On Android, you are supposed to sync contacts and calendar to the (Google) cloud. But what if you dont trust the cloud? Would rather sync to your home computer/laptop only? There are a few options; most require Windows and an additional app on the phone. And you can always setup your own Exchange or WebDAV server, even if this is quite some effort.
I first locally synced my HTC Desire to Outlook via HTC Sync and then my travel phone, an LG P350 optimus, via Android Sync Manager Wi-Fi. My Galaxy Nexus (Android 4.0) got Local Sync until it began to behave suspiciously on Windows. Since then, I have used DavX5 with radicale on an WSGI-enabled Apache web server.
For quite some time, it was difficult to get
synced to non-Windows applications. Fortunately people have
developed standard-based sync e.g. with
which works over
On my Linux server, I installed
radicale, a Python app
(calendar) text files to the local file system,
where I can version them with
and include them in my backup/restore routine.
To access radicale from the network, I added it into my Apache web server, using WSGI as Apache-Python bridge. On Android clients, DavX5 connects to Apache. On Linux, Thunderbird with CardBook (contacts) and Lightning (calendar) add-ons has cross-platform Apache access.
We start with some insights on radicale [tutorial]:
radicaledirectory should be under
apt-get install python3-pip python3-bcrypt python3-passlib python3 -m pip install --upgrade radicale # installs radicale3 (2020) mkdir /etc/radicale # directories: # /etc/radicale # /usr/local/lib/python3.7/dist-packages/radicale/ nano -w /etc/radicale/config.apache [server] hosts = 0.0.0.0:5232 ssl = True certificate = /etc/ssl/dyndns.mydomain.de/myhost.crt key = /etc/ssl/dyndns.mydomain.de/myhost.key [auth] type = remote_user htpasswd_filename = /etc/radicale/htpasswd.cfg htpasswd_encryption = bcrypt [storage] filesystem_folder = /opt/radicale/ [logging] level = warning # create HT passwd, used by apache too: cd /etc/radicale htpasswd -cB htpasswd.cfg myuser # create data directory, for www-data user: mkdir /opt/radicale chown -R www-data.www-data /opt/radicale
Time for a test run with a browser of your choice! Here you will also create the contact/calendar files and directories for the first time.
# as root: su www-data python3 -m radicale # will hang and display log; start the browser now # ctrl-c on "python3 -m radicale" to stop server https://server.local:5232/ # create contacts and calendar in web interface # to compensate for your short password, they have long coded names # rename accounts (there goes the extra security): cd /opt/radicale/data/collections mv 65435459-6e51-2543-b805-7cb54378768f con mv be5a2453-8645-ebff-cfaf-e6b686565a2b cal # reload web interface
... and once we have this, we can use
git for versioning.
# git control: cd /opt/radicale/collection-root nano -w .gitignore .Radicale.cache .Radicale.lock .Radicale.tmp-* git init . git add . git commit -a -m "Initial upload."
Make sure that port
5232 is never reachable
from the outside, though we will not use it because Apache
is routed locally, not via daemon.
Next, we connect radicale to Apache.
apt-get install libapache2-mod-wsgi-py3 nano -w /etc/apache2/sites-available/myhost.conf WSGIDaemonProcess radicale user=www-data group=www-data threads=1 WSGIScriptAlias /radicale /var/www/dyndns.mydomain.de/radicale/radicale.wsgi WSGIProcessGroup radicale <Location /radicale> AllowOverride None AuthType basic AuthName "dyndns.mydomain.de" AuthUserFile /etc/radicale/htpasswd.cfg Require user myuser SSLRequireSSL </Location> su www-data nano -w /var/www/dyndns.mydomain.de/radicale/radicale.wsgi import os from radicale import Application, config, log config_paths = [('/etc/radicale/config.apache', False)] configuration = config.load(config_paths) application = Application(configuration) chown -R www-data.www-data /var/www/dyndns.mydomain.de
... and after a
restart apache2 whip out your browser again:
https://dyndns.mydomain.de/radicale/ clear && tail -f /var/log/apache2/access.log
... and watch the console to see your accesses.
Get DavX5 for free on F-Droid or give them a 5€ donation on GPlay. The configuration is very short:
new account base url: https://dyndns.mydomain.de/radicale username: myuser
You might want to prod around in the settings to avoid
over-eager syncing behavior.
After that, press the sync button,
ssh onto your server and watch the
ics files come in.
And on we go for radicale clients on the Linux desktop.
