Before start using your iPhone, it is a good idea to understand the basic settings iPhone offers for contacts management. Most iPhone users do not know that you can integrate third-party email contacts and sync all contacts with iCloud account. In this article, we will explore how to sync contacts from email accounts to your Contacts app and sync them in iCloud account.
Syncing Contacts in iPhone
It may be confusing when you hear different jargons like iCloud sync, email sync and storing contacts in iCloud or phone. So, here is the basic explanation of these terms and what happens when you start using them.
- Syncing email contacts – let us say, you have Gmail account added in iPhone’s mail app. Email syncing will automatically integrate your Gmail contacts with iPhone Contacts app.
- iCloud sync – let us say, you have an iPhone and Mac using same Apple ID. You can enable iCloud sync from any of the device and integrate all contacts centrally in your iCloud account.
- Contacts storage – earlier days it was common to store contacts in SIM card. With iPhone, you can either choose phone storage or choose iCloud to store all your contacts.
Why to Sync Contacts in iPhone?
Syncing will help to use all your contacts across all devices using the same Apple ID. In addition, below are some of the advantages you will get with iCloud/email sync and iCloud storage.
- iPhone does not offer any bulk contacts management features. For example, deleting multiple contacts or importing/exporting entire contacts list is only possible from Contacts app in Mac or iCloud account.
- The changes you make in one device to your contacts will be synchronized with all devices automatically through iCloud. In addition, you can manage the contacts from icloud.com website from Windows PC and sync with other devices.
- When you choose to use iCloud storage for contacts, you can keep all contacts only in iCloud and manage them effectively. This will help when you change the phone as you do not need to rely on the SIM or phone’s storage for importing contact cards.
- It is possible to sync contacts with third-party email services like Gmail and Microsoft emails with iPhone’s Contacts app. You can add more details to your email contacts right from iPhone Contacts app (like adding additional mobile number) and start using them on all other apps like Phone and Messages.
Syncing Gmail and Other Third-Party Email Contacts in iPhone
You can enable email contact syncing either from “Contacts” or from “Mail” settings page.
- Go to “Settings” app and tap on “Contacts” to open its settings page.
- Tap on “Accounts” option to view all the email accounts you have added in Mail app.
- Select each email account and enable “Contacts” option. If you want to add new email account, then tap on “Add Account” option and configure your email account.
- This will automatically sync all your emails contacts to “Contacts” app.
Note that you can sync email contacts only from certain service providers like Gmail and Microsoft. You will not see contacts option for custom emails hosted on your own domain or webmail services. In addition, we recommend enabling contacts sync only for the accounts you need and disable for all other accounts that you do not want to sync. This will help to reduce clutter/duplicates and keep your contacts list simple.
As mentioned, you can also sync email contacts from “Settings > Mail > Accounts” section. This will open the same page as you can access from “Contacts > Accounts” section. You can tap on already added email account or add a new account and then enable contacts sync.
Sync Contacts with iCloud Account
When you tap on “Accounts” option, you will see iCloud as the first email account in the list. Tapping on “iCloud” will open your Apple ID details page. From here again tap on “iCloud” option and then enable “Contacts” in the next page. This will sync all your phone contacts in iCloud and allow you to use the contacts across devices logged in with same Apple ID.
You can also enable iCloud sync from “Settings > Tap on Apple ID > iCloud > Contacts”.
Choosing iCloud or Phone for Contacts Storage
When you are in “Settings > Contacts” section, you can also select the “Default Account” as iCloud or “On My Phone”. This will decide where you want to keep your contacts list.
Remember, iCloud option will help to sync all your contacts across your devices signed in using same Apple ID. If you do not want to use iCloud sync, make sure to select “On My iPhone” option for default account. You also need to select the same if you are importing contacts from SIM.
Importing Contacts from SIM
If you are moving from Android to iPhone or changed your SIM card, then you can import contacts from SIM to your iPhone. Tap on “Import SIM Contacts” and select “On My iPhone” option to import all your contacts to your phone’s address book. You can also choose to import contacts to iCloud and sync across all your devices.
Disabling Email and iCloud Sync
To disable syncing your email contacts, simply go through “Settings > Contacts > Accounts” and disable syncing option for each email account. We noticed; this will disable syncing of any future contacts but will not delete already added email contacts from your “Contacts” app. To disable iCloud sync, go to “Settings > Tap on Apple ID > iCloud” and disable “Contacts” option. Unlike email syncing, you will be prompted to confirm what to do with previously synced iCloud contacts available on your phone. You can either choose to delete all synced contacts or continue to keep on them on your phone.