Syncing Your OS X Mail Address Book with Gmail Contacts

Portrait of mid adult woman at desk with brick wall
Phil Boorman/Cultura/Getty Images

Earlier versions of OS X Address Book could synchronize local contacts with Gmail; now, add Gmail contacts as a separate account.

Add in Gmail, Use on Mac

How often do my computers and cell phones want me to add my friends, family and fellows?

Sure, Gmail makes adding people I email effortless, and adding contacts in the Mac OS X Mail Address Book is a snap. Still, couldn't these address books just—sync?

Of course they can. Setting up Mac OS X Address Book and Gmail contacts synchronization is a snap, too, and makes having up-to-date contacts everywhere just about effortless.

Sync Your Mac OS X Mail Address Book with Google Gmail Contacts

To set up synchronization of contacts between your Mac OS X Mail address book and your Gmail contacts:

  1. Open Contacts or Address Book.
  2. Create a backup copy of your existing contacts.
  3. Select Contacts | Preferences… or Address Book | Preferences… from the menu.
  4. In Mac OS X 10.6 and 10.7:
    1. Go to the Accounts tab.
    2. Make sure On My Mac is selected in the accounts' list.
    3. Go to the Account Information tab.
  5. In Mac OS X 10.5:
    1. Go to the General tab.
  6. Now make sure Synchronize with Google is checked.
  7. Click Agree.
  8. Enter your Gmail (or other Google account) email address under Google Account:.
  9. Now type your Gmail (or Google account) password under Password:.
  10. Click OK.

You can use the iSync menu bar icon to synchronize your address books at any time.

Note that, under Mac OS X 10.5, all Gmail contacts under All Contacts (which includes everybody you have emailed) will be pushed to your Mac OS X address book. Under Mac OS X 10.6, only contacts in My Contacts will be synchronized.

As an alternative to the synchronization described above, you can also set up Gmail Contacts as a separate account in OS X Contacts (automatically kept up to date in both directions as well).

(Updated July 2016, tested with OS X 10.5, 10.6 and 10.7)