Zit Seng's Blog

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Sync N97 with Google

Here’s the tip on configuring the N97 to synchronize Contacts and Calendar with Google. This is done using the Mail for Exchange phone application. It is included in the N97, but it is not installed by default. You need to trigger the phone to install Mail for Exchange (or MfE in short).

  1. Go to Menu, Apps.
  2. Start the Settings Wizard (Sett. wiz.).
  3. If you’ve never run this wizard before, there will be a startup screen or two to skip through. Otherwise, just click on E-mail setup.
  4. Click Start.
  5. Select Use my e-mail address.
  6. Okay, you need to enter an email address here. It doesn’t really matter which account (you can delete it later). However, Gmail accounts apparently don’t work, at least not for me, because this wizard tries to be smart and pre-selects some options when it recognizes the email domain.
  7. Next part is the crucial thing. Make sure you choose Mail for Exchange.
  8. The rest of the steps don’t really matter anymore.

The phone will install Mail for Exchange, and you will find it in the MfE folder (in Menu -> Apps). The next step is to configure Mail for Exchange.

  1. Start the Mail for Exchange application.
  2. Click Options, then Edit profile.
  3. In the Connections screen:
    Exchange server: m.google.com
    Secure connection: Yes
    Access point: Internet (or whatever you fancy)
    Sync while roaming: No (since roaming data could be costly)
    Use default port: Yes
  4. In the Credentials screen:
    Username: Put your google username here (no need for @gmail.com)
    Password: Your password
    Domain: gmail.com
  5. Configure the Sync schedule as you need.
  6. In the next couple of screens, turn on synchronization for Calendar and Contacts only. Do not enable synchronization for Tasks. Although Google Calendar recently added Tasks functionality, the synchronization with MfE still doesn’t work. (Enabling it will make MfE sync fail completely.)

Configuration in Mac OS X

First, you need to make a simple “hack” to get iSync to work with Google. You don’t need to do this if you already have an iPhone sync’ed with your Mac, because iSync would already have been setup to work with Google. If you don’t, then here’s what to do:

  1. Go to ~/Library/Preferences.
    cd ~/Library/Preferences
  2. Convert the com.apple.iPod.plist to text format.
    plutil -convert xml1 com.apple.iPod.plist
  3. Fire up your favourite editor to edit the com.apple.iPod.plist file.
  4. Copy the following section and paste it just below itself. This is make sure that the changes you are to make won’t be overwritten the next time you sync your iPod.

  5. Change the numbers between the <key> … </key> in the copied part slightly, just to make it different from the original. Also, the important bit, is to change the number in <integer>…</integer> after the <key>Family ID</key> to 10001. E.g.:
    <key>Family ID</key>
  6. Convert the file back to binary format.
    plutil -convert binary1 com.apple.iPod.plist

That’s the fix to get iSync to synchronize your Address Book. Now, you need to configure Address Book.

  1. Open up Address Book.
  2. Go to Preferences, there’s now a new “Syncrhonize with Google” option. Enable it, and enter your Google account information when prompted. You need to enter the “@gmail.com” part for your account name.
  3. Now, go to iSync item in the menu bar (not the iSync app), and click Sync Now.

For the calendar synchronization:

  1. Open up iCal.
  2. Go to Preferences, Accounts pane.
  3. Click the + button to create a new account. Enter a description, your Gmail username, password.
  4. Expand the Server options, and enter Account URL in this format, replacing username with your Gmail username: https://www.google.com/calendar/dav/username%40gmail.com/user

41 thoughts on “Sync N97 with Google

  1. Thanks a BUNCH man ! I was looking ALL OVER for instructions how to do this. I then realized that Mail For Exchange wasnt even installed on my n97 (China NAM Version) Installed it, followed these tips, and it works GREAT !

    Thanks Again

  2. Few important points:

    – Mail for Exchange was not preloaded in my N97 and also N97 is not listed in the Mail for Exchange download page, but you can use the Mail for Exchange for Nokia 5800, because Nokia 5800 is S60 5th edition http://www.businesssoftware.nokia.com/mail_for_exchange_downloads.php

    – Some important updates found in Google site http://www.google.com/support/mobile/bin/answer.py?answer=147951&ctx=sibling&topic=15014

  3. Hi, I stumbled across your page as while searching the net trying to work out how to get my nokia to ‘talk’ to my mac. I have just brough a Nokia 5310 (just a cheapy but It’s going to have a hard life) and all I want to do is to transfer music from my mac to to my phone. Don’t care about the rest of the stuff, just the music. You sound like you know what your talking about, got any ideas?

    Thanks heaps.

