Walt Mossberg

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Syncing to an iPhone on MobileMe

Here are a few questions I’ve received recently from people like you, and my answers. I have edited and restated the questions a bit, for readability.

I saw your column last week saying Apple’s MobileMe now does a better job of syncing contacts, calendar items and email. But will it allow me to sync to my iPhone directly from my company’s corporate calendar, address books and email?

MobileMe is meant for consumer data, not corporate data. Essentially, Apple’s own servers act like a company’s servers in order to bring corporate-style push syncing to consumer data that isn’t kept on corporate servers. To sync your corporate contacts, calendar items and email to an iPhone, you would use a different built-in option in the iPhone: Microsoft Exchange. Assuming your company’s IT department certifies the iPhone as an acceptable device, and your company uses Exchange, as many or most do, you can use an iPhone to perform instant two-way syncing of corporate contacts, calendar and email. It works just like a BlackBerry or Windows Mobile phone in this scenario. I have tested this, and found it worked well.

Is it possible to sync a Treo or BlackBerry using MobileMe? If not, how can I transfer my Treo contacts and calendar items to the iPhone?

While MobileMe is agnostic when it comes to computer platforms, working on both Windows and Macintosh computers, it is single-minded when it comes to handheld devices. It synchronizes data only to Apple’s own iPhones and iPod Touch devices. It doesn’t work with the Treo, the BlackBerry, or any other smart phone or handheld device beyond those made by Apple. One simple way to move contacts and appointments from Treo to iPhone is to use Outlook as an intermediary. First, sync your Treo to Outlook. Then, just plug your iPhone into your PC, launch iTunes, and sync the iPhone with Outlook. The data from your Treo should then be on the iPhone. MobileMe isn’t required.

I can’t find the location of the files contained in my Personal folders in Outlook that contain my contacts and saved emails. Can you help?

To find the location of the single combined Outlook data file that contains your email, contacts and calendar, follow these steps. First, select “Data File Management” from the File menu. A window will open showing the name of your data file, which includes its location on your hard disk. Click the button to the right that says “Open Folder,” and you will be in the folder that contains this file, with the file’s name or icon highlighted. Outlook data files use the extension “pst” at the ends of their names.

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