Before the iPhone, the smartphone of choice was a Blackberry. Even now Research in Motion’s offerings are a great competitor. Yes, the iPhone has the interface, touch surface and the app store that RIM envies but the Blackberry is still standard issue in the enterprise world. Many of you who have a work cell phone most likely have a Blackberry.
What if you have a Blackberry and a Mac? Not a problem. Here’s a simple way to sync your Blackberry’s contacts, music, photos and email with OS X.
Blackberry Desktop Manager
Last fall, RIM released an OS X version of its Desktop Manager software enabling Mac users to natively sync with their Blackberry. While its not as robust as the Windows version, its a good start.
Download and install Blackberry Desktop Manager for OS X.
Once installed, it prompts you to connect your Blackberry.
Note: If you have a password to unlock on your Blackberry, that is the password it asks for when you connect.
Updating your Blackberry:
The first thing you’ll be prompted with once your Blackberry is connected is if you want to install updates. Now, this is totally up to you but in my experience sometimes updating a Blackberry can make it unstable. Do your research. Just because an update is available, doesn’t mean you have to run out and download it immediately.
If you want to update your Blackberry, choose the download option and install them.
Adding / Removing Applications:
The Applications tab on the far right allows you to modify what is installed on your Blackberry. Its a nice way to remove unwanted applications. Clicking on it brings up the update screen. Here you can choose to install or remove applications by clicking in the lower left corner
One thing to note is that to install custom applications, you have to click the plus sign and then navigate to where you downloaded the application from. It does not work like the iTunes App Store where you can browse, select and download applications.
However, if you’ve downloaded applications through Blackberry’s App World and want to get rid of them, this is the place to go. Just clear the checkbox of the apps you don’t want and click start.
OS X’s Desktop Manager will sync your iCal or Entourage calendar with the Blackberry. To do this, tell the Desktop Manager to sync by clicking the sync icon:
You can then select which calendar in iCal / Entourage to sync and which calendar to use when adding Blackberry created events
Note: You’ll notice my “Read-only” calendar. That is my Google Calendar which I use. To sync with a Google Calendar, download the Google Sync Blackberry App onto your Blackberry.
Syncing contacts will sync your Address Book contacts with the Blackberry. Just change the icon and choose either All or selected groups:
Note: Personally, I use my Google account for Contacts. Again, you’ll need the Google Sync app to sync this with your Blackberry.
Syncing notes will synchronize any notes you may have in Mail or Entourage with your Blackberry:
Blackberry Desktop Manager will sync your iCal tasks with the Blackberry’s task list. Just select which calendar to sync – or all of them and where to put Blackberry created tasks.
A nice feature with the Desktop Manager is allowing you to sync iTunes playlists with the Blackberry. If you prefer to use your phone as an MP3 player (and who wouldn’t want to carry one less device around), this is a great way to get your music onto the Blackberry.
The Blackberry is one of the few phones out there that actually has a real headphone jack on it. This means no funky adapter. If you just want a few playlists / albums on the device for listening, its makes for a great portable player.
Just remember, you have space limits depending on the size of your memory card. The Desktop Manager shows you how much space you have left.
Backing up / Restoring:
Clicking on the Back Up or Restore icons allows you to backup / restore all your settings, contacts, and much more. Basically it will take every little bit of data on your Blackberry and save it for you. If it’s sensitive, you can also encrypt the backup. Clicking on “Selected Data” lets you decide what is put in the backup. For simplicity, I’d recommend just using the “All Data” option.
Restoring lets you pick which backup file and if necessary, which portion of the data (contacts or SMS messages for example). This could be a nice way to retrieve deleted emails, lost numbers or accidentally erased settings as well.