How to sync Google contacts with iPhone the right way

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Many people have several email addresses across disparate email providers, all of which keep track of their contacts. Google Contacts, for example, is a standalone service which only tracks people you’ve contacted via Gmail, when using an Android phone, or if you’ve synced it to your iOS device.

Apple keeps your contacts within its standalone “Contacts” app. Both entities are siloed vaults for contacts, and it can be confusing when your contacts aren’t synced to the devices you use most often. If you deleted a contact in Google Contacts, it’s also smart to have all your contacts synced to another service and to backup your device often so you never lose any data.

Here, we’ll tell you how to sync Google Contacts to iPhone, if there’s a Google Contacts for iPhone app, how to import contacts from Google to iPhone manually, and why it’s important to have your Google contacts on iPhone.

Reasons to transfer your Google contacts to iPhone

Many people use Gmail as their default email provider and can’t see a reason to export Google contacts to iPhone. It’s a fair position, but these are a few reasons importing Google contacts to iPhone is a great idea:

  • You have one place for all contacts. Gmail for personal use, iCloud for your Apple devices, Outlook for work – all the unique email providers log your contacts in distinct vaults. Having one place all your contacts live is smart.
  • Services often don’t sync. You may be emailing someone new fairly often, then go to text them and find they’re not in your contacts list. That’s because services often don’t sync contacts automatically. Routine backups and syncing are the right moves to make.
  • You can merge contact info. When you sync your Google contacts to iPhone, there’s an option to merge contacts. Someone may have emailed from a Gmail address, but you’ve got their Outlook and phone number in another contact. After you import, you can simply merge the two profiles.
  • Google makes changes (often). Google once kept your contacts in Gmail, then moved them to the standalone Google Contacts service. There were no widespread reports of contacts being deleted with this transfer, but Google likes to shift ground beneath you. It’s better to sync your Google information to iCloud and back it all up.
  • You don’t want to use Gmail anymore. People often switch email providers. Many also want to break free of Google due to privacy concerns. After syncing your contacts, you’re free to email people from an iCloud or other email address with the same ease of using Gmail.
  • iCloud supports ‘Push’ syncing on iPhone. For syncing contacts and data, Apple forces Gmail and other services to use a ‘Fetch’ protocol to get new data. This means your data is synced less frequently, which can cause contacts to not sync properly, or when you need them.

How to sync Google contacts to an iPhone

You can sync Google contacts to iOS without ever touching your iPhone! Syncing iCloud to all of your Apple devices will keep your iCloud contact data on each of your devices. This means you can grab Google contacts from the web and download them to your Mac. Here’s how:

  1. Go to google.com
  2. Sign into Google if necessary
  3. Open the Google Contacts app from the nine-dot menu on the top right of the page
  4. sync Google contacts to iPhone

  5. From the Google Contacts website, select “Export”
  6. Choose “vCard (for iOS Contacts)” from the popup window
  7. Select “Export”

export google contacts

This downloads all of your Google contacts in vCard format to your Mac. To read and download Google contacts iPhone will need them to be in vCard format, so don’t overlook that step.

With your Google contacts downloaded in vCard format, follow these steps on your Mac to download and sync the contacts to your iCloud account:

  1. Open the Contacts app on your Mac
  2. From the menu bar, select “File”
  3. Choose “Import”
  4. Select the vCard file downloaded from the Google Contacts website
  5. Choose “Open”

import google contact to mac

Your Google contacts will download to your Mac’s Contacts app, which syncs with iCloud. 

Sync Google contacts to iPhone via settings

If you want to skip the Mac altogether, you can! In the iPhone’s settings, you can sync your Google contacts data directly. Just remember it only ‘fetches’ data and won’t push new or changed contact data to your device automatically. If you’re syncing data and don’t see a contact, this may be why.

