Jun 13, 2010

Easiest way to sync your Mobile phone over Bluetooth in Ubuntu

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I always had tough time finding easy and reliable solution to handle PIM data sync between my mobile phone and Ubuntu(Evolution to be precise).
Of all solutions which I tried, Opensync(with Multisync GUI) worked ok, but had to do some tweaking to get it working. Also It didn’t sync Notes(Memos in Evolution).Still detailed guide over at Ubuntuforums is good and many members have updated it with their comments.

Now after latest beta release of syncEvolution(1.0 Beta 3) , I can say that PIM sync of Mobile to Evolution in Ubuntu has become very easy.In fact I found it easier than doing on Windows. Also syncEvolution allows you to sync your Evolutions PIM data with various online services like Funambol, Google, Memotoo, Ovi. I had earlier posted how-to sync Evolution PIM with your online OVI.com account. So now I think by adding working feature of local phone sync over bluetooth, syncEvolution has covered many aspects of PIM  Data sync.  I think good thing is that syncEvolution being developed as part of Moblin platform. Now Intel’s Moblin and Nokia’s Maemo have joined forces to create MeeGo. So I feel there are lot of positives to look forward as syncEVolution works on Open standards and is Open software.

Well lets look as how syncEvolution actually works to sync your phone PIM Data(contacts, Calendar and Notes) with Evolution in Ubuntu.
I am using Ubuntu 10.04 Desktop edition with latest updates, along with Nokia E72. Also you will need to have Internet connection to download syncEvolution software.

We will need to install syncEvolution. So lets start by adding repository in software sources.

   Switch to Other Software Tab and Click on add

  Put in complete apt line

  Now it should show in sources list, ensure that it's checked and click close.

  Click Reload to reload package changes.

Now we will open Synaptic Package Manager and Install syncEvolution, you can use aptitude also.

Select Origin-> /main(downloads.syncevolution.org) and select syncevolution-evolution.

Click Apply and start install. This will download and install syncevolution 1.0 Beta 3.

You can ensure that syncEvolution has got installed by checking it under Programs-Internet-Sync

Now you can start pairing your phone via Bluetooth with your Computer. You can skip these steps if you have already paired your phone.In this case you can directly open Sync.

Switch on Bluetooth on both phone and computer and keep it visible(Visibility -> Shown to All).

Here Bluetooth will list sync(syncEvolution) as program which you can use.This is really nice step as it makes sync very easy.

Once you click on sync, it opens syncEvoution program.

Here as I mentioned earlier you can sync your Evolution PIM data with online services, but you can also do direct sync with Bluetooth paired phones as seen in screenshot.

Just click on + sign next to phone which you just now paired.Select template based on your phone type, these templates are delivered and also can be edited/changes based on your phone type.We can cover that later.

Once you select template, you can change settings about content to be synced and also direction.

Then click on Save & Use. Now you have to just click on "Sync now".

It will give Sync status , whether complete or errors.

Now open Evolution and check if content(Contacts, Calendar, Notes) have been synced or not.

Above screenshot shows that it syncs complete PIM Data i.e. Contacts, Calendar, To-dos, Notes

There are more options under "Fix emergency sync" option which I have not tried myself.

There are few issues with syncEvolution which I hope will be addressed in future versions.
  •     No clear status updates of sync. It always says no changes in GUI.Almost no way to get any details about sync. You can do this still by enabling logging in template file and checking out log file at .cache/syncevolution folder.
  • Contact images are not getting synced.
I am sure if more people start using this program , we can help in making it better. You can go over to www.syncevolution.org . Developers are very supportive and interactive.

I hope many of you will find this guide useful. Please let me know if you find any issues or share your experience, I will be happy to help.
Open source is the way to go !!!


