Technology Fix: Pocket Mac and Blackberry Devices

I don’t have a lot of time (term is coming crashing to an end, and I don’t want to get crushed!), but I thought I should probably post how to get a Blackberry to actually work with OS X once Pocket Mac stops working (and it will…trust me). But first, I want to have a bit of a preamble…

I love my Blackberry. It goes where I go – it’s rarely more than a few meters away from me. It has truly reacquainted me with email, and that’s great. I also love my MacBook. I’m rarely away from it for more than 12 hours at a time, and it’s a delight to use. I like the OS, the craftsmanship, and so forth.

I really hate how poorly RIM has decided to treat Blackberry owners who use Macs. RIM’s syncing ‘solution’ is Pocket Mac, which is a load of junk. In Windows, I could upgrade my OS, could configure my BB, could install applications, and so forth using the BB sync client. I can’t do that on a Mac – it’s been almost 2 years since they released Pocket Mac, and I still can’t do these basic operations, which means that I need to have a Windows virtual machine. On top of that, Pocket Mac will, fairly regularly, just stop syncing my contacts and calendar (it can’t actually sync anything else with any reliability). For a few months I’ve been trying to get this resolved, and progressively getting more and more annoyed. Annoyed to the point that I’m tempted to just move to an iPhone (I won’t because of security issues, and I can’t just get an email plan without a data plan, but it’s tempting).

Today I figured out how to resolve my issues with Pocket Mac not syncing properly anymore.

  1. Open HD/Users/*/Library/Preferences
  2. Delete the “PocketMac” .plist files.
  3. Attach your BB via USB, and click ‘no’ on the BB when asked if you want to use the device as a mass storage device.
  4. Open Pocket Mac, reset your settings, and click ‘Sync’.
  5. Enjoy a synced Blackberry. Rinse and repeat steps 1-4 whenever Pocket Mac stops syncing for you.

Either that, or just get an iPhone. At least it will work with OS X, despite its associated security issues.

UPDATE February 15, 2009:

The method listed above did not work, reliably, for long periods of time. What does seem to work is this:

  1. Backup the Blackberry, in Windows, using the Window’s based desktop client.
  2. Perform a hard reset on the device (Options >> Security Options >> General Settings >> Menu Key >> Wipe Handheld).
  3. After device is wiped, go through setup. Do not set up email accounts. Allow SIM contacts to be copied to the Blackberry device’s memory.
  4. Re-send service books
  5. Power off the Blackberry.
  6. Open PacketMac SyncManager.
  7. Connect your Blackberry through USB.
  8. Power on Blackberry.
  9. Click ‘Sync’ and overwrite contacts/etc as you see fit
  10. Disconnect Blackberry; you’re done!

This seems to be working reliably for me. My Pearl is running OS version (Platform