Synchronize Your Data With Multiple PCs, Macs, and Mobile Devices

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Sync PCs to Phones and Mobile Devices

The way to synchronize contacts, mail, calendars, and files from your PC to your mobile device depends on the particular phone you have.

You can view the full contents of your PC’s Dropbox folder by using the accompanying iPhone application, and you can even open (and save for offline viewing or listening) a number of different file types, including Word documents, Excel spreadsheets, PDF files, and .mov or .mp4 movies.
If you're hefting Apple's iPhone, you'll find that the synchronization options built into Apple's iTunes software are more than adequate to sync your device with Windows Mail, Outlook, Internet Explorer, and Safari, as well as with your photo, video, and music folders. All of these options congregate under the Info tab when you click on your iPhone device in iTunes.

Unfortunately, iTunes doesn't come with built-in support for file and folder syncing between your PC and your iPhone's hard drive. To handle that operation, you'll need a program called Dropbox. When you install the application, you'll receive 2GB of free, cloud-based storage, represented by a new Dropbox folder in your My Documents folder. Any file that you assign to this folder will sync up to your Dropbox storage. Install the free Dropbox app on your iPhone, and you'll be able to access (and download for offline viewing) any iPhone-readable file while you're on the go.

If you use a BlackBerry, Android phone, or Windows Mobile device, the appropriate application to use is called SugarSync. Functionally it's similar to Dropbox: You move the files that you want to sync into your 2GB of free cloud space by assigning them to a single shared folder. Depending on your phone's functionality, you may even be able to edit files, in addition to viewing, sharing, and sending them remotely. Consult the SugarSync Website for customized instructions and applications for your specific phone model.

When using Windows Mobile Device Center, you don’t have to link your mobile device via a USB connection if your system supports Bluetooth or infrared connections.
For phones that run some variant of the Windows Mobile operating system, Windows Mobile Device Center is the ticket for synchronizing e-mail, contacts, calendars, and media files between a Vista or Windows 7 PC and your mobile device over a USB connection. Legacy systems running Windows XP can use a program called ActiveSync to accomplish the same task. If you have access to a Microsoft Exchange Server, you can use either application to synchronize your data wirelessly.

If you don't mind using Google's array of services--including Contacts, Gmail, and Calendar--you can sync your data wirelessly by installing one of the company's Google Sync apps for BlackBerry, Nokia, and Windows Mobile phones (among others). In this case, Google provides the Exchange Server, ensuring that your data will stay up-to-date without requiring a physical connection to a PC. Instructions for using the service vary by device. Google's easy-to-use walkthroughs will hold your hand as you take your first steps into synchronization land.

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