One of the reasons I complained about the Nokia N97 when I got a demo unit was that it lacked iSync support on my Mac. That immediately made it that less useful to me because I had become accustomed to syncing my Nokia devices with iCal and Address Book. Its how I used to roll and still my preferred way of keeping everything in sync.

Since I started using my N97 as my primary device, I became accustomed to using Mail for Exchange on my N97. I have been synchronising my phone with my business calendar and contacts on Google Apps and although it took me a while to get the hang of it, I finally figured it all out and its been working reasonably well for me. The main downside is that I can only sync one calendar at a time and my choice has been my business calendar (unlike most people, I like to have separate calendars for different spheres in my life).

Today my experience of my N97 got a little better. Nokia SA’s Tania Steenkamp messaged me and asked me if I had tested iSync with my N97. Of course that got my attention because there previously was no iSync plugin for the N97. I rushed over to the Nokia site and this is what I found:

N97 now supported by iSync.png

I installed the plugin faster than you can say “Don’t I have other work to do” and starting a fresh sync with my N97 (I opted to reset my N97 rather than wade through a few hundred sync queries from iSync). Like any reset it takes a little while to complete the initial process (around 20 to 30 mins for me). The result is that it worked reasonably well except when it came to some of my calendars. I need to explain how I have setup my calendars though because my setup is probably a bit more complex than the average user.

Calendars.pngI have setup my calendars to sync with my Google calendars. My personal GCal actually has a couple calendars for alternative projects, family and friends, home and so on. These are identified as “delegates” and are subordinated to my main personal GCal calendar. The structure is pretty much as you see in the image to the right.

The way I understand it, these other calendars are almost subsets of my personal GCal calendar (the “Paul Jacobson” one in blue). iSync allows me to sync my N97 with the two primary “Paul Jacobson” calendars (work and personal) but not the other ones. This type of setup seems to be an issue for MobileMe too because MobileMe doesn’t sync these other calendars either (I’m pointing this out in case someone feels the urge to tell me to get an iPhone, again). Update: I just checked MobileMe and it doesn’t sync any of my Exchange based calendars at all! Nokia 1 – Apple 0.

I suspect that if I had setup my calendars normally in iCal, my calendars would sync with my N97 through iSync correctly and would also sync with MobileMe. I would just lose the ability to sync with GCal. Ironically, I am not sure I want to give up the GCal sync via Exchange so even though this is one of the features I most wanted from Nokia, I probably won’t take full advantage of it.

Another thing to point out is that I have come to realise that Exchange sync between GCal and my N97 over the air is really handy! I don’t need to connect my N97 to my MacBook to sync, it just happens behind the scenes. Unfortunately that is even more limited than the iSync method because I think I can only sync a single calendar (I have this notion that multiple sync profiles in Mail for Exchange would just scramble all my calendars and ruin my day).

Anyway, the big news is that you can now sync your N97 with your Mac using iSync!