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How-To's

How to Sync Contacts between iPhone and Android

In this tutorial, you’ll learn how to Sync Contacts between iPhone and Android. Quite a few people nowadays have devices from both the platforms, and it becomes really tricky to keep the contacts in sync between iPhone and Android devices. Thankfully, two-way syncing is pretty easy to accomplish using your iCloud and Google account, in combination with a free app named iCloud Contacts Sync for Android. In this tutorial, I will show you 3 ways in which you can keep contacts in sync between your iPhone and Android device. This is what you will be able to achieve after reading this tutorial:

  • Your Existing Contacts on iPhone will be synced to Android, and Android contacts will be synced to iPhone.
  • Any contact that you add to your Android, will be synced to iPhone.
  • Any contact you add to your iPhone, will be synced to Android.
  • Even if you edit a Contact later (on iPhone or Android), the changes will be synced, and the contact will be updated on both the devices.

These are the three methods that you will learn about:

  1. Sync Contacts between iPhone and Android using iCloud
  2. Sync Contacts between iPhone and Android using Google Account.
  3. iCloud and Google Accounts are used in tandem. (If the above two don’t fit the bill for you, this one shall come handy.)

No matter which method you choose, if you follow this tutorial, any old or new contacts will exist on BOTH devices. What? So you’re saying that you have looked everywhere for a solution and none of them gave you reliable two-way sync? Read further, I promise you won’t be disappointed this time around. 🙂

Method 1: Sync Contacts between iPhone and Android using iCloud

In this method, we will use iCloud to keep contacts in sync between Android and iPhone. For this, we don’t need to install anything on iPhone, but we will install a free app on Android, called iCloud Contacts Sync. Using this app, we will be able to achieve following:

  • Transfer your existing iPhone Contacts to Android
  • Sync new Android Contacts to iPhone
  • Sync new iPhone Contacts to Android

I know I have missed the part of transferring existing contacts from Android to iPhone, but don’t worry, we will get to that also in a minute 🙂

First and foremost, you need to get this app named iCloud Contacts Sync for Android. It is a fairly lightweight app and you can install it regardless of the Android version you are using. Once you install it, just open it and Login to your iCloud Account. And that’s it!

The app will first get your existing contacts from iPhone (from iCloud) and will add them to your Android.

Next part of the app is that whenever you add any contact to iPhone, it will add that to your Android phone as well. For that, you can define syncing interval, that can be anything from 1 hour to 24 hours (see the third screenshot above). And yep, even if you edit a contact on your iPhone later, the changes are synced to Android without any trouble whatsoever.

Now, how will this app sync new Android contacts to iPhone? For that, whenever you Create a New Contact on your Android, a ‘Open with’ dialog box pop up, which will give you the option to add the Contact using your default Contacts app or “Create iCloud contact” (see the first screenshot below). Select Create iCloud contact, and then save the Contact using your iCloud Account. Then, that contact will be synced to your iPhone as well (using the same sync interval that we defined above).

Just to clarify, saving a Contact directly to your iCloud Account will NOT sync that contact with your Google Account. If you follow this method, iCloud will become your primary Contact sync Account for iPhone as well as Android for all contacts that you create now onwards.

The only thing left now is to transfer existing Android contacts to iPhone. You should see the next sub-section to see how to do that.

How to Transfer Android Contacts to iPhone or iPad:

To add existing contacts of Android to iPhone, you need to add your Google account to your iOS device. Actually, it is pretty simple to do. It can be done directly from the system Settings -> Mail, Contacts, Calendars -> Add Account (in iPhone). You just have to enter your Google Account Username and Password, and the default settings will do the rest for you.

Once logged in, you should tap on the Google Account you have added from the main Settings screen, and you will be shown the option to Switch ON or OFF the sync for Mail, Contacts, Calendars and Notes, as shown in the second screenshot above. Do ensure that the sync button for “Contacts” is switched ON. This will get your Android contacts to iPhone.

Now go to Settings -> Mail, Contacts, Calendar -> Fetch New Data, this settings menu allows you to set the default refresh interval for all Online Accounts that you have added to your iPhone. Now tap to open it, and set the Fetch intervals as per your needs for the accounts added to your device (the Fetch New Data options are shown in the screenshot below).

Once done, open up the Contacts app and the syncing will automatically begin, and all your Google Contacts from Android will be synced to your iPhone. This may take a while during the first sync, so you should see to it that your Data (or WiFi) connection is working properly.

So that’s it! You will now have all your Contacts in sync on Android and iPhone via your iCloud Account!

Method 2: Sync Contacts between iPhone and Android using Google Account

Using this method, you will learn how to sync contacts between your iPhone and Android using just your Google Account. This method will accomplish following:

  • Transfer your existing Android Contacts to iPhone
  • Sync new Android Contacts to iPhone
  • Sync new iPhone Contacts to Android
  • Sync Existing iPhone Contacts to Android

Do note that in this method, the part about syncing iPhone contacts to Android does not work reliably, but the part related to syncing Android contacts to iPhone works perfectly.

This is the simplest method. You do not need any app for this. You will just have to perform an extra step on your iPhone and set your Gmail account as the default. To do this, open the Settings app on iPhone and go to Mail, Contacts, Calendars. Here, scroll down until you see the Default Account option. Next, set your Google Account as default (as is shown in the Screenshot below); and you’re good to go! Just open your Contacts app on your iPhone and it will begin syncing your Google contacts!

Method 3 (Recommended):

Surprise Surprise! Did you think that the only method which could give you 2-way sync, would force you to use iCloud? Nah, I couldn’t settle for that, and opted for a middle ground instead.

  1. For this, you need iCloud Contacts Sync for Android. This will sync all your iPhone contacts to your Android device as I’ve already mentioned. Just keep saving all your New Contacts with the default Contacts app (which will sync with your Google Account) instead of saving via this app.
  2. On your iPhone, you just need to add your Google Account as is explained in Method 1.
  3. This way, your iPhone Contacts will keep uploading to iCloud, which will be synced to the Android device via iCloud Contacts Sync. And, the Google contacts from your Android device will be synced to your iPhone since you have already added the Gmail Account to it!

So, you will be able to sync your Contacts between iPhone and Android while sticking to the respective iCloud and Google Sync accounts!

Which Sync Method Should You Choose?

You see, you can now have two-way Sync as I promised, and the data in both accounts still remains separated as it was! The first method is great, but you will have to force yourself to using iCloud as your primary Contacts Account; regardless of whether you’d prefer that or not. The second method works without the need for any third-party apps, but is the least reliable. The third method, however, is the one which has been working flawlessly for me, and performs 2-way sync without any glitch. Nah, there are no points for guessing that the 3rd method is the one that I am using for my devices, and hence comes highly recommended!

So that’s it. Which method seems the best as per you? Don’t forget to share which one you chose preferably over the others.