Contact and event synchyronization between iOS and Windows (Thunderbird)

Discussion in 'iOS 8' started by desertman, Feb 14, 2015.

  1. desertman macrumors 6502a

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    Arizona, USA
    #1
    What is the best way to synchronize contacts and events between Thunderbird on a Windows PC and Contacts and Calendar on an iPhone 4 with iOS 7 and an iPad Air with iOS 8?

    A friend of mine is in this situation, and I could not help her right away. She has been using BirdieSync (on PC and iPhone/iPad) but although BirdieSync says it would be synchronizing it actually seems not to do it.

    Can this be done via iCloud? And if, how?
     
  2. Trahearne macrumors 6502

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    Oct 6, 2014
    #2
    iCloud uses CalDAV and CardDAV. So you can sync your Thunderbird with iCloud using these two protocols.
     
  3. gordon1234 macrumors 6502a

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    Jun 23, 2010
    #3
    Contact and event synchyronization between iOS and Windows (Thunderbird)

    Apple provides an iCloud sync service for Windows but it does not support Thunderbird. iCloud contacts use CardDav for syncing, which is an open standard which Thunderbird sadly does not support. There may be a CardDav extension for Thunderbird (for instance, the Lightning extension supports iCloud calendars but not contacts.)

    Another idea would be to use Google Contacts as an intermediary. There is a Thunderbird extension for syncing thunderbird contacts to Google, and several apps for syncing iCloud contacts to Google. I use this one myself: http://www.macupdate.com/app/mac/41498/contacts-sync-for-google-gmail
    This would be my approach were I in this situation.
     
  4. desertman thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #4
    Thanks. I think it needs to be done the Google way. There are Thunderbird CalDAV extensions, but what I read about them is not really inspiring confidence (and not the right thing for someone who does not want and can fiddle around with settings).

    Funny that here Apple - who usually uses proprietary protocols whenever possible - uses an established open standard while Thunderbird - from whose makers I would expect nothing but established open standards - goes a proprietary way and thus forces users to go through Google.
     
  5. gordon1234 macrumors 6502a

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    #5

    Well, Thunderbird has a ton of glaring deficiencies, sadly. Mozilla has said it is no longer in active development. They'll still release bug fixes, but are not allocating any resources for new functionality.
     
  6. IHelpId10t5, Feb 14, 2015
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2015

    IHelpId10t5 macrumors 6502

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    Nov 28, 2014
    #6
    As folks have pointed out, the unfortunate fact is that although email (IMAP) standards have been fairly well supported in a standardized way by client software over the years, contacts and calendar events have not. Even with CalDAV and CardDAV, it's still difficult because of lack of client support and/or different treatment of custom fields on each client and server implementation (often losing contact details during syncing).

    Therefore, the best solutions in 2014 for painless "syncing" of email, calendars, and contacts is to simply choose one of the major players like Apple (iCloud), Google (Gmail/Google Drive), or Microsoft (Outlook.com/Office 365), then use their web clients on your computers (Mac, Windows, Linux), and use the built-in apps for Mail, Calendar, and Contacts on your iOS devices.

    Once you abandon local client software (e.g. Thunderbird, Outlook, Apple Mail/Contacts/iCal) and adapt your workflow to web clients for your PCs and Macs, then life becomes very good. Gone will be the days of continuous sync problems. Things just work as they should. And, the native iOS apps work as expected as well.

    I had used nearly every popular mail client for 20 years but finally gave in to using web clients a few years ago. I have never looked back. My many mail, calendars, and contacts servers now work as expected across many PCs, Macs, and iOS devices, all day every day without ever even thinking about syncing.
     
  7. gordon1234 macrumors 6502a

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    Jun 23, 2010
    #7
    Ugh, I can't stand web clients. Everything just seems so slow and clumsy compared to a good native apps. A lot of the newer mail clients (Not Apple Mail) make everything very painless if you use one of the major clients.

    For instance, I use AirMail on my Mac. It supports basically every non-standard email feature from Gmail, including the single key keyboard shortcuts. It also automatically imports contacts from Google (as well as from Apple Contacts.)

    Web clients also completely fall down if you have multiple email accounts. Google kinda sorta supports multiple accounts with a switching mechanism, but you can't have a single view with all your mail. With a local client I can view a merged inbox with all the mail from all my accounts, regardless of service or protocol.
     
  8. desertman thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    Jul 14, 2008
    Location:
    Arizona, USA
    #8
    First, 2014 is gone; we have 2015 now.

    Second, I have email addresses from four different providers, one of them being a company address. How can this be handled differently in one place (or one application) than with a "normal" email client on Windows, OS X and iOS devices? For me it works perfectly fine with Mail on my Mac and Mail on my iOS machines.

    However, this thread started out about something very different, and also the friend of mine that I mentioned in my original post has three different email providers, one of them being a small company. Web mail or proprietary apps for just one provider may be ok for people with one email provider; for others they don't work.
     

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