Bluetooth Phones and Mac OS X in Perfect Sync

by Derrick Story

A great benefit to being a technology writer is that I can rationalize just about any new toy purchase, even if it's justifying it to myself. A chapter in my soon-to-be-released book, Digital Photography Hacks, focuses on camera phone tricks. Of course I had to get my hands on a camera phone to fully explore its hackable nature.

I played with a Treo 600 for a while, and really enjoyed using it. In fact, you'll see it in some of the book illustrations. But the Treo had a major drawback: no Bluetooth. Since my PowerBook has Bluetooth built in, and I'm running Mac OS X, it seemed to me that any phone I get serious about needs to have this connectivity.

I sought the advice of MobileWhack guru, Rael Dornfest, and he suggested I look at the Sony Ericsson Z600 Smartphone. Among its other great features, the Z600 has Bluetooth and syncs nicely with Mac OS X. After just a few days of use I came to one conclusion: Bluetooth is important to me.

Here are a few areas that I've come to appreciate how this technology improves my daily workflow:

  • File Transfer - I take a picture with the Z600's camera phone, then send it to my PowerBook or the Palm Tungsten T2. It takes seconds to do so. I can transfer other files among the devices just as easily.

  • Address Book - I knew there was a reason why I was diligently maintaining the Address Book in Mac OS X. Now my contacts with their phone numbers -- correctly designated as "Home," "Office," or "Mobile" -- are tucked away neatly in the Z600. Took about 90 seconds. Oh, and I can send new addresses directly to the phone from the Address Book app because it is Bluetooth enabled. So I have the option of using iSync or direct sending.

  • Calendar and ToDos - I can even check my appointments in the Z600. iCal data syncs wonderfully too, and it splits my appointments and ToDos into appropriate menus on the Z600. Oh, one hint here, be sure to set your phone's time and date and GMT timezone (in my case -8.00H for San Francisco) for the calendar times to sync correctly.

  • Web Browsing and Email on the Palm -- This is cool. The phone is in my pocket and I'm browsing the Web and checking email on the Palm, which is also BT enabled.

  • SMS on the Palm -- Text messaging is much easier with the Palm than with phone buttons. Palm OS 5 comes with a great SMS client that talks to the phone in your pocket.

  • Share Internet from PB to Phone -- By using a slick little AppleScript called Share2Blue2th, I can use the Z600 to share the Powerbook's Internet connection over Bluetooth out to the phone for syncing Avantgo or testing WAP pages. (Untested at this point. Thanks to C.K. for helping me get this wording right.)

The Z600 has an easy on/off switch for Bluetooth, so when I'm out and about in public, I can turn off the connectivity and not have to worry about Bluesnarfing.

I've been following the Bluetooth story for quite sometime, and I was wondering if this technology was ever going to get off the ground. Well, for Mac OS X users, it's not only off the ground, it's flying high. I'm better organized than ever, and it isn't even work to do so.


2004-03-12 12:12:54
Hi, just saw your post. I wrote the Share2Blue2th scripts and they do the exact opposite of what you say they do here. They share the Powerbook's internet connection over bluetooth out to the phone, for syncing Avantgo or testing WAP pages without blowing through your cellular provider's KB per month plan.

That being said, I'd like to hear if you manage to get the scripts working with the Z600, as I haven't heard confirmation of that phone model, and I'd like to update the Read Me with the How To of configuring the phone side of things if it works.


2004-03-12 12:34:56
Calendar syncing
How did you configure iSync for syncing your calendars to the Z600?

If I enable syncing my calendars, the first sync is fine but on subsequent syncs all calendar entries end up being duplicated on my Mac. It seems that my Z600 is modifying the calendar entries in some way and iSync thinks all entries on the Z600 are new entries.

