Sync'ing with Google on Mac OS X 10.6 (Gmail, Apple Mail, Address Book, iCal sync, OSX)

Gmail - Apple Mail, Address Book, iCal

The introduction of Snow Leopard (Mac OS 10.6) was a rather significant move with regard to synchronisation features. The additions of Gmail functionality in this operating system have greatly enhanced not only the quality of Email from Google, but have also raised the already high profile of Apple as an organisation. The integration between the three central applications, Apple Mail, Address Book and iCal have enabled sync service between data from these programs and the web. Personally, I recommend Gmail over any other email client for this and many other reasons as well, which are to be discussed further on in this hub. Read on.

Apple "Mail" and Gmail

I have personally found Apple Mail to be very handy and useful with gmail. Having said that, however, setting up Gmail in Apple Mail involves some tricky processes. There have always been some bugs between sharing data between apple mail and gmail which are yet to be explained. Firstly, I would advise you to ignore the below instructions, which are also found on this page.

From the Mail menu, click Preferences > Accounts > Mailbox Behaviors

  • Drafts: Store draft messages on the server > do NOT check

  • Sent: Store sent messages on the server > do NOT check

  • Junk: Store junk messages on the server > checked

  • Junk: Delete junk messages when > Never

  • Trash: Move deleted messages to the Trash mailbox > do NOT check

  • Trash: Store deleted messages on the server > do NOT check

These recommendations (in my opinion) are old, out of date, unreliable and fully against the way apple mail has been designed to function. Following them will result in delayed IMAP updating, a messy and unappealing interface and a poorly set-up system.

My recommendations are as follows:

From the Mail menu, click Preferences > Accounts > Mailbox Behaviors

  • Drafts: Store draft messages on the server > checked

  • Sent: Store sent messages on the server > checked

  • Junk: Store junk messages on the server > checked

  • Junk: Delete junk messages when > Never

  • Trash: Move deleted messages to the Trash mailbox > checked

  • Trash: Store deleted messages on the server > checked
  • Trash: Delete trash messages when > Quitting Mail1

1I personally chose this option as there is currently a bug between the processing of saved drafts in gmail and apple mail. This is to assist with the development of other email clients (e.g. Outlook, etc.). Put simply, drafts in apple mail are saved every 30 seconds. As one draft replaces the other, the 'old' draft gets moved to trash (it is not immediately permanently deleted). They hope to have a solution for all email clients with regard to this bug. I have selected the 'Quitting Mail' option as outlined above as this ensures that old drafts are permanently deleted from the server. [I was once writing an email and had to leave my computer to go somewhere else. I saved a draft in apple mail. Little did I care about the fact that there were several previous drafts in the trash, which I turned to regret later. After I logged into my gmail account from a remote location (using web browser) I went to my drafts folder to retrieve the message I was writing to my recipient. Once opened, I continued my email. All was good until it was time to send. The online version of gmail would not allow me to send an email where aspects of it were present in the trash. I went to the trash and saw that all the drafts of my message were there. I had to, and did, move these messages out of trash into my all mail folder (if I can remember correctly) and then sent the message. Little did I realize the mess I made for myself in having to delete 58 old drafts, one at a time. I do hope apple and gmail sort this issue out, as it will mean a lot to me if they do and we won't have to keep the setting for Mail to empty our trash every time we quit JUST TO KEEP A GMAIL BUG FROM "BUGGING US TOO MUCH", so to speak! Just don't move anything REALLY valuable to the trash as it will be gone forever once you quit mail!].

Follow my directions, and you will have the most bug-free experience between gmail and apple mail. I will keep you updated on the above issue, as things progress.

Address Book
Address Book

Address Book and Google Contacts

Using Address Book to sync with your Google Contacts is a great way to keep all of your contacts within easy reach wherever you go. Setting up is easy:

  1. Open Address Book (icon similar to that on the right in the taskbar menu)
  2. Select Address Book > Preferences from the top menu bar.
  3. Go to the Accounts tab
  4. Check the 'Synchronize with Google' box and then select Configure
  5. Enter your username (e.g. xxx@gmail.com) and password and then press OK

Please be aware, however, that contact sync' only occurs on an hourly basis unless you specifically click the sync icon in the upper right-hand menu near the time and spotlight search icons (indicated by arrows directed in circular motion - Snow Leopard Only).

If you wish for automatic sync' to occur more often, these steps might come in handy:

  1. Go to /Users/yourusername/Library/LaunchAgents
  2. Open the com.google.GoogleContactSyncAgent file
  3. Change the <integer> value from 3600 to that of your choice. Do not modify the document in any other way. More on this is detailed below
  4. Save the document (do not change the extension or anything else)
  5. Restart your mac for changes to take effect

Your contact sync services should be operating at the time interval you specified.

[EDITED TO ADD (Also Found in Comments):

Google Contacts Sync Broken with 10.6.4:

It has recently come to my attention that Google Contact Sync is not working on Mac OS X 10.6.4. This appears to be an issue with all individuals using this version of software. I will keep you informed on the outcome on this. Please stand by.

Click Here for more information: http://rmmr-denver.com/2010/06/google-contacts-syn]

[EDITED TO ADD (Also Found in Comments):

Mac OSX 10.6.5 has recently been officially released!  Google contact sync *appears* to be working correctly like in 10.6.3

I shall keep posting updates on any issues should they arise.]

