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2009-09-24 Loosing Data With Google iPhone Contact Sync

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Summary: Phone numbers lost

Changed:

< # I found some entries had lost their phone numbers. **#fail**

to

> # I found some entries had "lost" their phone numbers: it turns out that numbers in the format +41786125175 are not (or no longer?) shown on the iPhone. Number in the format 078 612 51 75 are shown as expected. **#fail**


Here’s what I did:

  1. backed up my Google contacts by exporting google.csv
  2. backed up my Address Book using the menu creating Address Book - 24.09.09.abbu
  3. exported my Address Book by exporting vCards.vcf
  4. uploaded the vCards.vcf file to Gmail; 700+ contacts were uploaded, 400+ were merged
  5. I had already set up syncronization for email and calendars on my iPhone; I switched on syncronization for contacts
  6. I said it should delete existing contacts on the iPhone
  7. I said I was sure
  8. I waited for a while
  9. I looked at the Mail app on my iPhone
  10. I looked at the Contacts app on my iPhone; it looked ok
  11. I looked at the Contacts on Gmail; it looked ok

Problems I am noticing right now:

  1. any notes I had for my contacts were not part of the vCards.vcf file, were not uploaded to Gmail, and are therefore lost on the iPhone #fail
  2. some records were marked as companies in my address book; this information is also lost in Gmail (but not too important); bummer
  3. some records were not merged correctly (I now have two records for my wife, for example); I assume that’s because they did not share an email address, so I can understand it
  4. I wanted to try a three way sync so I switched on “Sync Address Book contacts” in my iPhone again – I did not quite understand what “Your contacts are being synced with Microsoft Exchange over the air. Your contacts will also sync directly with this computer.” – does that mean that the three way sync is the default?
  5. strangely enough, syncing my iPhone now claims that the photos on the phone are linked to a different folder and syncing them now would delete all images and replace them with new photos; is this a side effect or unrelated? – I verified the settings (“Sync photos from: iPhoto) and said that this is what I wanted – and it promptly started to sync the 4.5G of photos, again; #fail
  6. once the 4.5G of photos are synced (needlessly), I discover that all my contacts on the iPhone have been duplicated; apprently a three way sync between iPhone, Address Book, and Gmail is impossible (I’m using Mac OS 10.4)
  7. I decided to not sync with my Address Book, removed the “Sync Address Book contacts” check in iTunes and will keep Gmail and the iPhone in sync – email addresses and phone numbers are important; Address Book is only necessary when I use Mail.app on the desktop, which I practically never do
  8. I went back to the Settings app on the iPhone, switched off Contacts sync (deleting some of the contacts), switched it on again (deleting the rest of the contacts) (and confirming it)
  9. I found some entries had “lost” their phone numbers: it turns out that numbers in the format +41786125175 are not (or no longer?) shown on the iPhone. Number in the format 078 612 51 75 are shown as expected. #fail
  10. When I added the missing info from my wife’s mobile phone to my contacts on the iPhone all contacts disappeared. The phone then reloaded them from the server. Since I have 700+ contacts it takes quite some time. For every record edited. With wifi. I fear the next edit.

I feel weird using the Microsoft Exchange Server protocol.

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