2004-03-12 13:03:30
Ack! Thanks for pointing that out. I don't normally do this, but I'm going to fix my blunder in the weblog. Much appreciated C.K. :)
2004-03-12 13:12:05
No problem! Still, give the scripts a try and let me know if they work. I think they may only work with Symbian phones, tho. The only report I've heard of them working with non-symbian was from a discussion board where someone said that they managed to get it working with a T610, but that thread has disappeared from apple's pages.
2004-03-12 13:18:11
RE: Calendar syncing
I haven't had any calendar syncing problems at all. In fact, it was Address Book that glitched on me (but just fine now).

What I did for iCal was create a calendar with a unique name instead of using a default calendar. The syncing has been clean. One thing I noticed with the Z600, however, is if the event doesn't have a time assigned to it, it doesn't show in my Z600 calendar. So anything denoted "all-day" in iCal isn't coming over.

If anyone had a fix for this, please post.

2004-03-12 13:19:29
RE: Share2Blue2th
I shall report back. Thanks again!
2004-03-12 13:46:15
Don't Forget Salling Clicker
Another terrific opportunity for Mac OS X users with Bluetooth phones is Salling Clicker, which allows you to turn your phone (or BT PDA) into a remote control for your Mac. We've posted an article by Dori Smith on Mac DevCenter on how to set this up.

I'll test it specifically with the Z600 and report back soon. Thanks Jonas for the friendly reminder :)

2004-03-12 14:00:49
Which carrier?
Which carrrier in the US provides this phone?

- vineet

2004-03-12 14:20:37
Don't Forget Salling Clicker
Hi !

Thanks for sharing this inspiring story with us ! :-)

I have used Salling Clicker quite a bit and it is indeed great ! Plus, both the Clicker and its helper application are fully AppleScript-able, which can come in handy sometimes...

Fun with wireless : a great Mac user experience !


2004-03-12 14:46:53
Re: Which carrier?
Ah, I knew it was just a matter of time before someone asked this question. I'm sure that phone experts with more knowledge than me will chime in on this, but I'll get you started.

There are basically two ways to get set up with a new phone. The first is the "traditional" way where you go to a dealership, pick out a phone, choose a plan, and they get you up and running. This is probably the preferred way for most people because the dealer does most of the work for you.

Problem is, for some anyway, you're limited to the phones they offer. So if I go to Dealer X and want a SE Z600, and it isn't on their list of available phones, that's it. I either have to check with another dealer, or settle for another phone.

However, some wireless carriers use "Smartcards," such as Cingular, AT&T (I believe), and T-Mobile (pretty sure). They provide more flexibility. I have Cingular, so all I did was pull the smartcard out of my old phone, put it in the Z600, and I'm in business. The Z600 is a triband phone (900, 1800, 1900 networks) and Cingular has a pretty good 1900 network, so I'm OK in the US and parts of Canada.

One thing to keep in mind though, is to make sure your new phone is "unlocked" when you buy it so you can access it with your current network.

I'm sure others will have plenty to say about this. But for now, I'm pretty sure you can use the Z600 with Cingular, AT&T, and T-Mobile.

2004-03-12 15:32:12
Salling Clicker Works Great on Z600
I downloaded and installed Salling Clicker on the SE Z600. Everything works very well. I suggest that you give your clicker a descriptive name, such as Fred's Salling Clicker. This makes it easier to find it when browsing the phone's menus. You can apply the new name via your Mac in the Clicker's Preferences Panel via the Settings button in the lower left corner.

Then, on the phone itself, you'll find the Clicker menu following this path:

Main Menu > Connect (lower left corner) >Accessories (bottom of the Connect menu) >Salling Clicker (or the name you assigned to it).

I suggest you look at all the scripts included with the software, and configure your clicker for the apps you use. Also, make sure Bluetooth is turned on for both your phone and your Mac.

2004-03-12 15:33:23
Re: Which carrier?
The Z600 is a GSM phone, so you'll need a GSM carrier. Currently T-Mobile, AT&T, and Cingular are the big U.S. carriers that provide GSM. AT&T and Cingular also have an older TDMA network that they're trying to transition people off of.

The so-called "smartcard" is more commonly referred to as a "sim card". It contains your basic cellular account information, and sometimes your address book as well. So by moving it between phones, you can switch phones with great ease.