Initial com.google.GoogleContactSyncAgent file

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<!DOCTYPE plist PUBLIC "-//Apple//DTD PLIST 1.0//EN" "http://www.apple.com/DTDs/PropertyList-1.0.dtd">
<plist version="1.0">
<dict>
	<key>Label</key>
	<string>com.google.GoogleContactSyncAgent</string>
	<key>LimitLoadToSessionType</key>
	<string>Aqua</string>
	<key>ProgramArguments</key>
	<array>
	<string>/System/Library/PrivateFrameworks/GoogleContactSync.framework/Versions/A/Resources/gconsync</string>
		<string>--sync</string>
		<string>com.google.ContactSync</string>
		<string>--periodic</string>
	</array>
	<key>StartInterval</key>
	<integer>3600</integer>
</dict>
</plist>

Change the value from 3600 seconds to that of your choice:

 
 
<integer>3600</integer>
 

The default number of seconds between sync's is 3600 (i.e. 1 hour).

I like to have mine sync about once every 2 minutes.

I therefore alter the digits in approximately the third last line of the document where the <integer> tag is displayed.

The following change results:

<integer>120</integer>
 


Preffered com.google.GoogleContactSyncAgent file

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<!DOCTYPE plist PUBLIC "-//Apple//DTD PLIST 1.0//EN" "http://www.apple.com/DTDs/PropertyList-1.0.dtd">
<plist version="1.0">
<dict>
	<key>Label</key>
	<string>com.google.GoogleContactSyncAgent</string>
	<key>LimitLoadToSessionType</key>
	<string>Aqua</string>
	<key>ProgramArguments</key>
	<array>
	<string>/System/Library/PrivateFrameworks/GoogleContactSync.framework/Versions/A/Resources/gconsync</string>
		<string>--sync</string>
		<string>com.google.ContactSync</string>
		<string>--periodic</string>
	</array>
	<key>StartInterval</key>
	<integer>120</integer>
</dict>
</plist>
iCal
iCal

iCal and Google Calendar

Apple iCal has become a world-class electronic calendar, guiding vast numbers of humans in planning, organising and keeping track of events. The recent upgrade to OS 10.6 has now enabled users to use some of the best electronic calendars around (i.e. Google Calendar and iCal) to work together and automatically sync data between each other.

Setting up is easy, however there are some steps that need to be completed:

  1. Open iCal (from taskbar)
  2. Export any calendars currently in iCal (i.e. File > Export > Export) [if there are currently no calendars in iCal, skip to step 7]
  3. Open your web browser and go to http://calendar.google.com/
  4. Log into your account and go to your calendar Settings
  5. Select the Calendars pane
  6. Click on Import Calendars and add your calendar by adding your exported iCal file and uploading it. Then go to iCal
  7. Go to Preferences in iCal
  8. Select the Accounts tab
  9. Click the + button toward the bottom-left of the window.
  10. A window will appear.  Change the Account Type from Automatic to Google, then enter your email address and password.
  11. Select the Delegation header to check to see if you have other calendars.  This is where different calender types and categories that you have access to will appear.  Check the boxes of those you want to see on your iCal.

You might want to change how often iCal syncs with google.  This can be done under preferences in the accounts tab.  Unfortunately, at this point in time you can neither sync tasks nor add new calendars to your google calendar network using iCal. You will need to go into your web browser and log into your google calendar account to change these sorts of things.  Setting reminder alarms also has limited functionality as times often don't match on both ends.   Adding and modifying events is possible, as is adding repeated events and routine occurrences.

Why use Google for your personal account?

The reason to use google as a primary account for many means is due to its being functional, free and flexible for many different everyday electronic purposes. The ability to share your google calendar with another google calendar user is great for communicating commitments and schedules with family, friends and colleagues. Many other services, including MobileMe and Yahoo! lack in flexibility and ability to meet many of our individual desires (i.e. sharing online, etc.). Additionally, Yahoo charges for POP and IMAP access and MobileMe charges for THE LOT (excluding 60-day free trial)!  Windows Live Mail is a complete joke.

Businesses use Google to receive and send email day in, and day out.  It is no wonder Google has become such a popular means of internet communication since internet came about.  Especially since there are so many different departments and uses of their FREE services.

Though perhaps not as user-friendly as possible, I believe that Gmail is the way to go!  If you know what you're doing, have a mac, and can effectively set up your accounts I believe there is no other way to proceed.  I have, overall, had an extremely positive experience with Google and am very pleased that we have such a good internet-based organisation we can trust with our every-day needs.  A time and money saver for sure!

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Replies 3 comments

infonolan profile image

infonolan 6 years ago from Australia Author

Google Contacts Sync Broken with 10.6.4:

It has recently come to my attention that Google Contact Sync is not working on Mac OS X 10.6.4. This appears to be an issue with all individuals using this version of software. I will keep you informed on the outcome on this. Please stand by.

Click Here for more information: http://rmmr-denver.com/2010/06/google-contacts-syn...


Ian 6 years ago

I think Apple has missed one important issue here, myself. And that is syncing. Address book is currently not automatically syncing between it and google contacts ever since OS 10.6.4 was released! Bummer!!!

Apple really has a great system in place, however they really need to get things right with certain aspects of ease of use and functionality, like this!

This needs to be resolved, urgently!


infonolan profile image

infonolan 6 years ago from Australia Author

Mac OSX 10.6.5 has recently been officially released! Google contact sync *appears* to be working correctly like in 10.6.3

I shall keep posting updates on any issues should they arise.

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