Updated: November 9, 2012, works on iOS 6 for iPhone 5, iPad Mini and the new iPad. The setup is the same as below. This setup works well with the current iOS 5.1.1
If you have a GMail Account and you need to sync your Contacts and Calendars from GMail, then the best bet would be Microsoft Exchange. The method belows works with Google Apps as well. You can get all your E-Mail Push, Contacts and Calendars all sync. Beware though, this setup will drain your battery faster than usual. Your email will also be downloaded when your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch is off. This method works on all iOS devices such as iPhone 5, iPhone 4S, iPod Touch 5, iPad Mini, and the new iPad and so on on iOS 5 and iOS 6.
Here’s how to setup GMail Exchange on iPhone. Gmail now sync with your Contacts and Calendars, whereas before, it only does E-mail. GMail also downloads all your folder that you have set up in GMail with your Desktop Browser and you iPhone will display those folder like as if you are using your PC or Mac Browser.
1. Click on Settings > Mail, Contacts, Calendar > Add Account
2. Click on Microsoft Exchange (Very Top Button)
3. Enter your GMail Address
4. Leave Domain Blank
5. Enter Username without the @gmail.com
6. Enter Password
7. Click on Next on the Keyboard until the Server box comes out.
8. In the Server Box, enter m.google.com
9. Click Save and in a couple of minutes, your Contacts from GMail should show up on your iPhone or iPad.
So far it works great for me, though it’s not as fast as I thought it would be, but it’s definitely better than refreshing your email manually. Just follow the same settings from above. Tested with my iPad 1 and iPad 2, iPad 3, iPad 4, iPad Mini, iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, and iPhone 5.
This setup originally was from iOS 3.x. With iOS 3.x, Exchange was draining battery like water, however, with iOS 4.x, battery management for Exchange Mail is improved greatly, at least on the new iDevices.
On iOS 5 and now iOS 6, you can now setup multiple Exchange Account with GMail, and I have three setup, and if you have Google Apps for Business, like I do, you can also use that email address as Exchange Server for your iPhone. Enjoy this update.
Update on this post (December 6th, 2011): You can setup Google Apps mail the same way as the steps above. Here’s how:
1. Replace the @Gmail.com from the step 5 above with your own domain name. For example, if it’s your google apps domain is xyz.com, then it’s firstname.lastname@example.org as your username.
That’s pretty much it.