PocketMac Syncs Blackberry With Mac

132 Comments

Living as a Mac island in a sea of Windows machines at the office can sometimes be a challenge. Though Apple has made advances through simply enabling Mac OS X clients to attach to Windows networks, and mount shared file servers, third party devices are often the part of the ecosystem that goes forgotten – as Windows-oriented developers will sometimes overlook the Macintosh, assuming Mac users make up too small a part of the population to demand dedicated effort.

For too long, I thought my Blackberry, which I depend on for mobile e-mail, calendar, basic Web surfing, and address book functionality, was one of those devices that would never fully support the Mac. Living in parallel worlds, I had contacts and calendar in Microsoft Outlook on the Dell laptop, and simultaneously, a separate list of contacts in my Macintosh Address Book, and appointments in iCal. Updates on the Blackberry wouldn’t affect the Mac, and vice versa.

pocketmac_sync

This all changed with Blackberry’s adoption and free release of PocketMac. Now that I’ve discovered PocketMac, my two worlds have been united – with the added bonus of synchronizing the data via .Mac to multiple Macs.

Like the Palm Desktop years before it, PocketMac offers the option to synchronize personal data between your Macintosh and the Blackberry, primarily focused on your address book and calendar appointments. But PocketMac is more flexible, offering to synchronize with a variety of desktop apps – including Apple’s Mail and Microsoft Entourage to iCal and the Now suite.

After installation, connect the Blackberry to the Mac via standard USB cable, charging the device, and you can configure it to your .Mac account by entering your user name and password, select which applications you want to synchronize, and simply hit sync. (As seen below)

pocketmac_sync_data

Subsequent synchronizations will note differences between your local data and that of the mobile device, giving you the option to accept or decline the changes. In the below example, the Mac noted that the Blackberry had deleted a completed meeting. I had the option to restore it to the Blackberry, or delete it from the Mac. Having already sat through the meeting, and not wishing to repeat it, the Mac soon also had the appointment erased. (See below)

pocketmac_sync_deletion

This brief interruption didn’t stop the synchronization, by any means. After I had made my selection, PocketMac kept humming along, until all tasks were complete – from e-mail to contacts.

pocketmac_sync_contacts

Now, instead of two separate address books and parallel calendars, I have one universal data set, shared between my Blackberry, my Mac at home, my Mac at work, and the Dell laptop. Best of all, if you already own a Blackberry, PocketMac is a free download.

132 Comments

Sandra

oops. forgot to write. article mentions that Missing Sync works for Blackberry. no mention of Pear.

simon Koelmeyer

Using BB Pearl (on T-Mobile UK) with G4 powerbook, OSX10.4.8 – sync contacts/addressbook just fine, but again – SO FRUSTRATING that RIM don’t offer proper Mac support – Why do MAC users have to suffer every time?!?!?

Bring on the iPhone!!!

Barry Black

I use PocketMac 4 to synchronize my calendar, contacts, and tasks between my MacBook Pro C2D and Blackberry 7210. It does not work reliably. Sometimes the dates for my Tasks all get set to today’s date. For contacts, some records are now missing email addresses and notes. Yesterday, I noticed that I have 2 contacts with the same name (but different people) on my Blackberry. After the sync, it replaced one of these on the Mac with a duplicate copy of the other. Strangely it did not do this for another pair of contacts with the same name.

Joe McCorkell

All-

I have a Desktop Imac and G4 laptop and I want to add a smart phone possibly. Where do I go to get them all synced. IT seems in the past when my dad tried to get things to sync it just duplicates everything. I also use Entourage.
Thanks

Joe

Antiphonist

The only time mine stopped syncing is when I used different languages in calendar & contacts. It only synchs in English – if you have any non-english entries restore them to english characters and retry.

@ Rob

I wonder if other MacBook Pro users are having the same problem.

Rob Hyndman

Mine worked for about 2 months and then abruptly stopped syncing the calendar. Pearl and MacBook Pro. RIM and PocketMac support are stumped.

Antiphonist

I have been synchronizing my Mac (Powerbook G4) with my Blackberry Pearl for sometime now and everything works fine. PocketMac is a bit idiosyncratic so you need to keep a few things in mind:

PocketMac will ONLY work once every time and you must do the following in the order they are listed in order to get it to sych:

1) Open PocketMac THEN
2) Plug in the USB cable and THEN
3) Press synch.

PocketMac WILL NOT synch if you plug your blackberry in first and open the program later. Once more, it is important to do it in the order listed above. If you need to synch again then you must unplug the device, close the program, and repeat the process above.

The only frustrating thing that doesn’t work between my Mac and my BB is the Bluetooth function. But I have synched over 50 times in the way I describe above and it has worked every single time.

A.

Helen Deaven

Your comment was helpful. At least I get through the sync, but not with iTunes or iPhoto. PM won’t recognize my memory card, although it did the first time. This can’t be better than the problems I’ve heard with the iPhone.

Helen Deaven

I am syncing calendar and contacts between a BB curve and an iMac. i don’t have the time for this baloney.

sjt

I just got the Pearl and I am using a MacBook (Black, Core 2 Duo) with Entourage.