  1. Hi,
    I tried this how-to with my samsung b3210 (corby-txt) and it didn't work.
    the phone was already configured in Gnome Bluetooth, together with my old nokia-e65. they'r both listed in the menu under the bluetooth icon on gnome pannel.
    syncevoulution, between the configured bluetooth devices, only shows the nokia phone and not the samsung
    any idea on how get it working?

  2. @gianluigi I guess that some phones do not allow SyncML over bluetooth by default.Your phone seems to be similar to that. Please check this link and you may find some solution.If not try their wiki pages for phone compatibility and report issues there.

    I will interested to know if this resolves your issue.Keep me posted. :)

  3. thank you for your reply!
    I followed your link. I had the ubuntu repository version of software installed (beta2) as the guy who did the howto.
    it seems the problem is the same he talks about when he say:

    "The Samsung B5722 does not expose the SyncML server over Bluetooth. I used the syncevo-http-server.py script from 1.0 beta3 with my 1.0 beta2 install from the Ubuntu repositories"

    unfortunately I'm not a programmer and I don't know how to use that script. I tried removing my version of syncevolution and installing the beta 3 as your guide explain, but it got worst... no device was detected at all!
    maybe I shoukd quit this challenge :(

  4. @gianluigi, hey dont lose hope !!! Please try to send you issue to developers by using this link
    I have interacted with them many times and they are really quick to reply and help.
    I remember that I also felt same like you when I was trying to sync Evolution with Ovi.com
    So please try and I am sure you will get solution.

  5. Thank you, Suyog!
    I'll try to contact them and I'll update you on any progress.
    You're right. It's too soon to give up! :)

  6. Hey I have also mailed Developer of syncEvolution about update, lets see if he can help us here.
    Open source is all about helping each other and sharing knowledge !!!

  7. Suyog, thank you so much for this detailed walkthrough. I was able to sync my Nokia 2730 to Evolution in Ubuntu 10.04 using SyncEvolution 1.0 Stable without any problems!

  8. @John, Nice to know that this has helped you.
    If possible try to report same on syncevolution.org.
    There we can help in reporting bugs/testing.

  9. Thank you Suyog. It works just fine!
    I was able to connect an Ubuntu 10.4 with Nokia 5130 Xpressmusic after un-checking the Notes option in SyncEvolution settings. That's great!

  10. @dror Good to see that this how-to guide helped you. What was problem with Notes? Can you tell me?

  11. Hi Suyog.

    After installing Evo.Sync I tried syncing (I had the telephone and computer connected via Bluetooth beforehand). All the options in the Settings were checked, including Notes.

    Syncing failed, with no error message. In the computer side it even indicated "Sync complete", but on the telephone side it just went on and on "Finalizing...". I had to re-boot the telephone to get out of it. Needless to say, NO data was transfered.

    An interesting twist: Before writing this post I gave it a second chance. I re-checked Notes and the problematic behavior replicated. This time I noticed a "Quit" option on the telephone (in the endless "Finalizing" stage). I chose to Quit just to get into an endless "Quitting synchronization"...

    Previous experience with PIM-Computer syncing taught me that if syncing fails, downgrading might help. Intuition told me to start with removing Notes, and it worked.


  12. @dror nice test you did, are you submitting these observations to developers? check syncevolution.org

  13. Indeed I've posted the case in SyncEvolution's main Wiki page (http://syncevolution.org/wiki/main-page).

    Don't know if the developers keep track of that feed, but I couldn't find any better place.


  14. @dror good to see that wikipage. Hey I am having some issues with sync now. somehow I lost content on phone and pc when i did sync even though i had selected to update in one direction. strange
    Now I am not able to use restore command.
    this link tells about restore which I am not able to understand well.

    can you please help me, I am in urgent need to get back data on phone as I have not kept backup anywhere.

    if possible please reply.if you are online please send me message on gtalk/gmail suyoghedulkar@gmail.com

  15. Thanks for sharing, I will bookmark and be back again
    Mobiles Solutions

  16. @Charles, Thanks I am going to put together another post soon in this Sync saga :)

  17. Hi! First of all, thank's for this "how-to".

    I had installed the last version of syncevolution (1.0.1) and paired my Nokia E63, syncing successfully the contacts and notes with evolution via bluetooth.

