Import Gmail Contacts to Address Book

By Dan Hinckley

72 responses. »

Update: Follow these steps to import gmail contacts to your iPhone directly.

I know that one of the frustrating things about switching from one computer to another is the process of moving things like your address book may gets lost in the shuffle. Moving From a PC to a Maccould complicate the issue even further. For me this was a major reason why I went to web based email as I knew that I could keep my contacts forever and never have to worry about moving them. But despite the ease of web based email, its just not as powerful as system based email applications. Thankfully to Google and Apple I can now have the best of both worlds!


While in the past there have been a number of methods to get your Gmail contacts into your Mac Address Book, most required a third party application and for some reason something always complicated the process. Thanks to the ever increasing friendship between Apple and Google it seems that with the latest updates to Gmail, exporting contacts in to an Address Book Format is quick and easy.

After logging into a Gmail account navigate to your contact list. From there you can export all your contacts or create a contact group that includes the addresses you want included into your Address Book on your Mac. After creating a group simply click export and then select the group from the export drop down menu. Be sure to pick vCard format as the export format and save the download to your desktop.



Open Address Book and select File >> Import >> vCards. Select the downloaded .vcf file and confirm the import and your Gmail/Google contacts will now be included in your Address Book and accessible from all your other Mac Applications. You can repeat the process if you update your Gmail contacts often. Address Book will only import the new contacts and/or update edited information.

The shared contact list and the new IMAP feature of Gmail makes it a great tool to use with Mail on your computer and on your iPod/iPhone.

Read this to Import Address Book Contacts to Gmail.

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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:

72 Responses so far.

  1. Maciverse » Blog Archive » Automator Tip #5: Add Address Book Contacts to Gmail

    May 11, 2008 at 6:09 am

    [...] Importing Contacts from Gmail into Address Book is a bit easier. [...]

  2. Mike

    July 21, 2008 at 5:36 am

    I followed the instructions above and all I get is 33 of 522 contacts imported. I have tried this several different ways…enen selecting the last 5 contacts only to see if I get different results…to no avail. Now the classic definition of insanity is to do the same thing over and over agine expecting different results…well I am not insane yet! Any help or suggestions will be appreciated.

    I am a relatively new mac convert and it is quite possible that I am too stuck in my PC ways!!

    • Scott H

      September 1, 2011 at 7:59 am

      Question? When I sync my ipad2 to my Mac pc, it does not import the latest address book updates that I did on the Mac to my iPad. This is a new development, it was working fine. Is anyone else experiencing this problem and how might I fix the problem. Thanks in advance to those in the know.

      • Dan

        September 1, 2011 at 10:43 am

        Make sure that your iPad has syncing for calendar enabled.

  3. Dan

    July 21, 2008 at 7:18 am

    Mike, Try creating a group and then exporting from google contacts just that group to see if you get the same results.

    Is Address Book returning any other details about the import?

  4. JYOT

    November 15, 2008 at 8:09 pm

    Hi, was thinking how could I use importing for my iPhone?? Tough question I suppose :) :)

  5. Dan

    November 15, 2008 at 10:52 pm

    Jyot, to get your gmail contacts on your iPhone, just select "sync address book" in iTunes under your iPhone after you've imported all your contacts from gmail.

    • guest

      February 18, 2011 at 9:29 pm

      Thank you, this did work, but now my last name and first names are inverted, is there a way I can change the filter from last name to first name in my iphone 4, everything is listed wrong now

  6. Peter

    November 19, 2008 at 1:43 pm


    Thanks for this helpful post. I've got the same problem as Mike above. I've tried exporting just a group but still only get about 34 contacts. The alert box does say "there was a problem with the export" but gives no details.

    Any ideas?

  7. Dan

    November 21, 2008 at 5:59 am

    Peter, check the layout of the 34th contact. It may have some character that the export is struggling with. Try a different group to see if that helps.

  8. Paul

    December 11, 2008 at 2:23 am

    I am having a similar problem as Peter and Mike. When I attempt to export my contacts, whether from a group or all, and whether on my mac or from a pc, the only contact exported is the very first contact. Has anyone figured out what the problem is and how to fix it?

