Desperately trying not to go back to Windows Mobile. Advice needed!

Discussion in 'iPhone Tips, Help and Troubleshooting' started by horrgakx, Mar 27, 2008.

  1. horrgakx macrumors member


    Dec 5, 2007
    UK, North West
    I posted this originally as a blog, titled "The iPhone and firmware 1.1.4. An improvement?". Any help on these issues is greatly appreciated.

    Syncing between 2 computers
    This is my biggest concern and still an area of problems and confusion. I use Outlook on two Windows PC's (home and work) and use a mobile device between them to keep calendars & contacts in sync on all three devices; something my Candy Bar phones since the 1990’s and my Windows Mobile phone did very well indeed. But the iPhone and iTunes seem to really trip up over this which should be relatively straight forward.

    If, for example, a contacts’ information changes then it should be compared to the existing record and updated. However I've found that when information gets merged it is likely that contacts and calendar entries are duplicated instead of updated.

    An example of a specific calendar sync problem is this;
    - My iPhone and work calendars are synced and I leave work for the day.
    - I update a calendar entry on the iPhone on the way home when I get a phone call to say that the start time of a meeting is changed.
    - I push the calendar to my home PC.
    - When I return to work the next day the iPhone and iTunes create an additional meeting in the calendar with the new time instead of updating the original.
    At this point I then have to delete one of the entries in my work Outlook; I’m sure that this will trip up at some point and will mean missing entries.

    Sometimes I've seen the two PC's play a game of pong between each other using the iPhone in the middle where contact information (firstname/lastname sorting especially) can be reverted back to how it was a couple of syncs ago. I'm missing the logic of this at the moment and am still trying to work out how it works, but it seems to be a similar issue to that of the calendar above.

    I think that confusion arises from wording of the sync options iTunes gives; for example plugging between home and work PCs; iTunes warns every time it goes between the two that the information is synced with another PC and gives two options; first it can "Merge the information on this iPhone with the information from this user account" or "Replace the information on this iPhone with the information from this user account". Well, my answer is "I don't want to do either of these!” I actually want something similar to the first option but the other was around; i.e. update the information on this user account with the information from this iPhone. There are a large number of people wanting to do this kind of merge so surprising this isn't readily supported.

    Music syncing
    I'll only briefly mention the music sync issue with 2 accounts because it has been done to death. I read somewhere that the reason an iDevice won't sync music with 2 accounts is because of piracy concerns. Do me a favour. It is easier to remove DRM protection from a music file than it is to use the arkward iTunes music management system to copy music. I think this is a glaring shortcoming of iTunes which is dressed up by the bandwagon-jumpers to be a non-existent piracy concern. If piracy is their concern then why does it also apply this blanket rule to photos as well?

    Some good news though, there is a little improvement where SMS is concerned; you can now send to multiple recipients and it also looks like it supports long messages. However, the way it displays your messages in a “threaded view” can cause delay if you have a great number of messages between you and another person. Also you're not able to store individual messages individually in different folders - something I found invaluable on a Candy Bar phone and my Windows Mobile device. Perhaps this is Apple’s way of doing things sufficiently differently, similar to what Lotus did with their Notes application...

    Still no MMS support. The US doesn’t use this much so why include it for the rest of the world…

    IMAP server syncing doesn’t work properly. An example I tried was to download messages from my mail server to the iPhone, delete them in the iPhone mail application, then re-sync. I swear that I have seen this work properly and replicate the deletes back to the server… but yesterday I was surprised when the iPhone told me there was no mail left to download but my home PC managed to download 76 emails from the same server.

    Again some people may use mail like this – I do – read mail on a mobile device when on the move and then from the comfort of my home when I return, expecting the server to be hosting unread and undeleted email only.

    Other issues?
    There are another couple of un-implemented minor issues which I still find a pain – I came across the inability to highlight text for example just the other day when I wanted to select some sentences in a web-based forum and apply some formatting, I had to wait until I could do this task on a PC.

