How To Setup Google Contact Sync on the iPad

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Google Contacts

Google has made some changes this year to how Google Contacts sync with iOS devices. For years I had just setup Google Sync as an Exchange account in Settings on the iPad and iPhone and it has worked beautifully for me. It had been especially good whenever I got a new iPad or iPhone – as all I had to do was setup that account and within less than a minute all my Contacts info was up-to-date.

Unfortunately, Google recently shutdown their Google Sync service – but luckily it is still easy to use Google to sync contacts on the iPad and iOS devices. Here’s how you do it:

*** Before embarking on this it is of course a good idea to make sure you backup your existing contacts. This can be done via iCloud or iTunes backup or whatever method works for the service or app you use for your contacts information. You should also note this detail about the CardDav sync method used here:

Syncing via CardDAV is only available over SSL for Apple devices on iOS version 5.0 and above.

And now here are the steps needed:

— Open the Settings app an tap on the Mail, Contacts, Calendar section in the left sidebar

Settings Mail Contacts Calendars

— Tap on ‘Add Account’ on the Mail, Contacts, Calendar page

Add Account

— On the Add Account page tap on ‘Other’. On the Other page tap on ‘Add CardDav Account’ under the Contacts section

Add CardDav Account

— You’ll then get a popover window, where you need to fill in your account details. Fill in the fields as follows:


User Name: Enter your full Google Account or Google Apps email address

Password: Enter your Google account or Google Apps password

Description: Add a description for the account. I just use Google Contacts.

Then tap Next at the top right.

If you’re prompted, make sure Contacts is selected.

Once you’ve done this and open the Contacts app, your contacts should start syncing immediately. If you want to set Google Contacts as your default account, follow these quick steps:

— Open the Settings app and choose Mail, Contacts, Calendar again.

— Scroll down on the Mail, Contacts, Calendar page to the Contacts section and tap on ‘Default Account’. (Note that you’ll only see this entry if you are syncing more than one account)

Contacts Default Account

— Select the Google contacts account you just created – it will appear with the description you gave it in the first set of steps detailed above.

That’s it. If you use multiple iOS devices you should follow these setup steps on each of them. Your contacts should now stay perfectly in sync on the iPad and any of your other iOS devices.

Patrick Jordan

Founder and Editor in Chief of iPad Insight. Husband, father to a lovely daughter, Commander of the Armies of the North, dog lover (especially Labs), Austinite, former Londoner, IT consultant, huge sports nut, iPad and mobile tech blogger, mobile apps junkie.

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7 thoughts on “How To Setup Google Contact Sync on the iPad”

  1. Hi there .. can you tell me iif this will sync all the contacts that I have on my ipad TO google contacts not the other way round .. or indeed will it keep both. I have most of my contact information in contacts on the ipad but want all that date on Google contacts on my PC .. will this do that? Many thanks

  2. Hello. I’ve already searched and tried out this method for syncing google contacts many times and it always gets stuck on “verifying”. Has anyone had this problem?

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