Phones purchased through carriers will be locked to the carrier's own sim card. Each carrier has a different unlocking policy. T-Mobile's is pretty liberal. AT&T refuses across the board I hear.

Their are third parties that will unlock a phone and various tools available for free or for purchase on the Internet.

I took my SE T610 to Europe in December, and I could purchase pay-as-you-go sim cards there, giving me a local phone number. That came in very handy.

And yes, Bluetooth is wonderful!

2004-03-12 23:52:52
Close, but no... Share2Blue2th
So I ran the Share AirPort to Bluetooth script. My PB and Z600 did establish a BT connection, but I couldn't get any data to transmit over it. I'd run the kill script, which indeed did kill the connection, then try again with different data settings on the phone. Never found a combination that worked. Thought I had it a couple times, but no.
2004-03-13 04:03:55
Do these synch ALL calendar item?

Most SE phones seem to NOT synch ALL-DAY events from iCal (eg T68i, T610, ..). To me that is a real show stopper. Unfortunately, most people only seem to find this out AFTER they have purchased the phone (and then have to live with it).

Can someone please tell me if these phones synch ALL-DAY events?

Ashley Aitken.

2004-03-13 05:26:54
Exactly when is a developer going to release a product that enables Entourage to use iSync, or to just sync the data from Entourage directly to my phone? I have a Siemens S55 btw, a genuine business phone, not a toy, but it's utility is greatly impaired for lack of Entourage syncing. I see HUNDREDS of others asking for this, but so far no one has stepped up to the plate. Why?

And what WAS Apple thinking in releasing 3 separate products, iCal, Address Book, Mail to do the job of one fully integrated amazing app like Entourage. Sheesh!

2004-03-13 08:03:40
RE: Do these synch ALL calendar item?
I could not get the SE Z600 to sync "all-day" events, as I mentioned in another talkback. To get an appointment to appear, I have to give it a time. A fix for this would be nice :)
2004-03-14 07:42:05
Close, but no... Share2Blue2th
That's too bad. I think that I might need to update the Read Me to say that the scripts will only work with Symbian-based phones. I've been hopeful until now, because of a few T610 users who had posted on a discussion board that they were able to get it working, but I never found out how and haven't heard positive results from any other non-Symbian users. *sigh*

Thanks for testing it for me, though!

2004-03-14 10:49:13
Sony Ericsson P900
All is not quite as rosy for the Sony Ericsson P900 for which support although claimed is at best patchy. Have managed to pair the devices and synchronse conacts but not iCal. The supplied PC suite is Windows only and even under VPC I have not been able to upgrade the phone firmware. Great phone but Apple and Sony Ericsson need to do a lot better than this.
2004-03-14 23:47:13
Supported Phones
In case you were wondering, he's the official list of supported phones for Mac OS X.
2004-03-14 23:49:30
RE: Sony Ericsson P900 and iCal
I'm curious about the iCal syncing problems. Could you describe a bit more about how your iCal is set up? Do you have custom calendars? Do you try to sync them all, or just one? Stuff like that.
2004-03-15 04:37:13
List of phones
Has anyone compiled a list of bluetooth phones that will sync with Macs? I've been to most of the phone websites and the only ones that specifically say they will sync are Sony Ericsson phones. I've been told Nokia will not sync, don't know about the others...
2004-03-15 04:38:43
Sorry. I should have reloaded before posting my question...
2004-03-15 06:54:09
How does the bluetooth (when it's turned on) effect the battery life of the phone?
2004-03-15 07:03:56
Don't plan on using this on AT&T or Cingular
I have a T68i on AT&T and AT&T is sending all T68i owners a brand new T226, a so-so phone with NO bluetooth!

The reason, you ask? Because, AT&T is building on Cingular's (AT&T Wireless and Cingular are merging if you have not heard) 850mHz transmiters.

The phone in the article, as well as the T68i, P800, P900, and T630 are all 900/1800/1900 mHZ, with so-so reception off AT&T.

