Mac and BlackBerry solutions guide

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mac and blackberry

When the names Blackberry and Mac get mushed into one sentence, you can expect someone to shudder. Mac and BlackBerry are just not meant for each other and finding the right Mac solution is a Holy Grail for BlackBerry users. You’ll find yourself wondering why your contact pictures haven’t transferred properly or why the Blackberry calendar shows duplicates of your appointments. In the end, we’re stuck fiddling with the problem and before we know it, it’s time for bed.

So I’ve decided to give a helping hand to my fellow Mac users here on Blackberry Cool, who, without a doubt, find themselves searching frantically on forums for help. As an avid BlackBerry and Mac user, I will be publishing a regular column to help Mac users better interact with their BlackBerry. For my first article, I’ve compiled a quick list of all the possible solutions to have your Blackberry interacting with your Mac.

OS Virtualizations

Forget what Wikipedia says, an OS Virtualization is a piece software that enables the user to use an operating system from within another. In our case, this allows us to use Blackberry Desktop Manager on Windows while running OSX. So what are your options?

VMware Fusion 2.0

The latest software build offers seamless integration between OSX and Windows (or any other OS). It offers multiple display support, data sharing, application sharing, USB device support and much more for the price of $79.99. They offer a 30-day free trial and in case you already use another virtualization program, up until March 31st, VMware is offering a $30 competitive upgrade rebate.

To download VMware Fusion 2.0, go here.

Parallels Desktop 4.0 for Mac

Another virtualization alternative for the Mac offered at $79.99, that also offers seamless integration between OSX and Windows. Offers much of the same features as Fusion does, and is according to them, 20% faster then their competitors. Some Blackberry forum users have expressed their discontent with using Parallels due to incompatible USB drivers or failed USB recognition. So I would advise those who are interested in this particular software, to take a look on Blackberry forums and Parallels own troubleshoot site.

To download Parallels Desktop 4.0 for Mac, go here.

BootCamp

This is not a virtualization software but it assists users to properly install Windows on their intel-based Macintosh computers. It is Apple’s free alternative to enjoy some of the headaches we’ve dealt with when using a stand-alone Windows machine. What happens is that BootCamp creates a partition on your hard drive, specifically for Windows (or any other operating system), without interrupting OSX’s data. This is by far the safest alternative to running Desktop Manager, for the obvious reason that your Mac literally turns into a windows machine the minute you hit the power button.

To download BootCamp, go here.

Blackberry Clients for Mac

Let me begin by saying that these applications are in no way as feature rich as the Blackberry Desktop Manager. They offer sync support for iCal, Address Book, Entourage, iTunes, Mail, iPhoto but unfortunately don’t offer a backup solution like Desktop Manager does at the delicious price of free, nor do they allow you to upgrade your Blackberry’s OS. Regardless, they do offer an easy way to synchronize content between your adored devices. Here are your choices.

PocketMac

A free syncing solution between your Blackberry and Mac. It offers two-way syncing for contacts, calendars, tasks, email and notes, by supporting Address Book, Entourage, iCal, Lotus, MeetingMaker and Now Software. PocketMac pushes iTunes music to your Blackberry including playlists and album art. It integrates well with iPhoto to help organize and display your artistic photo’s that you’ve managed to finally stabilize. In case you’re wondering, it makes due with the latest of iPhoto’s needs by including geotagging, just as long as your device supports GPS and is turned on. Lastly, PocketMac includes free unlimited email technical support from Les Boys in Waterloo.
Note: If you’re a Blackberry Storm/Blackberry Curve 8900/Aluminum Macbook user, a new driver for PocketMac is made available on their website.

To download PocketMac, go here.

Mark/Space Missing Sync

A popular two-way syncing solution that offers plenty of features and stability that will leave a bitter taste in your wallet, the minute you hit that buy button. Missing Sync offers much of what PocketMac has to offer but goes the extra length to include bluetooth syncing, two-way video transferring, sync reminders, archived text messages and call history and Mark/Space’s Proximity Sync technology. All for a base price of $39.95. They also offer Missing Sync Business Edition that includes 2 computer licenses, software upgrades at no extra cost and priority email support from technical support for $89.95.

