If you own an iPhone or other non-Android smartphone, then your life has become more difficult as Google drops support for the Exchange ActiveSync protocol. Google has taken this step as a part of their “Winter Cleaning” process, the company said.

For those who don’t know, Exchange ActiveSync is an XML based protocol which is developed by Microsoft. This protocol allows synchronization of email, contacts, calendar, and other data between servers and mobile devices. The bad news is that from January 30, 2013, you won’t be able to sync up your Gmail account with your iPhone.

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Google is recommending CalDAV for calendar, CardDAV for contacts, and IMAP for email. There’s one more way though – the Gmail app for iOS and Android.

Here’s what Google has to say in a blog post:

With the recent launch of CardDAV, Google now offers similar access via IMAP, CalDAV and CardDAV, making it possible to build a seamless sync experience using open protocols. Starting January 30, 2013, consumers won’t be able to set up new devices using Google Sync; however, existing Google Sync connections will continue to function. Google Sync will continue to be fully supported for Google Apps for Business, Government and Education. Users of those products are unaffected by this announcement.

Recently Google has stopped its free signup for Google Apps account and now with the news of Exchange ActiveSync being dropped; it won’t be a surprise if people starts complaining to Google about all these changes.

Now time for the good news. Existing Google Sync connections will continue to function and Google Sync will be fully supported for those who have a paid Google Apps account for business, government, or education.