Google gMail, calendar and contacts broke when I changed iPhone

So, my wife updated her old iphone 3gs to a 4 and asked me to swap the sim card over & restore all her settings the night before she flew out for a business trip. Simple – right. Wrong!

After taking her AMAYSIM sim card out of the iPhone 3Gs, cutting it down to micro-sim for the iPhone 4, restoring from the last iCloud backup (which bought all apps, settings and data back very nicely) I kept getting the error message “Cannot Get Mail The connection to the sever failed.”

Gmail iPhone cannot connect to server

Worse, after much google searching, deleting re-creating mail accounts, etc we ended up with no contacts and no way of getting the ios 6.0 mail app working properly. By properly I mean the previous best practice of adding a Microsoft Exchange mail account which provided synchronisation of gmail contacts and calendars via activesync. This is the setup we both used up to now and it worked beautifully – calendar sharing a breeze, all our contacts managed by gMail with seamless updates from iPhone, web or anywhere else.

After much searching I discovered that it is a case of lousy timing and a typical game of vendors refusing to play nicely. Lousy timing because since we all set up our iPhones Google have discontinued support for the previous ‘best practice’ Starting January 30, 2013, users, other than paid Google Apps users, won’t be able to set up new devices using Google Sync. iPhone and iPad users should see Sync Gmail, Calendar and Contacts. What this means is that there is a new best practice that looks like this:

These instructions came courtesy of this (26 Feb2013) update from Google:


This seems to work OK. The contacts are fine, the gMail app is a lot nicer to use (but is not as well integrated for things like e/mailing photos, links etc) and the calendars work well – as long as you REMEMBER to set the correct default calendar!

Here are a bunch of screen shots from my working setup:

Gmail iPhone Gmail iPhone contacts carddav gmail iPhone photo.PNG Gmail iPhone Def calendar Gmail iPhone

Creative Commons License

Fang – Mike Seyfang



About mseyfang

Interruptus Digitalis
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