# lightning for calendar apt-get install xul-ext-lightning # cardbook for contacts Tools -> Addons-> Search on addons.thunderbird.net -> cardbook # sync contacts: Addons -> Cardbook (Shift+Ctrl+B) left area -> RMB, new address book Remote, CardDAV, url: https://dyndns.mydomain.de/radicale/myuser/con/, Validate # sync calendar: Events and Tasks -> Calendar (Shift+Ctrl+C) left area -> RMB, new calendar Network, CalDAV, location: https://dyndns.mydomain.de/radicale/myuser/cal/
Isnt that nice? Just what I wanted, cross-platform sync on my own server and my own terms.
Once upon a time, I used LocalSync with Android 4.0 and Outlook on Windows -- until the Windows box opened unexplained connections. So the recipe below should not be followed and is only here for historical purposes.
Start VirtualBox and
on it (use a firewall to forbid funky connection attempts), which
will also start Outlook. On Linux in VirtualBox settings, choose
udp 17659 to establish first authentication.
The actual sync is a bit more elaborate:
On Linux shell,
sudo tcptrack -i eth0 (or whatever
your network device is) to see which ports LocalSync uses
(changes every time).
On phone, choose "Sync->Synchronize calendar" (smaller than
contacts) first and note the ports on Linux shell, e.g. by
screenshot, this should give a port usually in the range
On Linux in VirtualBox settings, choose
Now on phone, choose "Sync->Synchronize all". In Outlook, choose "File->Options->Advanced->Export" to export to XLS. Restore also from "Export" dialog.
... and I really do wonder why the ports were made so complicated.
Some ancient history: In the 2010s, it had to be mostly Outlook. Below is my list of options from back then; I have not tried all of them. The "version" column is from the information that I could infer (e.g. if the Galaxy Nexus is not in the supported devices list, I conclude that Android 4.0 ICS [ice cream sandwich] is not supported).
|DavX5||2020s Android app that works e.g. with radicale (usable with Apache) and other WebDAV software. Open source so privacy is almost guaranteed. I trust this.||Linux
|NextCloud||2020s Linux/Android app pair that makes your home server "the cloud" and syncs to NextCloud server plugins. Open source, so I trust this. Messes up your contact phones and calendar birthdays though, and backup/restore does not work because easily because backup contains machine-specific ids.||Linux||Browser||5.0+||free|
|Local Sync||2010s Windows/Android app pair from Ondrej Psencik. Requires dotNet 3.5, Outlook PIA (Primary Interop Assemblies, free from Microsoft), works an Android 4.0, requires only sensible security permissions. Will create local calendar on first sync, if so requested. Opens iffy connections into the Internet from Windows, though. I do not trust this.||Windows||Outlook||2.1-4.0||free|
|Android Sync Manager Wi-Fi||2005s Windows/Android app pair from mobileaction. Has some ads on windows app, but syncs contacts/cal nicely. But not on Galaxy Nexus (4.0). Has some funny permissions such as "edit sms", "send sms". I do not trust this.||Windows||Outlook||2.1-2.3||free|
|MyPhoneExplorer||Windows/Android app pair from FJ soft. Android app crashes on Android 4.0 when trying "Settings->Calendars to sync". Has some funny permissions such as "intercept outgoing calls", "edit sms", "send sms". I do not trust this.||Windows||Outlook
|Funambol||Java/Android app pair, open source. Primitive browsing GUI on desktop. Had some trouble with duplicate entries when used in conjunction with HTC sync on other computer.||Linux
|HTC Sync||Windows app only for HTC devices. Crashes sometimes for no appearant reason, sometimes clean and re-push of contacts/cal necessary, otherwise decent. Works ok with HTC Desire.||Windows||Outlook||2.1-2.3||free|
|KIES||Samsung Windows/Mac app only for Samsung devices. Cannot sync to Android 4.0. Not tried.||Windows
|Missing sync||Windows or Mac/Android app pair from markspace. Not tried.||Windows
|android-sync.com||Windows/Android app pair from Android sync. With USB cable only. Not tried.||Windows||Outlook||2.1-4.0||20€|
|companionlink||Windows/Android app pair from Companion Link. Not tried.||Windows||Outlook
... and thus ends our amusing history lesson full of dead links to long-deceased sync software.
Android sync is still a wild ride, as evidenced by the effort required to get rid of Google even a little bit. Hopefully the information above could make you fractionally more knowledgeable in that regard. Always strive for freedom, and have a good day!EOF (Apr:2021)