Getting the sync to work was a complete pain. Finally I turned off all conduits except contacts and successfully got through that sync. Then I turnd contacts off and calendar on and got through that sync (last 60 days only, however). Then, in turn, tasks and notes. Once I got through all four of them, I was able to turn them all on and sync simultaneously. It has worked ever since.

However, I really want to install the IM+ software so that I can have multi-system IM in one application. But using PocketMac to install software is a complete bust. It starts the process but after about 2 minutes it is clear that the PcketMac app has died and has to be forced quit (it shows as stopped responding).

This solution is NOT for those new to the BlackBerry or the Macintosh! And the process is absolutely NOT Mac-like!

sjt

Sean O'Sullivan

Yup, I’m also having massive problems syncing (Blackberry 8705) with my PocketMac for Blackberry 4.0. It worked mostly fine, occasionally losing information, sometimes duplicating it, sometimes screwing around with my address book groups… then I finally got to the point before I sync’d it I’d always save a copy of my address book and calendar… that seemed to work well. Not anymore. Nothing syncs (nothing I do on my blackberry updates on my Mac). Could have something to do with SOHO Sync, another application that tries to muck with the Sync Manager… But PocketMac has been fairly continually unreliable, so I guess I’ll continue to blame them. I did like the 4.0 version, it has a decent interface and seems like it should work. It just doesn’t. Don’t worry, if you haven’t had problems so far, it will happen to you. Just wait. (Previously I had problems with two other Blackberry versions… the problem doesn’t seem to be on the blackberry side, it’s on the Mac side, unfortunately).

David Topper

Just purchased a Blackberry Pearl. Download & installed PocketMac SyncManager 4.0. Im using a PowerPC G5 dual 2.5 GHz with 4 GB SDRAM and Mac OSX 10.4.8. Plugging the USB cable directly into the G5. PocketMac SyncManager sometimes finds the Pearl and when it does, sometimes freezes during the synch process. Sometimes it works exactly as it should. No rhyme or reason. When synch fails, it crashes my Mac. Where I need to “force quit” and application from time to time, this is the ONLY application that crashes the Mac! I now keep Diskwarrior by my side whenever I “try” to synch. This is NOT ready for prime time. This is beta and not a good release at that. I sure wish the folks at Missing Synch would jump in to save the day.

Dave

Just to add a bit about synching with a Pearl. I do get through the synch without errors, but it is not a true “synch.” When I delete or make changes in Entourage to Contacts or Calender, those changes do not translate to the pearl. Only when making changes on the Pearl do the translate to Entourage. When you choose to overwrite the Pearl with Entourage, it does make the changes, but that’s not a very smooth transaction. Looks like the release came a little early.

Sean Sweeney

I had the same problem- “Could not locate Entourage etc..”
Anyone hear anything? I contacted online help but have yet to hear back

Any help would be great.

Hans Riemer

I’m having the exact same problem: “Could not locate the Microsoft ENtourage Synchronization Tool.” As far as I can tell no such thing exists. What do we do???

Scott Egglefield

Will the Pocketmac sync with the 7510 via Bluetooth? It synched when I first bought the Mac and now won’t do it?

Rob Hyndman

BB Support seems to be working diligently to try and understand what’s wrong with mine (yup – I have a Pearl), but so far no joy. I can sync Contacts, but not iCal.

Keith Forman

Just submitted the following request to PocketMac support:

I am running:
Entourage version 11.2.5 (060620)
Mac OS X version 10.4.8
PocketMac version 4.0
Blackberry 8100

After installing PocketMac 4.0 and making sure that the Entourage Sync Services were all checked, the first sync worked great. That was the one and only successful sync.

I then de-installed PocketMac, re-installed it and again had only one successful sync that included recently added content to my contacts and calendar.

At the end of every sync attempt I receive a PocketMac Sync Manager message box that reads, “There were warnings generated during the sync. Would you like to visit them now?”

I click yes and the box reads, “Could not locate the Microsoft Entourage Synchronization Tool.” This message is repeated for as many of the applications I tried to sync. (ie: If I only checked the box inside PocketMac to sync calendar, only one message is shown.)

What is and where does one find the Microsoft Entourage Synchronization Tool? I can’t find any reference to it on any Mac, Blackberry, or PocketMac help sites.

Are Microsoft and RIM partners? Why do Apple and RIM not collaborate?

Steve

PocketMac worked fine with my BlackBerry 7100, but when the device started shorting out on me, T-Mobile sent me a BlackBerry Pearl as a replacement. PocketMac does *not* sync with the Pearl, even though System Profiler shows the phone connected through the USB port, and even though PocketMac shows the Pearl to be “available.”

When you try to sync the Pearl, it hangs and reads, “Synchronizing data,” rather than, “Synchronizing Contacts” or “Calendar” or anything else.

I tried running this on two separate machines with the same result. RIM support confirmed to me today that there is a specific anomaly between PocketMac and the Pearl. They said they’re working to develop a solution, but said it would not be happening quickly.