    The iPhone is still a very rewarding device to use and has been improved slightly with the new firmware.

    However iTunes still seems to be the root of all evil and being a PC user iTunes is the second worst software I’ve ever used. Without knowing too much about it I’m taking a stab that iTunes was never designed to do as much as this and has only the most basic of support bolted on.

    Ultimately these frustrations and issues seriously tarnish the iPhone for me. My Windows Mobile phone is still sitting on my desk and I’m really trying hard to resist reaching for it.
  2. horrgakx thread starter macrumors member


    Dec 5, 2007
    UK, North West
    About the duplicating of contact and calendar information - further results.

    I synced this morning okay and was out of the office for a while. When I got back I re-synced and it showed me this below. Very very strange. I'm not even given any options to view what it will change.


    Needless to say I cancelled.
  3. memesmith macrumors regular

    Sep 14, 2007
    Sounds like, if you insist on synching between three machines, you want to go back to a solution that works for you. I gave up on that when I had an old palm and synched between windows at work, and a mac at home.

    Since my company forbade syncing PdAs with our now locked down laptops, I've pretty much given up on the three way sync. And I don't miss it! The iPhone has replaced outlook as my diary and contacts. And if my outlook calendar isn't insync with my iphone one. It's the IT departments fault. Of course it helps that I'm senior enough that people don't updatemy dart without asking me. I hope though, when Apple bring in Active Sync and Cisco VPN, the IT boys will let me sync the iPhone over the air.

    iTunes I love, you hate it. I'm not going to convince you.
  4. horrgakx thread starter macrumors member


    Dec 5, 2007
    UK, North West
    Thanks for the reply.

    I'll go back to my WM device today and consign the iPod to my drawer. When the new firmware arrives I'll try it again.
  5. bstpierre macrumors 6502a

    Mar 28, 2008
    I know exactly what you are talking about. I have a PC at work with Outlook and a Mac at home and I wanted to sync them both. I constantly got duplicate appointments. I finally gave up. I just sync my iPhone at home which gives me my persoanl schedule, my wife's personal schedule and my kids' personal schedules. (They are all published on a local server so I can subscribe to them in iCal.) Any work appoints that are important I add to the iPhone. Fortunately there isn't many.

    I use to do a similar thing with my Palm Treo but then the work PC was more of the master. iSync on the Mac wasn't the best and the level of success was similar.

    I guess Apple just expects that everyone has a fully integrated life (personal and work) and doesn't realize that the iPhone needs to bring two distinct worlds together. I would love to have two calendars on the iPhone. Sync the work computer with the work calendar on the iPhone and synce the home computer with the home calendar on the iPhone.
  6. horrgakx thread starter macrumors member


    Dec 5, 2007
    UK, North West
    Using the WM phone now, synced flawlessly, updated everything, and no duplicates :) AND I can use the memory on it like an external drive - no more iTunes YAYY!!!!!
  7. ToneMonkey macrumors member

    Oct 5, 2007
    Ah Jeez, that's NOT what I wanted to hear

    Yeah, I want to do something similar. Right now, I am using a WM device (Motorola Q) with Missing Sync and its NOT working. I had to give up on this because when I would sync the Q with my home mac, Missing Sync would NOT detect any changed contacts on the Q. I suspect the problem is with the database logs on the Q (there are more Q related caveats on the Missing Sync web site than for any other device).

    Bloody hell. My life is in shambles. I never know if I will have the phone number I need on my Q; I'm using the calendar at work. My wife has to email me to add a personal appt (a total p!ss off) and vice versa if I need to make her aware of something on my calendar.

    Hopefully, Apple is dealing with this in the new enterprise implementation. How come Palm OS could get this right 9 years ago and no one can get it right now?
  8. mctheriot macrumors regular


    Nov 2, 2007
    McHenry, IL
    If you want, checkout

    I use this and keep 2 Macs, 1 Windows PC and Google all fully sync'd.

  9. horrgakx thread starter macrumors member


    Dec 5, 2007
    UK, North West

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