First, you need to add your Google account to your iPhone. If your Google account is already synced to your iPhone, feel free to skip these steps. Otherwise, this is how to add your Google account to the iPhone:

  1. Open the Settings app on your iPhone
  2. Select “Mail”
  3. Choose “Accounts”
  4. Select “Add Account”
  5. Choose “Google” from the list
  6. Follow the on-screen prompts and enter your Google account login credentials

add google account ios

Here’s how to sync Google contacts to iPhone via the Settings app:

  1. Open the Settings app on your iPhone
  2. Select “Mail”
  3. Choose “Accounts”
  4. Select your Gmail account
  5. Make sure “Contacts” is toggled on

sync gmail contacts iphone

Whichever method for syncing contacts you use, one thing you should definitely do is create backups of your iPhone. For that, AnyTrans is exactly what you need.

With AnyTrans for Mac, you have complete control over your iPhone. Simply open the AnyTrans app, plug your iPhone into the Mac, and you will be able to create backups of your entire device, or particular items like messages, photos, and even contacts!

AnyTrans has a ton of other features, too, including the option to quickly transfer your iPhone’s data to a new device. You can also manage your home screen, delete apps from your iPhone, restore your phone from previous backups, and curate your media library!

anytrans mac

Import Google contacts to iPhone with iCloud

After importing your Google contacts to your Mac, iCloud should sync your contacts across your iPhone, iPad, and Mac. 

To verify your iCloud contacts are synced with your Mac, follow these steps:

  1. From the Mac menu bar, select the Apple logo on the top left corner
  2. Select “System Preferences”
  3. Choose “Apple ID” at the top right corner of the new window
  4. Select “iCloud” from the left side of the window
  5. Make sure “Contacts” is toggled on

mac icloud contacts

On your iPhone, ensure your iCloud contacts are syncing by following these steps:

  1. Open the Settings app on your iPhone
  2. Select your Apple ID name banner at the top of the screen
  3. Choose “iCloud”
  4. Ensure “Contacts” is toggled on

icloud contacts sync

If you like, feel free to toggle contacts off and back on to trigger syncing. This shouldn’t be necessary, but doing so will ping the iCloud servers to initiate syncing of contacts or any other cloud service to your iPhone.

Contacts is one of the services iCloud syncs across your devices. There’s also Mail, which keeps your inbox and folders current on all devices; Reminders, to help you manage to-do lists and trigger reminders when you’re at a location; Notes, which syncs and shares all of the data in your Notes app on your iPhone, iPad, and Mac; Messages, to ensure all chats are up to date; and Safari, which keeps open tabs, the reading list, and bookmarks synced on all of your Apple devices.

Those services all stake their claim to your iCloud storage, but none as much as Photos. Most users will notice their iCloud data allotment is dominated by the pics and video in the Photos app, which is synced across all Apple devices. Much of what’s found in Photos may be unnecessary, too; old photos, screenshots, and blurred images occupy precious space.

To help manage your iCloud media storage, get Gemini

The Gemini app for Mac helps you manage similar and duplicate images in your Photos folder, which you are then able to delete quickly. The Gemini iOS app continually watches your Photos app for video, screenshots, and other categories. It then creates unique folders for those media types in the Gemini app, and provides a quick and easy way to bulk-delete your images. The gigabytes of iCloud storage you will reclaim with Gemini make it well worth a download.

gemini mac

Conclusion

Managing contacts on your Apple devices is simple. You may prefer to sync your Google contacts and continue using Gmail and other Google services, or download and add all of your Google contacts to iCloud. Either way, you’re in full control.

AnyTrans is a great app for managing backups, a practice we should all be in as we move and sync data across services. If anything goes awry, a backup helps you recover data with ease.

Gemini helps manage files, folders, and photos to keep your iCloud free of unneeded files. If you’re going to sync data, you should keep as much room available in your cloud storage account as possible.

AnyTrans and Gemini are free to use for seven days with your trial of Setapp, a robust suite of productivity apps for the Mac. Along with these two incredible apps, you’ll have unlimited access to over 200 other native Mac apps during your week of free use!

When the trial period ends, continued access to the entire Setapp catalog is only $9.99 per month. It’s a sensational offer for so many amazing apps, so why wait? Give Setapp a try today!

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