Become the master of your mobile with phone-syncing software. Here's how to backup data sch as contacts and messages from your phone onto your computer without paying your carrier.
|Step 1: Getting started||Step 5: Pictures and video|
|Step 2: Install the software||Step 6: MP3s and audio|
|Step 3: Contacts and calendar||Step 7: File manager|
|Step 4: Messaging|
Step 1: Getting started
Though their primary use will always be to make calls, mobile phones have become much more than simple communication devices. Using a single handset, you can take pictures, shoot videos, organise your contacts and daily calendar, send and receive messages, and play music. But managing those extra features can be a challenge. For example, after you take a photo with your camera phone, it doesn't do a whole lot of good until you can get it off your phone and onto your computer. Of course, you can always send multimedia messages through your carrier's data service, but that can be expensive if you're a frequent shutterbug. On the flip side, while using your phone's organiser won't cost money, inputting your information on a standard phone keypad is time-consuming and tedious.
A syncing feeling
Fortunately, there's a solution to your phone data doldrums. With mobile phone-syncing software, you become the master of all that's on your phone by syncing your mobile directly to your PC (some applications also work with Macs). You can transfer pictures, messages, contacts, and ring tones from your phone to your computer, edit them on your PC using the software, then transfer them back to your phone. And best of all, while you have to buy the software, it's just a onetime fee, and you don't have to involve your carrier on an ongoing basis to use it. It should be noted that there are also some free applications and some options from handset manufacturers, but they are not as feature-laden.
What you'll need
Several different brands of mobile phone-syncing software exist. For this article, we're using Mobile Action's Handset Manager 9, as it offers a simple interface and a wealth of features. You don't have to use Mobile Action's product, but whichever software you choose, it's important to make absolutely sure that it's compatible with your mobile phone. And not only does the phone compatibility of each product vary, all of the features won't be usable with every phone. Without proper research, you'll wind up with a worthless CD. For this guide, we're using a Sony Ericsson S710a.
Editor's note: The S710 is sold in North America. It is very similar to the Sony Ericsson S700i sold in international markets, including Australia.
Once you make the choice, you'll get everything you need in the box. Most products use a simple USB cable connection, but here again, make sure you're buying the cable that is meant for your phone. Some options such as Susteen's Data Pilot Universal kit come with multiple connectors, but that's probably over the top if you rely on one trusty phone. Alternatively, though some versions of Handset Manager utilise a Bluetooth or USB link, we prefer using a USB cable for the most reliable connection.