Syncing Google Contacts with iCloud across multiple devices

This is for people who are using Google Contacts to store numbers and want them to sync with their iCloud Contacts database so that they can access selected numbers from their mobile device. Ideally, this should also sync with all of your connected Apple devices via the ‘Contacts App’.

Historically I had my contacts stored in Google Contacts. This was in the days when iCloud wasn’t very good. One of the benefits of this is that I need not have my entire contacts database of 2000+ names and numbers showing up on my phone. Instead, I can keep it to the manageable working life numbers that I want access to at any given moment.

Lately, I have noticed some inconsistencies between the contacts in my Mac when compared to my iPad and iPhone.

I appreciate there is some craziness that I need to take into account about the way that iCloud works (i.e. taking its update from a backup rather than seemingly working in real-time as one might expect.)


  1. I’ve noticed that there were some contacts on my MacBook Contacts App that are different from the ones on my phone.

Specifically, I’ve deselected the contact in Google Contacts, which means asking those particular contacts to be hidden and therefore not show up on my phone. Notification_Center

They DO however remain in the Google Contacts database but are listed under ‘Other Contacts’ instead. This is correct and expected.

  1. I went through my contacts hiding the records that I no longer wanted to show up on my iPhone. However, these changes are yet to appear on my iPhone more than several days later.

Strangely, however, I made a change to one particular record and updated some information in the notes. That record has automatically been updated on my iPhone and the Mac right away… But not on my iPad :man_shrugging:t5:

Equally, I have added a contact or two from the ‘Other Contacts’ to the current contacts database (synced with my phone), and that record shows up on my phone right away. Notification_Center

  1. Once you’ve added the contact to the phone. Deselecting it on Goole Contacts Does Not remove it from the phone. It appears that I might have to do that manually. Despite forcing the sync on the contacts (by pulling down from the top of the screen) not a thing happens and the deselected or hidden contact remains in the phone.


  • The record does not show up on my Macbook or iPad right away either.

I wonder why that is?

Overall the sync appears to be very inconsistent. I felt sure the Contacts Database should be in sync between devices :man_shrugging:t5:.

That seems reasonable to me! However, this is yet to happen.

I feel a little bit lost as to:

A) When to expect a sync to take place between Google Contacts and the phone then iPad/Mac?
B) When are these devices expected to be in Sync with each other?

Finally, one weird and unexpected thing is that contacts are still visible on the MacBook Pro in the contacts App and on my iPad despite being removed from the phone.

Having tested this again today I have noticed that I can add a new contact from the Google Contacts TO my mobile device with a click of the ‘add to Contacts’ button right away. However, that button is changed to HIDE again, it has NO effect on the record that now shows up in my iPhone.

I hope all that makes sense? I wonder if any of you are in a similar boat?

You’re asking Google Contacts to Sync the contacts to iCloud, Sync would be a 2 way transfer, i.e. linking the data in both systems together.

Sync sounds like the wrong term though, it would seem like it is transferring the contacts to iCloud 1 way. I doubt that Google anything (including contacts) would have the ability or permissions to remove data from iCloud. (This is what it would have to do once you hide a contact from sync.)

Once the Transfer has happened on your iPhone, the changes should sync via iCloud (this is a true Sync)

Of course, all of this is moot if you’ve simply enabled your Google account on your iPhone (Under Settings / Mail / Accounts), which is very different from Syncing contact, rather just providing access to your google contacts on your iPhone.

1 Like