#1 2021-04-07 00:37:02

mr108
Member
Registered: 2021-04-07
Posts: 5

Pairing attempts failing

I use GeneralSync (v. 1.0.3.0)  on PC (Windows 7 Ultimate, 64 bit) to sync Thunderbird (78.9.0) address book with Android (v.8.0.0) Contacts app. GeneralSync on Android is latest version 1.0.3.0.

I'm connecting PC with the phone via USB cable. USB debugging is On under the Settings/Developer options.

I haven't been able to pair the devices at all and I'm sure I'm entering the pairing code correctly.

On PC I have Avast installed and PrivateFirewall which is not blocking GeneralSync.
On Android I have Avast Mobile security and NetGuard which is not blocking the GeneralSync.
I'm not using any home network.

What's wrong?
How to fix it?

Last edited by mr108 (2021-04-07 00:43:32)

#2 2021-04-07 01:27:49

ds
Founder / Developer
From: Freiburg, Germany
Registered: 2016-06-15
Posts: 323

Re: Pairing attempts failing

Thanks for your interest in GeneralSync!

mr108 wrote:

I'm connecting PC with the phone via USB cable. USB debugging is On under the Settings/Developer options. [...] I'm not using any home network.

There seems to be a fundamental misunderstanding: GeneralSync does not need USB debugging; it is intended to be used with local networks. Any form of local network should work: if you don't have a way for your PC to connect to Wi-Fi I recall some users in the beta successfully using USB tethering (a virtual network connecting the PC and the Phone, originally intended to access the internet from the PC through the Phone's data plan). Not sure if your phone supports that, though – USB tends to be very device-specific. Even if tethering is available, it is possible that your Phone does not permit third party applications like GeneralSync to interfere with it or limits it to one direction (so you can enter the pair code on the PC, but not on the phone – or vice-versa): you'll need to try it out to see if it works.

That being said, the intended and most convenient way of using GeneralSync on Android is with a Wi-Fi network: you will not need to manually connect PC and Phone, and they will just sync in the background as needed.

(If you are a developer and rely on the Android Debug Bridge for some technical reason, you can also force GeneralSync through it by assigning custom ports and using ADB's port forwarding feature. If you don't know what that means, I would heavily recommend to use a different option.)

#3 2021-04-07 02:33:55

mr108
Member
Registered: 2021-04-07
Posts: 5

Re: Pairing attempts failing

Thanks for your quick response!
USB tethering doesn't work in my case.
I'm connecting to internet using a USB modem. Then create WiFi hotspot and connect the phone to that hotspot. This worked OK and the PC got paired with the Phone.

I created new address book in the Thunderbird, named it aBook2 and it appears in the main TB Address book
Now however in the GS New sync relation dialog there are 2 options:
1. sync aBook2 with the Phone and that is set as bidirectional. I'm afraid of using this setting since  aBook2 is empty and I don't want to lose all the contacts on the Phone.
and
2. Send aBook2 to the Phone - that will happen unidirectionally and looks like it will wipe out the contacts on the phone.

So my questions now is:
How can I sync unidirectionally from the Phone to the PC (Thunderbird)?
Will such a sync include the Android Contacts Groups and create Thunderbird Address book Lists?

Last edited by mr108 (2021-04-07 02:36:46)

#4 2021-04-07 04:26:36

ds
Founder / Developer
From: Freiburg, Germany
Registered: 2016-06-15
Posts: 323

Re: Pairing attempts failing

mr108 wrote:

Now however in the GS New sync relation dialog there are 2 options:
1. sync aBook2 with the Phone and that is set as bidirectional. I'm afraid of using this setting since  aBook2 is empty and I don't want to lose all the contacts on the Phone.

Your Phone and GeneralSync are capable of having multiple address books (most apps name them "accounts" on Android). So if you pick this option, you will end up with an additional address book on your phone, which will be just as empty as the one on PC.

This does not affect any contacts that are already stored on the phone: they will neither get deleted nor synced. But you can then proceed to copy contacts from different address books: on Android, the easiest option is to use the "Import..." option in the 3-Dot-Menu after touching the address book to import to in the GeneralSync app.

See also the migration section in the guide for Android.


mr108 wrote:

How can I sync unidirectionally from the Phone to the PC (Thunderbird)?

If you really want to unidirectionally sync from your Phone to the PC, you can create a new address book in the GeneralSync App on the Phone and select the option to unidirectionally send it to the PC (I assume you did not select "sync everything and trust the other device" while pairing, else it is slightly more complicated as the address book would get synced bidirectionally by default).

Note that this means that the PC will not have the necessary data to ever make changes to contacts in that address book. You should only do that if you have an address book that should be visible on the PC, but must not get altered there.

#5 2021-04-08 01:08:55

mr108
Member
Registered: 2021-04-07
Posts: 5

Re: Pairing attempts failing

Creating new Address books in GeneralSync works and they appear in Thunderbird and Android Contacts app.
They also sync but not properly:
- when deleting a contact on Android it still remains on PC unless a new contact is created on PC and then it gets synced
- when creating a contact on Android, it doesn't show on PC unless a new contact is created on PC and then it gets synced

Also it's not possible to select these contacts when writing a new message in Thunderbird (78.9.0) so there may be some incompatibility with Thunderbird. So far not useful.

