How to Sync Gmail Contacts to an iPhone

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As a tech geek, my preferences in gadgets mirror my well-rounded world view. I’ve got a Windows laptop, an Apple iPad and several iterations of the Samsung Galaxy S Android phone. During the Wild West days of tablets, I even sampled earlier slates such as Galaxy Tab 10.1, Motorola Xoom and a BlackBerry PlayBook. I also have every major game console and even a Limited Edition Ouya living in perfect harmony under my living room TV.

Hey, the more the merrier, I say.

Then again, my “tech philandering” ways can lead to issues sometimes. Take my decision to use Gmail instead of my Outlook account at work as the parking space for more than 500 contacts. Hey, I figure that if I ever jobs or — gulp — get fired, then I don’t have to worry about my contact list evaporating when I lose access to my work e-mail.

Naturally, my job decided to give me an iPhone that was tied to my Microsoft Outlook account with the company a few years back. The result? I initially only had one guy in my contact list, and it happened to be some dude I added by mistake. The fact that the Gmail app for the iPhone is sorta-kinda, well, terrible doesn’t help either.

Fortunately, the iPhone lets you sync your Gmail contacts pretty easily. I mean, it literally just takes a couple or so minutes. Here’s the lowdown on getting those Gmail contacts into your iPhone:

Tap on the Settings app: If you look through your apps, you’ll see a logo that looks like mechanical gears with the word “Settings.” Go ahead and tap it.

Go to 'Mail, Contacts, Calendars': Once you’re in the Settings menu, scroll down until you see “Mail, Contacts, Calendars.” Tap that one, too.

Find 'Add Account': For older versions of the software like iOS 5, this one is followed by the foreboding ellipses — as if something bad is gonna happen.

Hey, that still may be, true. For iOS 9, it'll be the third option. Yes, you guessed it, tap it.

Pick Microsoft Exchange: At this point, you’ll see a bunch of stuff like iCloud, Microsoft Exchange, etc. See the one that says Gmail? Don’t tap that. I know it’s counter-intuitive but, frankly, I got a couple of error messages when I tried to use it and just flat out gave up on it. Yes, I know, I’m a quitter, OK, Seriously, though, I was on deadline and I just wanted to get it over with quickly. So remember the Microsoft Exchange logo we talked about earlier (sometimes, it'll just say "Exchange" instead)? Tap that one.

Fill out your fields: OK, now you’re going to need to fill out some info. For Email fill in your Gmail address, like hopethisworks@gmail.com or something. For older versions of iOS, you might see Domain. Just leave it as it is and don't touch it. Older iOS version will also have Username so just put the part before “@” in the e-mail you entered, which would be "hopethisworks"  in the example above. Password would be the password to your Gmail account. For Description, you can put whatever the heck you want, though I would advise using something that would actually remind you what account you are adding.

Once everything is to your liking, hit Next.

Almost there: For older iOS software, you’ll see an extra box called Domain. This is actually important so you’ll want to fill it out properly and not put some silly stuff like “Everything,” even if you really are the master of your domain. (One co-worker I helped out actually tried to skip this step and then asked me why the setup process got stuck in limbo.) Instead, just put m.google.com, which indicates a mobile account, of course. You’ll then see a bunch of sliders, which you will want to swipe to the “ON” position then hit "Save." For iOS 9, "Domain" is optional and only Username and Server is required (for the latter, enter m.google.com).

Wait, only 50-something contacts showed up: This actually happened to me so there’s a chance it might happen to you, too. Just get out of Settings and go to your Contacts. Hit Groups on the upper left and then either click the refresh arrow for older versions like iOS 5, which also will be on the upper left, or just swipe the screen downward for newer systems with iOS 9. Voila, the rest of your contacts should load.

NOTE: This tutorial was done on an iPhone 4S with iOS 5.0.1 and an iPhone 6 with iOS 9.3.4. Want some Android tips, too? Here' are pointers on How to Find a Lost or Stolen Android Phone or Device and How to Reset a Forgotten Android Lock Screen.

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