Local Sync

Local Sync application implements secured data synchronization (tasks with color categories, notes with color categories, categories, contacts with color categories, files and calendar) between Android and Microsoft Outlook 2007 and greater via Wi-Fi or USB cable.

It is possible to synchronize one Android device with many PCs and one PC with many Android devices (e.g. synchronize Android with notebook and PC at home and with PC at work) - Local Sync is primarily designed to support such a scenario.

Local sync is free of charge, without advertising, does not require access to paid services such as SMS or Phone calls. Local Sync performs synchronization only if Wi-Fi is active to eliminate possibility of transferring data through expensive cellular network. Local Sync does not contain any apparent or hidden functionalities to collect your personal or statistical data and transfer them to 3rd parties servers using your expensive data plan.

Installer package for Android contains also applications Simple Notes and Simple Tasks (Android by default does not contain tasks and notes applications).
 
Step by step guides (read also information below in this page, please): Local Sync - step by step guide for WiFi SyncLocal Sync - step by step guide for USB Sync

It is possible to use Local Sync without Outlook to synchronize files/directories between Android and computer or use Local Sync only in Android for its Tasks and Notes apps without any synchronization.

System Requirements

  1. Android 4.0 - 4.4
  2. Microsoft Windows (XP, Vista, 7, 8)
  3. Microsoft Outlook 2007 or greater (at least one email account must be configured in Outlook)
  4. Wi-Fi or USB cable
  5. ADB enabled device driver - for USB sync method (contact manufacturer of your Android device to get these drivers)

Installation

  1. Download actual version. Archive contains Microsoft Windows application.
  2. Install Local Sync into the Android device from Google Play.
  3. Install Windows application

Upgrading to newer versions

Upgrading Local Sync

It is possible to upgrade Local Sync to newer version (Android or PC) without any additional steps unless stated otherwise in Project updates. Do not uninstall program before upgrade unless stated otherwise.

Upgrading Android system software

If upgrading Android system software from version to version with higher major number it is imperative to uninstall Local Sync from Android device before system software upgrade. You might want to synchronize all data before uninstallation.

Uninstallation

  1. Uninstall application from Windows operating system and then delete directory containing application data %USERPROFILE%\AppData\Roaming\Local Sync (or %USERPROFILE%\Application Data\Local Sync on Windows XP).
  2. Uninstall application from your Android device. All your tasks, notes will be removed by uninstallation and Android operating system will also delete Local Sync calendars and contacts where applicable. Delete .localsynctmp directory which application created on common storage (e.g. sdcard).

Description

Android package installs

  1. Local Sync - enables sync with PC + configuration options
  2. Simple Notes - notes managing application
  3. Simple Tasks - tasks managing application
  4. Color categories manager
  5. Task widget (4x1, 2x2)
Simple steps to setup synchronization:
  1. enable synchronization
  2. pair device with PC
  3. start synchronization
Next time sometimes, when PC was paired via IP address and this address has changed, re-pairing must be done - either via QR code scan (by pressing QR button in Local Sync application) or manually in paired PC configuration screen in Android.

Enabling synchronization

To enable sync it is necessary to add Local Sync account in the Android (it is done automatically when you open Local Sync). And to pair with PC - start Local Sync - Pair with PC, fill in IP address or hostname and port (this info is displayed in windows application status bar). For quick and comfortable pairing you can also use QR scan feature. You may want also to enable/disable particular service synchronization in the Local Sync account (global setting affecting all paired PCs) - if Auto-sync is enabled, if Auto-sync is disabled you have to start synchronization manually. It is also additionally possible to enable/disable particular synchronization in configuration screen for each paired PC (so e.g. you can synchronize everything at home and at work only calendar and files).

Configure your firewall to allow traffic to LocalSync.exe, if you have IDS system configure also IDS system (it can block file synchronization). Outlook must have at least one email account configured.

Android accounts

Built-in contacts and calendar Android applications work on account principle. There is one storage of contacts and calendar items but in several accounts, e.g. Google, Facebook, Local Sync, ... Local Sync synchronizes data from Local Sync accounts. So if one wonders why there are no items synchronizing from phone to Outlook, it is likely because items are not in Local Sync account.
 
