Add Gmail Contacts to iOS 5

By Dan Hinckley

116 responses. »

Millions of people have purchased the iPhone 4s over the last week or so. So many people have purchased the phone and have set the iPhone 4 as the fastest selling phone on AT&T, Sprint, & Verizon networks. With all of these purchases, tens of thousands of people have started migrating their contact information onto their new devices. The process for importing your contacts to your iPhone from Address Book is quick and painless, but if you’re converting from Android or another platform your contacts are all probably stored in gmail. Have no fear, adding your gmail contacts to your iPhone 4s, iPhone 4, or iPad is quick and easy.

How to import gmail contacts to your iPhone

If your entire address book is connected to your gmail account, the fastest way to add all of your contact information to your iPhone is by setting up gmail through their microsoft exchange configuration. Follow the steps below to pull in your gmail contacts to your new iPhone:

  • On your iPhone 4S or iPhone 4, open the Settings app
  • Scroll down to Mail, Contacts, Calendars and select it
  • Next, add a new account
  • At the add account screen you’re going to want to select the Microsoft Exchange option (Yes, this will help import your gmail contacts).
  • Enter your gmail address in the email field. Leave the Domain field as “Optional” and fill in your gmail username (without the and your password. Set the description to Gmail so you know what it is later.
  • Click next, the form will update and now include a Server field. In the server field enter Click Next or Done.
  • It will confirm that you want to sync your mail, contacts, and calendars. Slide these to On for Contacts and any of the other information you want.

Finish confirming the prompts and let iPhone pull down your gmail contacts. Once this is finished and you open your Contacts app you’ll see all of your gmail contacts added to your iPhone. It’s a bit confusing that to be able to easily import your contact information from gmail you have to configure the mail account through Microsoft Exchange but the process is quick and easy. I hope you’ve successfully imported all of your contacts and you’re off ready to use your iPhone!

About Dan Hinckley
Dan Hinckley is an experienced Mac user who converted to Apple products when they introduced them on Intel Processors. He loves helping others get more out of their devices! Subscribe to to get the latest from Dan and the Maciverse Team!! Find out more about Dan:

116 Responses so far.

  1. Marco H

    October 17, 2011 at 5:58 am

    Thanks! I'll try it tonight!

  2. CharyJay

    October 17, 2011 at 5:03 pm

    YAY! It worked! Thanks so much!!!!

  3. @iconick

    October 20, 2011 at 1:10 am

    Thanks so much, I've been trying to find a way to do this all day. This worked perfectly!

  4. Bob

    October 20, 2011 at 3:23 pm

    BRILLIANT! Saved me a ton of time. I am VERY grateful for your assistance.

  5. JaredtheBass

    October 22, 2011 at 7:33 am

    You, my friend, are a GENIUS!

  6. hillyman

    October 23, 2011 at 5:32 am

    I don't know how this works, but it does. It's magic!

  7. Andy

    October 23, 2011 at 8:08 pm

    Thank you!

  8. Marcelle

    October 27, 2011 at 9:09 pm

    Mine only uploaded 51 of 400 contacts =( any suggestions??

    • czg2005

      May 31, 2012 at 8:58 am

      I got the same problem as yours, only 50 of the 600+ (total in Gmail) was added to the Contacts of my iPad2. Have you solved the problem and how? Any suggestions? thank you!

      • marc.noble77

        June 20, 2012 at 8:17 pm

        Were you able to get all of your contacts transfered over, and if so how? I only got 50 of mine when I did it.

        • @jrecs

          June 22, 2012 at 6:23 pm

          This only syncs the "My Contacts" folder. If you have contacts in "Other Contacts", you must go into My Contacts, check the ones you want and move them to My Contacts. That is how I get the contacts over to my iPhone.

          • pointyp

            October 2, 2012 at 6:11 am

            This totally worked

    • czg2005

      May 31, 2012 at 9:03 am

      I got the same problem as yours, only 50 of the 600+ (total in Gmail) was added to the Contacts of my iPad2. Have you solved the problem and how? Any suggestions? thank you!

