Sunday, August 07, 2011

How to sync your MyTouch 4G with your Outlook contacts

I recently bought a MyTouch 4G Slide to use as my primary phone. Since I'm a T-Mobile customer, I wanted to lock in a new plan and phone before AT&T can do something to screw it up. And since I'm a physical keyboard enthusiast (I hate losing half the screen to the virtual keyboard--a big issue for a guy who writes most of his blog posts on a handheld device) I got the MyTouch 4G Slide.

One issue that arose almost immediately is that the MT4G doesn't sync with Outlook. It does sync rather easily with any Google account (naturally) but if you're a traditionalist like me that actually uses Microsoft Outlook for email and contacts (via POP3 no less!), the lack of Outlook sync is a major problem.

After an hour or two of work, I think I've found a good (and free) solution, which I'm sharing with you now.

The key actually came from the folks at the T-Mobile store, who suggested exporting my contacts to a new Gmail account, then synching that account with my phone.

This was only half the solution, however, since this wouldn't keep my Outlook in sync; new contacts would only appear if I manually synchronized Outlook with Gmail. This did narrow down the problem considerably.

A quick Google search on "sync Outlook 2010 with Gmail" and I discovered GO Contact Sync, a free piece of open source software that 1) Syncs your Outlook with a Gmail account, and 2) Can re-sync on a regular basis.

Once I verified that GO Contact Sync had been well-received by both Lifehacker and PC World, I downloaded and installed it. I set it up to sync "Outlook to Google only" since I don't intend to use the Gmail account for anything but synchronization, and set it to automatically "Run program at startup." I don't need instant synchronization, so no need to run it any more often.

Since I have 2,786 contacts, it took a few minutes, but GO Contact Synch worked like a charm. From there, it was easy to add another Gmail account to my phone.

Voila! The MyTouch 4G Slide has all my Outlook contacts, and they'll be synchronized every time I restart my laptop.

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