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iCloud affects BirdieSync

Posted: Fri Mar 01, 2013 2:58 pm
by stevie
Dear Birdie

I've been using BirdieSync for years now (WindowsMobile) and am more than happy with it. Hence, there was no doubt I would use it also for syncing my new iPhone 5 (iOS 6.x) with Thunderbird on Win7.
Unfortunately I had to realise very quickly that BirdieSync does not work properly when the iPhone is connected to iCloud. I mean it technically works (connects to Thunderbird and runs syncronisation), but all my data (contacts, appointments) is finally deleted in a sort of 3-steps approach:
first sync --> all data are dublicated
second sync --> all data are triplicated
third sync --> all data are deleted

I tried this several times and it already drove me crazy when I finally had the idea to switch off the iPhone connection to iCloud for contacts and calendars. And, surprisingly, everything worked the way it should.
I was happy since then, but meanwhile I am terribly missing such nice features like "invite participants to an appointment" as this seems to work only if the iPhone is connected to iCloud.

Long story short: How can BirdieSync be run properly with the iPhone connected to iCloud?

Thanks, stevie

Re: iCloud affects BirdieSync

Posted: Fri Mar 01, 2013 4:44 pm
by UlliB
As long as I had enabled the synchronization of the contacts on my iPad with iCloud, I always had problems with contacts losing their email address in Birdie when syncing with T-Bird. In the sync process with iCloud, the email type was always changed from "private" to "other". In the next Birdie sync, the email addresses were deleted from the T-Bird address book.

Disabling the iCloud sync for contacts solved the problem.

Re: iCloud affects BirdieSync

Posted: Fri Mar 01, 2013 5:22 pm
by stevie
Dear UlliB

Thanks for the quick reply.
I also realised that disabling the cloud for contacts and appointments/calendars would solve my problem - and this is what I am currently doing. However, that was not my question.
I'd love to enable iCloud as I'd love to use the feature "invite participants" with my iPhone calendar. This function is also disabled when the iCloud is disabled.
And this is where my question refers to: is it possible to enable iCloud and have BirdieSync working proberly?

Thanks, stevie

Re: iCloud affects BirdieSync

Posted: Mon Mar 04, 2013 5:13 pm
by Birdy
Hi stevie & UlliB,

I'm looking at the interaction of BirdieSync with iCloud synchronization. I'll keep you informed shortly.

Re: iCloud affects BirdieSync

Posted: Tue Mar 05, 2013 12:26 pm
by Birdy
Here is the situation regarding BirdieSync and iCloud.

It should be possible to synchronize contacts with iCloud but this option is exclusive with the synchronization of local contacts on the iPhone. If iCloud is enabled on the iPhone, then Birdiesync will synchronize iCloud contacts and will no longer synchronize local contacts. If a contact is synchronized with BirdieSync from Thunderbird, this contact should then be sent to iCloud. Note that when iCloud synchronization is enabled, it's not possible to choose if you want to create a local contact or an iCloud contact on the iPhone. All contacts are now "iCloud" contacts.
If iCloud synchronization is enabled, event if local contacts are merged to iCloud, these contacts should still remain synchronized with BirdieSync (no Thunderbird contact should be deleted and created again).

I made some tests with contact synchronization and it seems to work so far. A contact created in Thunderbird and synchronized with BirdieSync is then sent to iCloud. And a contact created in iCloud is then synchronized to Thunderbird.
I also made some tests again regarding the emails and they seem to be synchronized properly between iCloud and Thunderbird (Home and Work mapped to main and alternative mails). But the problem of conversion from the "Home" type to "Other" may be present with contacts on an Exchange server though.

The situation is slightly different with calendars. When you enable iCloud for calendars, the local calendars are replaced with new iCloud calendars. So if you enable iCloud synchronization while calendars were previously synchronized with BirdieSync, the events present in the local calendars will be considered as deleted since it's no longer possible for BirdieSync to find the original local calendars. And since calendars with the same name, present now in iCloud, will be found, their events will be synchronized in Thunderbird, leading potentially to duplicates.
If you then reset event synchronization in BirdieSync Activation tab to avoid the deletions on the desktop, BirdieSync will then synchronize the events in the new iCloud calendars. Note that if you choose "Combine" at first synchronization, this could lead to potential duplicates. The problem is the same if you decide to disable iCloud synchronization: iCloud calendars are replaced with new local calendars.

Note also that in the current version of BirdieSync for iPhone ( if a Thunderbird calendar selected for synchronization doesn't exist on the iPhone, it is created as local even if iCloud synchronization is enabled. This can lead to problems since it seems that even if iOS authorizes the creation of a local calendar, this calendar remains hidden in the stock Calendar app and BirdieSync cannot find it again it to access it, even it could create events inside. So to avoid this situation, BirdieSync was modified to create the new calendar in iCloud instead of locally.

I made some tests with this new version, and synchronization with iCloud events seems to work properly after a reset of the synchronization.

What I mentioned above could explain the duplications or the deletions of events that stevie had, at least for events.

Additional remark, Apple doesn't allow to write attendees on an event. A limitation among several ones... So it's not possible to synchronize invitations (which are based on attendees).

Re: iCloud affects BirdieSync

Posted: Tue Apr 09, 2013 11:42 am
by Birdy
BirdieSync for iPhone version has been published. Now if iCloud calendar synchronization is enabled on your iPhone, BirdieSync will create new calendars in iCloud. This way new calendars will still be found at next synchronization with all the events synchronized in these calendars.

Note that if you then disable iCloud calendar synchronization, all iCloud calendars will become local and events previously synchronized in these iCloud calendars will be considered as deleted and replaced with "local" events. The behavior is the same if you enable iCloud calendar synchronization.