With my first iPhone4 came the highs of having access to the world in my pocket and the lows of paranoid what-ifs.  What if my phone crashed?  What would happen to my vast list of contacts?  While I have a laptop and desktop that I use to backup my iPhone, there is always a risk of losing everything. Google, in its vast stretching dominion over the internet, has found a solution.  The following guide will show you how to set up Google Sync on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch to sync your contacts, calendars, and access your Gmail.

1. Configuring iTunes

First and foremost, sync your iPhone with iTunes to backup all your data. I cannot stress how important this is.  Open iTunes and plug in your iPhone. Under the Info tab, check the “Sync Contacts with” option and select “Google Contacts” from the drop-down menu. Then click “Configure” and enter your username/ password when prompted.

iTunes Sync Menu

iTunes will talk with Google for a bit. When it’s done, click “Apply” in iTunes to sync your iPhone. You will be asked if you want to replace or merge the contacts that are on your iPhone with your Google contacts. I chose to merge them, as this will combine the contacts on your phone and not erase them, leave you with nothing.

There may be duplicates but Gmail has a tool for that in their contacts menu, which highlights duplicate contacts and merges them.

2. Setting Up Google Sync On Your iPhone

Now on to the actual setup Google Sync on your iPhone. Navigate to Settings > Mail, Contacts, Calendars > Add Account > Microsoft Exchange. In the Email field, enter your full Gmail address; leave the domain field blank; enter your full Gmail address again as your username; enter your password, and tap Next.
iOS Exchange Menu

If you get the “Unable to verify access” error message, just tap “Accept”. A new field will appear to let you enter the server information. Enter m.google.com and tap Next.

4. Select the Services to Sync

Using Google Sync, you can have your Gmail ‘pushed’ to your iPhone.  This means the emails will be pushed from the Gmail server to your phone.   You can also sync contacts and calendars. After the Exchange account is finalized the following options will appear.

When you enable these options, you will get a message asking what you’d like to do with existing contacts/calendars. You may keep them on your iPhone or delete them. I chose to delete them so it does not create duplicate entries. Tap Done to finish the set up.

Now go back to the Settings > Mail, Contacts, Calendars. Make sure that the “Fetch New Data” option is set to “Push”. It should appear on your iPhone within seconds after the initial sync. The best part about this is the data entry aspect:  If you edit a contact on your Gmail account, it will be changed in your iPhone.

Notes: The time interval for checking for new messages is every 15 minutes, every 30 minutes, hourly or manually. The last two options are the best for battery life.

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