How to View Your Gmail Contacts in macOS Contacts

Set macOS Contacts to copy your Gmail contacts automatically

Having up-to-date contacts everywhere you go is a snap when you set up the Contacts application in macOS to mirror your Gmail contacts. If you change one of your Gmail contacts or add or delete a contact, that information is synced to the Contacts application on your Mac seamlessly.

Instructions in this article apply to macOS Catalina (10.15) and later, but may apply equally well to previous versions of macOS.

Back up Your macOS Contacts Before Beginning

Before you make any changes, create a backup of your contacts so you can restore everything to its current state if an error occurs during the process.

To back up your contacts:

  1. Open the Contacts application on your Mac.

    Contacts application on a Mac
  2. From the File menu, select Export.

    Mac Contacts with File Menu item "Export" highlighted
  3. Select Contacts Archive.

    Mac Contacts app with "Contacts Archive" highlighted
  4. In Save As, use the default name, or enter a file name of your choosing. In Where, choose where you want to save the backup file. Select Save when you're done.

    Mac Contacts app with archived file named and Save highlighted

Synchronize Gmail Contacts With macOS Contacts

If you don't use Google services on your Mac and you just want to add Gmail contacts to the Contacts application on your Mac, complete the instructions that follow. If you have Google services on your Mac, skip ahead to the section, "If You Already Have Google Services on Your Mac."

  1. On your Mac, open the Contacts application.

  2. From the menu bar, select Contacts > Add Account.

    Mac Contacts app with Add Account highlighted
  3. Select Google, and then select Continue.

    Mac Contacts app adding Google with Continue highlighted
  4. You'll be prompted to authenticate in your web browser. Select Open Browser.

    Mac Contacts app with Open Browser highlighted
  5. Enter your Google account email address and click Next.

    Google authentication screen with email input and Next highlighted
  6. Enter your Google account password and click Next.

    Google authentication screen with password input and Next highlighted
  7. Select Allow to give macOS permission to access your Google account info.

    Google account access permissions with Allow highlighted
  8. In Select the apps you want to use with this account, select the Contacts checkbox, and then select Done.

    Google authentication screen with Contacts app and Done highlighted
  9. The contact information from Gmail appears in the Contacts application on your Mac. To access your Gmail contacts, in the navigation pane on the left side of the Contacts application, select All Google (or the name of your Gmail account).

    macOS Contacts app with Google contacts added

    To view the contacts from every account at once, in the navigation pane of the Contacts application, select All Contacts.

If You Already Have Google Services on Your Mac

If you have Google services on your Mac, such as a Gmail account in the macOS Mail application, linking your address book with Gmail Contacts is easier.

  1. From the Contacts menu bar, select Contacts > Accounts.

    macOS contacts menu bar with Accounts highlighted
  2. Select your Gmail account.

    macOS Accounts with a Gmail account icon highlighted
  3. Select the Contacts check box.

    macOS Contacts with Google Account Contacts highlighted

Synchronizing vs. Importing Contacts

The steps above show you how to synchronize your contacts with macOS. When you use this method, your Gmail contacts remain on Google's servers, but changes appear on your Mac. If you don't want to worry about moving your contacts around, use synchronization to access contacts on your Mac.

In contrast, by importing your Gmail contacts, you completely merge your Gmail contacts with the Contacts application on your Mac. This is a useful option if you want to move away from Google services but want to keep your Gmail contacts. The process begins when you export your Gmail contacts, and then import them to a new service.

Was this page helpful?