  9. Dan

    December 11, 2008 at 6:09 am


    Did you try the export with csv format to see if that exports everyone. If so, it maybe something with part of your data.

  10. Paul

    December 12, 2008 at 8:37 am


    Thanks for your response. I am able to export my data into csv formats, both the Google and Outlook version of csv. The exported data can open in an excel file. Can I export either of these into Address Book? Any idea why I can't export as a vcard?

  11. Dan

    December 12, 2008 at 10:32 am

    Paul – I'll take a look at how to import CSV files into Address Book. Since this seems like a re-occurring issue, lets continue the discussion in the forums ( so the conversion focuses on resolving the issue.

    I'll post any solutions I find there and will let you know.

  12. Dan

    December 14, 2008 at 12:00 pm

    The solution to the import version of csv to Address book is posted in the Maciverse forums at this location:

  13. Joan

    December 23, 2008 at 3:45 am

    When I import the vcf file created by a gmail export, the postal addresses are missing for all my contacts. I am using Mac Address Book version 4. I have tried the solution by Dan of Dec 14, 2008 and that doesn't help. Anyone else with this problem? How do the addresses have to be formatted? Is there a painless way or program that will take the address and break it up into fields the way Address Book wants to see them? Help please.

  14. Dan

    December 23, 2008 at 4:39 am

    Joan, when you're importing a txt file to address book it details how it breaks down the import. Try to match that format as best as possible and it may solve your problem.

  15. Will

    January 11, 2009 at 2:50 am

    Dear Dan, I am expecting my new MacBook Pro any day now and getting ready to make my transition to Mac…. I too will be importing contacts from g mail to the Mac Address book. I hope to not have the issues the above posters are having but I have another question to ask…. I have two g mail accts with overlapping addresses. When I import Gmail contacts, will they be put in one address book or will a 2nd one be created? Also, do i actually create two separate address books on my new machine….?? Ok, one more question….. i currently have an Outlook address book too which i will want to import… mind you, the g mail contacts are pretty much strictly e mail addresses…. but the Outlook are full on addresses….. it's also a 2002 Office Product…. how do I do that? Thank you in advance.

  16. Dan

    January 11, 2009 at 7:00 am

    Will – Hopefully you won't have any problems and you can import multiple contact lists into Address Book. It will prompt you to merge or replace a contact if it sees it has the same name.

    You can import Outlook contacts by exporting them to a csv file and importing them with the steps described on our forums:

    Let us know if you have problems by posting them with specific details in the Forums. Thanks!

  17. Will

    January 12, 2009 at 5:37 pm

    Thanks for your reply, Dan. When i import two differnent contact lists from g mail it will merge them into one then depending on which email i'm using it will just look thru the entire address book? Is that correct?

    With regard to the Outlook contacts, unfortunately I discovered it's not going to be easy.. I'm using Outlook 2002 and when i followed the instructions itasked me to put the outlook 2002 disc in the drive so it could find the translator.. when i purchased the computer from Dell the software wa bundled and guess what….. i never got a cd…. I think I'm screwed and will have to type the entire address book into the address book… fun huh?

  18. Kristine

    January 14, 2009 at 9:16 pm

    I am having the same problem as Joan. When I import the vCard, the addresses do not come through. Dan, I apologize for my ignorance, but I do not follow your response. What is the relevance of a txt file to a vCard and how do I check and/or reformat the addresses so that they come through?

  19. Dan

    January 15, 2009 at 10:59 am

    Kristine – the txt file would only be used if you are exporting your addresses to a CSV file format. Address Book doesn't seem to import well the csv files from Gmail, but if you open and save that csv file as a tab delimited txt file Address Book can import easily. Post where you're having troubles in our Forums to get additional assistance:

  20. Clayton Kimball

    February 15, 2009 at 10:37 am

    Perhaps it's not well published enough, but there is a much easier way to get all your Google contacts into Address Book. In Address Book go to Preferences, then click "Synchronize with Google", and type in your login info.

