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For six years, the Internet Nexus served as my technology blog, but I've since started blogging at the SuperSite Blog instead. If you're looking for the blog, please head there. --Paul

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

iPhone synching woes, Part 2

After uploading my original iPhone synching woes post the other day, I received a bunch of feedback from readers wondering whether the problems weren't caused by Apple's lackluster support of Windows Vista. I was wondering the same thing, but I was also wondering whether Office (Outlook) 2007 might be the culprit as well. (Or, put another way, whether Apple's lackluster support of Outlook 2007 might be the issue.)

So I began testing a few things.

First up: A fresh install of Windows XP with Service Pack 2 (SP2) on an older Lenovo ThinkPad T43. I had vowed to never use XP again, so this was painful, all the more so since Microsoft hasn't shipped a new XP service pack since SP2 three years ago: I had to download over 100 updates from Microsoft Update and reboot three times before it was done. Then I installed Office 2007 Professional, configured Outlook with a subscribed Google Calendar, and then installed iTunes. Then, I plugged in the iPhone, let iTunes download the iPhone software update, and restore the device. Then it was time to sync.

The sync options are virtually identical to those presented in Vista, with one logical exception: On XP, you can sync email with Outlook Express if you want. I chose Yahoo! for contacts, Outlook for calendar, and IE for bookmarks, and hoped for the best.

Bzzzt. Just as with Vista, the iPhone dashboard in iTunes can't see any Outlook calendars: The "Selected calendars" option, again, is grayed out. I'm vaguely glad that Vista isn't the problem.

So, it's back to the drawing board. Next up, I will test this with Window XP SP2 and Outlook 2003 instead of Outlook 2007. Hey, you never know. In the meantime, this is somewhat depressing: As I noted previously, sync is basic smart phone functionality. This just needs to work.

Update: Before wiping out this install, I decided to add a test calendar item to the default Outlook calendar ("Calendar") to see whether it appeared on the iPhone after syncing. It did, which suggests that local calendars work, but subscribed (Internet) calendars do not. That said, iTunes still won't show that you even have multiple calendars, and of course, subscribed Internet calendars work fine if you sync from iCal on the Mac. And what about secondary local calendars? I created a new calendar in Outlook, "iPhone calendar," and created an appointment in there too. Rebooted. Re-synced. Nothing. So maybe it's not only just local calendars that work, but only the primary local calendar. Did I mention this was aggravating? :)


[ Posted at 3:38 PM | Permalink ]


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