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I am using the gmail app for my emails, but I want to merge my extensive list of contacts in my phone book to my gmail app. Is there a way to do this?

Ultimately, it would be great if when you tapped an email in the contact list it opened in the GMail app, rather then the iphones native mail app, but Im guessing thats not possible.

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Nope, you can not change the default Mail Client. However, you can make Google the default directory for your contacts. With iOS7 just login with your Gmail account in Settings -> Mail, Calendar, Contacts. After this scroll down and search for the column "Contacts" there you should the default account to your gmail account. If you can’t find the last one, you probably have only one account with contact sync capabilities.

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