Warning: If account is deleted in Settings - Account in the Android device, also all data belonging to that account are deleted from phone (dialog which is shown indicates that). If one deletes Local Sync account, all Local Sync calendars and contacts will be deleted. Because of this if Local Sync account is deleted and added again, all paired PCs are deleted from Paired PCs list.

QR pairing and actions

It is possible to pair or re-pair Android device with PC via QR Code scan, which one can start from Local Sync screen via button with QR code image. For this there is used 3rd party application Barcode Scanner from ZXING Team (so one must install it in order to be able to use this feature). This feature has also two actions in menu - to disable other PCs when code for given is scanned and to start sync after QR Code scan (these features are invoked only after successful scan).
 
Important note:
One must initiate QR code scan from Local Sync screen with button with QR code image. If one scans QR code only with random barcode scanner nothing usefull will happen.

Invoking synchronization

Synchronization is started by standard Android means (e.g. in Accounts or various synchronization widgets can be used). Task, Notes and Categories sync can be started automatically with data change (in Android device). Calendar and Contacts are not synchronized automatically. You can use 3rd party applications/widgets to start accounts synchronization (e.g. Synker widget).
 
Synchronization will start only if (standard Android) system conditions are met, Local Sync honors system synchronization settings. If master Auto-sync is enabled particular data synchronization must be enabled in Account.
 
 
There is setting for each paired PC what to synchronize
 

 
Sync! button start synchronization with respect to status of auto sync settings. If master sync is enabled it will start synchronization of data which have enabled synchronization. In menu there is option to force synchronization always for Sync! button
 
 
Outlook data are removed to deleted items folder.

Initial synchronization

During initial synchronization data are never deleted, application tries to pair the same items and upload/download new items. Files with the same name but different content are uploaded to PC for merging. Initial synchronization can take a lot of time to complete if you have a lot of items in both Outlook and Android.

Task specific

For recurrent tasks there are currently 2 "modes". Defult mode is now the same as in Microsoft Outlook, the second mode for (normal not regenerative) task generates automatically new occurrence in the next occurrence date if (head) recurrent task is overdue (recurrent task scheduler is running in Android). This synchronizes correctly with Outlook.
It is possible to enable/disable this behavior in menu.

Calendar specific

It is possible to synchronize calendar. During initial sync calendar will be created in Android device and name of the calendar will be email address of Outlook user. You can have many calendars if you synchronize Outlooks with different accounts (e.g. notebook and PC at home configured to use email account alfreds.futerkiste@gmail.com will create calendar alfreds.futerkiste@gmail.com and Outlook configured to use Exchange account futeal01@acme.com will create calendar futeal01@acme.com).

There is provided configuration utility in android which enables possibility to change calendar color (some non-stock calendar applications may display color incorrectly so try to use various colors according your needs) and possibility to remove calendar from Android. Removed calendar will not delete calendar in Outlook in next synchronization but it will be created again and populated from Outlook (e.g. you may remove calendar if you need re-pair device).

It is possible to set any Local Sync calendar read only (do it after first sync) so no changes will be copied to Outlook calendar.

Contacts specific

To show synchronized contacts this setting must be activated in Contacts application.

In Android 4 contacts application and database fully supports 3rd party applications and there should be no issues. It is possible to edit/add only data for contact that are synchronized with Outlook. If manufacturer replaced contacts application with own version, it may be impossible to add/edit Local Sync contacts in phone (or even Contacts application crashes) - ask manufacturer for stock contacts apk. 
  
Contact picture is downloaded to the Android only if contact did not have a one.
 
Data which are synchronized with Outlook are listed here.

Files specific

Windows PC directory is configured in dialog window which is displayed during pairing or if you click on paired device in the list of paired devices.

It is possible to setup various modes for files synchronization on directories (in Android)

  • No sync - directory will not be synchronized
  • Sync - directory will be synchronized both ways
  • Read sync - synchronization in direction Android → PC
  • Upload - uploads new or changed files to PC

After file synchronization, media scanner is notified to search for new files, so all new pictures, music and videos will be added to your gallery, etc.

Deleted files on PC are deleted to trash if applicable.

Files integrity after transfer is verified with MD5 checksum to avoid (with given probability) any data corruption.
Some devices can modify multimedia files after reboot, so during file synchronization file integrity verification procedure will be forced for those files.