    I can't remember how long this has been available, so it might not be the case before Leopard.

  21. Dan

    February 15, 2009 at 2:12 pm

    Clayton – Thanks for the tip. It looks like this has been available since the OS X 10.5.3 update. Unfortunately, its not clear which data overrides which data, and importing into Address Book may be a less risky approach.

    Either way, back up your contacts and use this method will get the end results with a few modifications.

  22. Uddhava

    February 18, 2009 at 1:00 am

    Indeed, when importing a vcard from gmail -> apple address book the address field is not imported…

    And the synchronize option only works when you have an iPhone…

    So who needs to fix things, Apple or Google ???

  23. Uddhava

    February 18, 2009 at 1:07 am

    I think the vcard definition from gmail is not correct :

    If you look at the Address field, it says "LABEL". should there not be "ADDRESS" here????????



    FN:Uddhava das





    TITLE:xxxxxx xxxxxxxx

    NOTE:Birthdate : xxxxxxxxxx
    1st initation : xxxxxxxxxx
    2nd initation :



  24. Dan Gerrity

    February 27, 2009 at 12:25 pm

    What's happening here is that Google is using unstructured address book fields instead of structured fields because their address book is unstructured. When you create a new contact in gmail, the address field is free form — that is, you don't have to say what the street address, city, state, and zip are. I thought that was cool that Google was automatically parsing it, but they aren't.

    The Label record is meant to print free form text for use in a mailing list, not to communicate address information. That is the ADR record, which has to know what the city, state, zip, country, etc. are.

    So the Google export contains a record like this:

    LABEL;TYPE=WORK:719 2nd Avenue
    Suite 1405
    Seattle, WA 98104

    When it really needs:

    ADR;TYPE=WORK:;;719 2nd Avenue, Suite 1405;Seattle;WA;98104;

    It is driving me crazy. Does anyone have a transform or program that can reformat these LABEL lines into properly formatted ADR lines?

    That will be the fix we need until Google either gets more structured on input or parses fields for export.

    Alternatively, you can download as CSV files, fix the address information yourself (perhaps using excel formulas) and then use a CSV to vCard tool on the web.

    What a pain, and after searching and searching on the net, I can't find any other description of this problem.

    Hope this helps someone, and I hope someone can either code up a parser or knows of one to help with this conversion.

  25. Corey

    March 12, 2009 at 6:04 am

    good day… I'm having a problem moving a contact group file from vista mail over to g-mail. All of my other contacts went over fine, but this contact group will not go I've tried to copy/past ect. Any Advise.



  26. David

    June 25, 2009 at 1:43 pm

    Fantastic! I've been working with computers for more than 30yrs and now I've finally taken the sensible plunge and bought a MacBook Pro. I should have done it years ago. Your straight forward instructions for the migration of my gmail addresses to my Mac address book worked for me first time. It made me smile. Thankou.

  27. Dan

    June 25, 2009 at 2:13 pm

    David – Welcome to the Mac Community! Glad everything is working for you!

  28. Claude

    November 1, 2009 at 12:02 am

    make sure and read the part that says "export to vcard format" and disregard the picture above that shows exporting as Google CSV

  29. Marilyn

    May 1, 2010 at 3:53 am

    Thank you for the short tutorial. I'm a Mac newbie and definitely appreciate all the help I can get. :)

    • Dan

      May 1, 2010 at 9:07 pm

      Anytime, thanks and let us know how Maciverse can help.

  30. Tom

    August 28, 2010 at 5:38 am

    I moved contacts from droidx to gmail to my mac. It worked perfectly in minutes…thanks!

  31. Alyssa

    September 16, 2010 at 10:30 am

    I'm trying to convert from a Mac Palm desktop to Google (for my new Android phone) and have not found a way to do this without manually re-creating my 2500+ contacts (categories, home and work addresses, multiple phones and emails)…can you help?

  32. Dan

    September 16, 2010 at 10:36 am

    Unfortunately there isn't a Mac Palm. an Apple iPhone we maybe able to help with.. but I don't think there is such a thing as a Mac Palm.