    • Bobo

      June 6, 2012 at 2:15 pm

      Back out from Contacts to the Groups screen and hit the refresh button in the top left corner!! Fixed it for me :-)

      • mel

        June 26, 2012 at 9:20 am

        Thanks Bobo, that worked for me!! Wooooho

      • Sam

        July 14, 2012 at 11:50 am

        Thanks! Fixed it for me!

  9. Thalia

    October 28, 2011 at 6:52 am

    I am getting a message stating that my password for the exchange account "gmail contacts" is incorrect. It is the correct password, how do I get around this?

    • nik pap

      November 10, 2011 at 3:32 am

      i have the same message as you. Did you find any solution?

      • Kim

        November 24, 2011 at 3:35 pm

        same message so frustrating!!!!

    • joe

      December 14, 2011 at 8:57 am

      set up and account activation code from your gmail account settings. i had the same problem, then this generates a specific one time use code and its all good

      • Charles

        April 5, 2012 at 2:32 pm

        How do I do this please?

        • smarterthenu

          July 10, 2012 at 1:56 am

          make your username your email address

          • Elena

            September 28, 2012 at 2:55 am

            it works, thanks


        December 10, 2012 at 5:25 am

        could you please explain in more detail as i am getting the "password incorrect" too but do not understand your solution. thanks

    • sumit

      April 9, 2013 at 3:12 am

      my exchange account password is not correct

  10. Thalia

    October 28, 2011 at 8:24 am

    Got it working.. Thanks!!

  11. Julie

    October 28, 2011 at 10:15 am

    THAT WAS AWESOME!!! So easy! And I'm way lame with gadgets and stuff! I'm so excited to have all my contacts back on my phone!~ What a relief.

  12. Diganti

    October 29, 2011 at 10:17 am


  13. Tammy

    October 30, 2011 at 6:01 pm


    I am getting the password incorrect message for exchange server. any tips please? Tammy

  14. Carolyn

    November 1, 2011 at 11:13 am

    You are my hero….. serious karma headed your way…..

  15. AOCY

    November 3, 2011 at 8:35 am

    Thanks! You are a genius!!

  16. jestomwil

    November 5, 2011 at 2:43 pm

    SLICK! Easy to follow instructions that worked like a charm, thanks!

  17. eekconway

    November 7, 2011 at 4:42 pm

    THANK YOU!!! Your a Life saver, have been searching and asking everyone how to pull my 1500+ contacts from my old garbage windows based phone and couldn't find this last tsep anywhere!

  18. slict

    November 7, 2011 at 8:20 pm

    I'm struggling. So excited about my new phone, but it's asking me for my exchange password. I don't have an exchange account. Any help?

    • slict

      November 7, 2011 at 8:34 pm

      Ha! Nevermind. Fixed it.

      • Charles

        April 5, 2012 at 2:32 pm

        How did you fix it please?

  19. Jeremy

    November 11, 2011 at 3:02 pm

    Hey it' not working for me.. I followed the directions and added exchange but it didn't import any contacts at all. I have the contact box checked as 'on'. Any suggestions?

  20. Dan

    November 11, 2011 at 3:05 pm

    Try again? Maybe restart your iPhone see if giving it a few minutes provides better results.

    • Shane Miller

      March 15, 2012 at 4:03 pm


    • Shane Miller

      March 15, 2012 at 4:04 pm


  21. mikey

    November 29, 2011 at 8:49 am

    What do you do for the exchange password?

    • Dan

      November 29, 2011 at 8:54 am

      Just use your gmail password.

  22. brian

    November 30, 2011 at 8:12 am

    I did this and it worked except there's no info for the contacts. The names are there but no phone #'s or email addresses. Sucks…

    • Cobi

      August 28, 2012 at 4:09 am

      You need to change the type of the phone number on the "mobile" or "home."
      Try this, it helped me.

