May 31, 2008
Tip and Trick Editorial

Sync Mac OS X Leopard Address Book with Google Gmail Contacts

Mac OS X LeopardSince Mac OS X Leopord 10.5.3 update release, Mac OS X Leopard has added a built-in synchronization feature that syncs contact list between Mac OS X Address Book with Google Account or Gmail Contacts. The Google Gmail contact sync feature can be enabled via Address Book’s General Preference tab by selecting “Synchronize with Google” option.

After entering the Google Account or Gmail credential (user name and password), Mac OS X will automatically sync or update (it’s possible to read from, change, delete or overwrite Google or Address Book) contacts every time user connects and syncs iPhone or iPod Touch with the Mac machine. Google Mac Blog recommends that user backs up both Address Book and Gmail contacts before start syncing.

For minority Mac OS X 10 users who don’t have or don’t own a iPhone or iPod Touch, the Google Account sync option won’t be available, and be grayed out or disabled. Use the hack below to unlock, turn on and enable the built-in sync option for Mac OS X Leopard to sync with Google Account, without the need to make use of third-party or paid programs.

  1. Download and install the Property List Editor PlistEdit Pro (a shareware). User can uninstall the editor after doing the modification, or simply use a text editor by manually editing the number for “Family ID” as shown below.
  2. Open up ~/Library/Preferences/ and save a backup copy of the file.

    Note that the iPod plist file that lives at ~/Library/Preferences does not exist on the Mac computer if the user never connect one of Apple i-gadgets to the system.

  3. Expand the tree to reveal Family ID.
  4. Change the number value to 10001.

    Property List Editor

  5. Save the change.

    For user without any working iPod or iPhone device, copy and paste the following into a text editor and save it as ~/Library/Preferences/

    { Devices = { red-herring = { 'Family ID' = 10001; }; }; }

  6. Launch Mac OS X Address Book and open the Preference pane, and then go to General tab.
  7. Check and tick the checkbox for Synchronize with Google option. Enter the user name and password credential when requested, or by clicking on Google button at the end.

    Sync Mac OS X Address Book with Gmail

  8. Perform a sync with iPod with Contact Sync option enabled on the device (any versions including classic, nano, Shuffle and etc, not necessary to be Touch or iPhone). Alternatively, initiate syncing to .Mac will also automatically make Mac OS X Address Book sync with Google Contacts too.
  • krmr

    it worked perfectly for me! just saved the file. opened iSync, synced, and it was done. some duplicates appeared and reported errors, but thats easy to correct! thanks a lot for this great hack to finaly finish my 2 days struggle with this simple but very important feature that apple so lamely neglected for users with no iphone and ipod.


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  • Lobsterman

    The option appears, but it will not accept my Google credentials even when I turn off the https in gmail.

  • henigushi

    Just like outinsun, I followed the directions and see Sync to Google in Address Book, but nothing happens with my Google account. I'm on a MacBook Pro using OS 10.5.5

  • outinsun

    I see the Sync to Google button in my Address Book preferences. I set up my Google credentials. All seems well. I run Sync Now in iSync. No errors reported. But no contacts go in either direction between Address Book and Google. Am using a normal Gmail account (also tried Google Apps). I have synced with iPhone in the past. Tried the plist hack anyway (saved properly as a plain text plist file). Made no difference. Am running OS X 10.5.5.

  • Jeremy

    It works but you need to do the following to make sure you're saving the file correctly.

    First open the textedit app and past the following into the editor:

    { Devices = { red-herring = { 'Family ID' = 10001; }; }; }

    Next, go to the format menu and select "make plain text". This step is very important.

    Then save the file as ~/Library/Preferences/

    finally, you'll be prompted which file extension to save it as, select plist

    That should solve your problem

  • Russo

    Worked perfect for me!!!

    Thanks a lot!

  • Arif

    Followed the directions above for syncing google contacts. The 'Sync with Google' option never appeared. The plist file updated correctly. I have sync'd an ipod so I had the file and simply updated the FamilyID.

    Any suggestions?

  • lan

    { Devices = { red-herring = { 'Family ID' = 10001; }; }; }

    does not work … parse error!

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