Thursday, March 22, 2012



Apple's iCloud works great for syncing contacts across Apple devices, but only if the contacts are well organized before they are beamed up to the cloud. Having some contacts on the iPhone and another chunk of contacts in Gmail is confusing. Also having duplicates or just email addresses for some contacts will be frustrating and difficult to use once they are synced to an iPhone. Continue reading to learn how to wrangle contacts efficiently and have them synced and organized all in one location.
*Notes before getting started. This tutorial requires a Gmail account, Mac OS X Lion, and an iOS device. If you would like to sync contacts from another location or do not have Lion installed, it is still possible to do so but not included in this tutorial. Leave a comment with your contacts setup and I'll do my best to help.

How to prepare Google Contacts for iCloud.

Step 1: Log into Gmail's web interface. Click on Gmail in the left column and select "Contacts" from the drop down menu. Click on the "More" tab and select "Export" from the drop down menu. Export all contacts as a Google CSV file and save as a backup.

Step 2: Return to the Contacts panel and click on the "More" tab and select "Find & merge duplicates" from the drop down menu. Select one contact at time until you feel confident that its merging contacts to your liking. You can then merge all remaining contacts at once.

Step 3: Organize your contacts. Delete outdated information. Delete unwanted friends. Ouch. Then update and complete all contacts with missing information. Add last names. Add birthdays and addresses if you have them. But do not add notes. Notes will not sync nicely with iCloud.

Step 4: Now that all contacts are organized you're ready to add them to Address Book for iCloud syncing. Export all your Contacts by going to the "More" tab and selecting "Export" from the menu. This time select Vcard format for importing into Apple Address Book. Save the file to your desktop for now.

How to prepare Apple Address book for iCloud.

Step 1: Launch Apple Address Book. Click on All Contacts. Click on the first contact. Go to Edit and scroll down to "Select All." Once all contacts have been highlighted go to File and select "Export." Choose Export Vcard and save the file as a backup on your desktop.

Step 2: Return to Address Book and select File then "Import." Choose the Google Contacts Vcard file created earlier. This will import all Google Contacts into Apple Address Book. In the end Address Book will be the central location to organize and sync all contacts.

Step 3: Once the import finishes in Address Book select Card and then choose "Look for Duplicates."
Take care of all duplicates. Then go through and add any missing data to the final list of Contacts in Address Book.

How to turn on iCloud Contact syncing.

Step 1: On your computer go to System Preferences. Choose the iCloud panel. Sign in using your secondary Apple ID. (Read this post if you need to create a secondary Apple ID.) Make sure you have checked the Contacts box.

Step 2: On your iPhone go to Settings. Scroll down and tap on iCloud. Sign in with the same secondary Apple ID you used on your computer. Then make sure to turn the Contacts toggle switch to on. And that's it!

Salud to organized contacts! Until next time.

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