Ivan has an Android phone and wants a good backup and restore solution. Leo says that in the settings there's an option to backup and restore directly to and from Google. It's not seamless like iCloud, but it does work.
Jeff is having problems with his favorites in Google Chrome. Leo says that a nice feature of Chrome is that it can sync everything in the browser, from links to themes. First, Jeff should make sure he doesn't have any other bookmark sync programs installed. Leo recommends going into the bookmarks manager on his main computer to clean it up. Then he should sync it again, but wait a little bit before using another computer.
Bob has an iPod Touch connected to Ford Sync via USB. When he stops the car, he loses his place in the podcast he's listening to. Leo says iTunes and the iPod is set up so that if it stops in the middle of a song, it would start over, but if it's an audiobook or podcast, it would start where it left off. It does this based on hidden data in the file to tell the iPod what type of file it is.
Gary has been using Google Sync with Microsoft Outlook and his Android phone, but it's no longer working. What are his alternatives? Leo says that Google is now charging for the privilege to use Google Sync, and that's too bad. Free users won't get to sync anymore to Outlook. He can pay $5 a month for the capability, but he'd rather not do that.
Leo says that ever since the iPad got wireless sync, he stopped using iTunes for it. Frankly, iTunes for Windows is a "bag of hurt," and just doesn't work right. He could try and reinstall iTunes, as some in the chatroom think that'll restore the capability to save to folders.
Using DropBox is an easier idea, and it's free. iCloud is still the easiest, however. The chatroom has found an Apple technote that will help Gary sync specified folders. Check it out here.
The key is to switch over to other third party programs for syncing data. Here are some alternatives to Apple services that will work on Android phones:
- Google Contacts & Calendars
If he uses Google for contacts and calendars, he'll be able to sync this across all of his devices. This works with both iOS and Android devices.
Larry has been using a Palm 680 PDA since 1993 and would like to migrate the data to a new smartphone. Which is easier, iPhone or Android? Leo says that either will do, but there will be a little bit of effort to export out everything. Leo recommends exporting and syncing to Google first. Once he has everything in Google, then it doesn't matter which phone he gets.
It's not unusual to get duplicates when syncing, and Apple hasn't been particularly great with cloud services. MobileMe was a disaster and iCloud has it's issues too. Since Julie is syncing multiple devices, it's possible that iCloud isn't merging the entries from each device into one contact. Unfortunately, the only real way to fix this is for Julie to pick one of the entries and manually delete the others. It's also important to turn off iTunes syncing after turning on iCloud syncing. Using both will cause duplication also.
From the Chatroom, older versions of the Google Contacts API were killed in early April. So that’s probably why the widgets stopped working and it’s probably a precursor to Google killing iGoogle altogether. Leo couldn't find any official Google contacts widget, and couldn't even find editor's picks anymore either.
Dennis also wanted to know how to get contacts in one phone book on his phone to those in Google. Leo thinks there's a way to either merge them or import one phone book into the other at contacts.google.com.
Unfortunately, Microsoft Outlook will not sync contacts with Android phones, and in fact it doesn't even sync with Windows Phone 7 either. There are a few ways Rene can accomplish this goal, however.
- Microsoft Exchange Server
If Rene were using a Microsoft Exchange Server, then it would be possible. Most corporations use this, and with the Exchange Server it works fine.