Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Sync Mac with BlackBerry?

Longer than usual post:

I’ve just spent an irritating 48 hours trying to figure out how to sync my Calendar and Contacts/Address Book data between my Mac and my BlackBerry. When I was on the Miami University BES server, I used Entourage to do this. But Cincinnati Bell’s advice was to use PocketMac to sync my Apple iCal and Address Book data to the BB.

I found PocketMac to be of no use on my current Mac, an older iBook G3 running 10.4.11. I installed and Uninstalled it several times, following BlackBerry’s advice to the letter, but I never got it to open right. And it seems to have corrupted my .Mac settings to boot. Judging from a Google search, I'm not alone in this frustration.

Why would Apple and RIM push such a piece of junk forward? I suppose Apple has no interest in helping a competitor to its iPhone. But why wouldn’t RIM do better helping out a non-negligible base of Mac-loving BlackBerry users?

I finally found the solution, thanks to one frustrated poster on BB’s message board: scrap the Apple programs and use Google Calendar and Contacts. Just:

  • save the data from both iCal and Address Book
  • set up the corresponding Google Calendar and Google Contacts
  • upload your data
  • add Google Sync to your BlackBerry
  • do initial syncs (takes a while)
I ran into one problem with Google Contacts. I'd forgotten that I had previously set it up long ago. It added my new uploads, most of which were duplicates of existing names. I could see their existence via the record count but they didn't appear on screen. Google Sync worked fine for my Calendar but Contacts crashed. I signed out, Quit Firefox and opened Safari. Safari showed the duplicates, so I selected and Deleted them all. Problem solved.

Another irritant: PocketMac is “free” on the PocketMac site -- but they charge a fee for downloads! It’s truly free on the RIM/Blackberry site, though. PocketMac does have a semi-cool Mac-like theme for a couple of bucks extra if you download (above).

I may forget about iCal and Address Book. I could Export the Google data and import it back to the Apple apps, but that may be more trouble than it's worth.

I have cross-posted this on Cleve Callison's blog.


joelchrist said...
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Timothy said...

I killed a couple of hours the same way trying to get my new Blackberry to sync with my recently acquired MacBook Pro running Snow Leopard. PocketMac doesn't install correctly and Blackberry hasn't come out with a new App to do this, though their web site promises something "in Septamber" (2009). Your solution worked well - I even created a Gmail account to do it.

Thanks for the post.

Cleve Callison said...

As it turned out I didn't give up on Address Book after all. I need it to interface with my Apple Mail. Now whenever I add a name to Google Contacts, I put it in a Group called Export, then run Export and have it automatically added to Address Book. It's an extra step or two, but not too bad.

Michael said...

Thanks for the help.. saved me hours!