So having just received the call from Telstra, it appears that I will be receiving my new Nokia Lumia 920 on or around the 26th November 2012. I’m quite excited about it. Many who know me well know that I’m a devout Apple Disciple. I have a Macbook Pro, an Apple TV, an iPad, an iCloud account and not just one, but two iPhones. In fact I’ve had every iPhone since the iPhone 3G came to our shores in 2008. This year, it all changes. This year I want to try something innovative, new and completely different. I must confess, I abhor Android. It’s fragmented, clunky and full of bloatware. Sure, if I wanted to I could be an Android Puritan – buy a Nexus phone. Or I could buy a droid I like, wipe it and install Jelly Bean? Too hard. So where does that leave me? Either I wait for Blackberry 10 (frankly I’d rather go without a phone) or get a Windows Phone 8 device.
For the Apple fan boys and girls who are scratching their heads and thinking “did he just say what I thought he said?” Yes, yes you did. I said that the iPhone was no longer innovative or new. Retina display? The previous generation already has it. Fast processor? Other smartphones have faster processors. Screen size? A measly four inches, other smartphones are pushing up to five. 4G? Define 4G? HSPA+ or LTE? NFC? No comment. Ergonomic? Again, no comment. If you’re unhappy about my assessment of iPhone 5, go tell someone who cares.
If you’re like me and making the switch from iPhone to Windows Phone 8, you may have noticed that its nearly impossible to get your contacts and calendars out of iCloud. Don’t be alarmed. Apple has deliberately not shared their APIs for iCloud meaning other OS developers such as Google and Microsoft are unable to build-in iCloud sync capabilities into their OS. In gearing up for my new phone’s arrival, I found a quick and easy way of preparing my contacts and calendar for syncing with Windows Phone 8, heres how.
I’m assuming you are using a Mac running OX Leopard or later. If you’re using a PC and Microsoft Outlook, ignore everything I say beyond this point and transfer all your Outlook calendars and contacts to a Windows Live or Outlook.com account. Simply sync this account with your new Windows Phone 8 device (when it finally arrives). For us cool people:
- Come to peace with Google apps.
- Create a Google account. If you’re not using the account for email then the username need not be pretty. You’re only going to use it to sync your calendars and contacts.
- Launch Calendar and give it a minute to sync so that the calendar back up you are about to create is up-to-date.
- Select the calendar you want to export. Click, File > Export > Export (Fig. 1). This will save your calendar as an ICS file. When prompted, just save it to your desktop, you can always turf it later.
- Next open your web browser. Go to Gmail and log in if you haven’t already done so. Once you’re in, click Calendar in the black menu bar at the top of the window. When the calendar has loaded click “Cog” > Settings > Calendars > Import Calendar (Fig. 2). When prompted, click Choose then select the ICS file you created in step 4. Then select the calendar you would like the events added to and click Import (Fig. 2). The page will reload and do its thing. When finished navigate back to the calendar view to see if it’s worked
This is where the fun starts. You can’t simply export all the vCards out of Address Book at once. Address Book does however allow you to export your contacts as an Address Book Archive. This file is completely useless unless you’re using a Mac. What to do?
- Jump onto the Mac App Store and look for an app called AB2CSV (Fig. 3). It’s a free app, so don’t feel guilty for downloading it. AB2CSV allows you to export your contacts in either CSV format (supporting UTF-16 and 8 encoding) or as a collection of vCards (VCF). Please note the CSV file the app produces is not compatible with Windows Live or Outlook.com. Both services return a “This is not a CSV file” error message (or something similar). Apparently the CSV file you can import into Windows Live must originate from Outlook.
- Launch AB2CSV then select Mode > vCard. Clicking the giant “VCF” button in the middle of the windows will create a VCF containing all of your contacts. (Fig. 4) Again, temporarily save it to the desktop when asked where you would like it saved. You may be prompted by OS X to authorise AB2CSV to access your contacts. If this happens click “Yes” or you’re stuffed.
Now switch back to Gmail and log back in if need be. Hover over the Gmail button in the upper left corner of the window and select Contacts (Fig. 5). Now move a little to the right (Fig. 6) and click More > Import > Choose. Select the VCF you created and click Choose. When ready click the Import button (Fig. 7). Congrats you’ve synced your contacts with Gmail.
Now that your contacts and calendars are synced, simply log into your Google account on your new Windows Phone 8 device using the procedure in the video below.
Download the Windows Phone companion app from the Mac App Store. Sadly (or stupidly) it will not allow you to share contacts and calendars between your Mac and your phone. This app will allow you to sync your music, videos, podcasts and photos from iTunes, iPhoto or Aperture with your Windows Phone 8 device (Fig. 8).
If you have grown attached to your @me.com email address then you can set your Windows Phone 8 device up to receive and send iCloud email. Setting up iCloud email is trickier than setting up your Google account because it has to be done manually. To make it as easy as possible use the following config:
- Set up as imap.
- Type in your iCloud email address where required
- Incoming server: imap.mail.me.com
- Username: <yourusername>@me.com
- Password: <youshouldknowit>
- Outgoing server: smtp.mail.me.com
- Tick boxes for;
- outgoing server requires authentication
- use same username and password
- Require SSL for incoming
- Require SSL for outgoing
Now you might be wondering about Photo Stream? You can always keep your iCloud account running on your iPad or Mac. After logging into your Google account for contacts and calendars, you can switch off these iCloud features in System Preferences (or Settings if you’re using an iPad). I’d recommend keeping Photo Stream switched on. If you don’t have any other iOS devices, don’t panic! You can always access your Photo Stream through Aperture or iPhoto on your Mac. Your Windows Phone 8 device will not sync with Photo Stream, so you’ll just have to settle for Skydrive. Skydrive is Microsoft’s cloud storage product which is pretty darn good. You can download photos from Skydrive and open them in Aperture or iPhoto. Aperture and iPhoto will add those photos to Photo Stream for you to enjoy later.
I hope this helps! I can’t wait to get my new Nokia. I wonder if it will have the old school Nokia ringtone? You know the one I mean (stop humming it).