iPhone and iPad

3 Methods to Sync Your iPhone Contacts to Gmail

Dan Price 20-08-2019

One of the most common reasons to sync iPhone contacts to Gmail is because you’re switching from iPhone to Android. But this isn’t the only reason. Maybe you need to make a backup of your contacts so they don’t just live on your phone. Or perhaps you want to switch email providers and need a quick way to load your existing contacts into Gmail.


If you’re wondering how to sync contacts from your iPhone to Gmail, you’ve come to the right place. Keep reading to learn about three different approaches you can take. If you need, we’ve also shown how to transfer contacts from iPhone to iPhone.

1. Set Your iPhone’s Default Contact Location

Considering we use contacts every day, it’s surprising how nuanced the process of syncing iPhone contacts to Gmail can be. To start, it’s important to examine what happens to new contacts.

By default, your iPhone will save all newly created contacts in your iCloud account. However, you can change the setting so that every time you create a new entry, it instead syncs with your Google account.

If you haven’t already done so, make sure you’ve added your Google account in Settings > Passwords and Accounts > Add Account > Google. You also need to make sure that you’ve set up Google Contacts to sync to your iPhone (tap on your Google account and make sure the toggle next to Contacts is in the On position).


Next, head to Settings > Contacts > Default Account and tap on Google. By making the change, every new contact will automatically save to your Google account rather than your iCloud account.

2. Manually Sync Old iPhone Contacts to Gmail

icloud vcard export

You have two different methods available to sync your old iPhone contacts to Google. However, if you don’t want to rely on any third-party apps or tools, you must perform the entire process manually. Don’t worry; it’s not a difficult procedure.

Firstly, you need to make sure all your contacts are synced with iCloud. To check, navigate to Settings > [Username] > iCloud. Ensure the toggle next to Contacts is enabled. If it was turned off, allow the syncing process a few minutes to complete before moving onto the next step.


Next, you need to visit your iCloud account from a web browser. Type icloud.com into the address bar and enter your credentials when prompted. You should see a list of the various iCloud apps. Click on Contacts to continue.

On the next screen, you’ll have to choose which iPhone contacts you want to sync with Gmail. You can select as many or as few as you wish. Press Ctrl + A (Windows) or Cmd + A (Mac) to select them all.

Finally, in the lower-right corner, you should see a Gear icon. Click on it and choose Export vCard.

Now it’s time to head to your Gmail address book. From a web browser, go to contacts.google.com and enter your login information.


When the new screen loads, select Import in the left-hand panel. In the popup window, choose Select file, then locate the vCard file you downloaded from iCloud and upload it. Depending on how many contacts you’re syncing, it could take several minutes to process.

Once the process is complete, you should see all your old iPhone contacts successfully synced with your Gmail account. By the way, you can also reverse this method to export your Gmail contacts to import into iCloud How to Transfer Google Contacts From Android to iPhone Need to know how to transfer contacts from Android to iPhone? Here are several methods to sync your contacts. Read More , if you need to.

3. Use a Third-Party App

If the steps above leave you scratching your head or sound like too much work, there are a few apps that can automate the entire process for you.

Of course, using a third-party app means you’ll need to grant it access permissions to both your iCloud and Google accounts. If you’re not comfortable with that, you’re stuck with the manual approach we just discussed. However, if this doesn’t concern you, third-party apps are great.


The big benefit third-party apps have over the manual approach is continual background syncing. If you use the vCard approach and don’t change your default contact folder as outlined in the first step, you’ll need to repeat the export/import process every time you want to sync iPhone contacts to Gmail. That’s time-consuming and is liable to leave you with a lot of duplicate entries.

Third-party apps that can sync your iPhone contacts with Gmail mean you can leave iCloud as your default contact folder but still keep the contacts in sync with Google. Before you do this, you should delete old iPhone contacts How to Delete Multiple Contacts on an iPhone Are you looking for ways to delete multiple contacts on your iPhone? Use these methods to clean up your contacts today. Read More to keep your list orderly.

Contact Mover and Account Sync

One of the most widely-used third-party apps is Contact Mover and Account Sync. In addition to iCloud and Gmail, you can also use the app to sync contacts between Exchange accounts, Yahoo, Outlook, Facebook, CardDAV, and even your local iPhone storage.

Support for such a large number of services means you can keep a consistent address book, regardless of which app you’re using at a given time. It also means you can keep your work contacts and personal contacts in a single unified list, should you wish. One-way and two-way syncing are available on all accounts.

The app boasts a bunch of handy features that give you more control over the syncing process. For example, you can choose only to sync selected groups or can ignore contacts without a phone number or email address. You can also choose only to sync certain fields (for example, birthdays and street addresses) while ignoring others. It even supports custom fields.

Contact Mover and Account Sync is free to download and use. However, if you want to sync an unlimited number of contacts and enable background auto-syncing for new entries, you need to buy a premium subscription for $4 per year or $5 for life.

Download: Contact Mover and Account Sync (Free, subscription available)

Moving From iOS to Android?

These methods make it easy to sync your iPhone contacts no matter what reason you have. However, if you’ve decided to move from Android to iOS, your contacts are just one small part of the puzzle. You’ll also need to consider what to do with your photos, apps, saved documents, and other workflows.

To learn more about making the move, have a look at how to move your other data from iOS to Android Switching from iPhone to Android? Here's How to Move All Your Stuff Ready to switch from an iPhone to an Android phone? Here's the only guide you need. Read More and how to set up a new Android phone.

Related topics: Contact Management, Gmail, iCloud.

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    September 29, 2019 at 4:12 pm

    Very useful. Thanks

    • Sam G.
      November 12, 2019 at 11:49 pm

      As of 11/12/2019 - After spending 3 hours trying to get this to work, with two 2nd tier advisers from Apple, we came to the conclusion that Apple no longer supports syncing from the iPhone to Gmail Contacts any longer! Shame on Apple!