How do I Get to my Google Contacts in Gmail on the iPad?

Being a geek-in-law involves certain responsibilities. One is that you need to be readily available to loved ones when they have techno-catastrophes, even if you suspect they are due to mundane user techno-blunders.

“How do I Get to my Google Contacts in Gmail on the iPad?”

That was the question I heard called to me from the living room. My first instinct made me think that this was the first time my wife was trying to use her address book on her fairly new iPad. So maybe she just didn’t know where the link to the address book was.

But I was surprised (users surprise me more often than I would like to admit!) when I clicked on the address book application and there was nothing in it. Apparently setting up a Google account on an iPad does not automatically setup your Gmail contacts synchronization. I looked a little deeper – by now I know that the settings for iPad applications are found by launching the Settings application, not by looking for a Settings menu as you would on an Android device. Strange – the settings for her Gmail account do not allow me to set contacts for synchronization.

Back to my desk, iPad in my hands – I do a few Google searches. What I find is… surprising. In fact, I might go so far as to call it a kludge (which is a geek-in-law’s word for “surprising”). To setup Gmail contacts synchronization you have to add a new account, and it is an Exchange account (yes – the same one you might use if you were accessing your Microsoft Exchange email from a corporate email server for work).

One of the guidelines I follow on Geek-in-Law is that I generally do not write-up or publish the step-by-step details of a technical problem resolution. The goal of this site is more to help give you insight into answers and help point you to the many (many!) great resources which already exist on the Internet to help you solve your own problems next time.

So, my quick Google search for “ipad gmail contacts” led me quickly to a Google Mobile support page –  Setting up Google Sync with your iOS device.

And because I was a little suspicious of the solution (I thought I might be misunderstanding something), I cross-checked the information with How To Sync All Your Contacts With The iPad In Less Than 5 Minutes.

A few moments after following the steps on these pages, my wife’s Address Book on the iPad was already filled with all of her Gmail contacts.

Got a question you would like help with? Can’t find the answer on any of the great Internet sites out there? Feel free to send it to me and I will do my best to point you in a helpful direction. 🙂


Image credit: boobaloo from the Open Clip Art Library

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