      • Caz

        September 27, 2012 at 6:34 am

        I'm having the same trouble. Could you explain what to change? Thanks

  23. Aida

    December 5, 2011 at 8:17 am

    Dude! What a relief! Your assistance is most appreciated…

  24. Andrew R., New York

    December 6, 2011 at 10:21 pm

    Dan is da Man!! I've been going in circles all day trying different things. This way is so simple! Thank you sir!

  25. Linda B

    December 13, 2011 at 4:51 pm

    can I delete the existing google account on the iphone?

  26. Gary

    December 20, 2011 at 11:24 am

    Ack! No this did NOT work .. but did delete all the contacts from my phone! :-( And ever since upgrading to iOS-5, the calendar no longer updates from yahoo. Any ideas?

  27. Anon

    December 21, 2011 at 8:33 pm

    Is there a way to use this method, THEN back up the contacts to iCloud and then remove the Exchange profile on the iPhone?

  28. Victoria

    January 3, 2012 at 10:25 am

    Precise advise! Thank you

  29. VILLY

    January 4, 2012 at 2:34 pm

    amigo su explicacion es de mucha ayuda.. muchas gracias de verdad….

  30. scott Black

    January 5, 2012 at 8:10 am

    why would this only import 52 of 1400 contacts?

    • Sean

      January 6, 2012 at 7:15 am

      back out from Contacts to the Groups screen, then hit 'refresh' at the top left. that imported the rest of my contacts. hope it works for you!

  31. Sean

    January 6, 2012 at 7:07 am

    like scott – it only imported 50 or so of my contacts – anyone have any ideas why this is?


    January 7, 2012 at 7:43 am extracts not only contacts but all email addresses from your correspondence. supports hotmail, gmail, yahoo etc.

  33. son2380

    January 14, 2012 at 12:58 pm

    How do I export my Phone contacts to my gmail account

  34. Mrshill

    January 15, 2012 at 5:51 pm

    Thank you. It worked like a charm. I was pulling my hair out before trying to figure out how I was going to transfer all my contacts without having to do it manually

  35. tamaz

    January 17, 2012 at 10:43 am

    imported only 50 contacts from 235 , how can i fix this?

  36. tamaz

    January 17, 2012 at 10:43 am

    can someone help me ?

  37. Tstyles

    January 20, 2012 at 11:43 am

    YOU ROCK!! Worked great!

  38. Adrian

    January 24, 2012 at 3:45 am

    Thanks so much! Saved me a lot of messing around. I set up mail in Exchange and it worked a dream, my contacts synced within seconds.

  39. New iPhone User

    February 8, 2012 at 1:14 am

    This is the best info I have ever received on one of these help blogs…you are AWESOME!!!!

    • dan

      February 8, 2012 at 8:42 am

      Thanks@ Be sure to like us on Facebook for more helpful tips!

  40. Nancy

    February 11, 2012 at 12:56 am

    It works! Thank you very much!

  41. Joy

    February 19, 2012 at 4:14 pm

    This is a very simple & easy to follow guide!!!!!!!! I've been on this for over 5hrs. before I got your guide & it's so good. Thanks very much. Joy.

  42. Stef

    February 20, 2012 at 8:33 am

    Thank you, you saved my day

  43. Ricky

    February 24, 2012 at 2:30 am

    You are a genius Mr Dan Hinckley! I salute you for having saved me tons of work! A million thanks to you! … Would you know how to do it for yahoo Mail?

  44. noname

    February 28, 2012 at 4:06 pm

    About ‘exchange password’, do in description ‘My Exchange Account’


    • JP2020

      April 1, 2012 at 1:30 am

      In description field I wrote "My Exchange Account"
      I get all account accepted.
      Then "Enter the password for the Exchange account "My Exchange
      What to do next?
      Kind regards,

  45. Kelli

    March 9, 2012 at 3:38 pm

    Awesome!! Thanks so much!!

