In Sync — email, contacts, and calendar

I’ve finally untethered my iPhone from iTunes, at least for keeping my calendar and contacts up to date.  I’m using Thunderbird to manage email, contacts, and calendar, and using Google as a back end to keep it all synchronized between the iPhone, my Linux desktop, my Windows Vista notebook, and Google Apps on the web.

This will work with any Google mail account, whether it’s or a google apps account like and will work with any phone that can synchronize directly with Microsoft Exchange.

  1. Contacts
    1. Import contacts into Thunderbird from Outlook.  The steps are here.
    2. Install the gContactSync addon for Thunderbird.
  2. Calendar.
    1. Install Lightning as an addon to Thunderbird. 
    2. Synchronize your Outlook calendar with Google using the free tool from Google.
    3. Install the Provider for Google Calendar as an addon for Thunderbird.
    4. Create a new calendar in Thunderbird following these directions.
  3. On the phone, create an Exchange account that points to your Google account and enable Calendar and Contacts.

Be sure to back up all of your address books, calendars, and phones first, just in case.