  4. Just a quick word. Zit Seng is the man and round of applause goes out to him. 2 thumbs down to Nokia though. The firmware inside the N97 is broken. So severely that many 3rd party developers have given up on trying to create a plugin as it is IMPOSSIBLE with the f/w in such poor condition. The BT, USB sections are also broken. Nokia needs to release a MAJOR upgrade to fix this phone. I have given up on it and purchased an iPhone. It works all the time, every time. Again, great work Zit Seng.

  5. I tried to install following the process and goes well and it says that is well configured, but after it click finish, it does not install it, also I tried to look in Ovi store and dowmload, does not show it, also I dowloaded profimail to use the browser to explore c: and find it, but is not there, any idea?

  6. also if you do not want to spend to much time configuring the mac os, just try the spanning cycle, it does auto…for lazy people like me…

  7. Zit thank you for getting my calendar to work between my N97 and iCal via Google Calendar: is there a way to get my events in iCal to show up in the Google Calendar too, or do I always have to create the event in the Google calendar first?
    Also is there a way I can change the calendar of an event that already exists? When I go to edit the item, It shows what calendar the item comes from and it seems like I could change it with a dropdown arrow, but if the item is in the “home” calendar there is no option to change it to Google, nor vice-versa.

    Final item: I still cannot sync the contacts to Mac AddressBook. I followed your instructions above, but on the last step when you say to go to iSync and hit “Sync Now” I don’t see that option. I only see “Sync Devices,” and the problem before of course was that the N97 was not included in the list of phones. Did I do something wrong in the directions? Or am I missing where “Sync Now” is? Thanks!

    If anyone else can help me, that would be great too, thank you!

    1. Hi Allen,

      In iCal, only those entries that show up in Google Calendar (or whatever you chose to call the remote calendar) gets sync with Google. Those in “Home” are local and do not sync. You can simply drag the “Home” events into the Google Calendar item on the left pane. That’s how you move/copy events from one calendar to another.

      For the Address Book: Sorry I meant to click on the iSync icon in the menu bar, and from the drop down, click Sync Now. I’ve updated the text on this page. This is assuming you have an iSync icon in the menu bar. If not, go to the iSync app, go to Prefrences, and activate “Show status in menu bar”.

  8. Thank you,
    Calendar works great. I see where the Sync Now option is, thanks. It does not seem to do anything. It runs for a few seconds. Should it give a message that it worked? I tested this by watching for someone’s phone number that I had changed. After the sync I went to my Google contacts and the number is still the old one.
    Do you have any ideas? Thanks so much!

    1. Hi,
      I have an update to my situation above. I was able to successfully sync my Apple Address Book and Google Contacts, but just the first time. Now that I think about it though, the sync occurred when on an unrelated note I plugged my iPod in, which started iTunes. I have read other threads about this and it seems the iPod prompted my Google sync. I must not have followed the instructions about editing the .plist correctly.

      Is everyone else who used this method able to sync Apple Address Book and Google Contacts on a regular basis? Thanks so much again.

  9. hi zit, ive just brought a n97 and done everything you have said to for the calender etc, as i push sync it comes up error, system error try again later??, any ideas??

  10. hi Zit, I am working in China and thanks to your instructions now have Mail for Exchange working great and syncing with Google calendar and contacts so thanks again. Cannot seem to get the Accuweather to work, cannot even find it. Anybody had similar problems.

  11. Thanks Zit for these tips. Brilliant.

    Still, I have some questions here…

    When I type in a new appointment in Google calendar, it also appears on my N97 and vice versa, so that’s fine.

    But none of my contacts from the macbook transfers to Gmail, and none of the appointments of my iCal on the Mac are copied to Gmail (and from there not updated on the N97).

    If I open iCal, I do briefly see the ‘moving circle’ activity next to the new Gmail icon in the left column. And in the Address Book, the new “Synchronize with Google” option is on. If I click on the Google button next to it, checking the account name/password and clicking on OK, all seems well.

    Could it be that all calendar and contacts data need a ‘refresh’ to be seen as “up for syncing” ?

    Thanks again,


  12. PS: I must have failed to follow the steps exactly since I just discovered all my contacts are missing in the N97 😉 Just as there were no contacts yet in my rarely used Google account…

  13. PS2 Things look very much better already.

    First I re-loaded all contacts to the N97 using my old Nokia 51 (on the N97 doing Settings -> Connectivity – > data transmit -> phone transmit -> et cetera). Now a number of contacts is listed twice on my mac and on Gmail but I can tweak that later. I must have rushed over the Dutch menu settings in the N97 specifying if the data on the phone must be saved / merged or deleted to match the (then empty) Gmail address book.

    Then I tested that a new or edited calendar entry on the phone, mac or gmail web page gets almost instantly updated on the other two devices/locations. So that works too and I am very grateful to Zit for taking the trouble to figure all this out.

    Very impressive.

    Then I exported my iCal entries on the Mac and imported this file on my Google calendar page, noticing with amazement that all of these have meanwhile appeared on the N97 as well.

