Firstly you need to determine where the up to date contacts list resides. When you enable contact syncing on a device you will be asked if you wish to merge your contacts, think carefully before making that choice on each device.
If in doubt, make a back up before you start. This user tip might help you understand how accounts work with Contacts (Address Book).
If you are still unsure before you start, please ask.
I believe I understand what you've said so far. Now, as to implementing that syncing activity: One of my two computers is an iMac. The Contacts app there is the one that is most up to date. So I would prefer that its contents be propagated to the other three units (one more computer and two IOS devices) and
the iCloud account.
Here's what I would do, unless you tell me this is erroneous: I would start Contacts on the other computer (also running the latest OS 10.8) and add the iCloud account. Would this trigger the dialog aboutmerging? And since this copy of Contacts is empty, mightn't I just say yes with no adverse consequences?
Now what happens on the IOS devices? They are already set up on the same iCloud account as the two computers. I would expect them to have the iCloud contacts in their Contacts app - is that correct?
I have a set of contacts on Gmail, which I am trying to abandon. I have created an export of those contacts as CSV records, in case I need them later.
On my iPad 1, I see a set of contacts that looks like the one on my iMac. It seems that my iMac is already syncing contacts with my iCloud account. If I look at my iCloud prefs on the iMac, they do show a checkmark by Contacts. (Contrary to what I said before when I asked how to start the syncing!)
On my iPod Touch, (IOS 6) I have taken the contacts app out of the Unitlties folder. When I open it, I see the same contacts as I saw on my iPad, and when I tap Groups, I see a set labeled iCloud and another set labeled From My Mac. All have checkmarks.
When I tap Done and go back to All Contacts, I cannot see any of the few groups I had set up on my iMac. If I go back to Groups on the iPod, and tap on a group, all that happens is that the checkmark disappears; I do not see the several addresses that are supposed to be the constituents of that group.
Again, thanks very much for your help.
I'm not 100% clear where or what contacts you have, it may be safer to remove all the contacts from all your devices and add the ones from your Mac into the iCloud group.
Before you do that you should copy your contacts from your Mac to your desktop and make sure that the iCloud group is set to be the default account on all devices.
To copy contacts to your desktop
- Make sure nothing is typed into the search field.
- Click on the first contact in the list on the right side.
- Shift-click on the last contact in the list (to select all contacts).
- Drag the contacts to the 'iCloud' account.
Once all contacts are removed from all devices, double click the contacts file on your desktop to reimport.