How to Fix Gmail Contacts that Won’t Sync on Apple iPhone XS Max

Syncing contacts from Gmail to iPhone is usually done during the initial setup or transfer them later through your iPhone settings. For as long as you’ve followed the correct procedure, your Gmail contacts should sync to your iPhone as intended. Nonetheless, there are some factors that can trigger syncing issues to occur like Gmail contacts won’t sync even when you’ve properly set your device to sync Gmail contacts at first.

If you’re facing the same dilemma on your iPhone XS Max, then you may refer to the given solutions lined up below. Read on to learn what to do if your Gmail contacts just won’t sync to your iPhone XS Max.

Troubleshooting iPhone XS Max with Gmail contacts that won’t sync

Before troubleshooting, verify and ensure that you can log into your Gmail account through Safari or other browser app. Doing so will help you rule out server problems from the underlying cause.

If you can’t log into your Gmail account through webmail, then the problem is most likely with Google’s email server or due to a temporary network issue. If you can log into your Gmail account through webmail or web browser, then the Gmail server isn’t the problem.

This is when you need to troubleshoot and rule out software-related issues that might have prevented your iPhone from syncing with your Gmail account. So here are some options and potential solutions for you to try on.

First solution: Set the default email account to your Gmail account.

Verify and ensure that you’ve synced Gmail contacts to your iPhone XS Max. If it’s not, then this is what you should do first:

  1. Tap Settings from your Home screen.
  2. Select Accounts & Password.
  3. Then tap on Add Account.
  4. Choose Google from the given options then enter your Google account information.
  5. Once you’ve set up your Gmail account on your phone, turn on Contacts under Gmail and then tap Save to confirm.

To keep your iPhone contacts synced with your Gmail account, you have to set Gmail as your default account. If you haven’t done this yet, then simply follow these steps to set Gmail as default account on your iPhone XS Max:

  1. From the Home screen, tap on Settings.
  2. Tap Contacts.
  3. Then tap Default Accounts and select Gmail.

With that setup, your Gmail contacts should then start syncing to your iPhone. If not, then try to rule out other factors and troubleshoot further with these subsequent methods.

Second solution: Refresh/restart your Internet connection.

Among the usual culprits to syncing process are network problems. Your device may not be able to sync contacts from your Gmail account when the Internet connection is unstable.

To rule out minor internet connection problems, restart Wi-Fi and performing other tweaks to restart and refresh your iPhone’s internet connection can help.

To restart Wi-Fi connection on your iPhone XS Max, simply go to Settings-> Wi-Fi menu and then toggle the switch to turn Wi-Fi OFF for a few seconds and then tap to turn it on again.

Alternatively, you can carry out the Airplane Mode trick to eliminate random problems affecting wireless functions of your phone. Here’s how it’s done:

  1. From the Home screen, navigate to Settings-> Airplane Mode menu.
  2. Then toggle the Airplane Mode switch to turn it ON. Doing so disables all wireless radios of your phone including your Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connections.
  3. While Airplane mode is enabled, restart/soft reset your iPhone.
  4. After the phone reboots, head back to Settings-> Airplane Mode menu.
  5. Then toggle the switch to turn Airplane Mode OFF again. Doing so re-enables Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and other wireless radios on your phone.

Try and see if that fixed the problem. If your Gmail contacts are still not syncing, continue to work on and manage your iPhone settings.

Third solution: Check and manage contacts on your iPhone settings.

Make sure that you have enabled the Contacts for sync on your device. Doing so is important to let you import or sync your iPhone contacts to Gmail. Here’s how to access and manage this setting:

  1. From the Home screen, tap on Settings.
  2. Select Accounts & Passwords.
  3. Select your Gmail account.
  4. Then tap to turn on the switch next to Contacts.

If you have set up multiple email accounts on your phone, then you may need to enable contacts for the correct email account. Enabling contacts for an existing Gmail account on your iPhone XS Max is done this way:

  1. Tap to open the Settings app on your phone.
  2. Scroll down to and then tap Accounts & Passwords.
  3. Tap to select your Gmail account for which you want to enable contacts.
  4. Tap to turn on Contacts switch to add the contacts from the selected Gmail account to your iPhone’s Contacts app.

Contacts and other information associated with the selected Gmail account will then start syncing to your iPhone.

Fourth solution: Turn on Cellular connection for Contacts.

If you’re having trouble syncing Gmail contacts on your iPhone XS Max through Wi-Fi, then try using cellular network instead. Wi-Fi drops or intermittent Internet connection may also be the main reason why you’re unable to sync Gmail contacts on your device. To change this option, follow these steps:

  1. Tap Settings from the Home screen.
  2. Select Cellular.
  3. Then scroll to and tap Contacts.
  4. To use cellular data for Contacts, simply toggle the switch next to Contacts to turn it ON.

When for your iPhone to establish stable cellular connection and then see if your Gmail contacts are already syncing.

Fifth solution: Manually sync Gmail contacts on your iPhone XS Max via iTunes or iCloud.

Should the problem be attributed to Wi-Fi or cellular network errors on the phone, then manually syncing contacts from Gmail to iPhone can be considered an option. To get this done, you can use Apple’s very own iOS management system called iTunes.

If you have a computer that has the latest version of iTunes installed, then you can use that to sync Gmail contacts to your iPhone manually. Here’s how it works:

  1. Connect your iPhone to the computer using the Apple-supplied USB cable.
  2. Open iTunes on your computer.
  3. From the iTunes main screen, select the option to Sync Contacts with Google Contacts or something similar. This option can be found under the iTunes info tab.
  4. If prompted, enter your Gmail account credentials.

Follow the rest of the onscreen commands to complete the syncing process. It can take a while depending on the number of contacts to sync. So just wait patiently until it’s finished.

Other options

Use other apps for contact transfers. Aside from iTunes, there are also other tools you can use to sync Gmail contacts to your iPhone manually. Among the widely used tools are Contact Mover & Account Sync, EaseUS MobiMover, and AnyTrans for iOS, to name some.

Like iTunes, these tools can be downloaded and installed to your Mac or Windows computer and once it’s set up, you can connect your iPhone to your computer then run the software to get started with files syncing. These tools are generally designed with a user-friendly interface, so all you have to do is to read and follow the onscreen prompts to complete the task.

For other options and more advanced solutions, contact Apple Support to configure your iPhone or your Google Support to manage your Gmail account settings and activate iOS syncing.

I hope that this how-to post has helped you one way or another. Please help us spread the word by sharing this post to your friends or people who may also have similar problems. Thanks for reading!


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