Mobile Device Synchronization | CompTIA A+ 220-1001 | 1.7

In this video you will learn methods to perform mobile device synchronization.  This lesson will discuss synchronization methods, types of data to synchronize, mutual authentication for multiple services (SSO), software requirements to install the application on the PC, & connection types to enable synchronization.

Data Synchronization

Data synchronization is the process of establishing consistency among data from a source to a target data storage & vice versa and the continuous harmonization of the data over time.  It is fundamental to a wide variety of applications, including file synchronization and mobile device synchronization.  Keeping data in sync means having the same information on your different devices.  Synchronizing data from the cloud to the desktop or other devices is how information is continually updated.

Synchronizing to the Cloud & to the Desktop

Synchronized data may require different levels of synchronization and cloud storage providers must carefully design systems in order to allow for the data synchronization to run smooth and efficiently.  Many cloud providers offer their customers options related to the frequency of data synchronization. Data synchronization can happen in a variety of ways in which how the data is transferred such as: scheduled time transfers and the triggering of events such as a change to a document or a device coming online. Mobile devices can synchronize data by connecting to a laptop or desktop computer via USB, WiFi, or Bluetooth.

Synchronizing to the Automobile

Many modern automobiles offer data synchronization by way of manufacturers pushing out software updates to mechanical systems for the cars they service. In many events, the owners of the cars rarely if ever notice the updates.  These updates sync data from the manufacturer to the auto and also may involve sending data gathered by the auto uploaded to the manufacturer for research or product improvement. A common scenario is when a driver gets into a car and wants to sync a device to the car’s display and sound system.  An advantage to this is when a driver can have the benefit of technology, such as a navigation app, along with hands-free access to the data, thereby increasing driver safety.  In addition to navigation, the vehicle can also play the device’s music, make calls and send out voice messages.

Types of Data to Synchronize

Synchronization is the ongoing process of synchronizing data between two or more devices and updating changes automatically between them to maintain consistency within systems. Some examples of the type of data that can be synchronized are as follows:

  • Contacts
  • Applications
  • Email
  • Pictures
  • Music
  • Videos
  • Calendars
  • Bookmarks
  • Documents
  • Location Data
  • Social Media Data
  • eBooks
  • Passwords

Synchronization Methods

There are three main methods used for synchronization:

  • Synchronization to the cloud
  • Synchronization to the desktop
  • Synchronization to the automobile

Cloud-Based Synchronization

Cloud-based file synchronization represents the storage and access of electronic data or media files via cloud storage. Cloud-based synchronization allows for apps on a mobile device to send data to the cloud, where the data can be downloaded by other mobile apps, web browsers, or programs running on Windows or macOS PCs.  A few examples of cloud providers that enable data synchronization:

  • Dropbox
  • Samsung Smart Switch
  • Apple iCloud
  • Microsoft OneDrive
  • Google Drive

Cloud-based synchronization encrypts data and secures the data by way of usernames & passwords.  In order to gain access to the data, mutual authentication is utilized by each side of the connection for identity verification purposes. Data synchronization issues to a cloud application can usually be resolved by closing and relaunching the application.

Desktop-Based Synchronization

To implement desktop-based synchronization, the user connects a mobile device via a USB cable.  Android-based devices are treated as drives when connected to Windows which allows for data to be dragged and dropped between devices.  Third-party options such as Android File Transfer can enable macOS to have simple browse and copy file transfers which allows for files to be transferred and viewed between Mac systems and Android devices.  iTunes is used for file transfer and synchronization for music and media files for iOS devices.

Automobile Synchronization

Syncing your device to an automobile equipped with Bluetooth is as follows:

  1. Turn on the car stereo and your mobile device.
  2. Select the Bluetooth pairing button on the car stereo console so it will discover your device.
  3. Select Bluetooth from the settings menu on your device and then select your car stereo from the list when it appears.
  4. Enter the PIN displayed on the car stereo into your device and select OK.

Email Synchronization

Email synchronization options can vary depending on the email service.  Configuring a mobile device for email synchronization, the settings are configured as part of the process and can be adjusted, disabled, or re-enabled as needed.

Mutual Authentication for Multiple Services (SSO)

Single sign-on (SSO) is an authentication scheme that allows a user to login with a single ID and password to any of several related, yet independent, software systems. For instance, a single Microsoft account login provides access to Outlook email, the Microsoft Store, and OneDrive, and various other services.  A single Apple login provides access to iTunes, iCloud, and other services.  A single Google login provides access to Gmail, Android services, and other services as well.

Software Requirements for Synchronization Software

Desktop synchronization software for all current versions of Windows requires the PC to have 4GB of RAM or more, at least one USB 2.0 port, and 300MB of free space on the hard drive.  Desktop synchronization software for macOS requires macOS 10.5 or greater and an available USB port, although some cloud-based applications, such as Dropbox, may require macOS 10.9 or newer versions.

Connection Types for Synchronization Software

USB and WiFi are the most common connection types for synchronizing software, especially on mobile devices. Desktop-based synchronization has a requirement of USB 2.0 ports as a minimum; some support Bluetooth connections.  The appropriate app or web service must be installed on the mobile device for cloud-based synchronization and the computer used for syncing files and internet access must also be available.