I've tried to find information about understanding syncing account information on Android but cannot find any definitive guide to answer the below questions

  • What does syncing actually mean? Is it the act of an app contacting a server in the cloud and making sure they are both have indentical information?
  • What information can be synced on Android? The obvious ones are Contacts, Calendars, etc, but can any information be synced?
  • How do you determine what accounts information is synced to:
    • Contacts
    • Calendars
    • SMS/texts? Are these tied to a specific account or is it just on the phone.
  • Is syncing limited to Google, or can an App use a properity server?
  • When deleting an account, all of it's associated information is deleted. So does that include SMS messages, apps?
  • How do you just transfer all information from one email address to another?

Excuse my ignorance regarding the above, again I couldn't find any information on these topics.

All of these questions have sprung from changing my Gmail account from googlemail.com (which was originally used to activate my phone) to gmail.com and it's caused some side-effects when I've added my new gmail account to the phone, such as calendar no longer syncs, contacts are now duplicated on the phone, etc. I'd like to transfer my googlemail account to gmail on my phone.

1 Answer 1


Syncing is when you take two different sets of data (normally on two different devices or on one device and one online) and make them "mirror", or be identical to, each other. This way, you always have the most up-to-date version of that data no matter which device(s) you are currently using.

Many things can be and are synced, including a lot of different data from third-party apps, like Springpad (which syncs your notes) or Dropbox (a file storage service). However, for Google applications, I believe that it's just your contacts, gmail, chats (via Talk) Buzz posts, calendar, and documents. You can also upload and download photos from your Picasa account as well. However, I also think that Google has lots of other apps that do not come pre-installed on most phones, such as finance, which (I think) will sync with your online stock portfolio or the like. (I don't use Google Finance, sorry.) SMS is also only on the phone, though they have applications that you can download to backup your SMS to your computer.

No, other apps can use syncing as well, though I don't believe that they can sync to your Gmail account. Often times, these services have you register for separate accounts on their sites using your Gmail to sync with their service and their application on your device. For example, like mentioned previously, I use Springpad as a note-taking application on my Droid. I had to create an account on their site (though I could also log in via services like Yahoo! or Gmail) and it would afterwards sync with the application on my phone, so my notes on my phone are always the same as the ones on my online account with Springpad.

I think that you can add a Gmail account in your Gmail application on your phone. Afterwards, you'd likely be able to delete the old one. Though, you'd probably have to re-purchase or re-install your applications, as those are bought via your Google account. I don't believe it would delete your SMS as those are just on the phone, though it's always a good idea to clean your SMS out because they eventually start to eat up quite a bit of space unless you have them set to automatically delete as you reach a message limit. (For example, 200 messages)

For transferring data, there's a tutorial on transferring mail located here: http://www.consumingexperience.com/2007/09/gmail-transfer-all-emails-to-new-gmail.html (not written by Google, but the next best thing). For contacts, you'd just export them all from your online Gmail account and then re-import the export file into your new one.

Hopefully this answers your question and good luck switching!

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