With Google disabling Exchange ActiveSync support for contacts, a recent guide discussed how to sync contacts up with CardDAV. Well, what if instead you just want to sync up with iCloud instead? Is there any way to do this? Yes! Contacts can be exported to what is known as a VCF file. This includes all basic details like phone numbers, email addresses, and even info like birthdays, so that it’s a relatively pain-free experience to import and export entire lists of contacts. The only major exceptions of data that doesn’t get transferred are contact photos and individual ringtone/vibration settings.
This all happens via your web browser. To export contacts, go to the Google Contacts page. Click the More button, and click Export. Most likely, you’ll want to select the My Contacts group to export, though if you have a specific group you’d like to export, select that, or all contacts. Under “Which export format?” choose vCard format. Save this file and keep note of its location.
Now go to iCloud.com. Log in, and go to Contacts. Click the gear icon in the lower left, and choose Import vCard. Open up the file you just saved from Google, and your contacts will be added to iCloud.
Note that while this specifically covers iCloud and Google Contacts, any service that can import or export VCF files should work. iCloud offers vCard exporting and Google offers vCard importing from the same menus if you want to go in reverse, say if you want to use your contacts on an Android device as well, or if you just want to use something less proprietary.
Now, on your iOS device, make sure that the device you are using has iCloud contacts enabled. Go to Settings → Mail, Contacts, and Calendars, and choose your iCloud account, and switch Contacts to on if necessary, though it is enabled by default. If you haven’t set that iCloud account up on the device, tap Add Account and then tap iCloud to set it up. On the main screen of Mail, Contacts, and Calendars, scroll down to the Contacts heading and tap Default Account. Set your iCloud account as default for new contacts to be added to this account by default.
Now go to the Contacts app. Tap Groups in the upper left corner, and you can customize which contact groups will be shown. Select only All iCloud (or whatever your iCloud account is named as) and un-select any other accounts, and your contacts list will only show your iCloud contacts. You can review them here as well, and when un-hidden, you can link cards to Google contacts or other contact groups as necessary.
Congratulations, you’ve now moved your contacts to iCloud. This process can be reversed – iCloud allows for contact exporting, and Google contact importing from VCF files, and the options are in the same menu locations at each service.
Posted in: Blog, Howto
Tagged with: contacts, google, how-to, icloud