iCloud and Snow Leopard and Google Sync

So ... I'm not sure what's going on but a few weeks after Google integrated Circles into Gmail my Google Contacts are all screwed up. dd in how badly Google Contacts and Calendar sync to my iOS devices and my Mac and one begins to wonder if there might be a better way. My wife has started screaming at me that this "cloud stuff sucks". She is very rightly frustrated that contacts she adds to her iPhone (using her Google account) don't show up when she uses her Gmail account on her Mac and vice versa.

After watching a live conversion of a MobileMe account to iCloud — a recent [Princeton MUG presentation](http://pmug-nj.org) — I took a leap of faith and removed Google Contact sync from my iOS devices and Mac and switched to using iCloud to sync my contacts. I'm an instant convert. No only did all my contacts sync to my devices — something I've never got Google Contact sync to do — but ALL of my devices (iMac, iPad, iPhone) have the same information. And when I update any contact on my iPhone within seconds I see the information update on my Mac and my iPad. Right before my eyes. It just works!

So, now that I am hooked, I want all my Macs to sync to iCloud. Problem is ... not all my Macs can run Lion. My 2006 MacBook is running Snow Leopard — the Core Duo CPU is not supported — and it seems that [iCloud is a Lion only service](http://www.apple.com/icloud/setup/mac.html). Does anyone know a way around this?

Setup Mail, Address Book and iCal to use Gmail, Google Calendar and Contacts on OS X Lion

I'm a big Google services user. I've had a Gmail account since the day the service launched and Gmail has been my default email address since. When Google launched the Calendar service I integrated that into my daily life. Google Talk hasn't taken over the instant messaging world but it quickly became my preferred client. With each iteration of the OS since Leopard, Apple has made it easier to integrate these Google Services, including Address Book into my Mac life. Apple's latest Mac operating system, OS X 10.7 Lion, has been out for some time and Apple has made significant changes to some of the native apps including Mail and iCal that make setup and use of Google services even easier. Let me show you.

## System Preferences ##

The simplest method to setting up Google services on OS X 10.7 is via the _System Preferences_. OS X Lion System Preferences has a new option called _Mail, Contacts & Calendars_ under the _Internet & Wireless_ section. Select it.

Screen Shot 2011 09 03 at 10 13 56 AM

## Mail, Contacts & Calendar ##

This section reminds me a bit of the Mail preferences pane in iOS. From here we can set up various email and calendaring services from Yahoo, AOL and others. To setup a particular service, click the _Add Account…_ button and select the icon for the service. In this case, we are setting up Google services so select Gmail. NOTE: This is the same way to set up Google Domain services.

Screen Shot 2011 09 03 at 10 14 25 AM

Once you select Gmail you will be prompted to add you Gmail (or Google Domain) username and password. The username should be you complete email address. After entering your credentials click _Setup_.

Screen Shot 2011 09 03 at 10 14 56 AM

You may have to wait a few seconds while your Mac connects to Google's service.

Screen Shot 2011 09 03 at 10 15 52 AM

Once complete you will be presented with a screen to confirm which services you want enabled. As you can see below, I've selected all of them including iChat. Click _Add Account_ when you are ready to go ahead.

Screen Shot 2011 09 03 at 10 16 05 AM

The process for adding Google Domain accounts is similar. You should now be able to use your Google Contacts via the Mac Address Book, your Gmail via Mail.app, and your Google Calendar via iCal. Any changes to your Google Calendar or Contacts will be sync to your Mac and vice versa.

## Final Notes ##

My wife and I each have Google calendars and quite often we have a need to view each others calendars. Google Calendar enables us to make all or part of our calendars sharable for ease of scheduling. I'm involved in a number of social clubs and I have subscribed to their published calendars. The process above will only sync the default Google calendar to OS X. To enable syncing for any subscribed or share calendars you'll need to follow a few more steps.

