The first thing that enters people’s minds if they change or (heaven forbid) lose their mobile phone is their contacts. I have had to rescue contacts from mobiles for family, friends and business customers on countless occasions and all breathe a huge sigh of relief when they are recovered. With the advent of mobile phones, we don’t remember anyone’s number anymore. The average number of contacts in a mobile phone can vary wildly, from a couple of hundred for most users to several thousand for busy businesspeople. With the average SIM card holding only 250 contacts, this is a big issue but one that is rapidly being solved with the advent of smartphones and more recently cloud computing.
Once you have more than 250 contacts, you have to store your contacts on the phone’s internal storage. You need to make a copy of these contacts to an external location, the most common one being a personal computer.
Before you connect, you will need to install some software that will ‘talk’ to the phone, e.g. iTunes from Apple for the iPhone, Nokia PC Suite for Nokia phones, Samsung Kies for Samsung phones or the equivalent from your phone vendor. All these applications are free and available for download from the phone vendors website. Once installed, you can then physically connect the phone to the computer using a USB cable. Most phones are supplied with a proprietary USB connector. Many modern smartphones will connect to your PC wirelessly using Bluetooth.
Once connected, you can simply synchronise your phone contacts with the computer. To synchronise means to ‘operate simultaneously’, which means that any new contacts on the phone appear on the computer and vice-versa. The first time you do this, it takes a complete copy of all contacts on the phone. You will need to use a productivity application such as Microsoft Outlook to store your contacts on the computer. Don’t forget to synchronise regularly to pick up any new contacts added.
In more recent times with the advent of cloud-based productivity applications like Microsoft’s Office 365 and Apple’s built-in iCloud app included with the latest version of their iPhone Operating System (iOS5), you can synchronise your contacts on the fly direct to your cloud storage. This is the ultimate solution, as you never have to plug in your phone to your computer and, as soon as contacts are added to your phone, they are automatically copied to your account on the cloud server.
Not just contacts
Of course, both of these methods will also work for other types of data on your phone, such as calendar appointments, tasks, notes and probably most importantly photos taken with your phone. More on that next time.
Eamon is a Senior IT Professional with PaqIT, an IT Service Provider with offices in Limerick and Galway. See www.paqit.com.