Backup/Sync Your iPhone Contacts With Gmail

Posted by Graham with 30 Comments

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Have you ever lost, broken or had your phone stolen? Let’s be honest… creating a Facebook group to ask for your friend’s numbers can be annoying. You may not know this but there are many different ways to backup your phone’s contact list, even if you have a dumb phone. Check with your carrier for more details. If you’ve got an Android phone chances are you’re already backing up your contacts with Gmail without even knowing it. This post is for iPhone users. There are different ways to sync your Mail, Contacts, & Calendars on your iPhone. If you’ve got a Gmail account and you set it up on your iPhone the standard way to do it is to use the simple Gmail setup option. The problem with that option is it will not allow you to sync your precious contacts! In order to sync your iPhone contacts with your Gmail contacts, just follow the steps below:

Step 1

Navigate to Settings > Mail, Contacts, Calendars > Add Account… and select the Microsoft Exchange option instead of Gmail.

Step 2

Type in your full Gmail / Google Apps account email address in the Email field. Leave the Domain field blank. Type your full Gmail / Google Apps account email address a second time into the Username field. Enter your Password. Give it a custom Description so you can easily identify it in calendars and contacts later.

Step 3

A message will appear saying that your iPhone Cannot Verify Server Identity. That’s okay. Select Continue and you will be given an opportunity to type in the server.

Step 4

The Server for Gmail / Google Apps accounts is Type that in the now visible Server box.

Step 5

Your Gmail / Google Apps account has now been verified as an Exchange Account on your iPhone. Select which parts of your account you wish to sync with your iPhone. You’ll notice Contacts is now displayed. You may also notice that Notes is no longer available. I’m guessing Notes is not that important to you. But if it is, you can always setup your same Gmail / Google Apps account under the Gmail option from step 1 and select it to only sync Notes.

Step 6

Navigate to your Contacts app and view Groups. You will notice your contacts from the newly added account are now visible on your iPhone! Any contacts you may add or change either in Gmail or on your phone will now sync!

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30 responses to Backup/Sync Your iPhone Contacts With Gmail

  1. I SO needed this today.


  2. Hey – AWESOME tip! Now – aren’t we all supposed to get the iCloud service just for that for FREE? But this is cool – my problem is I use google too much and I have people that I don’t want and don’t need on my contacts – email of people – and I believe they all get sync as well – correct?

    • Yes… iCloud will help with this if you want to set it up that way. You’ll still have options when iCloud goes online for the masses. If you sync with Gmail in the way I outline in this post… it will sync ALL your Gmail contacts. There is no way, to my knowledge, that you can pick and choose groups or anything like that.

      • I did this exactly as you stated, but I still don’t have any of my iphone contacts on Gmail. Does this only work for the contacts that you add AFTER you sync with Gmail?

  3. As you may have noticed, Google Sync through Exchange doesn’t allow you to keep your contacts organized into groups. If that is important to you, you may want to check out the “Contacts Sync with Groups For Gmail” app at the iPhone/iPad app store:

    • Thanks for the link! Good stuff. I setup my iPhone with Gmail through Exchange before I added any contacts to my phone. So all my contacts are sync’d correctly. :)

  4. I was able to sync all my contacts from my iPhone to Gmail. However, it did not sync the phone numbers to Gmail? Can anyone help?

    Thank you!

  5. The procedures listed above sync contacts in your gmail account to your iphone. THEY DO NOT seem to export contacts that are on your iphone to your gmail account. I followed the steps exactly, and when I log into my gmail account …. none of the iphone contacts are there. My gmail contacts did download to the iphone though.

    This seems to be the same problem another poster before me was having too.

  6. So Graham … if I have TWO gmail accounts … do I follow the procedure above for a second account as well … will it sync contacts from both gmail accounts …. or I guess I can syn mail, contacts, and calendar on my primary and only mail on my secondary account.

    • You can use that procedure for more than one google/gmail account. What it will do is create two different contact lists in the iPhone (contacts). You should setup in “settings” which account you want to be the default when you add a new contact in your phone

  7. If this works for my wife’s phone .. WOW .. Thanks. Am going to try later today.

    I am an Adroid tab and note user and cannot believe the complexities of iPhones. Their protectionism SUCKS!

  8. Downloaded cleanup app and mistakenly cleaned up all my contacts. Freaked out until I found this. THANK YOU!!

  9. I did the exact things. However, when I typed my gmail account, it didn’t give me “cannot verify server identity” error. But showed server, I wrote ın groups, I see this exchange account but none of my contacts are in it. It is emtpy. How can I fix this?

  10. Yeah! it worked

  11. I have the very first iphone and it is unlocked (not through at&t) It keeps dying and i have never backed up my contacts. Will this process still work for an unlocked phone? I am afraid to sync…

  12. Does ANYONE know how to get your iphone contacts into your gmail account? This was the reverse process.

  13. I did as told, got all my gmail contacts into the iphone, but NO phone numbers!! Help anyone?

  14. Bravo! I did what you posted and got gmail contacts on my phone only problem is that I no longer have all my phone contacts, of course the more useful out of the two. It seems like it erased it …

    BE WARNED if you want to try this!!!!!!!!!!!

  15. @all esp. @Rampuy:

    Hi, I need solution similar as Claire above… I try Rampuy’s link, but it is for Windows there anything like that for Mac OS?

    (I need to sync/copy my old contact list from my iphone to my Gmail account)

    Thank You in advance

  16. I tried this… it keeps saying on my ipone 4 that the password is incorrect?
    What does one do now?

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