  46. Liz L.

    March 22, 2012 at 12:52 pm

    Help please, I setup my gmail yesterday as an exchange server all was well had my contacts, but i kept getting a message that the password is incorrect. So i researched it and did a few things i was told. I turned off i cloud, reset network settings, removed the gmail exchange account and then when i tried to put it back on now i get nothing, no contacts, no mail, nothing. From what i can tell this "wrong password alert" has something to do with the IOS 5 update…. but so far i have not found a fix and now i am without all contacts. Please some one help, this is frustrating.,…..

  47. Colleen

    March 28, 2012 at 6:22 pm

    Dan, you are a genius. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!!! I cannot say it enough. This was so easy with your handy dandy directions. Thank you so much for sharing the knowledge!! Awesome!!!

  48. Steve

    March 29, 2012 at 12:15 pm

    Phew… thanks

  49. Jessica

    March 31, 2012 at 6:27 pm

    worked great thanks!

  50. Patty

    April 4, 2012 at 4:54 pm

    I followed the instruction carefully and it did bring it all my contacts from the gmail account via the exchange setup. Thank you so much.

  51. Amyt Dahiya

    April 8, 2012 at 7:13 am

    amazing its really quick and easy :)

  52. Satish Kandukuri

    April 9, 2012 at 10:57 am

    It worked. Thank you so much

  53. Michael R

    April 12, 2012 at 5:38 pm

    Recently resynced gmail with Ios5 contacts and it used to show Bdays and Anniv but now they are gone from Ios though they are in Google contacts. Any suggestions?

    • Celine McGuire

      July 12, 2012 at 12:36 am

      Thank you but like someone else above it only let me import 51 contacts – what do I do now?

  54. Giselle

    April 14, 2012 at 6:40 pm

    Thank you so much, I was really happy for your help and the easy process.

  55. Ben

    April 20, 2012 at 3:37 am

    Thank you!
    Once this is done, is there any way to delete the Microsoft Exchange account from the phone but retain all the contacts? I already had my Gmail set up on the phone via iPhone's Gmail account function, and I don't want a duplicate.

    • Dan

      April 20, 2012 at 7:59 am

      Try syncing with Address Book on a Mac. Then remove the exchange account.

  56. Jerry Walker

    April 29, 2012 at 2:31 pm

    Really expected this to fail, but it worked exactly as it should. Thanks for caring enough to go to the trouble of providing this help. Maybe Apple and/or Google has an answer for this, but I was unable to find it. I've had an iPad for over a year and had no trouble importing all parts of my Gmail to it, so it was a surprise to run into this problem with my new iPhone. Thanks again.

  57. madamew

    April 30, 2012 at 11:43 am

    It only imported a few of mine as well.

    • Irma

      May 11, 2012 at 7:30 pm

      Anybody know if this will sync the changes you make on your iphone to your gmail contacts. Like adding new ones or changing emails or phone numbers?

  58. @cirian75

    May 14, 2012 at 8:47 am

    works well, it does not add new contracts back Gmail contacts

  59. Sally

    May 26, 2012 at 9:32 pm

    This worked great!!!!

  60. Meredith

    June 17, 2012 at 1:56 pm

    Amazing. You rock.

  61. Riley

    June 21, 2012 at 1:15 pm

    works great.

  62. Diana Morrison Martin

    June 22, 2012 at 3:48 pm

    This is awesome! It worked on my iPad2 also!

  63. Khalil

    July 2, 2012 at 1:26 pm

    My contact list on iphone is importing, exporting, deleting, replacing and adding contacts that are not mine and deleting some of them! What is happening ? How can inresolve that problem

  64. serj

    July 5, 2012 at 6:53 pm

    i've been using free web tool email addresses extractor for gmail , yahoo, etc . extracts not only contacts but all email addresses ever met in you mail box

  65. Sabrina

    July 7, 2012 at 3:59 am

    Wow….that was easy! Thanks so much for the help.

  66. serj

    July 7, 2012 at 6:19 am extracts email addresses from gmail, yahoo , aolmail etc. free service

  67. Using Autofill

    July 8, 2012 at 7:42 am

    [...] Two ways, among others: iOS: How to transfer or sync content to your computer Add Gmail Contacts to iOS 5 | Maciverse Reply With Quote + Reply to [...]

