I have this blog post percolating in my head in which I will impart unto you my knowledge of using several tools on the Mac and PC for syncing your calendar, email, tasks and contact information. It’s a pretty large post and probably deserves to be its own article. I want to offer suggestions on how to accomplish many syncing scenarios for several situations that might fit your bill. I’ve experimented with enough of these syncing utilities to know what works best and what doesn’t… well, for me anyway. If it works for me, it’s gotta work for someone else, so I will write it up in the hopes that it will help someone who has one foot in the Mac world and one foot in the PC world.
For now, however, I’ll offer up a discovery today. When I was in the iPhone 2.0 beta program, one of the nagging things that I filed a bug against was the lack of syncing .Mac (which is now MobileMe) information if you engaged ActiveSync on the iPhone. Back then, if you added an ActiveSync account to your iPhone and set it up, the phone would only sync calendars and contacts against the Exchange server. Better yet, if you wanted the GAL lookup functionality, you had to enable the contact syncing with ActiveSync and kiss your MobileMe contacts goodbye. They could sit on your Mac, sure… and sync across your Macs… but the iPhone wasn’t going to talk to it.
I’m happy to report that with iPhone 2.0.1, it’s now possible to have the best of all worlds. You can sync all of your iCal calendars against MobileMe in addition to your Exchange ActiveSync calendar… and this goes for contact information as well. As a matter of fact, you even get to keep the GAL lookup functionality.
Don’t believe me? Tap “Settings”, then go to “Mail, contacts and calandars” and enable all of them for your ActiveSync account… then back up one screen and do the same for your MobileMe account. Now when you visit Contacts and Calendars, you will see all of your calendars and all of your contacts with selectors to choose between the different sources or show them all aggregated together in one view.
VERY slick. Windows Mobile and Blackberry can’t do this one. Good move, Apple… and you just made your iPhone all the more valuable to me. It was already a great device – but now syncing ALL of this information in one place makes it killer. Kudos!