Syncing your contacts

In the same vein as my blog post about Syncing your calendars, I wanted to post how to sync your contacts in Outlook, Gmail (Google Contacts), and iPhone:

– Transfer your Outlook contacts to Gmail via Transfer contacts between Outlook and Google Gmail

– In Gmail, remove the duplicates via the option Find and merge duplicates.  Gmail will now have a nice clean list of all your contacts

– Sync Outlook and Gmail with software such as Contacts Sync or GO Contact Sync Mod or CompanionLink for Google.  I use CompanionLink (14-day trial and then $50) and it has worked great..  If you are a business, you could instead use Google Apps Sync for Microsoft Outlook, but it is not free (it is for premier accounts).  Now Outlook will have a nice clean list of all your contacts

– Follow the steps at Setting up Google Sync with your iOS device (or Sync contacts with your iOS device if using iOS version 5).  The result is that on your iPhone, you will be using the Gmail Contacts account, so contacts added on the Gmail site will automatically appear on your iPhone, and contacts added to your iPhone will automatically appear on your Gmail site.  Now your iPhone will have a nice clean list of all your contacts

– On your iPhone, set the contacts account default to Gmail

– Don’t use iCloud, as Gmail will be acting as your “cloud”

– If you have the LinkedIn app installed, you can download all your LinkedIn connections to your default contacts account (which should be Gmail).  I would recommend against doing this, as it will create duplicate contacts (since it does not merge LinkedIn names with your iPhone contacts).  Plus, do you really need all your LinkedIn connections on your iPhone?  The same goes for the Facebook app which has the same option.  And of course all the contacts would be added to Gmail.  I think the only benefit is that the profile pictures of all your contacts would be downloaded

So there you go!  Following these steps your contacts in Outlook, Gmail (Google Contacts), and iPhone will all be synced.  Add, edit, or delete a contact in one, and all the others will be updated in seconds.

About James Serra

James is a big data and data warehousing solution architect at Microsoft. Previously he was an independent consultant working as a Data Warehouse/Business Intelligence architect and developer. He is a prior SQL Server MVP with over 25 years of IT experience.
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