So, off I go, and many other T68i users, to T-Mobile with their extensize 1800 mHZ network.

2004-03-15 08:05:39
RE: Don't plan on using this on AT&T or Cingular
Wait a second. Cingular has an extensive 1900 network throughout the US. You can download the coverage map from their site, which I have. I put my Cingular card in the Z600 and was up and running within seconds.
2004-03-15 08:10:07
RE: battery
Well, the battery is pretty darn good to begin with. Charge it up all the way when you first get the phone before using it. To tell you the truth, I leave Bluetooth on except when I'm walking around in public. I haven't noticed any real impact on the battery.

I just now checked the indicator on the Z600. It's been 2 days since I charged, and it's over 75 percent full. And Bluetooth is on.

2004-03-15 12:33:07
RE: Calendar syncing
All day events present problems for many devices that synchronize because of the vagueness of the spec. Try and create an all-day event on the phone and see how it is represented on your desktop.


2004-03-15 14:38:17
Don't plan on using this on AT&T or Cingular
My understanding was that this only affected users mostly in the Northeast (plus all of Florida) among others. Also, I heard that you are not being forced to give up your phone; you may have spotty reception, though.
2004-03-15 17:46:13
Don't Forget Salling Clicker
I hate to say it, but the article of mine that you referred to doesn't cover Clicker and phones, it covers Clicker and PDAs. That was because the former was thoroughly covered in this article by Wei-Meng Lee.

If you have any questions about using the Z600 as a modem to get your laptop online, take a look at Chapter 7, "Cellular Connectivity" of Mac OS X Unwired. You do have a copy, right? ;-)

2004-03-16 07:43:38
6820 bluetooth
I just got the nokia 6820, I thought it would be the perfect phone. The one problem is that its not running symbian. Isync will not work with the phone and neither will the Share2Blue2th. Does anyone know why apple isnt going to support the non symbian nokia phones with isync. It looks like the Nokia 6600 will be the perfect phone when it gets to AT&T. I have unlocked the 6820 and hopefully can sell it and buy the 6600 someday. Assclown
2004-03-25 03:50:16
P900, iSync and iCal
Aarghh! I too am having grief attempting to get my shiny new p900 to sync with iCal. New install of iCal running on 10.3 syncs perfectly with address book. Can any one point me in the right direction?
2004-03-25 17:36:17
RE: P900, iSync and iCal
Here's a great resource for all of you lucky dogs with P900s. Rael and company have been playing with P900s over at mobilewhack, and they are macheads to boot.

One post mentions that syncing problems went away with the 10.3.3 update...

2004-03-31 19:10:10
Re: Which phone is the right phone for me?
if you don't mind me asking, which phone is the phone for me? I have a sonyericsson t68i...originally i thought i wanted to upgrade to a sonyericsson t610. I spend half the year in europe (italy, mostly), the other half in the states. Not sure where will be spending time next year between the two. What phone do i want that will still work with iSync, and satisfy my network needs. T610 gets aces for europe, and cries in the states....T616 gets it visa versa...any thoughts or advice. This phone must be unlocked from any service commitment, yet affordable...nothing like a nokia 6600 with every bell, whistle and video....needy heh?
finally, are all symbian phones isync compatible?
thanks all
2004-04-28 06:23:02
Olympic Calendar Athens 2004 by Bluetooth -Z600 Works !!!
Olympic Calendar Athens 2004 for Bluetooth -Z600 MACOSX 10.2.8 Works !!!

Download lots of other Calenders. !!!

Really like to hear of others who have tried?


2004-06-03 08:42:23
how to sync with Z600 without iSync
hello. But - how to sync with Z600 without iSync at all? I can't see how that's done - it should; as Derrick indicates telling 'I have the option of using iSync or direct sending'. Is that trivial? Documented anywhere? All the guides tell me is I need some software, and that software seems to be available only for pc.
Am I the only one not to get it? Maybe others just don't dare asking. So that a hint would help lots.
thanks in advance
2004-06-19 17:09:16
How can I easily import pictures into iPhoto?
Currently I have to use the bluttooth "Browse device" application to copy the photos to my HD, then I use the import feature of iPhoto, then I delete the photos from the phone and the temporary HD location.

