Thursday, August 8, 2013

Move Your iCloud Contacts to Your Chromebook

My contacts are vital to my workflow. Ensuring they are accurate and available on every device I use is paramount to my productivity. I also want to ensure I don't create silos of information that don't "talk" to each other. (Who wants to manually update everything all the time?)

If you're like me, my primary computer is still a Mac. I'm using it less and less these days though. My Chromebook Pixel can do 95 percent of my workflow. (And I'm working toward 100 percent.) That means I'm rethinking processes to make it easy to switch between my Chromebook and Mac.

The best way to do that is to commit to an ecosystem and stick with it. iCloud is a great service, but I live within Google almost exclusively. It doesn't make sense for me to keep my contacts in iCloud.

So if you're like me and want to make the switch, here is what you need to do. And the cool part is you can do all of this from your Chromebook.

(Please hold your applause until the end!)
  1. Sign into iCloud.
  2. Click on the Address book icon.
  3. Look for the Wheel icon in the lower left-hand side of the screen.
  4. Click on the Wheel, and watch a menu appear above it.
  5. Choose "Export vCard." (Yes, Google can import vCard and CSV formats.)
  6. Download the file to Drive.
  7. Then open Gmail or Google Contacts. If you start in Gmail, you'll have to toggle over to the Contacts view. (Grab this great extension from the Chrome Store to make this a one-click experience moving forward.)
  8. Look for "Import Contacts" in the left-hand column on the "Contacts" view of Gmail. (You can also find this function by clicking the drop-down menu under "More" across the top.
  9. Import your contacts.
  10. Now go back to iCloud, select all your contacts, and delete them. (Or you can choose to keep your contacts there as a back up.)
  11. Keep a copy of the file you used to import your contact data in Drive. (The file you downloaded in Step 5.) In fact, I recommend you rename the file "iCloud Contacts Export [insert date]" so you know exactly when you exported the file should you need to use it as a recovery tool.
  12. Adjust your setting on your Mac to sync with Google instead of iCloud. This will ensure everything stays in sync whether you're on your Chromebook or your Mac. (Google has added CardDAV support for contacts which will help make it sync more accurately.)
  13. Adjust your settings on your smartphone and tablet, too, using CardDAV with Apple products. Of course, Android will do this automatically. (Funny how Apple gets to use the phrase "It just works!" when it really doesn't.)
  14. Celebrate because all of your data is working for you, and you'll always have the latest contact information no matter which device you use to enter new information or update existing information.
Now relax! You just made your life a little easier, your data more secure, and your Chromebook experience just that much better.

Happy Chromebooking!