How to View Your Gmail Contacts in macOS Contacts

Set macOS Contacts to copy your Gmail contacts automatically

Smiling young woman using laptop on balcony
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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) but may apply equally well to previous versions of macOS.

Back Up Your macOS Contacts Before Beginning

Before you make any changes to the contacts on your Mac, be sure to create a backup of your contacts so that you can restore everything to its current state if an error occurs during the process. To back up your contacts, in the Contacts application, select File > Export > Contacts Archive. 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. When you're done, select Save.

Screenshot showing how to backup contacts
Michael Archambault

To 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 already have Google services on your Mac, complete the instructions in "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.

  3. Select Google, and then select Continue.

    Screenshot of setting up Google contacts account
     

    You will be prompted to authenticate in your web browser. Select Open Browser.

    Google authentication browser window
  4. In Email or phone, type your Gmail email address, and then select Next.

    In Enter your password, type your Gmail password, and then select Next.

    If you use two-step verification, add an app password. Then, select Sign in.

  5. In Select the apps you want to use with this account, select the Contacts check box, and then select Done.

    Selecting Google Contacts option
    Michael Archambault

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).

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

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

    Screenshot of internet accounts pane
     
  2. In Internet Accounts, in the list of accounts, select Google (or the name of your Gmail account).

  3. In Internet Accounts, in the list of service options, select the Contacts check box.

To close Internet Accounts, select the red circle at the top left, or, on the menu bar, select System Preferences > Quit System Preferences.

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 any changes still 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—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.