Syncing Mac contacts and calendars with Google and iPhone

On the weekend, I decided to rework all my sync’ing options.  Here’s what I ended up with:

Google, iPhone and Mac OSX Calendar and Contact Sync'ing 

 

Google contacts -> Mac OSX Address Book

I ended up following these instructions here:  http://googlemac.blogspot.com/2008/05/mac-os-x-1053-sync-google-contacts.html

Another set of info here:  http://lifehacker.com/393810/mac-os-xs-address-book-can-now-sync-google-contacts-update-for-iphone-owners-only-ugh

However, I found that although I had it configured, it wasn’t sync’ing at all.   The configuration was all there but there were no contacts in my Address Book.   The instructions for manually sync’ing suggested to click the “Sync Now” option in iSync (the circular arrows at the top of the screen) but that option was disabled for me.  

If you have that problem, then follow Marko’s steps in his blog post here (http://blog.markojung.net/2009/02/sync-everything-with-google/).   Sync’ing started up and now the option appears in iSync!

Google contacts -> Mac OSX iCal

I did try Spanning Sync for a while but ran into some problems with missing calendar events.   I then tried the standard CalDAV configuration and it worked fine!  No third party software required:

http://www.google.com/support/calendar/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=99358#ical

Google contacts and calendar -> iPhone wirelessly!

There are a few options to sync up your iPhone contacts and calendar with Google:

  • Wired – use the USB cable between the iPhone and your laptop.   The big disadvantage of this is that you need to be at your computer to sync.
  • Wirelessly – MobileMe.   Apple has an online storage and sync’ing solution called MobileMe.  This should let you sync your calendar, email and contacts between all your devices.   Unfortunately you need to pay a subscription to use it 😦
  • Wirelessly – Other.   Thanks to internet connectivity on your iPhone, you can wirelessly sync contacts and calendars with something like your Gmail account.  

In a previous blog post, I described how I used NuevaSync as an Exchange tunnel to get the iPhone to sync up wirelessly with Google Mail and Contacts.   However, recently Google updated their service to include their own Exchange server end.  I took the jump and reconfigured my iPhone sync’ing to use this instead and all works!   No more 3rd party required to host my private details or transfer my contacts and calendar.

http://www.google.com/support/mobile/bin/answer.py?answer=138740&topic=14252

I also found that calendar updates were much quicker than through NuevaSync. 

 

Next frontier

OK, so now I have my iPhone contacts, mail and calendar sync’d up with Google and my MacBook Pro.

The next problem is that I’m using Thunderbird instead of Mac Mail.  Unfortunately Thunderbird 2.x does not use the OSX Address Book, but I read that Thunderbird 3.x beta does.   Time to try that out!  Then I’ll be truely integrated!

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One thought on “Syncing Mac contacts and calendars with Google and iPhone”

  1. Hey Jase,

    Good post… Similarly since I got the iPhone about a year ago I was trying to get to fully sync’d Zen with multiple devices/computers, and almost there and I also decided to post about it a couple of weeks ago…

    http://swangle.blogspot.com/2009/08/life-in-cloud.html

    Being in the Google ecosystem is definitely a good way of getting a unified solution for sync’ing but on the downside steering towards the path of vendor lock in… 🙂

    Swang.

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