Contacts Sync with Mac Address Book

This entry is part 24 of 27 in the series Black Belt

Before I dig in to this I would like to thank my long time friend, co-worker, and mentor, Scott Reynolds for passing on this wonderful tip for Gmail. Those of you with iPhones, Macs and Gmail will find this very helpful.

This is based on a recent article at showing how you can sync your Mac address book with your Google contacts.

Before you start, we strongly recommend that you back up your Mac Address Book. You can do that in the File menu by choosing Export, Addressbook Archive. That way if anything goes wrong, you’ll still have your original data.

The key to syncing your Google contacts is in the Mac Address Book. Go to the Address Book menu, choose Preferences. Under the General heading, at the bottom of the screen check the box that says “Synchronize with Google”. It will ask you for your Google login and password – use the credentials you normally use to get access to your Gmail.

Now start up iSync under the Mac Applications menu. Click “Sync Devices”. Depending on how many contacts you have, it may take a few minutes to synchronize all the changes. When it’s done, click on the Card menu and select “Look for duplicates”. You can resolve conflicts one at a time by choosing which card you want to take precedence, or you can merge the changes by highlighting one or more cards and click “Merge cards” or using the keyboard shortcut Cmd-Shift-| (that’s a verticle pipe character).

Click “Sync Devices” one more time and your contacts in your Mac Address Book and Google contacts are now in sync. To keep things in sync in the future, just use iSync periodically. It’s a bit manual, but once setup, it’s only a couple mouse clicks away.

Here’s today’s quick tip: Fiona King over at has posted an article titled “57 tips of highly effective Gmail users“. If you’re a long time listener to the Gmail Podcast you’ll recognize many of these and I encourage you to go over and take a look – there are some great nuggets of information like backing up your messages, cleaning out your contacts, or tricking out your labels.

If you’ve got a great idea or heard about a new feature in Gmail, or something that works with or enhances Gmail, I’d love to hear from you. Visit the website at or drop me an email at

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