To download Mark/Space Missing Sync, go here.

Blackberry Media Sync

RIM has finally dipped there feet in OSX by releasing this beta version. Although, it isn’t a syncing solution for contacts, calendars and such but more of a media sync solution. And when I say media, I mean music only. The good news: it works very well. The bad news: you can’t have PocketMac or Missing Sync installed on your Mac. It does a fair job at catching all playlists you have on iTunes, along with importing album art and placing songs in their respective categories.

To download BlackBerry Media Sync, go here.

DoubleTwist

DoubleTwist goes up a few notches over Blackberry Media Sync by getting users to sync their media library and tickle it with its social networking capabilities. It enables users to send photos and videos to their friends over Facebook, Youtube and email. But there’s a twist, regardless of video formats, DoubleTwist encodes videos on the fly for your enjoyment. It is an all-in-one, nicely built package. DoubleTwist sits in beta at the moment and has its fair share of missing features but the developers are picking up on all opinions and suggestions within the DoubleTwist forum.

To download DoubleTwist, go here.

Google

Whether or not you take pleasure in using Google’s products and services, they have managed to do some good for us Mac users, let alone Blackberry users. Google offers a simple OTA (over-the-air) solution to keep your Blackberry in sync with your Google account. Any changes done is pushed to your account and synced on either your Blackberry or Macintosh, depending where you made the change. Google Sync supports two-way contact synchronization, along with multiple calendar support and calendar alert support. Even though Google provides a convenient way to synchronize between your Blackberry and Google account, that Macbook you have sitting on your desk, at this point, is being left out. Luckily Google was kind enough to include CalDav support in Google Calendar, in order to speak with Mac applications such as iCal and Mozilla’s Sunbird. This option allows users to publish and subscribe to calendars, sync between multiple users and sync between multiple devices.

I must admit that Mac users have quite a few options to successfully pair a Blackberry to their Macintosh. It’s just such as shame that none of these options run at 100%. Patience is virtue.

Rumors have been circulating for the past year about a Desktop Manager for the Mac, but we have yet to see an ideal solution. RIM’s launch of the BlackBerry Storm and upcoming App World have shifted our attention for the time being, but Mac users are still patiently waiting. It would be nice to get some sort of blip on the radar from RIM but in the meantime, we’ll have to make do with what is offered.

Expect some full on reviews on some of these applications, including some tips and tricks that will surely make your experience somewhat more enjoyable.

  • http://www.blackjacklasvegas.net/ BlackJackLasVegas

    Really good tips here, thanks!

  • http://www.blackjacklasvegas.net BlackJackLasVegas

    Really good tips here, thanks!

  • http://bradysewall.com/ Brady

    Good post.

    BIG CAVEAT to running Parallels w/ your Blackberry: DO NOT try to update your OS through Parallels. It either won’t update correctly or corrupt your Blackberry OS.

    This happened to me using Parallels Desktop 4. I took my BB Storm to Verizon to have them load the OS since I don’t have a PC and they refused and told me to contact RIM and have them send me a new phone.

    The Solution: I simply installed Windows XP (Media Center Edition, specifically) using Boot Camp, booted into Windows XP using Boot Camp and updated the BB OS – worked like a charm.

    You can still use Parallels to run the Boot Camp installed Windows too, just don’t try to update your OS through there.

  • http://bradysewall.com Brady

    Good post.

    BIG CAVEAT to running Parallels w/ your Blackberry: DO NOT try to update your OS through Parallels. It either won’t update correctly or corrupt your Blackberry OS.

    This happened to me using Parallels Desktop 4. I took my BB Storm to Verizon to have them load the OS since I don’t have a PC and they refused and told me to contact RIM and have them send me a new phone.

    The Solution: I simply installed Windows XP (Media Center Edition, specifically) using Boot Camp, booted into Windows XP using Boot Camp and updated the BB OS – worked like a charm.

