Have you ever lost your phone and ended up losing all your contacts? I often come across people who have lost all the contacts in their phone for various reasons and they start from scratch to build their contacts list again. Here is a way that I have been using for a long time now to continuously back up all the contacts on my iPhone on Gmail. This mechanism not only acts as a backup but also helps me to save time whenever I switch phones – no time is wasted in transferring the contacts.
Even more useful, when I add a new contact in Gmail, it shows up immediately on my iPhone. When I update a contact or add a new one on my iPhone, it is immediately available in Gmail. Cool – isn’t it? If you do not have iPhone, don’t worry – this procedure works with most of the phones. I have tried it on Nokia and Samsung in the past.
Here are the detailed instructions on how to enable this on iPhone:
1. Go to Settings on your iOS device and click on “Mail, Contacts, Calendars”. Now, click on “Add Account”.
2. Now in Add Account screen, select Microsoft Exchange (don’t choose Google Mail or Gmail).
3. Now, Fill in the information as shown below. The server input field does not appear first. Fill in the information and click on the Next button. You will get an error message and the Server field will be there then.
4. Here is the most important step: Enter your full username in both Email field and Username field. If you get an error message that the username/password credentials are wrong, then enter only the first part of the your email ID (excluding gmail.com) in username field. This should work. It took me many frustrated hours of searching through Gmail forums to figure this out – Gmail official help might be wrong here.
5. Now, click on the Next button. Turn on Mail and Contacts Sync.
6. When you turn on Contacts Sync, you will be asked whether you want to delete all the contacts on your phone. Select ‘Keep on my iPhone’.
Now, your contacts on Gmail should be downloaded to your iPhone and the contacts on your iPhone will be uploded to Gmail. Add a new contact in Gmail and see whether it appears instantly on your iPhone and test the opposite scenario as well. Also, try to update an existing contact in Gmail and see whether the change is reflected immediately on your iPhone.
All the best – you should never lose your contacts again. Please let me know if it works for you. If you need help on figuring this out for any other phone, please let me know.
Here is the official Gmail Help page with all the detailed instructions on this topic –