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

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 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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2006-06-22 Das neue iSync versteht unser Nokia 6230i

At last! We now have software to sync our mobile phones with a computer. Claudia and I each own a Nokia 6230i. Well, she does starting today. Her phone is new, and we had to get data off the old phone onto the new one.

The Nokia 6230i phone does Bluetooth, but the iSync software on OS X 10.3 (“Panther”) was not able to sync contacts with it. Only a simple file transfer was possible. Or I was just too stupid to set it up. But it works with OS X 10.4 (“Tiger”) as we discovered yesterday.

Claudia’s addressbook is based upon a very old BBDB file we used to share many years back when both of us used Gnus to read mail. It contained about 800-900 contacts. Her old phone had contained 200-300 contacts.

The old phone is a Nokia 6610i without Bluetooth. What to do?

I copied all her contacts on the old phone to the SIM card. This copied several dozen numbers but still left many on the phone itself. Transferd SIM card and moved the contacts from the SIM onto the new phone. Ran iSync just to check. Seems to work! (Although it did take quite some time!)

Moved SIM card back to the old phone. Damn! In the first step, I had copied instead of moving! This time, I moved several dozen numbers from the phone to the SIM, transfered SIM and moved them onto the new phone. Transfer stopped after a while. I figured those were the duplicates that it would not transfer and decided to delete the contacts remaining on the SIM.

Big mistake! I discovered that the new phone’s memory was full. I had called iSync and synchronized all contacts – over a thousand by now. It seems that the phone cannot handle more than 1000 contacts. Talk about arbitrary limits. Bastards!

I had obviously deleted a few dozen contacts from the SIM that had no room on the phone. Argh! Perhaps I was lucky and those had been copied in the first run? We still don’t know whether we lost anybody important.

It turns out that iSync has an option to limit synchronization to contacts having a phone number. Very handy, because most of the old and useless contacts from our BBDB times only have Email addresses.

But now I had it figured out. Take the SIM, move contacts from the old phone to the SIM, transfer SIM, move contacts from the SIM to the new phone. Repeat. Then sync. Worked!

Claudia’s addressbook has around 1130 contacts, now.



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2005-12-04 Gadgets

I’m considering to add 512MB or 1GB of RAM to my little iBook. It has 256MB at the moment. iPhoto is taking way too long to start up these days with a bit over 700 pics in it. Once iPhoto started, it’s comfortable to use, but switching to any other application takes forever because of all the swapping.

And I’m planning on buying a Bluetooth/USB thing so that I can try to sync my mobile phone with my laptop. That would be an excellent way of backing up my mobile phone.

Update: Bought it, and now iPhoto starts in a few seconds only. Got to test the Bluetooth thingy now. I got a Nokia 6230i before leaving to India, as the display of my old Nokia 6610i broke when I dropped it. It turns out that these phones are Bluetooth capable (nice to transfer pictures from the phone to the laptop), but not iSync compatible. WTF!? Why not?

Oh, and since I have OSX 10.3 instead of 10.4, I get to use iSync 1.5 instead of iSync 2.1, therefore I have a different list of compatible devices. ARGH!

Using non-free software seems to have no great effect on my periphery hassle. This is exactly the kind of thing I kept hating about Linux.

Strangely enough it seems that I can download iSync 2.1. But it won’t help. The Readme file says that it is for 10.4 only. :(

And I don’t even want real syncing. All I want is to get my address book from the phone onto the laptop in some useful form so that I can use it as a backup. vCards sounds like a fine format, for example.

And here I was thinking that Bluetooth had been designed as a standard for all to follow and to solve exactly these kinds of problems.

I also noticed that my Airport Extreme (WiFi) range has been severely reduced after adding this 1GB of RAM. Did they damage it? Is the new RAM obstructing the radio waves somehow? Damn. I don’t think it’s the base station or the cablemodem, because it works just fine from my desktop… Download speed over 76 KB/sec. So they must have done something to my Airport card.

Welcome to the real world, I guess.

Just before going to bed I removed the iBook keyboard, removed the Airport card, put it back, unplugged the antenna (?) – and it worked!! :)


Comments on 2005-12-04 Gadgets

Ging mir ebenso mit genau der gleichen Ausrüstung. Konnte das Nokia noch umtauschen und habe das Sonyericsson K750i gekauft. Damit bin ich zufrieden. Nur das «Sony» im Namen gefällt mir gar nicht.

StefanBucher 2005-12-05 21:00 UTC

Habe gerade im c’t gelesen, dass gnokii auch mit meinem Nokie 6230i klar kommen sollte. Das werde ich daheim auf meiner SlackWare Kiste dann mal ausprobieren.

AlexSchroeder 2006-01-04 14:59 UTC

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