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How do I sync my iPhone, iPad, or iCloud contacts with the CRM?

At this time, Less Annoying CRM only integrates with Google Contacts -- we do not have any kind of direct sync for Apple's iCloud service. (Apple does not offer syncing directly with iCloud except through natively-installed applications on iOS or MacOS platforms, whereas Less Annoying CRM is entirely web-based.) However, it is possible to sync your contacts between your Apple mobile devices (iPhone/iPad) and the CRM by using Google as a connector. Less Annoying CRM syncs with Google, your phone or tablet also syncs with Google, and data gets passed back and forth in both directions.

What's the catch? Apple devices (including both MacOS computer and iPad/iPhone mobile devices) will push contacts created on that device to either iCloud Contacts or Google Contacts. You cannot fully sync your Apple device with both at the same time. This is simply a limitation imposed by Apple through their operating system, and unfortunately this normally means picking either one of these two systems to use as your primary/sole syncing database.

If you are already using iCloud to store your contacts and connect them between your Apple devices, then switching to using Google instead will require converting all of those devices to sync with Google. You can get the same functionality (plus the connection to Less Annoying CRM, and other platforms that link with Google), but it takes a little effort to make the switch. This article will cover the process for making that change.

Step 1: Pull your Google Contacts database onto your iOS device

Google's help article on how to connect Google's contact database to your iOS device can be found here.

Start by following those instructions -- connecting your Google Contacts to your phone using these directions will begin pulling contacts from your Google account into your iPad/iPhone's contact list. This will ensure that any contacts you add to your Google database show up in your phone's/tablet's contact list. If you have your Google account synced with Less Annoying CRM, then any contacts you create in your CRM will sync to Google and then across to your phone within a few hours.

Step 2: Set your iOS device to push new contacts to Google (instead of iCloud)

If you want new contacts that you add to your phone to push to Google (and thus to the CRM), you need to change your settings such that your default contact-syncing account is Google instead of iCloud.

To do this:

  1. Open the "Settings" app on your phone/tablet
  2. Scroll down to the "Contacts" option
  3. Touch "Default Account"
  4. Choose your Google account from the list of options (you should have created this during Step 1)

Once Gmail is set as your default, any new contacts you create on this device will push to Google, and then across to the CRM. Existing contacts are not pushed automatically to Google, which brings us to...

Step 3: Move your existing iCloud contacts to Google

To get the contacts on your phone/tablet into Google so that they sync across to the CRM, you’ll need to export the contacts from your iPhone/iPad and then import them to Google.

Saving and Exporting contacts from your iPhone/iPad

  1. On your computer, go to www.icloud.com and log into your iCloud account. (You may need to verify your login with a code sent to your iOS device/computer.)
  2. Click the “Contacts” icon on the iCloud page.
  3. Select the contacts you'd like to export. To select the entire list, click the first name in the list and then press Cmd+A (Mac) or Control+A (PC). (Alternatively, you can choose to export specific contacts by holding Command/Control and clicking individual names.)
  4. Click on the small gear icon in the lower left corner of the page, and choose “Export vCard.” (See image.) This will download a file to your computer, so be sure to save it somewhere you can easily find it later!

Please note: Some web browsers have trouble downloading vCards from iCloud.com -- if the file does not automatically download, try using another browser (Firefox, Internet Explorer, Safari, etc.).

Importing contacts to Google

  1. Go to https://www.google.com/contacts and log into your Google account.
  2. Select “More” from the left column, then select “Import.”
  3. In the window that appears, click “Select file” and find the vCard (.vcf) file you downloaded from your iCloud account.
  4. Select “Import.”

Once that's all done, your contacts from your iCloud account will be in your Google account. They'll then sync back to your phone/tablet, as well as across to Less Annoying CRM. Any changes made to these contacts will sync across to all connected systems.

Step 4: Ensure that your Google Contacts are syncing with LACRM

You can set up the sync between Less Annoying CRM and Google on your Sync with Google settings page. Choose the option under the "Contacts" column to set up the sync. For guidance on how to connect the sync, check out the video displayed on that page -- you can also find it here.

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iPhone sync, Apple sync, contacts integration, Mac
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