For years now I have been using Google Apps for business, but being an iPhone user I always kept iCloud for all my personal emails, contacts and calendars. It just worked for me, well kind of worked. However I got fed up with it kinda working a decided that enough was enough and I would go ahead and move EVERYTHING to Google’s cloud services.
I kind of knew what I needed to do and there are plenty of useful tips around but I thought I would share how and why I changed at each stage.
Get a Google Account
It’s unlikely you don’t already have a Google account of some sort already, YouTube is now a Google account Google Plus, it’s all the same thing. If you don’t have an account already head over to the signup page, you can either setup your Gmail address at signup or do it later. For the purposes of my article, I didn’t have a Gmail account/address but did have a Google account.
If you didn’t create a Gmail account when you signed up now’s the time. Login to your Google account and try visiting Gmail. If you don’t already have a Gmail account it will ask you to create one. Go ahead and get it done.
You now have Email, Contacts and Calendars all available to you inside you Gmail account. Now all we need to do is get your device talking to it and migrate all your iCloud stuff across! Simple.
You might also want to ensure you have a Google Plus account setup, even if you don’t plan on using it much or sharing anything it’s useful! head over to Google+ and follow the instructions to get setup.
Firstly on your iPhone/iPad goto Settings->Mail, Contacts, Calendars->Add Account. You then want to select Google. It’s fairly easy, enter your new Gmail email address, password etc and your off. Once it’s authenticated you want to make you have everything enabled. You can see more in the screenshots below.
Now if you’re a Mac user you probably want to add the account to your Mac. (If you’re a Windows user, don’t bother. Outlook is junk and you’re better off sticking to the web interface for Google anyway.) Go to System Preferences and click on Internet Accounts. Int he right hand window simply click Google to add a new account, enter your name, email address and password and you’re all set. OS X will automatically add the account to Mail, Contacts and Calendar for you.
You should now have your Google account set up on your devices, now that wasn’t to painful was it?
(Technically Google want you to use their Gmail app for email and use CardDAV for Contacts and Calendar, if you want to do this then fine full documentation can be found here. I didn’t do it as ultimately I was moving away from iOS and this was merely a intermediate step for me)
This is the easiest so I’m going to start here. You have 2 ways of doing this:
On your Mac
Open up the Contacts app, and you should see all your contacts sat under your iCloud account. Simply select all your contacts and then drag them to your Google account that will in the left sidebar. After a bit of syncing you should then have 2 copies of each contact card. 1 in iCloud and 1 in Google.
No Mac? No Problem
Open up iCloud in your browser, login and go to Contacts. You want to select all your contacts (Shift clicky). Now in the bottom left corner you will see a cog, click it and hit Export vCard. This will download a file to your local machine. Once you have the vCard archive downloaded login to Gmail and select Contacts from the drop-down on the left hand side (just above the red compose button). Once in your contacts you want to click more (at the top of the main window) and select Import. Select the vCard archive you just downloaded from iCloud and just like magic your contacts will appear.
Now is the perfect time to have a little clean up! Google also has a nice find & merge duplicates function. You will also notice if you have friends in your contacts with Google accounts and you have their email addresses additional information will be pulled in.
Contacts, Final Steps
So the last thing to do is return to your devices and uncheck Contacts in your iCloud account settings, it will also prompt you if you want to remove contacts from your device. It’s safe to do this as you now have another copy in your Google account, and they are still backed up in the iCloud cloud should the worst happen. Once you have remove iCloud contacts from all your devices any changes you make will be synced with Google and pushed to all your devices. Ensure Google is set as your default for Contacts if you have multiple other accounts (if you want to).