Last edited by mr108 (2021-04-08 01:39:11)

#6 2021-04-08 03:18:11

ds
Founder / Developer
From: Freiburg, Germany
Registered: 2016-06-15
Posts: 323

Re: Pairing attempts failing

mr108 wrote:

- when deleting a contact on Android it still remains on PC unless a new contact is created on PC and then it gets synced
- when creating a contact on Android, it doesn't show on PC unless a new contact is created on PC and then it gets synced

A slight delay from Android is normal, due to energy saving features.

If changes are delayed substantially longer than a minute, something is likely blocking connections from Android to PC. That would prevent the phone from notifying your PC of changes, but once the connection is established from the PC your changes are transferred correctly.

The most common issue are "security" tools like firewalls or virus scanners. If you did not install anything manually and use Windows, this happens if you decline the question from Windows whether you want to permit GeneralSync to access your network. You can find the option to change your mind in the Firewall settings.

If you did install third party security tools, look into their preferences to see how to unblock GeneralSync. The exact steps vary from tool to tool and from version to version, "Firewall" is a common term to look out for.

Less common causes for the same issue are energy saving apps (which limit network capabilities of other apps to increase battery life) and ad blocker apps (which force all other apps to use a fake local network for outgoing connections, which is not handling GeneralSync traffic correctly).

mr108 wrote:

Also it's not possible to select these contacts when writing a new message in Thunderbird (78.9.0)

If you see the contacts in Thunderbird's address book window you should be able to see them in the auto-completion – assuming they have an email address, of course. Just to make sure I re-tested that right now, at least for me it works in 78.9.0.

Maybe try restarting Thunderbird? If the problem persists, open Thunderbird's error console by pressing Ctrl+Shift+J in Thunderbird's main window. Keep the error console open and try to send a mail to a contact whose email address is stored in the GeneralSync address book. Do any messages appear in the error console? If so, which ones?

Do you have other add-ons installed? Which ones?

#7 2021-04-08 11:32:30

mr108
Member
Registered: 2021-04-07
Posts: 5

Re: Pairing attempts failing

Yes, now I can see the contacts in auto-completion.
I had other add-ons installed but now disabled all of them in order to make sure there is no conflict.
I had these add-ons:
Addressbooks Synchronizer
CardBook
Category Manager
Provider for CalDAV & CardDAV
TbSync

TbSync is working quite well with google contacts except it doesn't sync the Android Groups (Thunderbird lists).

That's why I'm testing now if GeneralSync can do it directly from Android. But now I found out that unfortunately  the Lists in Thunderbird are not complete, many contacts are not included even though all the contacts in the main book have been synced.

One more thing - adding or deleting a contact in the Thunderbird address book is the only way to trigger syncing, the other way around doesn't work even after long time.

Last edited by mr108 (2021-04-08 11:47:07)

#8 2021-04-08 16:26:24

ds
Founder / Developer
From: Freiburg, Germany
Registered: 2016-06-15
Posts: 323

Re: Pairing attempts failing

mr108 wrote:

Addressbooks Synchronizer
CardBook
Category Manager
Provider for CalDAV & CardDAV
TbSync

I haven't tested all these add-ons; I know that CardBook overrides Thunderbird's default auto-completion so it would be a candidate.
(Independently, I'd advise not to use two sync tools with the same address book, that is known to lead to issues like contact duplication or lost changes. So be careful with Addressbooks Synchronizer for address books that are already synced.)


mr108 wrote:

That's why I'm testing now if GeneralSync can do it directly from Android. But now I found out that unfortunately  the Lists in Thunderbird are not complete, many contacts are not included even though all the contacts in the main book have been synced.

There are two cases where missing contacts are intended: Thunderbird does not allow contacts that do not have an email address to be placed in mailing lists, and prevents the same email address to be used by two different contacts in the same mailing list. As long as your contacts have individual email addresses, they should be listed. Is that the case?

GeneralSync will continue to track the underlying categories even if it is unable to use mailing lists to represent them in Thunderbird. So the contacts should get moved to the correct mailing lists once you retroactively add unique email addresses – no need to manually move them.


mr108 wrote:

One more thing - adding or deleting a contact in the Thunderbird address book is the only way to trigger syncing, the other way around doesn't work even after long time.

As I stated in my last post, this is likely a connection issue that can be fixed by configuring your security tools correctly.

Any connection originating on the PC should work, so you can also enforce a manual sync by opening the dashboard (double-click on the GeneralSync icon in the tray), selecting the phone under "Devices" in the list on the left and clicking the two arrows in a circle above the list on the right.

#9 2021-04-09 12:07:23

mr108
Member
Registered: 2021-04-07
Posts: 5

Re: Pairing attempts failing

Didn't manage to get the Groups/Lists synced.
I give up.
Thanks for all your help.

#10 2021-04-09 17:11:07

ds
Founder / Developer
From: Freiburg, Germany
Registered: 2016-06-15
Posts: 323

Re: Pairing attempts failing

Sorry to hear that you did not get it to work.

For future readers: as long as your contacts have unique email addresses, Android's contact groups should get mapped to mailing lists in Thunderbird and vice-versa. If that doesn't work or you run into other issues, let me know and include as many details as you are aware of (such as similarities of contacts that are not listed in a mailing list, etc.). There might also be relevant error messages in Thunderbird's error console (Ctrl+Shift+J in Thunderbird's main window): if you see messages being created there when changing a contact that should be in a mailing list (on Android or in Thunderbird), these could be valuable pointers to the origin of the problem.

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