Outlook Less mode

Outlook Less mode can be selected in menu - settings. In this mode Outlook is not initialized or used and application will support only file synchronization. This mode can be activated on PC with or without Microsoft Outlook. When Outlook synchronization is attempted by Android in this mode application will send deactivation response to Android device and Android device will deactivate its settings (e.g. will disable calendar sync, contacts sync, etc.)

How to

Security

Data transfer is protected with SSL, see. Local Sync - data transfer protection with SSL.

Proximity and periodic sync

For proximity and periodic sync you can use AutoSync Account Activator software product which exposes accounts sync configuration options not available in standard configuration screens. If you install this application it will affect all accounts in Android (i.e. when installed it will disable all available auto sync settings for all accounts) - you must enable in application which services on which networks will synchronize.
There is possible then to set periodic sync for user visible services, e.g. Calendar for Google accounts - you can keep 1 day sync for these services because they have push synchronization, therefore periodic sync is not relevant.
Local sync does not have push synchronization so you can change periodic sync to whatever value you wish.
 
Proximity sync is achieved by AutoSync Account Activator by networks configuration for particular services. E.g. you disable sync for mobile data and enable it for your Wi-Fi network. As soon as device connects to Wi-Fi, autosync is enabled and also sync is started by this change.

Useful macros

PC IP address changed

If PC IP address changes, it is possible to change it in Android device - either by QR Code scanning from Local Sync main screen (it is done automatically then) or manually by touching button with link image in paired PC config screen. It is not necessary or desirable to remove pairing and to pair newly.

Security prompt

Security prompt is not displayed if there is installed properly working antivirus software in Windows. It is also possible to configure security prompt, see Customize programmatic settings in Outlook (configuration is similar for Outlook 2007).

Troubleshooting

Log files are stored in Windows in directory %USERPROFILE%\AppData\Roaming\Local Sync (or %USERPROFILE%\Application Data\Local Sync on Windows XP), the actual log file is localsync.txt. Android logging is done with system log. Android system log can be captured (in files) with apps alogcat or similar (start log capture before error and stop capture after error occurred).

Search tasks and notes in Android

Android tasks and notes apps are using standard Android search facilities so you can press search button (if available) when using application to invoke search bar.
Task search is filtered by current view. It is possible to override current view in the task search by entering three dots (without spaces) in the beginning of the search term, e.g. search term: ...submit timesheet  will search  all tasks containing "submit timesheet" including completed tasks.

Usb Sync

Install adb drivers for your Android device. Start Local Sync Windows app. On Android enable USB debugging, start Local Sync and start USB service (by pressing button with USB image). Activate USB in Windows application by clicking on USB checkbox. If USB is connected then you can start Sync!
For USB sync you need to configure your firewall because this method works on networking principle.
 
If there is error message USB error: 1 (and adb drivers are installed, usb debugging enabled, cable connected, usb service started on phone), restart adb.exe. You can restart adb.exe by stopping it in task manager (start task manager, right click on adb.exe, stop it).
Note: You must first start USB service in the Android device and then click on check-box in the Windows application.

It is possible to setup Local Sync to start synchronization automatically when USB cable is plugged in. In the Android USB Service autostart and Start sync on USB connected configuration options must be active and in PC USB autoconnect when cable plugged in option must be active.

Filter by categories

It is possible to filter tasks and notes by categories.
 

Feature is invoked by pressing on filter button on the right side in the top bar.
 

Filter is written as text with auto complete suggestions. There can be more values separated by commas, e.g : @home, @work which will show all tasks/notes that have category @home or @work. Filter is searching for sub strings. For example value ho will show all tasks with category home, photos, ... 

Limitations

  • no support for QVGA
  • due to differences/bugs between/in Android and Outlook calendar, not all information is synchronized or is different (usually not so important data, e.g. on some versions there is not  available tentative status, on some there is)
  • renaming category in Android does not rename it (intentionally) in particular items (notes, tasks, contacts, calendar), so rename categories in Outlook
  • there can appear security dialog from Outlook when syncing
  • text (e.g. in contact description) is synchronized without formatting
  • If manufacturer replaced Android 4 contacts application it may be impossible to edit contacts (install stock contacts application if proprietary does not work correctly)