Google Adds CardDAV Support to Sync Google Contacts on iOS


Google has announced on the Gmail blog CardDAV support for syncing Google contacts on your iOS device. Currently, Google Sync allows IMAP support for email and CalDAV for calendar entries, keeping your data synced in real-time no matter what device you are using. CardDAV support brings this to your Google contacts now for iOS:

Starting today, we’re adding CardDAV – an open protocol for contacts – to that list. CardDAV enables 3rd party clients, like the iOS contacts app, to sync your Google contacts. By supporting IMAP, CalDAV, and CardDAV together, we’re making it possible for 3rd parties to build a seamless Google Account sync experience.

How to Setup CardDAV with your iPhone, According to Google

  1. Open the Settings application on your device.
  2. Select Mail, Contacts, Calendars.
  3. Select Add Account…
  4. Select Other
  5. Select Add CardDAV Account
  6. Fill out your account information in the following fields:
    • Server: Enter “”
    • User Name: Enter your full Google Account or Google Apps email address.
    • Password: Your Google Account or Google Apps password. (If you’ve enabled 2 Step verification, you’ll need to generate and enter an application specific password.)
    • Description: Enter a description of the account (e.g. Personal Contacts).
  7. Select Next at the top of your screen.
  8. Make sure that the “Contacts” option is turned to ON.


Once you’ve completed these steps, launch your Contacts and syncing should begin. After this, you should set your Google Contacts as your default account if you’re using iCloud. Here are the instructions:

  1. Open the Settings application on your iOS device.
  2. Select Mail, Contacts, Calendars and scroll down to Contacts. You will only see the Default Account option if you are syncing more than one account.
  3. Select Default Account.
  4. Select your Google contacts account. Your account will be labeled with the description you gave it in the Description field.

You can find out more about setting up CardDAV over at this Google support page. If you’re going to try this, let us know how it works out for you in the comments.


  • Graham J

    You could already do this by setting up your Google account via Exchange.

  • KosmoBo

    I was going to ask almost the same thing: Is there a benefit of adding the contacts this way compared to adding the GMail as Exchange?

  • As far as my testing has gone using cardDAV keeps the high res photos you choose for your contacts. Exchange always replaced them with thumbnails. It’s been an hour and still there so hoping that’s the case because that’s been an issue for years now. Also CardDAV now syncs all related people (brother, sister etc).

  • How does this differ from setting up Gmail contacts via exchange, or Google Sync? Seems the same to me. What extra features or functionality does this provide?

  • Jeff

    I use my contacts profile pictures and those are not coming through. They used to come through with Exchange. Anyone else see this behavior?

  • slicecom

    One feature I’ve noticed is that I now have a ton more options for the relationships field. Google Sync only had “spouse” as far as I can remember, and was one of my annoyances with it.