Is ther a way I can import them directly into iPhoto?
(Like I can from a mounted digital memory device or digital camera.)

Or even an applescript that will perform the above functions?

2004-08-01 06:53:44
Supported Phones
long story.
switched to mac from pc
asked mac about connectivity
told to buy a bluetooth enabled phone.

called att. asked them to recomend a bluetooth phone to sync contacts and calendar with my mac
att recomends and sells me nokia 6820

sync fails. call mac support. refer me to phone manufacturer

nokia "we do not have any phones that support mac"

contact mac. again send me to phone manufacturer.

contact att and ask about the compatibility of my mac and 6820. "contact nokia support"

this has been ongoing since june.

searched the internet and I FOUND the site that lists compatible phones (on mac's site)

call nokia and ask about phones on the list "nokia does not support mac os

contact bluetooth. no reply

call motorola and ask for a phone that is bluetooth compatible with mac. "motorola does not support mac"

contact mac and they offer me free software.

contact nokia and they tell me to buy all the phones on the list and see if any of them work

contact mac and they offer NO GUARANTIES that they can connect the devices....then they offer me free software, not for my problem, just to make me go away.

walked back into the mac store where i purchased my powerbook g4. asked a salesperson as i showed him my 6820 to show me a computer that i could isync to this phone. answer "if it has bluetooth, any computer will work"

now, i have a $400. phone that i can no longer return.
a computer that cannot provide me with the mobile info i need, and a contract with att that is too costly to break!

i smell a class action suit!

2004-08-04 14:10:57
Sony Ericsson T616 to Mac OS X powerbook
I want to use this bluetooth enabled phone as a modem for my powerbook to search the internet. Please has anyone done this? Does it work well?
2004-08-04 14:19:04
Sony Ericsson T616 to Mac OS X powerbook
I want to use this bluetooth enabled phone as a modem for my powerbook to search the internet. Please has anyone done this? Does it work well?
2004-11-04 04:34:23
iSYnc and Contacts
I'm wondering about iSync and contacts... What fields exactly does the Z600 have in the address book? And what length are they?
I have a SIEMENS S55 which does a tremendous job at synching but it cuts long names and has no notes...
2004-11-18 10:21:02
how to sync with Z600 without iSync
I have a Sony Ericsson T616 camera phone and this method of transfering photos from phone to ibook works for me.
If your phone is Bluetooth enabled, turn on Bluetooth (you will find this under "settings" on your main menu), select the photo you wish to send from your pictures )under pictures and sound on the main menu). When you have the photo you want to send first select "view" and then "more". From the "more" menu select "send" from the" send" menu select "Bluetooth".
If you have previously used isync to sync you phone (or possibly other devices) you will next see a screen that says "searching" at the top of the screen and your computer will show as the option. Touch "select" and your phone will say "connecting" and your ibook screen will show activity and you will be asked to "accept" the incoming file. Then you will see a file spooling to the desktop and you will be asked to "place in finder" or "open". Place it in the finder. Much easier to figure out where it is if you accidently close it too quickly. The icon in the finder will have the same photo identification it had in the phone and you can rename it in the finder and then drag it to the desktop and later store it where you want it. You can also leave all the photos in the finder at any one session, I imagine.

I have really had fun with the phone and find it easier to send photos attached to emails out of my ibook to friends and less expensive too.

Good luck. I would very much like to know if this works for you. Remember turn off "Bluetooth" when you finish with the phone phot transfer or you will comsume the battery very quickly.


2005-10-15 06:32:51
6820 bluetooth
Got a 6820 and Mac OS X and just found this page hoping to find a possible BT sync solution as well. any other ideas or am i SOL?
2006-02-14 13:57:19
At my work syncing has been turned off. In iSync, in preferences, the Enable syncing on this computer is greyed out and can't be turned on. Does anybody know why?