Sync in a Blink and Free your Exchange account from GoogleSync!

Available In: App Store       Price: $4.99  

Sync in a Blink I was on the bus to work when it occurred to me that I might be able to get my Exchange account back. You see, I have become very attached to Google calendar and more recently Google contacts. When GoogleSync was released, I was very excited to have the push capabilities of Calendar and Contacts. With ease, I set up and was able to push my calendar, along with my wife’s and our joint calendars. Although the initial sync of contacts was a bit frustrating (I relied on MS Outlook for a long time), I was pleased with the overall results. The one downside was the fact that GoogleSync used the Exchange Account, and the iPhone frustratingly only allows you to use one Exchange account. Thus, I was unable to link my work email to my iPhone and instead had to rely on a bookmark and a much more cumbersome web based interface. With the release of iPhone OS 3.0, CalDAV support was included, and after I read a bit more about this, the wheels started rolling.

Step one: I needed to read up on how to set up CalDAV on the iPhone. Google offers a forum post here, and I found a work around for multiple accounts here. Once I felt comfortable with this potential setup, I was ready to start the process of getting my Exchange account back. Honestly, I was willing to give up syncing my contacts for the ability to get my work email back and integrated with the iPhone’s Mail app. However, a quick search in the App Store revealed an application called Sync in a Blink that claimed to sync your Google contacts over the air and without using an Exchange account.

So, off went the Google calendar and contacts from the Exchange account. This was indeed scary as all of my calendar events and contacts were quickly wiped from my iPhone. I’d recommend a backup before you try this just in case, though my backup times have been excessively long so I played with fire here. With the CalDAV accounts set up (see above links), my calendars were now on my iPhone and syncing correctly both ways. A nice bonus was that the colors on Google calendar were showing up correctly on the iPhone. This was often a crapshoot using GoogleSync, so I was pleasantly surprised when I saw green, purple, and blue displayed correctly on my native iPhone calendar. Next up was the import of my Google contacts.

Again, deleting all of the contacts from my iPhone was scary, but required. Upon opening Sync in a Blink, I entered my Gmail account info and started the sync. Without interruption, the sync took 7 minutes, but keep in mind, I had over 1,000 contacts (1,332 to be exact), so this was a reasonable amount of time in my opinion. I chose the “merge” option since I wiped all contacts from my phone, so all Gmail contacts would override any conflicts. This resulted in some duplicates, but this was largely the result of my upload from Outlook to Google awhile ago. I don’t blame Sync in a Blink for this slight annoyance. To test the app further, I made some changes on the iPhone and in my Google contacts, synced again, and in less than 1 minute, all changes were correctly reflected in both places.

Each time you start a sync process, Sync in a Blink downloads your Gmail contacts, processes iPhone contacts, adds contacts, makes changes to Google contacts, deletes Gmail contacts, and concludes with a summary report. All of this took less than one minute, and I tested in both WiFi and in 3G environments. I experienced only a handful of hiccups by the app during a week of testing. Other nice features included with the application are a conflicts tab which allows you to manually resolve any changes made to both the iPhone and in Gmail, a history tab that allows you to access your summary reports, and a settings screen that allows you to change options involving groups, accounts, and images.

All in all, Sync in a Blink provided the final piece needed for me to stay in sync with Google and yet also use my Exchange account for my work email and calendar. The application is well organized and its execution is simple and nearly flawless. If you’re in a similar situation to mine, heavily connected to Google apps, but want to access your Exchange account for work, I highly recommend Sync in a Blink in conjunction with CalDAV accounts. My one recommendation for the developers would be to incorporate an scheduled auto sync, but this might be a limitation that has more to do with Apple. Until then, for $4.99, Sync in a Blink is well worth the money and despite not having a free lite version, you can take it from this reviewer that you won’t be disappointed.

Sync in a Blink

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Comments

  1. Thanks for this article. I’ve been using Sync in a Blink for a while now to sync my gmail contacts (simply because I only want to sync one specific group of gmail contacts to my phone and not all of them) but I didn’t know how to set up the CalDav calendars. I’m gonna try this so I can finally use my work exchange server.

  2. I personally don’t have to worry about an exchange account for work or anything. Is there a way I can set it up so that my iPhone contacts and calendars sync with google without using this app? I don’t really understand the whole CalDav thing.

    Thanks.

    • Andy
      googlesync

    • Andy’s absolutely right. GoogleSync will do the trick, and I was very pleased with the service. It’s free, easy to setup, and efficient. GoogleSync pushes your calendar and contacts both ways, and perhaps, it is only a matter of time before push Gmail will also be included. The downside is that it uses an Exchange account, so that was the reason I wrote about the CalDAV/SyncinaBlink setup.

  3. Do I have to pay for an exchange account or anything?

    Thanks for the replies.

    • Although I believe you can pay for a service to behave like an Exchange account (enabling push services), most use it through their work. For example, I teach at a high school, and we use Microsoft Exchange for our calendar and email, so I was able to hook into that with the iPhone. I like being on top or at least aware of work stuff if I choose to be, though some would rather not be connected so tightly.

  4. I am trying to find out some info about Syncinablink. App not working (certain error code). Can’t get into forum on the web. Can’t find out anything. Do you know anything? Are they out of business? Hope not. Paid $$ for the app and like it. Tell me what you can and thanks.

Trackbacks

  1. […] iPhone App review: Sync in a Blink Want your Exchange account back from GoogleSync?  Still want to push calendars and sync contacts both ways?  Read more here. […]

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