I have noticed that since upgrading to Lion, ios 5, and switching over from Mobile Me to iCloud, I now have triplicates in my Address Book contacts. Previously, I had my Address Book set to sync with Yahoo and Google as well as Mobile Me. This seemed to keep all 3 accounts in sync. Now, They all show up as 3 separate accounts (hence the perception that there are 3 copies of everything when I view All Contacts). In addition, they no longer appear to be syncing. Is this perception/change since the advent of iCloud accurate? Am I accurate in observing that all my contacts were, in fact, 3-way syncing prior to iCloud and that now they are not? Is there any way to get them all syncing again? And can anyone provide insight as to why this very un-helpful change would have been implemented by Apple?
(Zacharias Beckmen, you seem to know what you're talking about... could you please clarify your response based on my questions? Thank you!)
Unfortunately, things have not gotten better. I don't expect them to get better either... at least not in the near term. Look to a third party to figure out how to solve it. Apple remains focused on locking down their platform (iCloud) and locking out third parties (Google).
Here's the scoop as I understand it:
In the old days (pre-Lion) AddressBook stored its data in a database that developers had access to. In those days, companies such as SpanningSync built some great little products that gave us lots of flexible options for syncing calendars, contacts, and other things with "the rest of the world" (meaning Google, Microsoft Exchange, and more). Apple also built in some basic support for this that mostly worked, though not as well as some of the third party apps (e.g.: Spanning's products).
Then along came Lion.
Apple decided to move all of their data into the cloud (specifically, the Apple proprietary iCloud). Not a bad idea, except that they didn't publish any APIs (interfaces), effectively locking down the data. Apple went from a fairly "open" mindset to a fairly "closed" mindset, or another way of saying it is, Apple's new thinking became: "Your data is now MINE, heheheeheeeee, and you can't get at it without ME... <big grin>."
This is not an uncommon philosophy, but companies such as Salesforce.com have proven that you can be much more successful taking the "open" road. Alas.
Ok, so, now you get all excited about Lion and iCloud and you upgrade. Fine and dandy.
You data moves into the iCloud. Well, it's supposed to move into the iCloud, but my early experiments revealed that it didn't "move" it more or less "copied" into the iCloud... and I was left with two AddressBook databases. One, the "active" one that Apple and iCloud and my iPhone seemed to be "plugged into" is the one that lives in the iCloud. Now, for a while I also had a "dead" copy on my computer -- the old AddressBook database from the pre-Lion era. It was still there, but it was a useless duplicate because from Lion's point of view, it was no longer active.
Good old pre-Lion apps, such as SpanningSync, don't know anything about the iCloud data. They can't, they've been locked out because of Apple's new mindset. But that old, stale, probably mistakenly-left-behind copy of the pre-Lion AddressBook is still there -- and so, SpanningSync will keep using it. Spanning will keep syncing to Google. But it's the old database, not the shiny new iCloud version, so you end up with two copies.* Eventually you notice that the old one is getting older and more out of sync, probably, and fiddle about a bit, and probably manage to get rid of it. (That's what I did anyhow, at this stage).
Now, you can go either way on Lion: iCloud or not-iCloud. Choose wisely. Do you want to be integrated with Google Apps (and in my case, the company contact database, email, address book, appointment calendar, and resource manager)? If so, don't go iCloud. You can choose this by telling Lion not to sync your contacts, calendar, etc., with iCloud... as I understand, that makes it an "old-fashioned" pre-Lion style database, and tools that used to sync with Google will once again work.
Best of luck. It's a bloody mess, and one more bit of evidence that Apple is taking the fast track to mediocrity now that Steve is gone. As someone so poignantly wrote on the 'net... iSad.
* ilearn.jr: I have no idea how you ended up with 3 copies, but I'm sure it's possible. Unfortunately, you are right, they are duplicates, and they are not "connected." My recommendation: Make a backup of one of them, or maybe all of them, then blow away all your contacts and all your AddressBook preferences. Import the clean copy. But decide one whether you want iCloud of Google beforehand and choose accordingly... ;-)
FYI, for anyone wondering about SyncMate: SyncMate does not work with iCloud. (See my last post for more clarification). SyncMate uses the same pre-Lion era database that other third party tools use, including SpanningSync. Consequently, if you install SyncMate and attempt to sync to Google Contacts, nothing will happen. SyncMate will attempt to sync your local AddressBook (not your iCloud AddressBook). If you are set up on iCloud "correctly," you won't have a local AddressBook, hence nothing gets synced. If you have a duplicate local database, yes, that will sync... but it is not connected to your iCloud account -- it's just a stale duplicate. Sorry folks.
