The sync that Google offers for Google Contacts <> Mac OS X Address Book is seriously flawed. It doesn't sync automatically, it doesn't sync all contacts, it doesn't sync all fields. See here for a list of warnings and issues.

Is there a better way to sync Google Contacts to Mac Address Book bidirectionally? Preferably free, and preferably without adding extra software.

I have tried to do it through Plaxo (which has an excellent Mac Address Book sync, albeit through an extra software install), but Plaxo doesn't handle Google Sync well (no updates).

UPDATE: For the new Mac OS X Snow Leopard this shouldn't be an issue. This question is looking for a Leopard answer.

  • Sorry I haven't got an answer for you, but in Googling came across a similar(ish) post and lo and behold, found Mr. Skeet there. He gets everywhere! Made me chuckle anyway. google.com/support/forum/p/Google+Mobile/…
    – Pauk
    Jul 15, 2009 at 10:46
  • That's for the iPhone, not a full Mac desktop. I don't know that much about the contacts side, but can go into horror stories about calendar sync :)
    – Jon Skeet
    Jul 15, 2009 at 10:53
  • iPhone contacts sync is fine if you use nuevasync.com. Same for calendar iPhone sync, no issues there. I sync my desktop iCal through Google's CalDAV, also fine. It's just Google Contacts that give me trouble, and I really want Google Contacts as my primary repository because I live in Gmail.
    – dyve
    Jul 15, 2009 at 13:18

3 Answers 3


Honestly, just hang in there until Snow Leopard, and its Exchange support for Address Book. Until then, just try to only add information through http://google.com/contacts, and perform a manual sync to pull the updates back to address book.

And make sure you regularly backup your address book and your google contacts, I've had one or the other blown away before by the sync utility on a rampage.

  • Thanks for your reply. Snow Leopard should indeed solve this with Exchange support. I'm just hoping there is something for regular Leopard as well so I'll leave the question open.
    – dyve
    Jul 15, 2009 at 18:39
  • Since Snow Leopard is here now, it seems you were right :-)
    – dyve
    Sep 3, 2009 at 14:10
  • I wish this worked with Google's Exchange account, like it does on the iPhone. I tried to set this up today and plugged in the same info as my iPhone has--and it didn't work :( May 28, 2011 at 20:29

It's extra software and it isn't free, but Spanning Sync's website says that it can sync your Gmail contacts with Address Book (and your Google Calendar with iCal).

  • Thanks mate, but since Google offers a Google Contacts API and the fact that iPhone contacts sync just fine I'm really looking for a solution that does not need stuff like Spanning Sync. I've heard it's good though, but it'll soon be obsolete (Leopard has Exchange sync, which should also work on Google Contacts that go through Nuevasync).
    – dyve
    Jul 15, 2009 at 13:19

For those on Snow Leapord

After configuring my address book to sync, it synced eventually, after being turned off for the night and being on the next morning for 3 hours. I know the sync occurred sometime in the morning after turning it on, but don't know when.

I don't have an iPhone and couldn't get iSync to sync my contacts, or get the sync menu button to show up in Address book like it is supposed to.

After syncing, there was no record of the sync in iSync.

After syncing, I created a new contact, and updated notes on one of my contacts. After saving and going into Google Contacts, the changes were not there. I have that machine off right now, but expect those changes will be synced at some point after turning that machine back on.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .