Setup Google Apps (Mail, Calendar and Contacts) on the iPad

Google provides a method for accessing their Gmail service via the IMAP protocol. IMAP is a standard protocol for accessing email but unlike POP3 the email stays on the remote server. With POP3 you are limited to reading your email from one location. With IMAP the email stays on the server and you can read it from any computer. IMAP is the method I use to access my Gmail in Apple Mail. If I read an email in a web browser then it is marked as read on the server and in Mail.app. The iPad also has support for IMAP. Google provides no instruction on how to access the calendar service via the iPad but setup is fairly easy.

Google provides a method for accessing their Calendar service via the CalDAV protocol. CalDAV is a standard protocol that allows access to web based calendars from desktop clients like iCal. From iCal I can create calendar entries that appear in my Google web calendar and vice versa. The iPad also has support for CalDAV. Google provides no instruction on how to access the calendar service via the iPad but setup is fairly easy.

Setup Mail and Calendar

Add AccountsTo first thing we need to do is launch the Settings app on the iPad and click the Mail, Contact, Calendar tab.  We will be presented with several options but we are going to select Gmail.

Google Apps MailEnter your email address, password. The Description field is optional but go ahead an enter something to identify the account especially if you have multiple email account.  Then select Next.

Verifying Google Apps CalendarYou will get a message that your account is being verified.

Google Apps EmailIf your user-name and password are correct, the iPad will login you in and return you to the Mail, Contact, Calendar tab. You will now see a list of your mail and calendar accounts. Select the Mail account you just created (this is why it's important to enter something in the Description field). We are going to ensure that we are communicating securely with Google's servers.  Select Advanced?
Use SSLSelect the switch to ensure that SSL is enabled. SSL is a encryption technology that ensures that the communication between your iPad and Google's servers stays secure. Select "Done" and your mail account will be setup.

IMG_0015Email setup is now complete. Now for calendar. Back at the Add Account screen, select Other. From this screen select Add CalDAV Account.

Google Apps CalendarEnter www.google.com for the server and then add your Google Apps email address and password. If you have a Gmail account enter your email address.  Select None.  You don't need to add anything under Advanced so just go ahead and select Done.  Once your account information is verified you will be returned to the main Mail, Contact, Calendar tab?

IMG_0012You should now be able to sync your calendar and email with Google's services.

What about Contacts?

Neither Google nor Apple provide a way sync Google Contacts with the iPad directly as we have done above with Mail and Calendar.  However, all is not lost.  Apple provides a way via iTunes and setup is easy.

Plug in your iPad and then select it in iTunes.

Picture 1Select the the Info tab.  Click the Sync Address Book Contact check-box.  Then select the All contacts radio button.  Next, select the Sync Google Contacts check-box and click the Configure button.

Google Contacts Login infoEnter you Google ID and password and click OK.  Then click the Sync button and iTunes will sync your current Google Contacts to your iPad.  Each time you sync your iPad, iTunes will sync your any changes to your Google Contacts to the iPad Contacts.  Changes to iPad Contacts are synced back to Google Contacts.


I love Google Apps and I am excited that I can check or update my mail, calendar or contacts from anywhere - a browser, my Mac, and now, my iPad.  I have also written articles on how to sync Google Apps with Mail, Calendar, and Contacts with your iMac.

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  • Tuyre
    13th September 2012 at 12:22 PM

    To the author of this page... the images located on Flickr are not showing up.

    • khurtwilliams
      16th September 2012 at 8:02 AM

      Wow! How embarrassing. I don't know what happened here but thanks for bringing it to my attention.

  • rzrbrn
    25th May 2010 at 4:25 PM

    there is an easier way to accomplish the above using the exchange account function on the phone. Google has given exchange access for over-the-air syncing of contacts, mail, and calendars using it. check out http://www.google.com/support/mobile/bin/answer.py?answer=138740&topic=14252 for the instructions

    • Khürt L. Williams
      26th May 2010 at 1:07 PM

      You are correct. Thanks for the links. However, the iPhone OS 3 support a single Exchange account only. I want access to my work and perosnal email and calendar.

  • Ginette Garcia
    13th May 2010 at 1:34 PM

    Thanks so much for this info. I looked hi and lo all over google on how to do this and I couldn't find anything. I searched the web and this was the first site listed. Thanks so much!!!!

    • Khürt L. Williams
      14th May 2010 at 1:28 PM

      I am happy that you found this useful. I plan on writing more as I get more experience with my iPad. How do you plan on using your iPad? Work? Travel?

      • Frenchym3
        21st June 2010 at 11:47 PM

        Hey guys,
        I don't get the first screen that says server in it, when I click on Gmail it gets directly to the 2nd screen you are showing here. So I don't have the option to type http://www.google.com
        How did you get to that Server screen?
        I'm trying to setup my company email, we use gmail as a host, but have our own domain name.

        • Khürt L. Williams
          22nd June 2010 at 10:04 AM

          Frenchym3,Sorry for the confusion.As soon as I select Gmail from the add accounts ( launch the Settings app on the iPad and click the Mail, Contact, Calendar tab ) screen I get the next screen where I am prompted to my name, email address, password and a description. Once you do that, hit save. Your account will now be setup.


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