Nov 21

If you have an iPhone, iPad or iPod touch you’ll want the latest information available on each one as well as on your Macbook and iMac, whether it be at work or home.  There are a number of ways to synchronise different kinds of information, here’s my suggestions as to the best solution for each area that needs syncing. 

 

Addresses

Use Apple built in Address book (OSX) and Contacts (iOS) and they sync over iCloud.

 

Calendars

Use built in Calendar app on your iPhone and OSX, and sync via iCloud.

 

Notes Option #1:

Notes app

Use Notes app on your iPhone and computer – they sync with iCloud.

 

Notes Option #2.

Use Notational Velocity (on the Mac) synced with Simplenote (iOS). This is a beautiful combination and superior to Notes in many ways. For more info see here.

 

Why I use 2 notes apps:

I find it handy to have 2 separate Notes apps.  My Notational Velocity currently has 748 notes in it: song lists, research material, bits of computer code and so on. It’s more of a reference file.

I have a much smaller set of notes (about 10) that I sync with my wife. For this I use the built in notes app synced over iCloud to both our phones.  She would be overwhelmed with all my other notes!

Therefore Notes only has a few files, eg house cleaning plan, lists of presents, our shopping list.  When I go shopping my wife can add items from home while I am shopping and I will notice them in the shopping list!

Mail Accounts

 

Do it manually or use iCloud if you want.

You can setup your computer and iPhone to use  any email provider that you want (eg Gmail, Hotmail, Apple mail or whatever) and the mail will sync across.  Just be sure to use IMAP (not POP) when you set up your mail. Then the emails can sync across all your iOS devices and computers just from your mail account – you don’t need iCloud or anything.

What iCloud does when it comes to mail is that it syncs the Mail Account information (username and password etc) to your iPhone. It doesn’t sync the actual email. So you can enter the settigns by hand, or use iCloud to sync your settings.

 

 ToDo lists

Advanced: Things

Things is my favourite here but it is NOT CHEAP!  There are many, many other free options available.

Things wins hands down if you are into organising your life via to-do lists GTD (Dave Allen) style. (I have hundreds of to-do’s in Things and it’s not cluttered.)

 

Reminders

Simple: Apple Reminders

If you want a simple free solution to store just 10 or 20  to do’s then Apple’s built in ‘Reminders’ will do the job and it will sync across to the to-do list in ‘Calenders’ on your mac.

 

Photos

iPhoto

Photostream will make the last 30 days worth of photos available to any iPhone, iPad and computer (up to a max of 1000 photos).

(1) Turn on ‘Photostream’ in iPhoto on your computer under the iPhoto top Menu called  ‘Preferences’ –> ‘Photostream’ tab then click the ‘My Photo Stream’ checkbox.

(2) Turn on Photostream on your iOS device under  the ‘Settings’ –>  ‘Photos & Camera’ –> ‘My Photo Stream’ –> (ON).

IMPORTANT: You need to make sure this only syncs photos when you are on wi-fi or else you would use up lots of data.

To turn on Photostream over cellular phone network (or check that it is in fact turned off!) you need to check BOTH these settings:

Settings –> iCloud –> Photostream (ON)

and

Settings –> General –> Cellular –> Use Celllular Data for –> iCloud Documents (ON)

If both these are on, photostream will work over cellular network.

 

Receipts (Photos)

No solution!

I have been looking for a simple app that will sync photos of receipts across from the iPhone to the computer for all purchases that I make. Evernote was the closest I came but it lost half my photos in the sync so I don’t trust it. Bento is too clunky. There are numerous ‘Receipts’ apps but they either don’t sync or are too cumbersome. I’m open to suggestions!!!

 

What is iCloud?

icloud

iCloud is Apple’s sync solution. You can sync your email settings, Address Book, Calendars, Notes, Photos and Keynote/Pages documents over iCloud.  It’s very robust (unlike Apples earlier attempts such as MobileMe) and fast.

 

 

9 Responses to “How to sync information between your Macintosh computers, iPads and iPhones.”

  1. roger says:

    how do i setup mail using imap instead of pop and does this only work for mac – iPhone or between macs as well? it’s frustrating deleting or reading a email 3 times!!!

  2. lorne says:

    icloud only works on Mountain Lion, and yet it works on all windows computers including XP, (12 years old). Do I need to scrap my 3 year old Snow Leopard Mac Book Pro?

  3. Rod says:

    All I want is a simple note taking app that I can edit on both my iPodTouch and my Mac and sync with my Mac *without* having to go through any Internet stuff, any 3rd parties, or any special service such as iCloud. I want my notes to live only on my iPod & my Mac. (BTW, I use POP for email, not IMAP.)

  4. Theresa Fritz says:

    Receipts- I just saw a program called “Paperless lite” on sale for $9.99 on MacUpdate that claims to capture receipts, have you seen this program? What do you think?
    Theresa

  5. lucy says:

    You suggest that you will tell us how to synchronize iphone with Mac Mail but all you say is use the Cloud. How pray tell is that done? Your job of explaining not done yet.

  6. Mark Lidster says:

    Hey Lucy,

    Just had the same issue. Go into settings on your devices and under the iCloud option turn the mail option on. Then in mail on your macbook got mail – synchronise all accounts. I was missing loads of sent messages on my macbook which after I’d changed the settings almost immediately came through. Hope that helps

  7. TedL says:

    If you want to carry around notes, to do lists etc. and are not worried about security, one of the easiest to use apps is “notepad.cc”. I use it all the time because no matter which device I have with me or around me, I can go into any browser and type notepad.cc/password which is a password I create. Whenever I am doing research where my access is through a corporate computer, I just cut and paste my material to “notepad.cc”. When I get home, I just transfer the material to an appropriate document. I also keep my todo list and shopping lists right at the top. REMEMBER – IT IS NOT SECURE – JUST HANDY!

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