    You can still use Parallels to run the Boot Camp installed Windows too, just don’t try to update your OS through there.

  • http://www.imobimac.com/ Andy

    One application that missing – iMobimac MOdem v1.6 – Allows you to use your BlackBerry as a modem with your Macintosh computer > http://imobimac.com

  • http://www.imobimac.com Andy

    One application that missing – iMobimac MOdem v1.6 – Allows you to use your BlackBerry as a modem with your Macintosh computer > http://imobimac.com

  • http://www.blackberrycool.com/ Kyle

    Just recently I had someone unable to review an app because they were missing a good Mac solution.

    This article is a great resource for the community. Nice one Giancarlo aka @LouTreize

  • http://www.blackberrycool.com Kyle

    Just recently I had someone unable to review an app because they were missing a good Mac solution.

    This article is a great resource for the community. Nice one Giancarlo aka @LouTreize

  • http://social.magmic.com/ W4LNUT

    I have an extra PC just for these occasions.

  • http://social.magmic.com W4LNUT

    I have an extra PC just for these occasions.

  • blackbuhrrygeek

    I would really like to see a full review of Missing Sync

  • blackbuhrrygeek

    I would really like to see a full review of Missing Sync

  • blackbuhrrygeek

    I would really like to see a full review of Missing Sync

  • http://beyondthebleedingedge.blogspot.com/ Andrew

    Great Post – Invaluable info., for new Mac/BB users.

    Missing Sync has issues, I would be very careful with that product until they come out with a new release to address the bugs.

    Google Sync works beautifully – it is my standard sycnh solution now.

    Regardless of what you use, one thing is for certain. RIM should be ashamed of themselves for not offering a native Desktop Manager for Mac (with Bluetooth). What they are thinking is beyond me (maybe they aren’t) they could slow the bleeding of iPhone switchers if they fully supported the Mac, it is a huge opportunity for them to differentiate themselves competitively from Apple.

    RIM – get a f@#$ clue!!

  • http://beyondthebleedingedge.blogspot.com Andrew

    Great Post – Invaluable info., for new Mac/BB users.

    Missing Sync has issues, I would be very careful with that product until they come out with a new release to address the bugs.

    Google Sync works beautifully – it is my standard sycnh solution now.

    Regardless of what you use, one thing is for certain. RIM should be ashamed of themselves for not offering a native Desktop Manager for Mac (with Bluetooth). What they are thinking is beyond me (maybe they aren’t) they could slow the bleeding of iPhone switchers if they fully supported the Mac, it is a huge opportunity for them to differentiate themselves competitively from Apple.

    RIM – get a f@#$ clue!!

  • SimonL

    Wow, big thanks for this article. Being on a Mac myself, and just recently starting to use my BB, the info will definitely come in handy.

    I have to agree, shameful that RIM doesn’t make a Mac version of Desktop Manager. The demand is there, and it would help in competing against the iPhone. My only reason for considering an iPhone was the simple fact that syncing my BB isn’t nearly as seamless as syncing an iPhone is. I can’t count the number of people I’ve seen in places like advertising agencies (Mac computing environments) make the BB to iPhone switch, for the simple reason that keeping things synced properly is just annoying. To me, that seems like a missed opportunity.

    Get it together RIM, make us a Mac Desktop Manager.

  • SimonL

    Wow, big thanks for this article. Being on a Mac myself, and just recently starting to use my BB, the info will definitely come in handy.

    I have to agree, shameful that RIM doesn’t make a Mac version of Desktop Manager. The demand is there, and it would help in competing against the iPhone. My only reason for considering an iPhone was the simple fact that syncing my BB isn’t nearly as seamless as syncing an iPhone is. I can’t count the number of people I’ve seen in places like advertising agencies (Mac computing environments) make the BB to iPhone switch, for the simple reason that keeping things synced properly is just annoying. To me, that seems like a missed opportunity.

    Get it together RIM, make us a Mac Desktop Manager.

