OS X Mavericks & iOS 7 support Google Contacts

If you’re an Apple user who prefers to use Google services, you’ve long been able to keep your iPhone and Mac in sync with your Google Mail, Contacts, and Calendars. Strangely, contacts weren’t synced. But beginning with OS X Mavericks and iOS 7 you have the option to use Google as the conduit to sync your contacts. For simplicity I recommend only using one system for your contacts so these instructions will also show you how to disable your iCloud contacts (they’ll remain intact on Apple’s servers).

Why would you want to do this? If you find yourself using the Gmail web interface, your contacts from your iPhone won’t show up unless you set this up to sync. But if you don’t ever leave Apple’s desktop and mobile apps maybe you’ll find that your current configuration is sufficient.

Note that if you organize your contacts into groups, the groups in Google don’t sync with the groups on your Apple devices.

Part 1: Export iCloud Contacts

Note: You can also export a vCard of your contacts with Apple’s Contacts app, but these instructions will work on any computer, including Linux and Windows machines.

  1. Visit iCloud.com from your web browser and log in using your iCloud credentials
  2. Choose “Contacts”
  3. Click the gear icon in the lower left corner of the page and choose “Select All”
  4. Click the gear icon again and select “Export vCard”
  5. If Address book pops up to import the contacts just hit “cancel”

Part 2: Import to Google

  1. Visit gmail.com and log in if necessary
  2. Under the Google logo click the big word “Gmail”
  3. Choose “Contacts” from the drop down menu
  4. Click the “More” button above your list of contacts and choose “Import” from the dropdown menu.
  5. Choose the vCard file downloaded in Part 1, which should be in your web browser’s default download location.

Part 3: Set up on Mac

  1. Go to the Apple menu > System Preferences > Internet Accounts
  2. If you already have your Google account configured, choose it from the left column, otherwise add it using the Google button on the right.
  3. Check the box for Contacts; if prompted choose to merge
  4. Switch to your iCloud account in the left column
  5. Uncheck Contacts
  6. When prompted, delete your contacts from the computer (they are still stored in iCloud and in the backup you made in part 1)

Part 4: Set up on iOS

  1. Go to the Settings app > Mail, Contacts, Calendars
  2. If you already have your Google account configured, choose it from the list, otherwise click “Add Account” and follow the prompts
  3. Turn the Contacts switch on; if prompted choose to merge
  4. Tap the back arrow to return the list of accounts (same place as step 1)
  5. Choose your iCloud account
  6. Turn the Contacts switch off
  7. When prompted, delete your contacts from the iPhone (they are still stored in iCloud and in the backup you made in part 1.