Launch iCal and select Preferences from the file menu. Select the _Accounts_ tab, the select the Gmail account, and then the _Delegation_ tab. After a few seconds a list of shared and subscribed calendars should appear. Select the check boxes next to the ones you want to view in iCal then close the preferences window.

Screen Shot 2011 09 03 at 2 19 16 PM

How to sync your iPad Mail, Calendar, & Contacts with Google Sync


Recently my Director lamented that he could not sync his Google account services to his iPad without using iTunes. He had configured his iPad to use his Google mail and calendar but he could not add new entries to the calendar. The sync was one way from Google to his iPad. He was frustrated that he would have to wait until he got home to sync that entry via iTunes back to his Google calendar.

During the day he might add one or more contacts to his iPad. At some point he would need to craft an email using Gmail in a browser and the contact would not be available because he had not yet synced his iPad to iTunes.

While working at his desk, he was used to using Microsoft Outlook and having one place to access his email, calendar and contacts. During meetings, he could continue his collaboration from his iPad. It was configured to so that the Mail, Calendar and Contact apps synchronized with the corporate servers. Add a meeting to his iPad calendar and it was added to his Outlook calendar. He had all his contacts and email at his fingertips and he could continue working as though he was sitting in his office. Good for him that it is easy to set up an iPad (or iPhone) to use Google's services in this way.

Google Sync

Although Apple's iOS provides a native method to connect devices -- iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch -- to Google services, that connection is limited to Gmail and Google Calendar. To sync your Google Contacts to your device you have to use iTunes. However, as Google began to push their services into the enterprise collaboration space Google realized that it would be an easier sell if users could continue using the desktop software to which they were accustomed. That meant supporting Microsoft Outlook desktop software and Microsoft Exchange services for mobile devices. A lot of corporate users were connecting their iPhone and Android devices via ActiveSync to the corporate Exchange servers.

ActiveSync is a mobile data synchronization technology and protocol developed by Microsoft, originally released in 1996 ... which provides push synchronization of contacts, calendars, tasks, and email between ActiveSync-enabled servers and devices.1

To drive the adoption of Google Apps services Google introduced Google Sync. Google Sync leverages Microsoft's ActiveSync technology to allow syncing of Calendar, Mail and Contacts. In effect Google Sync turns Google's services into the equivalent of a Microsoft Exchange enterprise messaging and collaboration system.

The advantages of using this service are as follows:

  • No need to use iTunes to keep contacts in sync
  • Always have access to Google services from anywhere -- iPad, iPhone or web
  • Update in one place and have that update be everywhere


  • iOS 4.0 or later -- Google Sync will not work on an iPad will older iOS versions
  • Enable Google Apps2 -- If you use Google Apps for Enterprise, your administrator will first need to enable Google Sync before you can take advantage of this feature.

Getting Started

Before we setup our device(s) we want to make sure to create at least one recent backup via iTunes sync. Despite Apple's and Google's best attempts devices and software services sometimes fail. If your data is at all important to you then you'll head my advice. Perform a sync with iTunes to make sure that Contacts and Calendars from your iOS device are backed up to your computer.


Once the back is complete do the following tasks. I've included screen shots to make things a little easier to follow.

From the Settings screen of your device tap the Mail, Contacts, Calendars section and then Add Account...

Tap Microsoft Exchange to add a new entry.

Enter your Google account information. The description field defaults to Exchange. If you already have a corporate Exchange account setup on your device you may want to change this to something else. Tap Next.

Enter the Server information. The Google ActiveSync service is hosted at m.google.com. Tap Next.

You can choose to sync all three services on disable services you don't need. Tap Save.

Once the account is setup you will want to tap the entry to change some of the default settings. By default ActiveSync will only sync the default Inbox and 3 Days of email.

If you want access to all your email choose No Limit.

You may want to sync some of the other mail folders such as the Sent* and Drafts folders.

Your Mail, Calendar and Contacts are now being synced with Google over the air. Be sure to turn off syncing in iTunes before syncing your iOS device. Having both Google Sync and iTunes syncing enabled can lead to data corruption and duplication.