  • http://www.blackberrycool.com/ Jonathan Brandon

    Great post Kyle!

  • http://www.blackberrycool.com Jonathan Brandon

    Great post Kyle!

  • Terry

    As for virtualization options, it’s great to list the paid choices, but don’t forget the free ones: VirtualBox is a great option, and is 100% Open Source and free.

    And for all the people lambasting RIM for not having a Desktop Manager for the Mac… give it up already! I agree that currently there is a demand for it, but that demand has only been a recent development. RIM is corporate-centric, and the BlackBerry, until recently, was a corporate device. Even five years ago, it was completely unheard of for any corporation to exclusively run Macs (ignoring, of course, Apple itself). The demand is there now, and RIM is working on meeting that demand. We all know that the software is in development, and that it requires something very different from anything that they’ve produced before. I’m sure that the end result will do everything that the Windows version does. Until it’s done, PocketMac meets basic needs perfectly well.

  • Terry

    As for virtualization options, it’s great to list the paid choices, but don’t forget the free ones: VirtualBox is a great option, and is 100% Open Source and free.

    And for all the people lambasting RIM for not having a Desktop Manager for the Mac… give it up already! I agree that currently there is a demand for it, but that demand has only been a recent development. RIM is corporate-centric, and the BlackBerry, until recently, was a corporate device. Even five years ago, it was completely unheard of for any corporation to exclusively run Macs (ignoring, of course, Apple itself). The demand is there now, and RIM is working on meeting that demand. We all know that the software is in development, and that it requires something very different from anything that they’ve produced before. I’m sure that the end result will do everything that the Windows version does. Until it’s done, PocketMac meets basic needs perfectly well.

  • http://beyondthebleedingedge.blogspot.com/ Andrew

    @Terry – The iPhone was released in June of 2007, if RIM wasn’t asleep at the wheel, they would have either bought/hired a team of Apple developers, or had an Apple Desktop manager for BB within weeks of that release. We are now 2 years out (an eternity in internet time) and still nothing other than PocketMac… this is far from a ‘recent development’

    In that time Apple has sold as many iPhones as RIM has sold BB’s in 10 years and Mac sales are eclipsing the industry average quarter after quarter, year after year.

    If RIM doesn’t release something that is just spectacular for Apple OSX, someone needs to be fired, it is almost criminal for a world class organization to like RIM to drop the ball so badly on something as trivial as supporting the Mac.

  • http://beyondthebleedingedge.blogspot.com Andrew

    @Terry – The iPhone was released in June of 2007, if RIM wasn’t asleep at the wheel, they would have either bought/hired a team of Apple developers, or had an Apple Desktop manager for BB within weeks of that release. We are now 2 years out (an eternity in internet time) and still nothing other than PocketMac… this is far from a ‘recent development’

    In that time Apple has sold as many iPhones as RIM has sold BB’s in 10 years and Mac sales are eclipsing the industry average quarter after quarter, year after year.

    If RIM doesn’t release something that is just spectacular for Apple OSX, someone needs to be fired, it is almost criminal for a world class organization to like RIM to drop the ball so badly on something as trivial as supporting the Mac.

  • Terry

    @Andrew – “The iPhone was released in June of 2007, if RIM wasn’t asleep at the wheel, they would have either bought/hired a team of Apple developers, or had an Apple Desktop manager for BB within weeks of that release.” I think not. A quality software development cycle takes at least 18 months. Anything produced in weeks would not be usable.

    And while I agree that the iPhone is selling extremely well, they have not yet sold as many phones as RIM. I know that RIM sold their 50 millionth BlackBerry not long after their 10th birthday, and I just checked out Apple’s quarterly earning reports: so far, they have sold a reported 17,379,000 iPhones. Not bad, but a far cry from 50 million.

  • Terry

    @Andrew – “The iPhone was released in June of 2007, if RIM wasn’t asleep at the wheel, they would have either bought/hired a team of Apple developers, or had an Apple Desktop manager for BB within weeks of that release.” I think not. A quality software development cycle takes at least 18 months. Anything produced in weeks would not be usable.

