Resolved: contacts not syncing to iPhone

Resolved: contacts not syncing to iPhone

Although I have been recommending people to migrate to as an alternative to Gmail (You can read more about that here: How to: Migrate from Gmail to (previously & Basically having ActiveSync and Customs Domains (until the end of July 2014) as the big selling points), it turns out it is not a perfect service either. I say either as Gmail also caused me headaches at times. Talking about issues syncing contacts to your iPhone, Gmail also had its fair share with Gmail over Exchange (MS Push) stops working when you upgrade to a new iPhone topping my list. What can I say?

Getting back on topic. I was working with’s contacts (AKA People) when I realized something was broken. I had just migrated from Gmail to so the contacts on my phone kept coming from Gmail, but once I broke that relationship I noticed my copies were not syncing properly (or at all). Following the migration steps on this post: How to: Migrate from Gmail to (previously & I let Microsoft handle the import process and as far as I am concerned it went smoothly.

It turns out Microsoft does not simply copy over the contacts from your Gmail account but it actually links them. It does a copy that continuously syncs with Gmail so that your contacts on both systems are the same. This however, results on Outlook not using its version as the source/latest/etc. So pretty much it internally marks them as copies and decides it should not sync those contacts. As you can imagine, once you shut down your Gmail or simply disconnect your account it will result on missing contacts from your phone.

To resolve this you need to break the link between your Gmail and account and create a regular contact/copy on To do this you can simply follow these steps:

  1. Export your Gmail contacts to a .csv and save them to your computer. If you don’t have your Gmail account any more, try to export from and see if that exports the Gmail copy it has.
  2. Log into and disconnect the link between Google and your account entirely.
    1. On the top right side of your screen click on your name and choose edit profile.
    2. Under your name on the top right side you will see the services you are connected to. Click the Google icon and choose Disconnect Entirely.
  3. After you have disconnected your Google account from check your contacts.
    1. If the Google contacts are still there, delete them all. You should be able to sort them out. Remember not to delete everything you see as some of those contacts might already been saved only on
  4. Once your done clearing out your contacts, you can import the CSV you downloaded on step 1.
  5. You’re done! If the contacts still haven’t synced you can turn off your Contact’s on your iPhone for a few seconds and turn it back on to force a sync.

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