  68. Manoj

    July 10, 2012 at 6:39 pm

    how do i transfer my contact list from my iphone 4 to my gmail account?

  69. Leslie

    July 26, 2012 at 4:59 am

    Quick & easy … Thank you!!

  70. bef2111

    July 27, 2012 at 9:43 pm

    If you're like me you have numerous phone numbers and numerous email addresses (as well as your contacts having the same situation). The unfortunate thing about this is that it only imports a max of 3 (three) email addys and 3 Phone numbers. AND, you're unable to edit the name of the phone or email (like, I have, Brian's Personal, Brian's Work, Brian's Other, Second Gmail account, etc). This used to work but for whatever reason, going through Exchange it only gives this option (See:…. When will THIS be fixed!?!??!?! Help Google/Apple….Gapple?

  71. Kendra

    July 30, 2012 at 7:13 pm

    It doesn't give me the option of contacts. It only lists mail, calendars, and notes.

  72. Jenn

    August 13, 2012 at 3:05 pm

    Great until it asked for my Exchange password…i entered the same password for my gmail account but it keeps saying it's wrong! I don't know what to do..

  73. David

    August 18, 2012 at 5:12 am

    Just did this for my wife. If you get the incorrect gmail password error, change the username so that you include the or on the end.

    Error should disappear and things should sync fine.

  74. Deepak

    August 30, 2012 at 10:43 am

    Yay, that does the trick. Thanks a lot.

  75. Lisa marshall

    September 19, 2012 at 3:03 am

    I often update or add contacts on my mobile phone iPhone 4s. I notice that my contacts are not sync/copied to my gmail contact list. Please tell me how I can enable this feature. Thanks

  76. Jayant Kumar

    September 26, 2012 at 10:48 am

    Thanks a ton. The best comprehensive and accurate help I have ever seen on this topic. Take care!

  77. Suren

    October 4, 2012 at 6:52 pm

    Thank you very much for the simple and straight solution. It worked very well.

  78. christine

    October 6, 2012 at 1:15 pm

    Thank you so much. This was so easy. Why don't they give you these instructions. LOL

  79. Mingma

    October 23, 2012 at 8:43 pm

    Thank you for giving the process of importing gmail contacts to the iPhone.

    Just a small question, since I already had a gmail account so setting up with Microsoft exchange led to a duplicate gmail account in my mail. So if I get rid if the gmail account I that i created from Microsoft exchange will the imported contacts be deleted automatically?

    Thank you once again for the help.


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    November 6, 2012 at 8:22 am

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  81. Rama

    November 15, 2012 at 4:41 am

    It worked! Thanks so much. I'm not sure why but when you add a gmail account to iPhone 5 it doesn't give you the option to sync contacts! :)

  82. amg

    November 21, 2012 at 7:24 pm

    Even works on the iphone5, just slightly different screen layout. Thank you sooooo much!!!

  83. Kathy S

    November 26, 2012 at 4:58 pm

    I just got my iPhone5 when it came out and have been trying to get my Google contacts on it. I tried this and it worked.

  84. Lauren

    November 28, 2012 at 4:54 pm

    Has any one received this pop up " Enter the password for the Exchange account "My Exchange"?
    I have already entered in my gmail password. thx

  85. Rod

    December 11, 2012 at 4:17 pm

    Worked like a charm. Thanks for a great lesson – simple, clear and it worked!!

  86. Yolita

    January 13, 2013 at 3:54 am

    thank you! It works :D

  87. kashif hanif

    January 23, 2013 at 2:19 pm

    How to Import Gmail Contacts into the iPhone 5:

    Login to Gmail.
    Make sure you have added any new contacts from your old phone into your Gmail contact list.
    Click top left arrow to contacts
    Click “more” and select “Export”
    I chose the vCard format, saved the export file to my desktop. This is also a backup.
    Email the contact file to yourself
    Opened email on the iPhone and import the contacts

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