Getting two separate address books to play nice on an iPhone
January 21, 2012 8:37 AM   Subscribe

Much confusion trying to integrate my personal cell phone (a google voice # + gmail + google contacts + calendar all on one google account) into my work iphone (email + calendar + contacts all on one google apps account, synced using exchange) -- particularly around a question of syncing two SEPARATE sets of contacts into one iPhone address book.

"Above the fold" hopefully explains it but to clarify --

I have a Sprint iPhone 4 for work. I have my work email/calendar/contacts (all on Google apps) all synced with it using exchange (I dutifully followed these instructions.)

My job is offering me the opportunity to piggyback my personal # off of my work cell, which I can already do using Google Voice and the GV iPhone app. So that's great. Personal calls/texts/voicemail go to the blue GV app, and work calls/texts/voicemail go to the native app. Beautiful.

But then it gets bumpy. I can't yet use this one phone as my personal phone because right now the only contacts in the address book are my work contacts (although GV labels my personal contacts already -- I suppose this is because the GV account is older than the phone / tied in over the cloud somewhere?). So for example, when Chloe (a personal friend) texts my personal #, I get that in my GV app on my work phone -- but when I want to call Chloe, I can't, because she's not in my address book! There's no address book in GV's app! Bah!

My ideal scenario would be that I can just set up another exchange sync and have my two calendars/emails (work and personal) side by side, and most critically, my two sets of contacts all in one phone book. BUT -- I don't want my work contacts syncing into my personal address book or vice versa. (I won't be working at this job forever after all, and I don't want to have to spend my last day at work purging hundreds of contacts from one or both of my accounts.) I'm sort of stuck frozen in fear that this will be the case.

So my question(s):
1. If I set up a second exchange account for my personal gmail/contacts/calendar account, can it sync all these contacts into my address book (and keep them updated) without accidentally importing all my work contacts into my personal address book or vice versa? When I leave my job, if I just unhook my personal account from the iPhone, will I have to manually delete all my contacts off my phone? (If so I think I'll live.) this seems to indicate that my ideal scenario can't happen without having to then manually delete my work contacts from my personal account AND! my personal contacts from my work account when i leave my job.* say it ain't so.

2.: Is there a workaround for my situation? A different GV app, if it exists, that would let me use my personal address book without it mixing in with my iPhone contacts for example?

3.: I haven't yet synced my phone with iCloud or iTunes but I feel like that's just opening another Pandora's box. What do I need to watch out for? i don't really understand either of these systems and how they could screw this all up.

I've spent ages Googling but this question feels really narrow and nitpicky and all the information I can find is very muddled and confusing and technical. Any help folks can offer is greatly appreciated.

*"Once this is set up, all of the calendars and address books will be the same across devices." But then again that says "Sync with Google", and I'm syncing with exchange! I don't understand! Gahhh!
posted by Muffpub to Computers & Internet (3 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Happily, you are over thinking things.

The contact lists of the various accounts don't get all cross-synced. Same thing for calendars. The iPhone just works as a data aggregator, allowing you to see all the data from your various accounts, but it doesn't mix them up.

So, no worries.

I don't think you'll want to sync w/ iTunes for contacts, calendar, etc. That's just a workaround if you don't have wireless access to that stuff already. It can easily be shut off, but you can still sync your music and whatnot.

iCloud is nothing to worry about. It's great. You can a new email address, calendar, contacts, etc. I shut that stuff off because I also use gmail. The main benefit of iCloud (to me) is that backups. It happens overnight, automatically, when you plug your phone in. Also, I really like PhotoStream. I set up the iCloud client on my server to download my iPhone photos automatically and so I don't have to worry about pulling them off or losing them. It doesn't do videos though.
posted by reddot at 2:01 PM on January 21, 2012

When you delete an account from the phone, all of the associated content will also be deleted.

Is your phone new? You can call Apple and ask them questions. Also, you can just drop by the Apple store and ask questions. They're happy to chat and help.

Google exposes an Exchange server for things to sync with. This provides a higher level of functionality than just setting things up as a regular "gmail" account on the iPhone does.
posted by reddot at 2:03 PM on January 21, 2012

YAY. i was too worried to try experimenting and risk having to pull apart two 400+ contact lists from each other -- but thanks to you i have no fear!
posted by Muffpub at 2:08 PM on January 21, 2012

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