    And while I agree that the iPhone is selling extremely well, they have not yet sold as many phones as RIM. I know that RIM sold their 50 millionth BlackBerry not long after their 10th birthday, and I just checked out Apple’s quarterly earning reports: so far, they have sold a reported 17,379,000 iPhones. Not bad, but a far cry from 50 million.

  • http://beyondthebleedingedge.blogspot.com/ Andrew

    @ Terry – my mistake, 30M handsets including the iPod Touch.. 17M iPhones to date.

    “I think not. A quality software development cycle takes at least 18 months. Anything produced in weeks would not be usable.” 1/2 that with Agile methodology easily, but not arguing with you – I agree good software takes time. RIM has completely ignored Mac OSX for 10 years. Apple conversely sells into the PC market with an amazing sync utility (iTunes) and puts up numbers that have never been seen before in the history of handset sales. 80 countries and counting.

    As you can tell, I am a bit frustrated by this haha.. I know RIM will address this, but it is just unbelievable that no one inside RIM saw this coming; and in 10 years never thought of supporting OSX.

  • http://beyondthebleedingedge.blogspot.com Andrew

    @ Terry – my mistake, 30M handsets including the iPod Touch.. 17M iPhones to date.

    “I think not. A quality software development cycle takes at least 18 months. Anything produced in weeks would not be usable.” 1/2 that with Agile methodology easily, but not arguing with you – I agree good software takes time. RIM has completely ignored Mac OSX for 10 years. Apple conversely sells into the PC market with an amazing sync utility (iTunes) and puts up numbers that have never been seen before in the history of handset sales. 80 countries and counting.

    As you can tell, I am a bit frustrated by this haha.. I know RIM will address this, but it is just unbelievable that no one inside RIM saw this coming; and in 10 years never thought of supporting OSX.

  • William

    I am thinking of getting a blackberry, however i use a mac and have a .mac account for my email. Would this work on the newer ranges of blackberrys which are out? any help or guidance would be great.

  • William

    I am thinking of getting a blackberry, however i use a mac and have a .mac account for my email. Would this work on the newer ranges of blackberrys which are out? any help or guidance would be great.

  • http://www.twitter.com/LouTreize LouTreize

    @William – Sure it works, and very well too, I have a .mac/.me account setup on my Blackberry. Very simple, just go to your providers BIS page and add in your account.

    Once you got that settled, go to your mail application on your Mac, click at the top where it says Mail, go to preferences, go to junk mail and make sure “enable junk mail filtering” is checked and “move it to the junk mailbox” is selected. It should be done for you but just in case. The last thing you want is spam to fill up your Blackberry inbox.

    Check back for some reviews and tips on enhancing your Mac/Blackberry experience.

    Thanks to everyone for the wonderful comments, I’ll try my best to provide for the community. Your comments are much appreciated.

  • http://www.twitter.com/LouTreize LouTreize

    @William – Sure it works, and very well too, I have a .mac/.me account setup on my Blackberry. Very simple, just go to your providers BIS page and add in your account.

    Once you got that settled, go to your mail application on your Mac, click at the top where it says Mail, go to preferences, go to junk mail and make sure “enable junk mail filtering” is checked and “move it to the junk mailbox” is selected. It should be done for you but just in case. The last thing you want is spam to fill up your Blackberry inbox.

    Check back for some reviews and tips on enhancing your Mac/Blackberry experience.

    Thanks to everyone for the wonderful comments, I’ll try my best to provide for the community. Your comments are much appreciated.

  • matboogie

    i was just wondering if only intel based macs can use vmware fusion..

    cause i have a powerPCg4 processor.. (those powerbooks that came out right before the macbooks and macbook pros)

  • matboogie

    i was just wondering if only intel based macs can use vmware fusion..

    cause i have a powerPCg4 processor.. (those powerbooks that came out right before the macbooks and macbook pros)

  • http://www.twitter.com/LouTreize LouTreize

    @matboogie

    So sorry for the late response. I gave a quick look at the hardware requirements and they all point out that you need an Intel based Mac to get these running. Bootcamp will only work with Intel Macs.

