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Need to get contacts off an old mobile phone? iSync to the rescue!

old mobile phones

Image by CannedTuna, from Flickr Creative Commons

We recently visited a client who had a typical mobile phone — you know, the kind intended for making phone calls and not much else. She had a bunch of contacts in her phone’s address book that she needed to keep.

Fortunately, Snow Leopard (and Tiger and Leopard before it) had a feature called iSync, which was designed for exactly this: synchronizing contacts with ordinary mobile phones. Unfortunately, Lion dispensed with iSync, though to be fair, I can’t say how many people actually used it.

This is one of the reason we keep old Macs around — sometimes you need them to talk to old devices. I fired up the PowerBook G4 12″ — which I once considered to be adorably small, long before the days of my MacBook Air 11″ — and booted into Mac OS X 10.5.8 Leopard.

But the phone in question wasn’t one of those supported by iSync. Third-party developer to the rescue: Nova Media has a product called iSync Plugins, which inexpensively adds support for many more phones.

Before long, the contacts were in her address book. Then we had to deal with the contacts stored not in the phone’s memory, but its SIM card — iSync doesn’t handle those. There would have been a few ways to solve this problem, but the easiest for me was to use a USB card reader which happens to have a spot for a SIM card among the flash media slots. Naturally, a dreadful piece of Windows software was required to read the card, but it worked, and we were able to get all of the contacts out intact.

When there’s a will, there’s a way. There’s always a way. It’s just a question of time and determination.

The photo of ancient cel phones is by CannedTuna from Flickr Creative Commons.

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IvanExpert provides superior Mac, iPhone, and iPad support for small businesses and home users in New York City. We provide on-site help with a range of Apple computer and mobile issues.

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