If you have an iPhone, iPad or iPod touch you’ll want the latest information available on each one. There are a number of ways to synchronise different kinds of information. Here’s my suggestions as to the best solution for each area that needs syncing. If you have an Android Phone read this article instead.
Use Apple built in Address book (OSX) and Contacts (iOS) and they sync over iCloud. This will keep you iPhone and computer in sync. If you have an Android phone read this article on how to sync iCloud with Google Contacts.
Use built in Calendar app on your iPhone and OSX, and sync via iCloud. If you want to share outside of the Apple ecosystem (eg to an Android phone like Google or Samsung) read this article.
Notes Option #1: (The Apple way)
Use Notes app on your iPhone and computer – they sync with iCloud.
Notes Option #2. (My preferred way.)
Use Notational Velocity (on the Mac) synced with Simplenote (iOS). This is a beautiful combination and superior to Notes in many ways. For more info see here.
Why I use 2 notes apps:
I find it handy to have 2 separate Notes apps. My Notational Velocity currently has 748 notes in it: song lists, research material, bits of computer code and so on. It’s more of a reference file.
I have a much smaller set of notes (about 10) that I sync with my wife. For this I use the built in notes app synced over iCloud to both our phones. She would be overwhelmed with all my other notes!
Therefore Notes only has a few files, eg house cleaning plan, lists of presents, our shopping list. When I go shopping my wife can add items from home while I am shopping and I will notice them in the shopping list!
Do it manually or use iCloud if you want.
You can setup your computer and iPhone to use any email provider that you want (eg Gmail, Hotmail, Apple mail or whatever) and the mail will sync across. Just be sure to use IMAP (not POP) when you set up your mail. Then the emails can sync across all your iOS devices and computers just from your mail account – you don’t need iCloud or anything.
What iCloud does when it comes to mail is that it syncs the Mail Account information (username and password etc) to your iPhone. It doesn’t sync the actual email. So you can enter the settigns by hand, or use iCloud to sync your settings.
Things is my favourite here but it is NOT CHEAP! There are many, many other free options available.
Things wins hands down if you are into organising your life via to-do lists GTD (Dave Allen) style. (I have hundreds of to-do’s in Things and it’s not cluttered.)
Simple: Apple Reminders
If you want a simple free solution to store just 10 or 20 to do’s then Apple’s built in ‘Reminders’ will do the job and it will sync across to the to-do list in ‘Calenders’ on your mac.
Photostream will make the last 30 days worth of photos available to any iPhone, iPad and computer (up to a max of 1000 photos).
(1) Turn on ‘Photostream’ in iPhoto on your computer under the iPhoto top Menu called ‘Preferences’ –> ‘Photostream’ tab then click the ‘My Photo Stream’ checkbox.
(2) Turn on Photostream on your iOS device under the ‘Settings’ –> ‘Photos & Camera’ –> ‘My Photo Stream’ –> (ON).
IMPORTANT: You need to make sure this only syncs photos when you are on wi-fi or else you would use up lots of data.
To turn on Photostream over cellular phone network (or check that it is in fact turned off!) you need to check BOTH these settings:
Settings –> iCloud –> Photostream (ON)
Settings –> General –> Cellular –> Use Celllular Data for –> iCloud Documents (ON)
If both these are on, photostream will work over cellular network.
If you have an Android phone, use Google Photos.
I have been looking for a simple app that will sync photos of receipts across from the iPhone to the computer for all purchases that I make. Evernote was the closest I came but it lost half my photos in the sync so I don’t trust it. Bento is too clunky. There are numerous ‘Receipts’ apps but they either don’t sync or are too cumbersome. I’m open to suggestions!!!
I use Devonthink to store my receipts, but I can’t easily access them from my Pixel phone.
What is iCloud?
iCloud is Apple’s sync solution. You can sync your email settings, Address Book, Calendars, Notes, Photos and Keynote/Pages documents over iCloud. It’s very robust (unlike Apples earlier attempts such as MobileMe) and fast.