iOS7 Google Contacts Sync Issue

I noticed today that my iPhone 5S had some missing contact information. I checked and double checked, and sure enough some contacts I had on iPhone were not sync'ing back with my Google contacts.

I looked at settings and made sure app-password (two factor auth means you cannot use your Google password but the password generated for the app) was correct. There was no sign of any trouble anywhere but clearly it was not sync'ing.

To keep this short; I found out the issue was that I had my Google contacts sync to use 'Exchange' (aka Active Sync). I vaguely remembered that there was some ActiveSync licensing news a while ago and after some digging found two pages of instructions on setting up iOS devices with Google contacts Sync Option.

One from Apple: , very short, Apple style, with just the minimum information they could give... (noticed that they are still not using https?)
Follow these steps if you're using iOS 7 to sync your contacts with Google Contacts:
  1. Tap Settings > Mail, Contacts, Calendars > Add Account > Google.
  2. Enter the required information in the fields.
  3. Make sure Contacts is on.

And the other from Google:
Much more detailed. (E.g. Look at #7 and compare that to #3 above)

They started with this:

Sync contacts with your Apple device

To sync your Google contacts with your Apple device (iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Mac), we recommend using CardDAV, which is an Internet open standard. When you sync your Google contacts using CardDAV, you’ll be able to edit, add, and remove contacts from your device and keep them in sync everywhere you use them.
If you use Google Apps for Business, you can use Google Sync to sync your contacts to your iOS device.

Sync your contacts

  1. Open the Settings app on your device.
  2. Select Mail, Contacts, Calendars.
  3. Select Add Account.
  4. Select Google.
  5. Fill out your account information in the following fields:
    • Name: Enter your name
    • 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).
  6. Select Next at the top of your screen.
  7. Make sure that the "Contacts" option is turned ON. The switch should be green.
  8. Select Save at the top of your screen.
After you've completed setup, open the Contacts app on your device, and syncing will automatically begin.

Apple's article did not give me a clue actually but specific 'CardDAV' emphasis of Google kinda told me that my 'Exchange' set up was the culprit. So, I deleted the existing account:

Settings > Mail, Contacts, Calendars > Gmail > Delete Account

The catch is that it forces you to delete all the existing (google) contacts from the phone :(

Anyway, I went ahead and did it. Then, added Google account back and once I launched the 'Contacts' app, sync started and is working fine now.

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