Today, Google announced on the official Gmail blog that it is adding CardDAV, the open protocol for syncing contacts, to the list of protocols supporting Gmail and Google Calendar. This means third-party clients, such as the iOS Contacts app, will now be able to sync Google contacts using the protocol rather than using alternative options like Exchange. Google noted the addition is “making it possible for 3rd parties to build a seamless Google Account sync experience.” Google also explained the benefit of the CardDAV protocol:

When you sync your Google contacts using CardDAV, you’ll be able to edit, add, and remove contacts from your device and keep them in sync everywhere you use them… If you have set up iCloud, are syncing contacts from another account, or already have contacts stored on the device, you will need to select a Default Account. New contacts created directly on your iOS device will be added to your default account.

Google provided the following instructions to sync your Google contacts on iOS with CardDAV:

  1. Open the Settings application on your device.
  2. Select Mail, Contacts, Calendars.
  3. Select Add Account…
  4. Select Other
  5. Select Add CardDAV Account
  6. Fill out your account information in the following fields:
    • -Server: Enter “google.com”
    • -User Name: Enter your full Google Account or Google Apps email address.
    • -Password: Your Google Account or Google Apps password. (If you’ve enabled 2 Step verification, you’ll need to generate and enter an application specific password.)
    • -Description: Enter a description of the account (e.g. Personal Contacts).
  7. Select Next at the top of your screen.
  8. Make sure that the “Contacts” option is turned to ON.

After you have completed the setup, open the Contacts app on your device to automatically begin syncing.