Syncing contacts

September 11, 2009 | categories: Gadgets

Recently, I've set up contacts to sync between my iPod Touch, PC and mobile phone (Sony Ericcson k750i). It's a feature that's been in all my last few phones but not one I've bothered with for a simple reason: My phone makes phone calls and texts, while my PC sends emails. There was no crossover. However, with the addition of my iPod Touch to the collection, which can send both emails (through Apple's Mail app) and texts (through the Eirtext app. It's for Ireland, but other apps exist for the UK and US), things have changed.

So my starting point was:

  • iPod Touch with a few of my most used phone numbers and email addresses
  • Gmail with a few email addresses
  • Thunderbird on Windows and Linux with separate contact lists
  • Mobile phone with most phone numbers, and a few email addresses.

For my starting point, I began with Gmail, since that was already online, so accessible with all devices. I found there actually was a google contacts, which seemed a good place to start. So I set this up, and while doing so, discovered Google Sync. I now had everything I needed.

The first thing I synced then was my iPod Touch. Google conviently provides instructions on their website. Since I was on 3.0 here is a shortened version of the instructions. Click the link for the long version, or the 2.2 instructions.

Part 1: Backup existing contacts to Google Contacts

  1. Connect your iPod Touch to your computer and open iTunes.
  2. Select your iPod Touch and click the Info tab.
  3. Check the Sync Contacts with option and select Google Contacts from the drop-down menu.
  4. Click Configure and enter your Google username and password, then click apply.

Part 2: Set up synchronization

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Select Mail, Contacts, Calendars.
  3. Tap Add Account... and choose Microsoft Exchange.
  4. In the Email field, enter your full Google Account email address.
  5. Enter your Google Account details for the username and password fields and press next.
  6. A new Server field will appear. Enter, then press next.
  7. Select the Google services you want to sync. According to Google, only contacts and calendar work.

And now my iPod Touch was set up.

My next item to set up was Thunderbird.  This was handled neatly by the Google Contacts add on. Install, enter account settings, enjoy. I had to do this twice. Once for my Windows installation of Thunderbird, and once for my Linux installation.

The final task was my mobile phone. This was a bit harder, as there were no instructions on the google sync homepage, and no sign of where to look, but after asking on Superuser, I found this page of instructions from Google. It's for the w800i, but they work on the k750i aswell. The one hitch was because of the large number of duplicated contacts, I had to let it send all contacts to Google, merge the duplicates, delete all from the phone, then resync to download the new contacts.

And that was it. Contacts synced across all three devices.