Thank you so much for both of your posts. It really clarified things for me! You described it just as I suspected but I wasn't sure and needed confirmation. That is really sad that Apple closed off iCloud. That should have been more explicitly explained when Lion and iCloud came out so people weren't so confused as to the 2 copies of contacts in their Addressbook. What's funny though is that all this was actually put in motion under Steve's authority. I heard he actually determined all roll-outs for the company for the next 5 years. Maybe now that Steve (who was ultra-controlling of everything) is gone (which is sad, don't get me wrong!), Apple will try to open it back up... though I doubt it. I'm sure at some point down the line, some third party will develop an iCloud <--> Google sync mechanism, but until then, Apple has succeeded in winning the battle for my information. iSad.
As I looked into my Addressbook in more detail, I realized the reason for my 3 copies was that I had all my contacts loaded in Addressbook under 3 accounts: iCloud, On My Mac (which was syncing with Google and Yahoo), and a separate copy of my Yahoo contacts, which I had accidently added at some point under the menu Addressbook > Preferences > Accounts. I exported the Yahoo contacts and On My Mac contacts as vCards, deleted them from Addressbook, and then re-imported them into iCloud. I then went to the menu bar Card > Look for Duplicates and cleaned everything up. So for the moment, my Yahoo and Google address books will gradually become out-of-date, but hopefully one day, I'll be able to sync them with iCloud. Until then, congrats Apple, you are the ruler of my contacts! So annoying.
Again, thanks Zacharias for the prompt, thorough, and accurate response! How do I mark your response as correct so you get points for it??
Zacharias, post your answers to this Discussion thread as well, so people can find it at the top of a Discussion thread in case they don't get to the end of this one.
Also Zacharias, do you have any info about this discussion thread: https://discussions.apple.com/message/17190313#17190313
It's about syncing flag colors, mail rules, and highlight colors... Please check it out since you clearly know your s----!
Glad you got things cleaned up. I should point out, there is a very painful, manual approach to syncing with Google.
You can occasionally make a backup of your AddressBook. Then, import the backup into a local database (local AddressBook "On My Mac"). Then, you can use a tool such as SpanningSync to do a one-way push of information to Google. If you have a lot of changes and you really like keeping current contacts in Google... it works... kind of. :-(
Unfortunately, for those of us that need actual integration (due to company resources in Google Apps) this doesn't really work well enough.
Thanks for the reply. BTW, I think you can click the "like" button to mark it as a good response. Don't think there's more than that, though.
You are probably right. As ilearn.jr pointed out the "remove duplicates" functionality in AddressBook can be immensely helpful -- it is good at identifying dupes. If you know that one of your duplicate databases is stale, you can simply delete it and be done with it -- but I always make a backup copy before doing something like that.
I also have the problem syncing my contact to google.
My setup is:
ipad, iphone, outlook, icloud sync tool for windows.
So I have my contact in outlook.
Now I found the tool: go contact sync mod.
This tool does sync the outlook standard folder to google contact.
I now modified the tool to sync from the icloud\Contacts to google contacts.
Is somebody interested intesting this version. I would first like to have some beta testers before releasing this version.
Just drop me a message and I will send you the modified version of "go contact sync mod"
I too was unable to sync my calendar and contacts on my iPhone and iPad after the iOS5 release and subsequent relegation to iCloud services. I was quite frustrated, until my coworker showed me how to set up my gmail account as an Exchange account instead of just a gmail account in the settings. Here's the steps I followed, (but user beware- following this deleted the calendar and contacts that was previously stored in my iPhone and iPad, but it's now syncing perfectly with gmail)
- Go into the settings on your iPhone or iPad, and then go into the Mail, Contacts, Calendars portion of the settings
- In the iCloud account turn off Mail, Contacts, and Calendars. At this point it will ask you if you want to delete the current contacts and calendar from your phone. I chose to do so to not have duplicates of anything.
- In the current Gmail account scroll to the bottom and detete the account
- Now, go into the Add Account portion, and add a Microsft Exchange account
- For the settings enter the following
- Email: your current gmail address
- Domain-is optional, leave blank
- Username: your current gmail address without the "@gmail.com" portion
- Password: gmail password
- Description: whatever you like
- After you click next it will as you for a server name, enter "m.google.com" (without the quotes)
- Click next and import your calendar and contacts that will sync and push with your gmail account
- For the settings enter the following
I did this about a week ago, and have been quite happy. I did notice that when I deleted my contacts on my phone there were some numbers that weren't in my gmail contacts, so I had to in and enter them manually, but it wasn't too much of a hastle.
Note, that you don't have to import both the contacts and the calendar for this to work. If you want to only import a calendar then in step 2 above only turn off the calendars, and in step 3 instead of deleting the account simply make sure the calendar is turned off there as well.