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Setting up your iPhone to sync with Google Contacts

Frans Leys

By default, an iPhone will store contacts on iCloud, or, if you've opted out from iCloud, it will store them locally on your phone. How do you get these contacts synced up to other services? It all depends on where they are now!

But even if your contacts are currently stored in iCloud, and PieSync supports iCloud, you may want to make sure your iPhone uses Google Contacts instead, especially if the rest of your business runs on Google apps.

Managing multiple contact lists on an iPhone

A quick way to find out which contacts are currently loaded up on your iPhone, is by going inside the Contacts app, or the Phone app of your iPhone.

By tapping the Groups icon on the top left, you'll understand that an iPhone is capable of visibly merging different databases into one single contact list.

While in some cases it is handy to have your iPhone consolidate contact lists, in most cases it actually leads to confusion. Because everything is neatly merged, there is no easy way to recognize in which cloud database a specific contact is being stored.

Where is your mom's contact stored? Is it in iCloud? Google Contacts? Your SIM card? Worse yet, is it in all three of them simultaneously? Your iPhone actually dedupes them & merges identical contacts visually!

The idea is ultimately that your phone merely acts as a window into contacts databases, so we suggest you visit contacts.google.com or icloud.com/contacts respectively to see & manage these lists.

Where are your contacts stored?

So how does your iPhone manage contacts? This help article can't possibly cover all possible scenarios, but here's how you can easily find out how your iPhone is setup currently.

Go to Settings -> Contacts -> Accounts to find out which services are allowed to manage/add contacts on your phone. In the example shown to the left, there are three accounts moving contacts into this iPhone:

  1. iCloud
  2. Personal gmail.com
  3. G-suite-domain

It's very likely you will see something different on your phone: you may or may not have iCloud, you could have an Outlook account, and so on.

Did you know? Connecting a Google account to an iPhone will import your Google Contacts. However, the contacts that you had on your phone before are not moved to Google. They remain stored on iCloud or on your phone! Follow these instructions to back up those contacts to Google.

The next steps will help you consolidate your contacts into Google's ecosystem instead. Wherever your contacts are, with the Google Drive app, you can push your Contacts data from your iCloud or those that are locally stored  to the Google Drive and into Google Contacts.

Move your iPhone Contacts to Google Contacts with the Google Drive app

  1. Download Google Drive to your iPhone and sign in with your Google account. If you don’t have a Google Account, you can create one when you sign-in to Google Drive. Already have Google Drive? Make sure it’s up to date.

Install Google Drive Google Contacts iPhone

  1. Now it’s time to backup your content. Open Google Drive and go to the backup wizard in Menu > Settings > Backup. You can select which content you want to backup or simply backup everything. Then hit “Start”.

  2. Sign-in to your Google Account on your iPhone.

  1. Go to your iPhone settings and make sure your default account is the selected Gmail account.This ensures that new contacts are added to Google Contacts and can then be synced to your cloud apps such as your CRM.

Don't forget to set up the "Default account" to be Google! Merely connecting a Google account isn't sufficient, you also need to make sure new contacts you create on your phone are immediately created inside Google via this setting.

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