Phone Numbers Not Synchronizing from Google Contacts to iPhone?

by Michael on August 13, 2009 · 0 comments

I just noticed that certain phone numbers haven’t been making it over from Google Contacts to my iPhone. As I’ve noted previously, I’m using Google Sync (plus a couple of workarounds) to integrate my MacBook Pro, Google Apps, and iPhone. After a bit of investigation, I discovered the problem…


It appears that the Exchange ActiveSync protocol (which is what Google Sync is based on) is limited to synchronizing a maximum of three e-mail addresses and two phone numbers per contact. Why do they allow more e-mail addresses than phone numbers? I have absolutely no idea.

I know tons of people with at least three phone numbers (e.g., office, mobile, fax), but nobody that I know has three e-mail addresses. Then again, ActiveSync is a Microsoft product, so maybe that explains it.

Anyway… Another limitation of ActiveSync is that it will only synchronize phone numbers (and possibly e-mail addresses?) that have certain preset labels. As far as I can tell, the acceptable labels for phone numbers include: Home, Work, Mobile, Home Fax, Work Fax, Pager, and Other. The default e-mail (and snail mail) address labels are: Home, Work, and Other.

I have some contacts whose phone numbers have other labels, such as businesses with the primary phone number labeled as “Main,” or colleagues with an “Office” number. Sure enough, while these make it from Address Book to Google Contacts (thanks to Googaby), they don’t make it from Google Contacts to my phone.

Since I’m unwilling to abandon Google’s over the air (OTA) synchronization, it looks I’ll have to go through and update some of my contacts. Oh well, I have a long plane trip coming up. This will give me something to do.


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