iPhone, GMail, Contacts, and Notes

I learned a few things about iOS over the weekend when I was trying to get my GMail contact list to work on my iPhone.

  1. The bundled iOS GMail app does not synchronize contacts.  If you want to be able to see your GMail contacts, you need to create an Exchange Account and point it to your GMail account.   Google refers to this as “Google Sync”, but it’s really just Exchange ActiveSync under the covers.  Follow this link for directions on how to do this.
  2. If you don’t have a iCloud me.com account, the iOS Notes application will synchronize with your GMail account (if it exists).  I found this out the hard way when I added an Exchange GMail Account and removed my GMail Account.  All of my notes were erased from existence, which was a little disconcerting.   After I restored my GMail account, my notes returned.  However, the new problem was duplicated emails and calendar entries on my iPhone.
I ended up needing two GMail account configurations on my iPhone:
  • GMail: Email, Calendar, Notes
  • Exchange GMail: Contacts

Things are supposed to “just work” in the Apple universe, but this was a bit of a #fail on the part of both Google and Apple.

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1 thought on “iPhone, GMail, Contacts, and Notes

  1. Martin Haurilak
    Martin Haurilak

    Please be wary of Google Sync, especially using 2-way sync. I used it to keep my personal google calendar sync’d with my outlook calendar and you can lose ownership of meetings in outlook. It appears that the sync is overwriting the ownership of the meeting. This can be very frustrating if you are the owner and you need to send an update to the meeting. The meeting now acts as if you are an attendee and not the owner. You’re only recourse was to send a note asking people to remove the meeting from their calendars and resending the invite.

    Google is aware of the issue and luckily there is a work around if you are comfortable using VB (see zippymoe and oshestak’s comments in this thread http://productforums.google.com/forum/#!category-topic/calendar/importing-and-exporting/W1gx0prrz_c if you have meeting ownership issues).

    As for contacts, I have seen threads where some people have experienced similar issues with overwriting.

    My solution? I’ve gone back to one calendar to rule them all.

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