Articles‎ > ‎

AutoSync Account Activator explained

posted Aug 25, 2012, 2:05 PM by Ondřej Pšenčík   [ updated Nov 12, 2014, 11:49 AM ]
Get it on Google Play

There are synchronization facilities in Android. These facilities allow applications to have accounts and synchronization capabilities. Account is set of information such as server address, email address, password, data types, etc.; for account application usually has logic how to synchronize data with outside world.

Account can be used by other applications to contain data from that account, e.g. Contacts application can contain contacts from Gmail, Facebook, Twitter, etc., Calendar application can contain calendars from Gmail, etc. if given account has capabilities to provide such a information.

In following picture, there is list of various Accounts in Android 2.3, background data are active, master auto sync is active.


If master auto sync is active, accounts are synchronized automatically, if master auto sync is disabled, accounts are not synchronized automatically and one must synchronize account manually, it can be done by pressing "Sync all" button or in account screen by pressing "Sync now" button. If sync is manual some functionality may not be available, e.g. Gmail does not notify new email via system notification. Manual auto-sync is not interesting from AutoSync Account Activator point of view.

If master auto sync is active, accounts are synchronized automatically. There are currently 2 auto sync types:
  1. periodically synchronized accounts = data are synchronized in time intervals
  2. account synchronized via Google push sync = data are synchronized each time something happens, e.g. new email arrives
In fact not whole account, but authorities are synchronized. Each account contains zero or more authorities, e.g. Google account contains many authorities:


Authorities can be enabled or disabled, in case master auto sync is active (in case master auto sync is not active and synchronization is manual, one cannot select auto sync for given authority, because synchronization is done manually by tapping authority or pressing "Sync now" button, etc.)
In previous picture Picasa Web Albums authority is unchecked, which simply means that Picasa web albums will not be synchronized at all (I have disabled this authority, because I do not want to see web albums from that account in my gallery application). If I unchecked Sync Gmail authority, Gmail would not synchronize automatically and Gmail application would not show new email messages and system notifications reporting new email would not be shown, etc. unless I refreshed email manually inside Gmail application (Menu - Refresh). Note: as mentioned above in case Gmail manual refresh in case auto sync is not active, system notification is still not shown.

AutoSync Account Activator automatically checks/unchecks authorities according to configuration:
  • mobile network connected
  • particular WiFi connected
  • always checked
  • always unchecked
If you tap on some account in AutoSync Account Activator application, configuration is open. On first tab you can define on what networks (connections) authorities will be checked. For example in following picture, Local Sync account automatic synchronization is activated only on anetliberec.cz WiFi network


on the second screen there is possibility to configure time interval for periodically synchronized accounts, default value is 1 day. Periodic synchronization interval is built in Android feature, I created this configuration screen because it is not available in Android. Google push sync accounts are not synchronized periodically, you cannot make e.g. Gmail to not to sync push way and sync it periodically, you can only disable synchronization for push sync accounts. On the other hand Local Sync account is periodic sync account so it will sync in defined intervals (here 1 day) automatically.


Third screen configures applicability of first screen. There are 3 options
  1. Auto - authority will be checked/unchecked according to connection status
  2. Always on - authority will be checked always (will synchronize always automatically if master auto sync is enabled)
  3. Always off - authority will be unchecked always (will not be synchronized automatically)


If authority is unchecked and checked then synchronization is started immediately for that authority. This is proximity sync feature out of the box. For example you disable all Google accounts at work WiFi and allow them on cellular network, then if you connect WiFi at work Google accounts are disabled and as soon as you leave work WiFi and connect to cellular network all new data/emails/etc. are immediately synchronized.