    The problem is that I can't see the "Calendar" option in any of the services or templates listed.

    I haven't found nothing in forums about that.

    I'm using Ubuntu 10.04 and had installed syncevolution from "deb http://downloads.syncevolution.org/apt stable main".

    Thank's in advance.

  18. Ok, my problem was that I had previuos calendars in Evolution, the solution was to backup every calendar, delete all and import data in Evolution from the backuped files to the default calendar =)

  19. Hi,
    I am unable to sync my Nokia N73. Any ideas?

  20. Hi,
    I want to use syncevolution but I've the following problem
    At each synchronization for the calendar the same content
    grow of 1
    for example if I'd marked for the 1st of October 2010 at 15,00 Dentist
    and sync I'll have in Evolution end in the mobile.
    At the following sync I will have two
    of 1st of October 2010 at 15,00 Dentist
    at following sync 3 of 1st of October 2010 at 15,00 Dentist

    Is that clear ?
    Do you have any tips ?
    Does any body have the same problem ?
    I use ubuntu 10.04 and
    SyncEvolution 1.0.1
    Thank you

  21. @lucio , I am really sorry that I wont be able to help as my laptop is dead. can you refer to syncevolution.org and report your issues there.

  22. hiiii ...

    I want to make Syncml sever on my PC so that i can transfer PIM data thru BT from my nokia phone...can you please help me in this regard...


  23. @nitin, thats what this howto explains. I am not sure what exactly you mean by syncml server. Let me know where you are facing issues.

  24. hiiiii Suyog...

    Thanks for your reply....actually i want to transfer my contacts and schedule from my nokia to PC.Nokia phone is having syncml client so i want the server side of syncml in my pc....so i was trying according to you blog but in ubuntu is giving error...also 1 more question can i do the same thing in windows platform?????

  25. and i am getting this error when i am trying to install in ubuntu:

    Failed to fetch http://downloads.syncevolution.org/apt/dists/unstable/Release.gpg Could not connect to downloads.syncevolution.org:80 ( - connect (110: Connection timed out)
    Failed to fetch http://downloads.syncevolution.org/apt/dists/unstable/main/i18n/Translation-en_IN.bz2 Unable to connect to downloads.syncevolution.org:http:
    Failed to fetch http://downloads.syncevolution.org/apt/dists/unstable/main/binary-i386/Packages.gz Unable to connect to downloads.syncevolution.org:http:
    Some index files failed to download, they have been ignored, or old ones used instead.

  26. @nitin you are facing these errors as they have removed unstable releases and all is in stable release now.please check this link for install instructions.

    On Windows , you can easily do sync with Nokia Ovi suite or PC suite. But syncevolution is not yet available there.

    Also please check S60-Remote, nice software for PIM sync on Ubuntu.

  27. Hi Suyog, I paired my Nokia E55, but during the process syncEvolution is not listed as a usable program and therefore my telephone doesn't appear in the devices that I can sync. Tried several times with no success. Any idea? Thanks, Gianluca.

  28. Do you have latest syncevolution? Also I assume that you have working pairing done, i.e. you can transfer files, do dial-up and other things.
    You use blueman? or default gnome bluetooth?
    Delete all files from syncevolution folder in .cache and .config and try again. Also have a look at following tool, good one.


  29. Hi Suyog. I use Ubuntu 10.04. I paired my Nokia 2710 navigator with Evolution and it works perfectly. I am completely satisfied. Syncing is very fast through a bluetooth connection, much faster than syncing -under XP- with Outlook through OVI with a USB connection. But sometimes i find some errors. It seems to me that it happens more frequently after syncing in XP. Where can I find the error number meanings list?

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