Mac Daniel's Advice

Getting iSync to Work with an Unsupported Cell Phone

Dan Knight - 2005.08.01

I added a bunch of new phone numbers to my Mac's Address Book over the weekend and ran into problems when I tried to upload them to my cell phone.

That had never happened before. iSync had worked with my old Motorola cell phone via USB, and also with the newer V262. Now iSync couldn't see the phone at all

What had changed?

Tiger. I'd upgraded to Mac OS X 10.4 shortly after it was released, and the new version of iSync couldn't see my phone at all.

About this MacOddly enough, the computer could. To determine that the USB cable hadn't gone bad, I went to the Apple menu and selected About This Mac. Then I clicked on the More Info... button, selected USB in the box on the left, and then selected Motorola V26x - all the information about my cell phone showed up.

I did some Googling and discovered that the Motorola V265 was supported. That's the same phone, but with a camera. I couldn't see any reason for iSync not to work with my V262.

USB detailMore research brought me to the data inside the iSync program itself. By left-clicking (command-clicking for those who still use one-button Apple mice), I was able to examine the contents of the iSync package. Going down several levels, I found the file I needed.

Contents / PlugIns / ApplePhoneConduit.syncdevice / Contents / PlugIns / PhoneModelsSync.phoneplugin / Contents / Resources / MetaClasses.plist

I opened the MetaClasses.plist file in TextWrangler, found the section with data about the Motorola V265, and saw that the vendor ID and product ID were identical for the V265 and V262. Then copied the data, pasted in a second copy, and replaced the three instances of V265 with V262 in the first listing so it looked like this:

            <string>Motorola CE, Copyright 2000+Motorola V262 Phone</string>

And then I could finally synchronize the phone numbers I'd added to Address Book with the ones stored in my cell phone.

If you have a cell phone that isn't officially supported by iSync (and you're far from alone if that's the case), you may be able to make it work. First, determine the vendor ID and product ID of your phone, and then do some research. Maybe there's already another phone in MetaClasses.plist with the same identifiers. If so, you can do what I did.

If not, you'll need to do some more research and identify cell phones that are nearly identical to yours. If it works, cool. If not, you're no further behind than when you started.

Happy hacking! LEM

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