Dear Apple, Fix iSync for S60.

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Date: Wednesday, February 21st, 2007, 09:02
Category: Mobile Phone

You’re not imagining it, iSync really is broken for S60 V3 devices.
Badly.
It used to be that iSync would push over a little binary that ran a daemon to negotiate iSync communication between your Mac and your S60 handset, which dutifully listened for iSync connections and did a sync.
Now, this process has been broken from the start, due to completely obliterating speed dials and contact groups on the handset. It also blows away custom ringers on contacts and groups because it completely trashes the database on the handset with each sync.
But it gets worse. Much, much worse.
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You’re not imagining it, iSync really is broken for S60 V3 devices.
Badly.
It used to be that iSync would push over a little binary that ran a daemon to negotiate iSync communication between your Mac and your S60 handset, which dutifully listened for iSync connections and did a sync.
Now, this process has been broken from the start, due to completely obliterating speed dials and contact groups on the handset. It also blows away custom ringers on contacts and groups because it completely trashes the database on the handset with each sync.
But it gets worse. Much, much worse.
There are not many options to mitigate these problems, save the speed-dial problem. You can use a different handset (hah!) or some software for Windows PCs to manage the actual contacts and numbers on the SIM itself, and SIM-dial those contacts with ease.
Once you have your most important contacts put to positions on the SIM you can dial them easily from any S60 handset by dialing “(SIM position)#” which will then pull the number up for you, and then you just hit the Talk (green) button. Works well, it is just very difficult to manage the SIM contacts from the S60 handsets out there. I don’t know why Nokia doesn’t do something about that.
I’ve been suffering in near-silence with the way that iSync thrashes the contact database on S60 handsets for years. I would love to use contact groups to manage my interrupts depending on what profile is active on the handset — you can set the handset to allow people in the Family group to call you after 10pm, for example. But you can’t do that when every time you sync your handset to your Mac the Family group gets blown away. Thanks, Apple.
But once Apple started using SyncML natively from iSync direct to the S60 handsets we lost yet another feature that I was taking for granted:
All day appointments.
If you have an All-Day appointment in iCal, iSync now gets them into the handset as appointments from midnight to 11:59. Yes. And it totally sucks. Hard. Your only option is to stop syncing over All-Day appointments, which makes it awfully hard to check your calendar for vacations, holidays, and when you’re not going to be available for an appointment and you’re surfing your calendar at the Doctor’s office or something.
The handsets prior to S60 V3 can be configured to do things the old-fashioned way with the old iSync agent by changing some of the iSync plists, but the iSync application for the handset doesn’t work on V3 devices and will just crash out on my N73 and my E70. So here I am, with handsets I love except that Apple breaks them when Mac OS X touches them.
To recap:

  • iSync eats contact groups.
  • iSync eats custom ringers for groups and contacts.
  • iSync eats your speed-dials (but you can use SIM dialing of course)
  • iSync eats your all-day appointments and breaks them into 24-hour appointments.
    It is absolutely infuriating. You’d think I was asking for a pony, but I’m not. I just want working synchronization to modern handsets.

    This originally ran on my personal weblog, kvet.ch.

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