iPhone 101: How To Sync Gmail Contacts Without Using Exchange

1/2/2013: UPDATE

Seeing as to this day, this is still one of my most trafficked blog posts, I felt it was important to update this post to reflect the fact that you can now accomplish what I originally wrote below without the need of a 3rd party app simply by using the Exchange option on your iPhone.  There is no longer a 1 account limitation so just follow these steps and you are good to go!

  • Open up the Settings app on your iOS device and go to the “Mail, Contacts, Calendars” section. Hit “Add Account”.
  • From there, choose Microsoft Exchange as the type of account (again, don’t choose Gmail).
  • Type in your Gmail address under Email. Leave the Domain field blank and enter your full Gmail address under Username (including the @gmail.com, @googlemail.com, or other suffix). Type in your password and give it any description you like. Mine’s just called “Gmail”.
  • Press the Next button at the top of the screen. It should pop up a message saying Unable to Verify Certificate—if it does, just hit cancel. Then, type m.google.com in the new “Server” box that shows up at the top of the screen. Then tap Next.


I felt compelled to share how to go about synching your Gmail contacts without burning your allotted ONE Exchange account on the iPhone.  Not entirely sure why this limitation is in place, but for the longest time I simply used Google’s simple instructions to use Exchange to sync my email, calendar and contacts in one simple step.  Works like a charm, and never really had any issues.

But after returning to Corporate America, I quickly found that not being able to check my work email easily on my phone became a pain in the butt since I already was using the Exchange account for my personal stuff.  I spent quite a bit of time trying to figure out a way to do both, and today I stumbled across a very simple process to accomplish just this.  Quite simply, there’s an app for that.

Sync In A Blink.  Simply put, this $4.99 app does exactly what it says.  It allows you to sync your Gmail contacts with your iPhone using their simple to use app to do such.  Plenty of options to sync in exactly the way that works for you, and after entering your Gmail credentials, it’s a snap to get your contacts on your phone seamlessly.  By using this program, and CALDAV for my calender sync (see here for how to do just this), I can now simply use the Gmail account adder in the mail setup, and free up my Exchange option for my business email.

Yes, it was $4.99, but it was so simple, I feel sometimes it’s worth a few extra bucks to accomplish what it is you need on your devices.  Should Apple just allow for multiple Exchange accounts on the iPhone?  I think so, but for now, my needs are met.