Hardware: iPhone 3G
Software: iOS 4.2.2
Yesterday, I was trying to “Sync” my iPhone 3G that is running iOS 4.2 with my Mac using iTunes. Everything synced except I couldn’t import the contacts from my Mac to my iPhone. In iTunes, under “Sync Contacts”, there were no contacts available to Sync though they were available in the “Contacts” app.
After doing some research, I found out that this problem is unique to Apple users who are using iOS earlier than iOS 5 or an iPhone older than iPhone 3GS. The reason there are no contacts available to sync is that the contacts you see on your Mac are actually from iCloud and not from your Mac.
Sync your contacts between your Mac and iPhone
Introduced by Apple as its “digital hub”, iCloud is the preferred way to Sync contents between different devices. As long as every device has iCloud enabled, all your contacts, emails, and calendars will automatically be synced and available everywhere.
The problem is that if you have an iPhone 3G or earlier or you are running iOS 4.x.x or older, the “iCloud” option under “Settings” is not available to you. However, you can manually set it up if you have an iCloud account. Here are two ways how you can sync your contacts from your Mac to iPhone 3G.
Import Your Contacts from iCloud
One way to Sync the contacts between your Mac and iPhone is to download the contacts from iCloud to your Mac. Once you have downloaded the contacts to your Mac, you can then import them to your iPhone using iTunes. Here is how to do it:
Choose “Keep Contacts” when iCloud asks you “Do you want to keep a copy of your iCloud contacts on this Mac?”. Your contacts should now be available on your Mac and ready to be synced to your iPhone.
The biggest drawback of the above solution is it won’t automatically sync contacts you add in the future; this means, if you add new contacts and want to import them to your iPhone, you have to go through the above procedures again.
Sync Your Contacts Using iCloud
The best way to keep your contacts up to date on all your Apple devices is to set up iCloud on each of them. According to Apple, iCloud requires at least iOS 5 on iPhone 3GS or later. However, you can use iCloud on your iPhone 3G if you manually connect it to iCloud.
On the “CardDAV” screen, enter the following the information to connect to your iCloud contacts:
- Server: contacts.icloud.com
- User Name: your iCloud user name
- Password: your iCloud password
- Description: enter whatever you like
After you click “Next”, iCloud will reconfigure the settings and load the contacts to your iPhone automatically. If the contacts are not loaded, you need to disable the “Use SSL” of the CardDAV account you’ve just created. You can enable the “Use SSL” again once the contacts are successfully loaded on your iPhone.
Now you can sync contacts between your iPhone 3G and other Apple devices.
Image Credit: Kelly Sikkema