Montgomery Township, New Jersey

Sync Google Mail, Contacts and Calendar using IMAP, CalDAV and CardDAV

Recently Google announced that it would no longer support Microsoft’s ActiveSync for syncing Google services — Gmail, Calendar, and Contacts — with new mobile devices. Current users would not be affected but newer user would not have the option.

This will have an impact on iPhone and iPad users who are used ActiveSync services for push notification. However, Google does support standard open protocols — IMAP for email, CalDAV for calendar, and CardDAV for contacts — for connected to it’s services. iOS users aren’t left completely without connectivity options. iOS supports these options natively and they are easy to configure.

Mail, Contacts, Calendars

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Launch the Settings app and navigate to Mail, Contacts, Calendars. Under the Accounts section tap Add Account.

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From the list tap, Other.

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CalDAV

The Calendaring Extension to WebDAV (CalDAV) is an Internet protocol standard allowing a calendar client to get access to scheduling information on a remote server. iOS supports CalDAV natively and setup is relatively easy via the Settings app.

In the Calendar section tap Add CalDAV Account.

In the server section enter google.com for the server. Use your full Gmail email address for the username. If you have enabled two-factor authentication on your account enter the application specific passcode instead. Tap the Next button to complete the setup.

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That’s it for calendar. Now for Contacts.

CardDAV

The Card Extension to WebDAV (CardDAV) is an Internet protocol allowing an address book client to exchange contact information with a remote server. iOS supports CardDAV natively and setup is similar to setting up CalDAV.

In the Calendar section tap Add CardDAV Account.

In the server section enter google.com for the server. Use your full Gmail email address for the username. If you have enabled two-factor authentication on your account enter the application specific passcode instead. Tap the Next button to complete the setup.

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Now for the last piece.

IMAP

Internet Message Access Protocol is an Internet standard protocol used by a Mail User Agent (MUA) to get access to email on a remote server. iOS natively supports this standard.

In the Calendar section tap Add Mail Account.

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In the Incoming Mail Server field enter imap.google.com. In the Outgoing Mail Server field enter smtp.google.com. Use your full Gmail email address for the username. If you have enabled two-factor authentication on your account enter the application specific passcode instead. Tap the Next button. You may be prompted to save the settings. Tap Save and then make sure the Mail and Notes switches are on before tapping Save again. Your account is now setup.

Sync Google Mail, Contacts and Calendar using IMAP, CalDAV and CardDAV %name

Husband, father, Information security professional and avid photographer living at the junction of Princeton Township, Montgomery Township and Rocky Hill.

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8 Comments on “Sync Google Mail, Contacts and Calendar using IMAP, CalDAV and CardDAV

  1. Hi Khurt,

    In terms of setting up Gmail through the native iOS app, is this any different than what you describe in your article? It seems that if you go through the set-up for GMail using the “Gmail” icon under E-mail, Contacts, and Calendars, once you go through the steps you can have e-mail and contacts. The only thing you would need to add is CalDav through the process you mentioned above. So my question really is if there is any difference to go through each step as described above or be able to consolidate and just set-up using what iOS is providing at least for mail and contacts. I want a way to be able to enable 2-way syncing of mail, contacts, and calendar entries similar to how I am currently with Microsoft Exchange for Google. I am just trying to understand what I need to do once I upgrade to a newer device after the January 2013 deadline.

    Thanks,

    Robert

    • It’s the same now … this wasn’t the default until recently. Apple’s support documents from November 2012 describe the process I detailed in my post. My blog posting was based on that.

      http://support.apple.com/kb/HT4372

      But apparently CalDAV support via the default Gmail icon was added in iOS 6.

      Apple’s automated setup for Google accounts on both OS X and iOS only configure Gmail & Notes (via IMAP), Calendar & Reminders (via CalDAV), and Messages (via XMPP).

      CardDAV must be added via the “other” method as described in the post.

    • Robert, you can use the default “Gmail” icon on iOS to setup email and calendar. The email default is now IMAP and calendar uses CalDAV. You can setup Contacts to use CardDAV with the method I described in my post.

      • Hi Khurt,

        Thanks for your reply. This is indeed helpful as I’ve been kind of worried about keeping all my mail, calendar, and contacts all synced up once Google removes the ability to use Microsoft Exchange. I know that they will continue to support devices that are currently using Exchange but was worried about what would happen once I upgraded my device. From what I’ve read, it seems that these open source protocols will actually sync way better than with Exchange (i.e. preserving custom labels for emails, etc.) so I guess it’s a good thing. Not looking forward to losing the ability to have “Push” vs. “Fetch” though, but I guess that’s not too big of a deal in the grand scheme of things.

        On another note, do you work for BMS? I think I’ve seen your picture and name floating around on Yammer under the Mobility Group. Anyways, I’m a Field Base employee as a Medical Liaison for Virology in the San Francisco Bay Area for BMS.

        • Fetch might be better anyway. Push often reduces battery charge life on mobile devices.

          Legal disclaimer: Yes I work for BMS but this blog isn’t affiliated with any of my work at BMS.

  2. Good article, Khürt! When setting up new iPod Touches yesterday, I found that adding google accounts were even easier than described above. From Mail, Contacts, Calendars, pick Gmail. Add your account details and it will setup mail and calendars (and notes, if you so wish). Next setup Contacts as youve described for CardDAV accounts. Done!

    • Hi Johnny, setting up any email account on the iPad is indeed a single button push away. I added the complication. 🙂

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