As others have noted, Mark/Space is apparently working on its own version of a BlackBerry synch tool. Be interesting to see if they can bring it to market before RIM/PocketMac can figure out what’s wrong.

Rob Sletten

Using Pocketmac for Blackberry (Verizon 8703e) and it works fine. Now I just wish that the broadband tethered evdo modem would work under OSX.

Dave

I used PocketMac for the iPaq I used to use. Well, I tried to use PM. I had a lot of clean-up to do after a number of attempts to make the program work. I tried technical support, but they were not very helpful.

Because I just couldn’t get my iPaq reliably talking to my PowerBook G4, I bought a PalmOS device. It didn’t have the nice features of the iPaq, but it synchronized reliably with my PowerBook and Missing Sync was a blessing after the nightmares I had with PM.

A few months ago I tired of having multiple devices to carry with me, so I bought a BlackBerry 8700. The only software to synchronize it with my PowerBook (and now MacBook Pro) is PM. With some trepidation, I downloaded and installed PM.

It works, mostly. I don’t synchronize my tasks with the BB. I sometimes have problems with the address book dropping entries or phone numbers. PM sometimes makes changes to iCal entries as well (converting all-day events to timed events midnight-noon). None of these problems appear to be strictly reproducible.

I’ve made PM technical support aware of these problems. They say they will be repaired in a subsequent release. So far, no joy.

After my very positive experience with the Missing Sync folks, I’m praying they construct an appication. I’d gladly pay $50 for the capability to reliably synchronize all of my PIM data between my BB and my Mac. I might even pay $75 for confidence that my data were safely esconced in both my BB and my Mac.

I don’t see myself dumping my BB. It’s not a perfect device by any means, but it’s the best game in town for a combination PDA/phone. It does both acceptbly. I’m also not dumping my Mac. I’m not going back to a Windows-based machine and all the headaches I had with maintenance.

Besides, I just like unix…

Nick

BE VERY CAREFUL. I have it and it isn’t ready for prime time yet. Yes, some people have been lucky but a quick look over forums will show you it is a nightmare.

My case is simple, PowerBook g4, OS 10.3.9, iCal, Address Book, Mail and regular up to date stuff with a Pearl Blackberry. I’ve exchanged three pearls so far and reinstalled PocketMac three times from scratch. It is tricky at best. No matter how I set to overwrite the device, it still wipes out my entire calendar and only imports the “home” category but not the more crucial “work”.

Blackberry support is quasi-nonexistant. I sent them tons of logs and a month later they are still looking over it. PocketMac was a little more helpful.

This is beta stuff. Backup everything first and test it on a blank user account. And whatever you do, know you cannot count on BlackBerry. Maybe it’s a Windows type company that doesn’t care about its users. Come to think of it I will retry them.

scott

@Rob

When you remove the PocketMac, you also have to manually delete the .plist file or it doesnt do anything to remove/re-add the app.

@Kezza

Hmm, I bought my BB Pearl the day the T-Mobile started shipping them and I have been using PocketMAC 4 series as soon as it came out. And I sync at least once a day and have no issues. And my father who has a 7105T uses PM4 to sync his to his mac with no issues.

@ALL

if you have issues with PocketMac 4, please submit bug requests or it will never get fixed. the PocketMac (I can not thing of their real company name, sorry) does still write the code for PocketMac for BlackBerry. Just now they get paid by RIM to do it. Plus they get access to the RIM Engineers that designed the BlackBerries. Now if only one person has an issue (or they only know of one person) then it may or may not get fixed. But is hundreds (or even thousands) do, then that get a much higher priority.

just my 2 cents worth

Kezza

I just bought a Blackberry Pearl (8100), and can confirm that PocketMac does not work past the first sync at all. If you look around the Blackberry forums you’ll note that this is the experience of most people that have attempted PocketMac. I think the app has a long way to go to be usable, and it most definately needs syncing via Bluetooth to be added. Come on RIM – pull your finger out !

Louis Gray

They say that a person with a happy experience tells 3 people, and one with a bad experience tells 7, so you need to keep a high percentage of folks pleased with your product. It sounds like some of you had trouble with PocketMac syncing on iPAQ or other platforms. Using it with my BlackBerry 7100, I have no complaints at all. It just works in the way that I would expect. It’s a breath of fresh air compared to not thinking I had any solution at all.

BingeBoy.com

I’ve been using this app for about a year and a half. It tends no to work at all on my laptops. Not sure why but at least its free now.

Mirko

I was using PocketMac about a year ago to sync my iPAQ and it just didn’t work at all, despite all the support tips. After about 10 re-installs and extensive troubleshooting I decided it was not worth it so I uninstalled. Definitely not a company I’d consider purchashing more software from in the future.

Rob Hyndman

I’m not sure the app is ready for prime time. Without warning three weeks ago it stopped sync-ing my calendar. RIM’s tech support (this is not supported by PocketMac) has not been able to fix the issue so far, even after several uninstalls and reinstalls. Happily, it looks like the Missing Sync folks may be cooking something up.

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