    I did come across people saying that they’ve tried installing virtualizations on their PowerPC but they seem to have hardware problems and don’t recommend it, at all.

    Leaving one solution, which is using Microsoft VirtualPC. I really don’t recommend that because of its poor performance and headaches. Believe me, don’t go that way.

  • http://www.twitter.com/LouTreize LouTreize

    @matboogie

    So sorry for the late response. I gave a quick look at the hardware requirements and they all point out that you need an Intel based Mac to get these running. Bootcamp will only work with Intel Macs.

    I did come across people saying that they’ve tried installing virtualizations on their PowerPC but they seem to have hardware problems and don’t recommend it, at all.

    Leaving one solution, which is using Microsoft VirtualPC. I really don’t recommend that because of its poor performance and headaches. Believe me, don’t go that way.

  • stefaan

    is it correct that there are problems synching Mac with BB Bold?

  • stefaan

    is it correct that there are problems synching Mac with BB Bold?

  • Matthew

    I’ve downloaded PocketMac several times and the application is unresponsive when I’ve tried to open it. I have a Blackberry Curve 8330 and I am desperate to find a solution.

  • Matthew

    I’ve downloaded PocketMac several times and the application is unresponsive when I’ve tried to open it. I have a Blackberry Curve 8330 and I am desperate to find a solution.

  • misskitty789

    Great feedback. Having all the same problems. Had Missing Syn working until last week. Would I have better luck syncing to Entourage for contacts and calendar than the mac versions. The guys at the Apple store know that we are frustrated but have stopped helping bberry users in the hopes they will switch over. I am so tempted. I am also syncing with my old PC to be on the safe side. So annoying. Come on RIM get it together.

  • misskitty789

    Great feedback. Having all the same problems. Had Missing Syn working until last week. Would I have better luck syncing to Entourage for contacts and calendar than the mac versions. The guys at the Apple store know that we are frustrated but have stopped helping bberry users in the hopes they will switch over. I am so tempted. I am also syncing with my old PC to be on the safe side. So annoying. Come on RIM get it together.

  • Erik

    Someone wrote that PocketMac works just fine for basic tasks, until RIM releases a Desktop for Mac. Well, I consider syncing Calendar and Address Book absolute basics, and PocketMac was never able to consistently do these tasks accurately. i got so frustrated, I bought Missing Sync, and this too has been a disappointment. It began with taking over a week back-and-forth over email to even get the registration and setup to work, since they have no phone support. Then, it never synced completely everytime. There would be contacts or events not updated (same as in PocketMac). Bluetooth syncing almost never worked. Now it just refuses to complete a sync, disconnecting before finishing (via USB or bluetooth). Horrible customer service.

  • Erik

    Someone wrote that PocketMac works just fine for basic tasks, until RIM releases a Desktop for Mac. Well, I consider syncing Calendar and Address Book absolute basics, and PocketMac was never able to consistently do these tasks accurately. i got so frustrated, I bought Missing Sync, and this too has been a disappointment. It began with taking over a week back-and-forth over email to even get the registration and setup to work, since they have no phone support. Then, it never synced completely everytime. There would be contacts or events not updated (same as in PocketMac). Bluetooth syncing almost never worked. Now it just refuses to complete a sync, disconnecting before finishing (via USB or bluetooth). Horrible customer service.

  • chad

    i downloaded the pocketmac from blackberry and i can not seem to get it to work. it will not sync and said unable to connect to blackberry error 1. can anyone help me out with this?

  • chad

    i downloaded the pocketmac from blackberry and i can not seem to get it to work. it will not sync and said unable to connect to blackberry error 1. can anyone help me out with this?

  • http://www.blackberrycool.com/ Kyle
  • http://www.blackberrycool.com Kyle
  • http://www.designwithpc.com PC

    true