you may find it empty. But don’t worry. Wait for a while and you’ll see the Contacts come up after complete the Sync.

Tip: For Contacts, all your iPhone contacts are placed under “My Contacts” group in your Google account. So, you find any contacts missing in iPhone. It’s probably the contact is not put into the “My Contacts” group and you’ll have to move it.


Testing Out Google Sync

As a common practice, Google released Google Sync as a Beta product. From my test on both Contacts and Calendar, the Sync works as advertised. After configuring Google Sync, try go up to Gmail and add a new Contacts in your “My Contacts” group. Or add a new event in your Google Calendar. You’ll find the contact or calendar event automatically push to your iPhone.

But probably it’s still a Beta product, I find the Sync for Contacts is not instantly updated on my iPhone. Most of the time, I need to wait a few minutes until the new contact shows up on my iPhone. However, it seems I only got this delay problem with Contacts. For Calendar, as soon as I add a new event in Google Calendar, the event is right there when I launch my iPhone Calendar. That’s pretty cool.

As you can see there is an option for “Mail” in the Sync setting, I think Google will soon bring Push Mail to iPhone.

What do you think about Google Sync? Does it work for you? Leave us comment to share your thought.

Simon Ng

Founder, developer and chief blogger of simonblog.com

  • Bill


    I first installed NuevaSync a few months ago and I love it. It’s absolutely awesome to be about to sync my calendar so easily.

    Is it your opinion that I should convert to the google sync? If so, is that only because of the contact list sync (or not).



    • @Bill,

      If NuevaSync works great for you, just keep it. Google sync does the same to synchronize the calendar event. But if you want to also sync your google contacts, you can try out Google sync.

  • I wonder how we can get away from the warning message (about the certificate) in step 10. A few years back I got the same message when I accessed https://gmail.com – instead I needed to go to https://mail.google.com. Might be the same kind of problem!

  • Sherwin

    Hi Simon, I can;t seem to see the “Sync Google Contacts” under the info tab of my iTunes. How come?

  • Sherwin

    Hi Simon,

    I am already using the most updated version of iTunes. I was able to jaulbreak my iPhone until 2.2.

  • Sherwin

    Hi Simon,

    I just read about “Windows users must choose only one contact application to sync with”. I am currently using Windows address book. Guess I have to switch. Thanks!

  • mm

    hey, thanks for the excellent info on synching. one problem i found is that when i synched my contacts all 1000+ people I have ever emailed showed up in my phone!! I went to look at the contacts view in GMail and My Contacts only has 50 contacts – – further down is listed “All Contacts” (just like your screen shot) with the 1000+ contacts. How do I restrict the contacts on my phone to only what I’ve selected in “my contacts”?

  • blah

    Hey mm you may want to make some subfolders in your contacts. That’s what I did and it works great.

  • aq

    could you explain the subfolders more? when i sync, i have my contacts duplicated as does my husband….

  • dave

    i’ve gone through the instructions here and on several usergroups multiple times, and while my multiple google calendars sync beautifully, none of my contacts sync (it is a completely empty list). i haven’t found other people with the problem in usergroups, but i doubt it’s a rtfm problem (i followed the instructions exactly, multiple times, and even erased and reset my iphone to start from scratch. everytime it failed.).

    i’m on a macbook pro, osx 10.6, itunes 8.2.1, iphone 3GS 16gb.

    thanks in advance.

  • Levin

    Hi! Got à similar Problem As Aq! Have Set it all Set up like in the tut but my iphones contacts wont Sync As they should! I have noticed that i have two Groups of contacts on my iPhone: the iPhone contacts and the gmail contacts Group. When i now create à new contact it will Be out automatically into the gmail group. Cant Change that. Only this Group gets synced to my gmail account. The “old” contacts which are in the iPhone Group wont Be synced! But i cant Put them into the gmail Group to Sync them! 🙁 Solution for that?

  • Ray

    Great post! I’m keeping in my Evernote soI can get it anywhere and share. Thanks again!

  • davide

    Hi, everybody.
    Does anybody know if this Google Sync system works in both directions?
    I mean, if once I update/add/delete a contact on the Iphone, this will be “automatically” updated/added/deleted in Google at the first Sync link (same question is applicable to the calendar).

  • todd

    Yeah i wish the contacts would update automatically like the calendar does. its nice to check all the things as they work wiht the calendar.. but the contacts should do the same,. oh well… someday

  • paul

    This sort of works, only that it will shuffle your contacts list so that you can no longer pull up the names you had set as business contacts. It reverts the look-up back to the first and last name. Learning this the hard way 🙂 Now after hours of straightening out my contacts list, I get to do it all over again. Thanks Google.



  • Michael

    Billiejo It means that you didn’t select Exchange as mentioned in the instructions. Choose Exchange when setting up the account instead of gmail.

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  • anon

    Anyone know of a way to bring the groups used in google contacts to the IPhone without buying an app?

  • Rajesh

    Thanks Simon. It helped

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  • Ish

    Thanks Simon! Great instructions! You’re the man!

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  • Hi
    I have had lots of problems with this, I have iPhone 4 version 4.1, I am a google apps email user, not all of my contacts have been synced 🙁 very frustrating… any help appreciated.

  • KDuarte

    Thanks so much for your wonderful instructions!

  • P

    Worked like a charm! Thanks so much!

  • If you are in PC maybe using this solution for iCloud too.

    I’ve put my print screen there


  • Thanks so much for this post. My old iphone 3g really started acting up including losing all my contacts. Even when I synced with iTunes still no contacts. I followed these instructions and all my google contacts showed up! Thanks so much. Does this work with Yahoo?

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  • ofirb

    Looks like Google now supports CardDAV as the preferred way to sync Google contacts with iOS devices:


  • iPhone5

    the first one worked great! Just got my 5 today! loved it! thank you! =)

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  • Jay

    Well’ I’ve tried it, but its keep saying that’ my exchange password is wrong. But’ I know that’s the correct password … What should I do now ???

  • I lost my all contacts by google sync. Now in my iphone contacts I can only see few email ID.

    Please help me to restore my contacts. Suggest needful.

  • I’m trying to sync my contact with your method, but however it seems itunes has changed their interface, now the interface that you have compared with theirs is totally different!

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  • German

    Hallo! This solution for some reason doesn’t work with my iPhone – no contacts were syncing from Google. I have iPhone3 with iOS 4.2.1 Can anybody help me? Thanks in advance

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