    All in all, 100% successful. I feel very clever but I am aware that It’s Zit Seng who made it possible. Thanks!

  14. hi.
    thanks for the information. it seems to be working great.
    i have a little question – what about additional calenders i have on my google account? how do i sync calenders which are not the primary one?

    thanks a lot, again.


  15. Hi Zit,

    I had everything set up exactly right. Then all of a sudden, my google celandar stopped syncing. I am using MfE and hav not changed any settings at all. So, I deleted my profile and set up a new one. My e-mail seems to synchronize ok, but strangely my calendar and contacts do not synchronize any more.
    I am puzzled! Would you have any clue as to where I should look or what I am doing wrong?

    Thanks in advance!

    Best regards,

    1. Sometimes my calendar doesn’t sync but then a while later it works again so it can be something we don’t need to worry about. Has it started to work for you again?

      1. Well, it does work again. However, i have had to do a hard reset and completely reinstall and reconfigure. My calendar and mail now sync fine. My contacts do not: whenever I synchronise them I end up with some (not all, strangely enough) contacts double, even triple, both on my N97 as well as in gmail contacts. I have deleted them, re-synchronized, but I keep ending up with double contacts. It is, I must admit, kind of driving me nuts. I have now simply reverted to not synchronizing my contacts. However, I had rather have it work.
        If anyone has any suggestions at all, without me having to delete 179 double contacts, I would be grateful.


        1. are the double contacts in your phone or on gmail?

          my suggestion: backup / exort a correct contact list, delete the contact list that’s got all the duplicates and then re-sync. If by accident both google and phone lost all contacts, re-import them on google from the backup / export and sync again.

          hope it helps!


  16. Forgot a second questionl, sorry:

    I am using Ubuntu 9.04. I am also using virtualbox for Windows XP. However, I cannot seem to get Nokia PC Suite in Windows XP (in the VirtualBox session) get to recognize my N97. I was kinda hoping you have a clue as to where to look or how to solve this. I cannot upgrade to Fw 2.0 like this, since Nokia don’t have a Ubuntu/Linux upgrade procedure.


  17. Guys,
    Mail for Exchange (MfE) is working fine with Gmail and I found a new ver of MfE (2.09.206)
    When I upgraded the new version all my contacts disappeared then I synced with my contacts in the Gmail account and I got everything back.

    Just make sure always to backup your contacts using Nokia PC Suite/Nokia Content Copier before upgrading MfE

  18. I have followed everything that everyone has said.
    But i still keep getting the same issue:

    Invalid password. check the password blah blah

    I have had the same password forever and i could type it with my eyes closed (which i didn’t to install this!!)
    Why does it keep saying Invalid?

    Please help or the N97 will die a horrible death!!!

  19. Hi everyone,

    In the meantime I got myself a Galaxy S2 and never looked back. No problems synchronising anymore, everything just works! I can recommend all of you to do the same. Nokia is fighting an uphill battle anyway.

    Just thought I should let you know.


  20. 😉 This could become a “reunion of one time N97 owners” site 😉

    I liked the concept of the N97 but it was slow and the keyboard felt cheap compared to the Nokia Communicator I had before. I put my N97 back in the box almost two years ago when I bought an iPhone and last month I gave it away to a friend who needed an extra phone while transferring to another provider.

    Enjoy the galaxy!

  21. Hi,

    I must be the thickest here… but as I see everyone here has been helped I gotta ask:
    I can’t manage to follow the instructions… for example: “Convert the com.apple.iPod.plist to text format.
    plutil -convert xml1 com.apple.iPod.plist” what is ‘plutil’ -convert ? am i supposed to run this in the Terminal application? or else?
    Same goes for “Copy the following section …000A11744C5AB712 … “- am i supposed to see these numbers somewhere?

    Is there a chance to write me a ‘fool-proof’ way to do this? sorry, have no experience in hacking :-/


  22. Hi eT,

    I think if you have no experience with command line stuff and you feel hesitant about ‘hacking’ it’s probably better if you ask someone with experience in mild tweaking to follow the very clear step by step advice on this page…

    My guess is that if someone would type it out in much more detail, it would only seem more complicated to you and you might not give it a try at all…

    Good luck!


  23. Hi Zit, I’m in big trouble now. i selected “sync contacts” when i tried to sync email exchange on my nokia n97mini. The sync failed due to the email server problem, but i just found all my contacts on the phone were lost at all. So please help me on this, how can i recover all my contacts back? thx a lot1

    1. I’m sorry to hear about lost contacts. I’ve moved on to Android phones for some years now, I’m afraid I don’t remember what options there are to fix this (apart from restoring from backup…). I’ve sold off my Nokia phones… so nothing for me to play around with now anyway. I suggest to try asking on Nokia support forums?

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