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I spend a decent amount of time setting the photos for all the contacts on my iPhone so that the photo will come up full-screen when talking to them on the phone. I use ActiveSync to sync my iPhone with Google Contacts and Calendar, and that is all working fine, and the photos appear correctly in GMail.

However if I edit the contact in GMail - even if I'm not editing the photo - after syncing the contact photo on the iPhone is overwritten with a poor quality version of the photo, and the photo is no longer displayed full-screen when talking to the contact, but only as a small thumbnail in the top-right corner.

Is there any way to stop this behaviour, other than "don't edit contacts in GMail"?

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"I spend a decent amount of time setting the photos for all the contacts on my iPhone so that the photo will come up full-screen when talking to them on the phone." Interesting! Me too, though not all photos show up full screen. Could you maybe give a hint of what to look for in terms of quality (size, file format, ...)? – Wolf Sep 13 '09 at 13:24
Anything taken by the iPhone's camera (1200x1600 for original iPhone, 1536x2048 for 3GS) will work. I also sync photos to the iPhone that have been taken by other cameras, but all those photos are (originally) at least that resolution and all work fine. I would have thought that anything at or larger than the iPhone's screen resolution (320x480) would work too, but I haven't experimented with smaller photos. – jwaddell Sep 14 '09 at 1:37
Unfortunatelly, the work-around proposed by jwaddell is not possible any more, the option has disappeared. – chitza Jan 4 '12 at 21:29
CardDAV is not a solution for iPhone users. Gmail also resizes contacts' photos when using CardDAV - so the effect is the same as using Google Sync :( In my opinion the question is still open and probbaly there's no solution until Google fixes this issue/limitation with Contact Photo resolution – user186908 Jan 10 '13 at 11:40
@user186908 - I wouldn't even say this issue is an issue in Google's eyes. They have determined that adjusting the choosen photo should be done. – Ramhound Jan 10 '13 at 13:17

As of September 27, 2012, you can use CardDAV on iOS 5+ to sync your Google Contacts. Switching from Exchange sync to CardDAV seems to fix this issue.

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No. It looks as there is nothing one can do. Except, of course, wait for Google to fix it themselves.
The reason for the quality loss is explained all over Googles boards, ex: here.

In short: Google resizes the pictures to a 64x64 grid, which is blown up/zoomed to the iPhone screen when needed. This makes it blurry and pixellated.
That means that even changing the pictures of each and every contact in the Google Contacts web-interface wouldn't help, as 64x64 Pixels are just too small.

For me it helps to know that I can't do anything about it, though this is certainly not a solution I like. Now I know what to look for.

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

Someone posted a workaround for this problem in the Google forum linked in Wolf's answer.

In GMail, go to Settings->General, and change the Contacts' Pictures setting to "Only show pictures that I've chosen for my contacts".

This has the side-effect of only enabling syncing from the iPhone to GMail, and not the other way round, thus fixing the low-resolution picture problem.

Of course this fix will mean that you will no longer see the pictures that your contacts have chosen for themselves, but that's not a big loss for me personally.

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Gmail does resize the contact photos and will only appear as the small photo in the top right when a call is received. Simply taking a photo on your I phone and assigning it to a contact will only revert to the small photo in seconds as soon as the phone syncs with gmail server. Put your contacts on your phone and don't sync with gmail if you want full screen contact photos to display during calls.

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I don't think there is a way to do so.

iTunes will always sync the contacts (i.e. phone numbers, address, PHOTOS) between your iPhone and Gmail address book because you have chosen to sync them in the first place.

I know this isn't the best option, but your best bet should be to modify the people you care about from Gmail, instead you modify them through iPhone.

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