  33. Maris

    September 27, 2010 at 4:37 am

    there is an even easier way. 1) export contacts on Your computer as described. 2) send the exported Vcard file to You google email account 3) receive the email on Your Iphone and open the attachement the contacts will be automatically updated just follow the instructions.


    December 4, 2010 at 4:58 pm

    Just joined the Mac Community. Bought an iPhone4 yesterday. Good stuff! I am working on syncing the contacts now. vcards and Google stuff.

  35. HenriYann

    January 22, 2011 at 6:00 pm

    I think that CSV or vCard is the one of the solution, but they both can't export pictures , you know.
    I recommend this tool

  36. chrissmithwebguy

    February 17, 2011 at 10:35 am

    You have provided very useful and nice information. you could also refer to… for more tips on troubleshooting on sync services. Thanks =)

  37. David Latapie

    February 18, 2011 at 2:58 pm

    The host forgot to mention something very important: your groups will be LOST in the process. Sure, you will get you adresses and all the rest. But it will one big group.

    Even exporting groups one by one will not work. I know, I tried. Hard. And was paid for it.

  38. Ibrahim

    March 22, 2011 at 1:22 pm

    Thanks a lot. Very useful info.

  39. Neil

    May 21, 2011 at 10:34 pm

    Thank you for the help

  40. Aug

    June 4, 2011 at 5:27 am

    I've got a group of 345 contacts on Gmail and would like to find a way to replicate it in Address Book… Any help?

  41. Ryan Rampersad

    August 1, 2011 at 5:49 pm

    For anyone reading this in the future, you can easily import Google contacts into Address Book. You can export the vCard file for a specific group in the Gmail/Contacts interface, or you can synchronize your Google contacts directly through Address Book > Preferences > Accounts > tick the synchronize with Google box. This works with OSX 10.7.

  42. Donald

    August 14, 2011 at 10:25 am

    If you're looking for a way to quickly copy your Mac Address Book to Gmail or vice versa while maintaining all of your contact groups and categories, I would recommend the "Contacts Sync With Groups" app on the Mac App Store. You can find it at:

  43. Donald

    August 14, 2011 at 10:25 am

    If you're looking for a way to quickly copy your Mac Address Book to Gmail or vice versa while maintaining all of your contact groups and categories, I would recommend the "Contacts Sync With Groups" app on the Mac App Store. You can find it at:

  44. sur

    September 11, 2011 at 11:41 pm

    can anyone of help me to get multiple contact fileto get transferd from rcvd files to phonebook..? is there any way out.
    as i have to copy abt 1000 contacts each with 5 no.s to my e7 which is nt havin any combined option. plzz.. do help fast.

  45. Radioman

    September 14, 2011 at 6:03 am

    I went online to gmail on my computer and exported contacts to vcard. then I emailed the vcard as an attachment to myself and opened the email on my ipod. Then I opened the vcard and saved the contacts. Took all of 2 minutes. Cheers!

  46. Shirlee

    October 13, 2011 at 4:38 pm

    Thanks for posting, worked for me like a dream!

  47. Can I import my Google Contacts data to iCloud? - Quora

    October 14, 2011 at 3:41 am

    [...] Yes. Import the data to a iCloud device (you mac or phone, or what-ever), and turn syncing on.…This answer .Please specify the necessary improvements. Edit Link Text Show answer summary [...]


    October 15, 2011 at 11:50 am – FREE web service allows you get ( extract, export ) all email addresses from your correspondence not only from address book but from every email you ever sent or received!

  49. Brent

    November 6, 2011 at 7:26 pm

    This worked … and its was painless.

  50. Brent

    November 6, 2011 at 7:26 pm

    This worked … and its was painless.

  51. Justin

    January 16, 2012 at 10:29 am

    If you are in PC maybe using this solution for iCloud too.

