How to set up Gmail and import Google/Android contacts to your iPhone

How to set up Gmail and import Google/Android contacts to your iPhoneAround a year ago, having made the leap from the HTC Desire HD to the iPhone 5, I penned a little something called How to transfer Android contacts to iOS, in the hope of helping fellow escapees.

Alas, thanks to some changes on the Google Sync side of things effective January 30 this year, those instructions are null and void, and as such people restoring iPhones and the like (hey, it is new iPhone season) might run into some problems.

The issue is that the Google Sync functionality will work until you remove and attempt to re-enter the settings. Personally, I ran into trouble a couple of weeks back when Apple replaced my iPhone 5 (dodgy power/lock/sleep/wake button).

See, attempting to restore the previously accepted settings counts as a new connection, and, in a nutshell, it won’t work. More specifically, you'll see the error message: "Cannot get Gmail. The connection to the server failed."

Anyway, while the previous method wasn’t exactly intuitive, you could kill two birds with one stone via the Microsoft Exchange method, namely setting up Gmail and importing your Gmail contacts.

There are two strands to the new method: one obvious, one not so much.

1. Setting up Gmail on your iPhone

Needless to say, Google would prefer if you used the official Gmail app, but it is possible to set up Gmail in iOS Mail.

This is the obvious one, though before you go through the fairly self-explanatory process on your iPhone, it’s necessary to hit up your Gmail account direct and Enable IMAP. Behold:

  • Sign into Gmail
  • Click the gear icon in the top right
  • Tap Settings
  • Hit Forwarding and POP/IMAP
  • Choose Enable IMAP
  • Finally, Save Changes

On your iPhone, tap these bad boys:

  • Settings
  • Mail, Contacts, Calendars
  • Add Account
  • Gmail
  • Enter your full email address and password
  • Next
  • Save

Job done.

2. Importing Google contacts to your iPhone

This is the step you’d really struggle to figure out for yourself. Ever heard of something called CardDAV? Me neither. The ever-accurate Wikipedia defines it as “an address book client/server protocol designed to allow users to access and share contact data on a server.” Very good.

Ready? Here’s the CardDAV bit; tap these:

  • Settings
  • Mail, Contacts, Calendars
  • Add Account
  • Other
  • Add CardDAV account
  • Here, the Server is, your User Name is your full Gmail address, Password is your password (ahem), and Description can be anything you like
  • Next
  • Set Contacts to ON

Open the Contacts app on your iPhone, and you should see all your lovely Gmail/Android contacts listed. Hurray!

More info

For more information, hit up Google Sync End of Life.

Read more about: AndroidiOS

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