How to migrate your Gmail Contacts to Apple’s new iCloud service
Okay…. I’ll admit it… I was waiting very impatiently for today to arrive. Why? What’s so special about today? Well as most Applephiles know, today was the official release of iOS 5 and iCloud. I’ve been waiting MONTHS for iCloud! Ever since it was first announced at the annual WDDC in June.
I even got up at midnight PDT last night to see if I could log in yet… nope… STYMIED! But I kept trying… finally about 11:00 AM I was busily reading up on the action steps required to make sure iTunes (already updated to 10.5 two days prior), Mac OS X Lion, and my iPhone 4 were properly updated.
Working my way through the checklist, I was looking forward to moving all my Contacts from Gmail to iCloud. Sorry Google… nothing personal. I just like the look and functionality of Apple better. Now that Apple is finally offering iCloud syncing, along with all the other amazing features with iOS 5, I prefer to keep most of my items within one well-functioning and elegant eco-system.
First snag I have run into so far was getting my Contacts ported from Gmail to iCloud. In theory it should be easy enough. But I ran into a problem and things didn’t go as smoothly as I’d hoped. Not to worry, all is humming along beautifully now and I’m very pleased with the results.
I’ll share with you here my experiences in case any of you run into the same issue…
PROBLEM: iTunes 10.5 would not recognize the new groups and contacts I created in Apple Address Book.
SOLUTION: It really was as simple as “drag and drop.”
Step 1: I followed the instructions here: Get Started with iCloud
Step 2: Made backups of my Gmail Contacts by following the instructions here: Import Gmail Contacts to Address Book
Step 3: Followed this tutorial on how to sync contacts with iCloud on iOS 5: How to sync contacts with iCloud on iOS 5
(Note: If you were using Google and Exchange for your iPhone contact syncing rather than iTunes and Address Book initially, there will be nothing to “Merge” as described in this tutorial).
Step 4: I also took a look at this very brief tutorial here which includes iCal Calendars: How to sync your calendar and contacts from Google to iCloud
After spending considerable time cleaning up all my contacts in Address Book ensuring there were no duplicates and they were all in the desired sub-folders, etc. I happily plugged my iPhone 4 into my MacBook Pro in order to sync it for the final time with iTunes…. but what’s this?! The Address Book groups showing in iTunes were all the OLD ones, not the new ones I just created. And many of my new contacts were not showing up!!! Nooooooooooooo…….
After several attempts and running through various help suggestions here, here, and here… as well as a few more… I still wasn’t making any progress. Going through this process, I also ran into a second snag particular to Lion, namely there is no “direct” way to get to Library anymore… as in ~Library/Application Support/ etc. Found the answer to that issue here: I’m using the “alt” + Go option myself. Works well… but it’s going to take some adjusting – old dog / new tricks and all that blather.
Side Notes: 1) There is no iSync with Mac OSX Lion. So, Step 5 in the help forum that states,
is irrelevant for this issue.
2) I had/have a MobileMe account that I migrated to iCloud, but I also created a new iCloud account that I’ll be using as my main account. So, I also realized I needed to turn off MobileMe syncing in System Preferences.
Still…. that and all of the forum suggestions weren’t solving the issue at hand. After several rounds of closing and re-opening Address Book, iTunes, and re-connecting my iPhone 4 via USB according to several help forum suggestions with the same result, I stepped back and took a deep breath and said, “There’s got to be a better way!!!” I stared at my open Address Book and then it dawned on me! Could it be this simple?!
I noticed there were two new categories in my Address Book:
“All on my Mac” and “All iCloud.” What if I literally dragged and dropped a Group from the “All on my Mac” to the “All iCloud” right there in my open Address Book on my MacBook Pro? Would that work? It most certainly did! I had a Safari browser window open with my online Address Book open in iCloud and could see each time I dragged a Group from “All on my Mac” to “All iCloud” the updates were literally immediate. YAY!!!
Once I dragged each desired group, I then went back to my iPhone 4 and went to General >> iCloud and turned on Contacts and Calendars again. Bingo! Instant update of all Groups and contacts just as they should be… no iTunes required.
Hope this helps anyone else out there who may be trying to migrate Gmail contacts to iCloud!
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