    I've put my print screen there

  52. Neilp

    February 10, 2012 at 5:05 am

    I have been trying for a week or more now too. I have just been given an Android based phone for work and it immediately d/loaded my contacts from gmail..which is great..except for the fact that it is not up to date.
    SO I thought I would delete al my gmail contacts and re sync from my Mac address book.

    that also worked fine, all 889 contacts from the Mac address book uploaded to gmail and then on the the Android ( Samsung Galaxy Ace)

    All seemed fine till I tried a second sync…I wanted to check that it would sync both ways, so i changed one small detail in one address in Gmail..I removed a dead phone number from one contact.

    The mac address book was going to be changed from the Gmail sync with 103 new entries to be added and 48 deleted..all on the mac side, even though only one change had been made.

    So something is not correct with how it will sync one way.but when syncing again, it does nto recognise many entries and tries to create duplicate.

    These sync apps are still not really working solutions, not without a lot of manual editing..which I guess is what I am in for. Allow the sync to create the 103 new items, monitor the 48 it want to delete and then re do all the ones it has deleted and duplicated…bloody computers

    The second sync with gmail came back with Gmail

  53. Allison

    March 8, 2012 at 12:28 pm

    Worked perfectly thank you thank you!

  54. Tdebrun

    March 8, 2012 at 12:30 pm

    Great advice -solved mt problem -thanks

  55. Amy

    March 23, 2012 at 12:32 pm

    Hi, I recently changed jobs and I had my contacts in a PC Outlook server. Unfortunately when I deleted the email account it deleted most of my contacts, even some that were entered manually into the phone. I got my old company to send me my contacts but they are in an excel file.
    Besides manually entering in all my contacts, either into gmail or into my actual iPhone, is there a way to import the excel file : contacts.xls into my phone or gmail?

    • @azurthmus

      April 27, 2012 at 8:35 am

      Amy, I am not exactly sure however, you might want to use the *.xls file in combination with a standalone app in order to <a target="_blank" href="">import iPhone contacts as they originally appeared on your iPhone.

      Also, if you synced your iPhone at least once with iTunes before you delete your contacts, you might be able to bring the original iPhone contacts by resetting your device to factory settings. When iTunes asks you whether you want to restore from a previously-saved backup, simply select the entry dated before the date you deleted your contacts.

      This will restore your iPhone data (calendars, contacts, notes) back to the time the backup was made.

  56. azurthmus

    April 27, 2012 at 8:48 am

    Amy, I am not exactly sure however, you might want to use the *.xls file in combination with a standalone app in order to import iPhone contacts as they originally appeared on your iPhone.

    Also, if you synced your iPhone at least once with iTunes before you delete your contacts, you might be able to bring the original iPhone contacts by resetting your device to factory settings. When iTunes asks you whether you want to restore from a previously-saved backup, simply select the entry dated before the date you deleted your contacts.

    This will restore your iPhone data (calendars, contacts, notes) back to the time the backup was made.

  57. fancypantsandy

    May 24, 2012 at 3:39 pm

    Thank You! This helped me out a lot!

  58. howpass

    June 2, 2012 at 3:21 am

    Thanks for posting, worked for me!

  59. AppsMenow

    June 2, 2012 at 3:26 am

    solved my problem, great and thank you.

  60. serj

    July 5, 2012 at 6:51 pm

    i've been using free web service email addresses extractor for gmail , yahoo, etc

  61. macniac

    August 3, 2012 at 5:09 am

    Perfect guide for those who change from pc to mac. I had the same problem but had to solve it on my own … Did u have any problems with birthday data? My iPhone just skipped this information and i had to update it contact by contact …

  62. Lena

    September 10, 2012 at 12:01 pm

    on my old laptop i can access all my gmail labels where i save selected emails. I just got a mac book pro and when i access my gmail account on it i do not see the labels. How can i access my labels on the mac bkpro as i do on my old laptop? Thank you.

  63. chattienatti

    November 8, 2012 at 10:07 pm

    Great article, thank you! Very clear, answered all my questions.

  64. Sillyboy

    November 29, 2012 at 1:29 am

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  66. Dr Mroueh

    February 21, 2013 at 3:25 pm

    i tried it and it works, ty

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