I've been toying with the idea of getting away from syncing my contacts and calendar with Google. I'd like more control over my data. I've heard that Funambol might be a good solution to this and I'm wondering about other ideas folks might have for syncing and address book and calendar between Anroid and a desktop mail app (Thunderbird, in my case).

I keep the Thunderbird address book on my Ubuntu laptop up to date, so I'd like to be able to synchronize those contacts with my phone and (preferably) have them backed up to a place where I might be able to access them from another location. It would be great to be syncing a calendar as well, though that is less key. Are there ways to do this without backing everything up to Google's hive mind?

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    You should add some criteria here, creating a problem that we can address for you. (Rather than a "Hey what do you think" question, which is discouraged) Commented Mar 31, 2011 at 13:29

5 Answers 5


You might also want to take a look at ownCloud. It comes with its own Android App. Quoting Wikipedia:

ownCloud is a software suite that provides a location-independent storage area for data (cloud storage). The project was launched in January 2010 by KDE developer Frank Karlitschek to create a Free software alternative to commercial cloud providers. In contrast to commercial storage services, ownCloud can be installed on a private server at no additional cost.

Which means: You can run it on your own hardware. But there are also some providers offering this service. Or you could have your ownCloud hosted with a provider of your own choice.

ownCloud is under permanent development -- so listing its features here would not be wise, as things might change. If all three links I provided "go dead", the service will probably as well -- so as long as this is not the case, please refer to those links for closer information.

  • These days I have my calendar on OwnCloud (and I use Caldav-Sync to sync it to my phone). I haven't tried their contact sync.
    – Amanda
    Commented Mar 21, 2016 at 23:36
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    @Amanda I'm using it with DAVDroid meanwhile (for calendars and contacts), works great.
    – Izzy
    Commented Mar 21, 2016 at 23:40

If you want total control over your data, the best way would be for you (or someone you trust) to set up your own internet-accessible server to use for this.

Android natively uses the Exchange Active-Sync protocol for most of its sync to GMail sync, the mail client will also use POP/SMTP and IMAP, and CALDAV can be used for calendar sync.

There are a few free, open-source Exchange Active Sync compatible servers that you could install yourself to get all the mail, calendar, contacts sync working, such as Zimbra and Open-Xchange, but be warned this isn't just going to be a simple install and configure.

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    I had almost given up! I'll do some tinkering. I do indeed want total control.
    – Amanda
    Commented May 5, 2011 at 21:37

I've got Funambol running (though it looks like I could sync via Ubuntu One, as I'm on Ubuntu). It's easier to sync contacts between Evolution and Funambol than Thunderbird and Funambol, but it works.

I was able to install a Funambol server on my local machine, no problem. My laptop isn't really a functional server, so I opted to just sign up with http://www.funambol.com to make sure I can actually sync Laptop Calendar/Addressbook <--> Funambol <--> Android Contacts/Calendar. That is working.

I'll let you know if I learn anything in switching from www.Funambol.com to my own instance of Funambol.

  • Any success setting up your "private cloud"? I'd be interested!
    – FriendFX
    Commented Aug 5, 2013 at 8:53
  • As it turns out, the calendar doesn't work for me (I can't sync to my laptop) so I've been using Chandler Hub (which doesn't sync to Android) and writing things down. Obvs not an ideal solution. At this stage Funambol is just where I backup my phone's address book. It does nothing else for me.
    – Amanda
    Commented Mar 18, 2014 at 19:30
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    Latest news (five years on ...) I'm using primarily owncloud. And hosting my own instance. Setup was painless.
    – Amanda
    Commented Mar 21, 2016 at 23:36
  • what happened to funambol? I also used it in the past... but it seems to be long gone now... :( Commented Sep 17, 2017 at 20:58

If you use a different web mail provider than GMail you should be able to sync Thunderbird contacts/calendar to that and then use the mail client on the phone (not GMail) to sync them to the phone. Still have to use a hive mind, just not Google.

  • I was hoping to have more control over my data.
    – Amanda
    Commented Apr 1, 2011 at 20:30

What level of control of your phone do you have? You could use something like Titanium Backup to export the contacts and calendar items and something like RSYNC for Android to push them to a server you run.

There are reformatting issues however for import into Thunderbird (and it's been awhile for me using a desktop email client).

Looks like someone has cobbled a good RSYNC frontend for Android.

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