iPhone Contacts Sync : my way or the highway
February 26, 2011 9:04 PM   Subscribe

Looking for recommendations for a *private* "sync-your-iPhone-contacts/PIMdata-to-the-cloud" solution.

(Yes, I'm using the term 'Cloud' loosely)

I have an iPhone. I have linux server. I want to wirelessly synch the Contacts on my iPhone to the server.

- Primary purpose is to quickly and frequently backup my iPhone's contacts (I don't connect my iPhone to an iTunes-capable machine very frequently. Hardly ever, in fact).
- Secondary purpose is to have access to my Contacts from various client applications (e.g. Thunderbird etc)

"Private" because I don't want my Contacts be sitting on someone else's server (e.g. Google).

I've taken a look at a few solutions (Funambol, synthesis SyncML servers, along with their respective iPhone client apps) which at first blush seem do-able, but I'm hoping to hear of others' experiences before I dive in & make the investment of time. I'm willing and able to invest the time installing, configuring, and tweaking the necessary software, but I don't want to end up with a buggy "solution" where I end up with duplicate contacts, or can only add or delete contacts from one particular client, etc. *

* I gave it a go with UbuntuOne's phone synch service. The PAID service. The iPhone client worked great but the web-interface sucked bigtime. So I scrapped it (no refund! bah!) and decided to roll my own.

posted by armoir from antproof case to Computers & Internet (4 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I sought the same thing. I ended up paying for MobileMe.

Horde + Synthesis client proved unreliable (missing data on server or iphone) and had unusable deficiencies (very limited in what would sync back and forth with contacts).

A paid hosted Exchange service would work. Exchange would limit what you can sync in terms of multiple calendars and what fields with contacts work.

I preferred the fine print with MobileMe to the fine print from Google. Also, I can harass someone for support with MobileMe, not with Google.
posted by fief at 10:53 PM on February 26, 2011

I've been happy with MobileMe for years. Still discovering little perks that make it worthwhile.
posted by Mertonian at 10:39 AM on February 27, 2011

Unless I'm missing something (is MobileMe something I can install on my own server?) I don't think these recommendations will help fit the bill. Plus I have read of problems accessing MobileMe account from non-Mac browsers.

FWIW, I did go ahead an install the Funambol server and got it up and running with very little mucking around. Together with the Funambol client 'app' for iPhone, I had my phones contacts synched (backed up) to the server in very short order and with little hassle. The funambol server package comes with a 'web demo' that so allows limited access to the contact data but it appears as though it might be possible to extend it. If I want to muck around all that much more...
posted by armoir from antproof case at 5:42 PM on March 1, 2011

I forgot that I tried Funambol (18 months ago). It was less than good. The free version was unusable for me. Clearly I should look at it again.

MobileMe is indeed a hosted solution by Apple. The reason I suggested it is I tried other options and they failed in non-trivial ways, plus they all had quirky restrictions on what data did and didn't sync. In the end, I gave-in to Apple with MobileMe because I wanted it to just work.
posted by fief at 9:26 PM on March 1, 2011

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