Email across your devices

Wouldn’t it be good if the email I see on my PC, was the same on all my devices, well it can be without too much hassle.

eMail and multi-PC access and synchronisation

Now that we tend to want to use more than one device to get hold of our email it is better if we can do this by referring to only one source. And the only place this can be is in some common area or Cloud resource.

Historically, connection to and availability of, the internet has not always been what it is now. This has tended to set up email using what we know as ‘POP’ or ‘POP3’ accounts. This where the email is downloaded to your machine when requested, and remains on the server according to rules you sent. When this is done across a number of devices from the same source users don’t always see all the emails equally well across them. This means that it is better if all emails were only o the providing server rather than the devices themselves, making viewing consistent. This is done by making connections thru ‘IMAP’ accounts rather than ‘POP’. The only disadvantage is that you can’t move emails from one inbox to another if you are handling multiple accounts effectively remotely. Emails will only be deleted from the server when you delete them form the Inbox, which means no device will be able to see them anymore, but they will be in the Trash folder of the device in use when deleted.

Whether you connect for mail via POP or IMAP, your Sent, Draft, Template, Trash, etc. folders will always remain local to your device. Unless you put them into a Cloud storage where all your devices look at the same place! I’ve done this with Thunderbird, and there is no reason not to do it with Outlook. Extending this idea, put the Local Folders, where you keep all of the email you need to retain, into Cloud storage and everything is now common and shareable.

If you are an Outlook user and you want to go this arrangement, you will end up with various .pst files from each of your devices. One of them will need to be considered as the main one for on-going use (with transactional mail tools like Thunderbird you can just move everything form like named folders in to one). Each one will need to be attached to Outlook and the contents of the various folders copied to the nominated main one (copied, so that you don’t lose anything until you are happy this is all over).

This method is just as your smartphone and tablet operate.

Think this thru and the steps you need to take to achieve this and it will male life much easier.

Calendars and multi-PC access and synchronisation

For Thunderbird, you set up Calendars as being on a network – that is they exist as .ics files (the same that Outlook uses) in a common are, in your Cloud, and each device refers to these when displaying its calendar.

For Outlook go to Options and add Internet Calendars.

As a suggestion I have calendars for…

  • Personal
  • TVBA
  • Bank Holidays
  • F1
  • Six Nations Rugby

To sync with my phone and tablet, as I don’t connect, yet, to a Cloud and am on Android, I use MyPhoneExplorer on PC and phone/tablet. They can connect and sync by WiFi, cable, or Bluetooth.

As an alternative

You can try using Gmail, Google Calendar and Google Contacts. All are “in the cloud” and there are apps for IOS (Apple) and of course Android.

You can set Gmail to send mail from another account – so if I want to send a TVBA email I can do so by opening Gmail, selecting compose and then selecting the account I want to send from. Setting up Gmail to do this is fairly simple and you can have a different email signature for each account.

Gcal is not quite as clever. You can create events and invite attendees – just like Outlook – but the invitations will come from your Gmail account. Similarly when you accept an invitation in your calendar, the acceptance will be from Gmail. To be able to accept an invitation sent to (say) your business account you have to tell Gcal to allow invitations from that email address.

Whether we’ve covered your problem above or not get in contact and let us see if we can help.