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iSync stops recognizing my cell phone

It’s like the fun with iSync just never ends.

I have a Nokia 6682 cell phone with service from Cingular. This thing, despite being my third unit due to defects in the previous two, is terrific. It does it all. Video, photos, Symbian apps– and it syncs with my Mac like a dream!

Or, it used to. By now, if you’ve been paying attention, you know that I have had more than a fair share of problems with iSync on my Mac lately. First, I had to re-install Mac OSX because .Mac wouldn’t recognize my login (this after six months of it quietly not syncing, without ever telling me it had failed. Bitch.) Then, iSync magically stopped working one day.

Well, I was at a meeting on Thursday night, and I decided to Sync my cell phone to my Mac. After all, I had time to kill, and my phone was within arm’s reach. At this point, iSync has only two things to put in sync with each other– my computer and my phone. No PDAs, no .Mac, no second computers…. The iPod isn’t handled with iSync anymore, even. What could go wrong?

Uh, yeah. So, the Mac spins its little wheels for a while and finally iSync pops up a message that says it can’t find my phone, and maybe my phone is turned off or not within range?


I could connect to the phone using Bluetooth without a problem, and could send files back and forth, so I knew it wasn’t strictly a Bluetooth hangup.

I found it in the Apple knowledge base this time, which makes this one of the first times I’ve have a Mac problem that was quickly solved by official Apple documentation. When your iSync suddenly stops being able to find your cell phone and powering the phone off and on again doesn’t resolve it, your phone’s iSync profile is hosed, and you need to remove it and re-install it.

Which is exactly what I did. Instructions for the technologically clueless follow, but if you set your Mac up to reach your cell phone in the first place, you’ll be able to get it.

Open iSync and click your phone’s icon in the iSync window. The window should expand to show all the options for your phone.
From the menu bar, click Devices -> Remove Device.
You’ll be prompted to make sure you REALLY want to remove the device. Click OK.
Frankly, I rebooted at this point and restarted my phone, for good measure, but neither should be necessary.
From iSync, click Devices -> Add Device.
Your phone should crop up in the dialog box and you can click to add it.
You might be prompted at this point as to whether you want to sync or override your phone. Your pick. I overrode my phone, but I was confident that my Mac was as up to date as possible.
After your first sync, go in and fix any settings. Like I have my phone set to not pick up all my iCal calendars. Because, really, I don’t need them all on my phone (some of my calendars are informational things, like vloggercalendar [Email address: vloggercalendar #AT# - replace #AT# with @ ]/public/basic.ics">the Videoblogger calendar.

That’s it. Future syncs should work just fine. And if they don’t, try the steps above.

Caveat: Notice in this that there’s no instructions for what happens if your iSync can’t find your phone after you remove it. Sorry– I don’t have a fix for that. It crossed my mind, like a dark shadow passing over the sun in a horror movie, when I removed my phone from iSync that there was a better than even chance, given my luck, of never being able to get it back in again. On the other hand, there was a 100% chance of never being able to sync again with the way it was before I removed and re-added it, so I really had very little to lose.

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2 thoughts on “iSync stops recognizing my cell phone”

  1. So excited that we have the same phone and problem. Well, not completely excited about the problem…

    Back to the matter at hand:

    Did iSync ever just *stop* opening for you?

    It used to be so lovely. I’d just hit the little round doohickymabob on my desktop every night and the phone and machine would sync up.. calendars, notes, everything. Like you, I’d even move images back and forth from the phone.

    Now, iSync doesn’t open. I just downloaded the latest version and everything.

    Any suggestions (besides “bugger off!”)?

  2. Dean, YES, I had that happen! It’s actually a pretty common problem; you can find solutions on the Apple discussions board.

    As I recall, the fix was pretty esoteric, but it’s pretty well outlined here: The key is to download and install Pacifist, then use your install discs to re-install iSync without having to re-install the whole OS (without Pacifist, you have to reinstall the OS).

    Oop! I just searched my own blog archives and see that I did, actually, document the fix here as well! Go me! It’s not the Pacifist re-install, though, and the link to the post that it refers to is mangled, but that’s how I solved it. At the time, that was on a Powerbook G4– the issue might be different in an Intel-based Mac. You might also find it much safer to do the Pacifist thing anyway.

    I am also going to send this to you by email, because it might be a while before you get back here, and I don’t think my blog signs you up to get replies to your own comments by email (I should check and find out, though, huh).

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