Tuesday, 26 August 2008

iPhone 3G - Google Calendar and Contacts sync

How would one go about syncing calendar and contacts from a Nokia N73 to a new iPhone 3G?

Sounds like it should be a simple task right? ... Wrong! The contacts bit was fairly easy, you just nee to use the Windows address book. Don't worry if you don't use Outlook Express normally, you only have to do it the once and it's all done. Copy your phones contacts to the Windows address book using the PC Suite, then use iTunes to sync your address book to the iPhone. Simple!

However, Calendar entries are a lot more problematic. iTunes will only work with Microsoft Outlook on Windows, if you don't have it then iTunes will tell you "No supported calendar application can be found". Not very helpful really, especially when you find out Apple only supports an expensive Microsoft application that you probably have no need for. I certainly wasn't going to buy it just for this, so I set about trying to find an alternative method that didn't involve me entering hundreds of appointments manually!

While I was searching for potential solutions I suddenly remembered reading something about synchronising my Nokia calendar with Google. So I thought, if I can get my calendar onto Google, I'd then only have to get it back off Google onto my iPhone. I'd solved it, or so I thought....

Actually getting my calender onto Google wasn't that hard, I found a web service that will do it for you with the built in sync software on the phone. GooSync was the the place to do this, simply register for an account. They send you the configuration in an SMS message which you save to your phone. Then you allow the service to access your Google calendar, a few seconds later all your events should have magically been transferred for you.

We are now half way there, unfortunately GooSync doesn't have any support for the iPhone, so I still had to figure out that bit. In fact it turned out to be the hardest part! You see Apple really do like to make things awkward sometimes. A lot of the things they do are brilliant, but every now and then they like to throw a spanner in the works and shoot themselves in the foot. There is just no easy away to sync Google Calendar with the iPhone. Hours of searching turned up no perfect solution, it just didn't seem to exist. Just as I was about to give up my prayers were answered and along came NuevaSync!

I managed to use NuevaSync to get Google Calendar to sync with the iPhone. Not only does it send all the events to your iPhone it also offers 2-way synchronisation, so changes you make on the iPhone are sent to the Google Calendar and vice-versa. Many of the other horrible solutions won't allow 2-way communication so this is a big bonus for NuevaSync. That and the fact it's free as well!

You should bear in mind that it's only in beta, so use it with caution. I've only had a quick play with it, but everything seems to be working flawlessly. It uses Microsoft Exchange so you don't have to jailbreak or install any third party applications, just enter your NeuvaSync account details into you iPhone and it works!

It's also compatible with contacts too, so you can sync your Google contacts using the same account information. If I'd known this before I'd have used it to sync my contacts as well instead of doing it through Outlook Express. If anyone tries this let me know how it goes.

Quite frankly this is an amazing service that I would be perfectly happy to pay for, so for it to be offered free is brilliant. It will be interesting to see how long it stays free once it's out of beta and demand goes through the roof :)

For now though, if you have an iPhone 3G, and you've got a Google Calendar, this is by far the best solution out there!


1. Create a GooSync account.

2. Enable GooSync to access your Google Calender.

3. Save the SMS from GooSync to your phone.

4. Allow the synchronisation to occur auto-magically.

5. Check your Calender entries are saved in Google calender.

6. Set up a NeuvaSync account.

7. Enable NeuvaSync to access your Google Calender.

8. Enter your NeuvaSync details in your iPhone. WARNING: At this point you will lose any Calendar entries in you iPhone, they will all be replaced with your Google Calendar.

9. Wait for the Calender entries to be transferred across to you iPhone.

10. Create or edit Calender entries on your iPhone or in Google and watch as they are sync'ed on the fly.

Sit back, relax and marvel at modern technology. ENJOY!

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