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Monday, August 6, 2007

Synchronizing a MacBook and Bluetooth Device with iSync

iSync is the data-transfer and synchronizing utility application that ships with OS X Tiger (the operating system that the MacBook uses), and it works fine with both wired and wireless Bluetooth connections. The difference between Bluetooth File Exchange (BFE) and iSync is a matter of intelligence:

  • BFE merely transfers files and dumps them in the folders you specify.
  • iSync copies and updates your Address Book, Safari, and iCal information between devices. iSync compares the information on both your laptop and your devices and makes sure they end up the same.
    iSync also allows you to synchronize data between multiple computers using your .Mac membership so that the contacts, bookmarks, and calendar data on your iBook match the data on your Mac. You can control what gets sent from the .Mac pane in System Preferences.

Just because your phone or PDA supports Bluetooth doesn't mean that iSync is guaranteed to work. For a complete list of the Bluetooth phones, PDAs, and other devices that work with iSync, visit Apple and search for "isync compatible devices".

After your supported Bluetooth device is linked to your Mac, follow these steps to add the new device to iSync and synchronize your data:

1. Click the Finder icon on the dock.

2. Click Applications in a Finder window's sidebar, and then double-click iSync.

3. Press Command+N.

4. Click Scan to display any Bluetooth devices in range.

5. Double-click the device you want to use.

The window expands to allow you to specify the data to synchronize. Other settings might appear as well, depending on the device.

6. Select the check boxes for each data type you want to exchange.

7. Click Sync Devices.

Keep in mind that you should never disconnect a device while a synchronization is in progress — the data being transferred could become corrupt or your laptop could lock up. Patience pays off big time in this case.

Deleting a calendar event or a contact on either your laptop or the Bluetooth device deletes that same data from the other machine! For example, if you decide you no longer need your personal contacts on your Mac at work and you delete them, they'll be deleted from your PDA when you synchronize. iSync creates a mirror image on both sides of the connection, so additions appear and deletions disappear.

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