Syncing contacts and calendars

"I think there is a world market for maybe five computers

I wrote about that quote a few months ago.

Most everyone who uses a mobile phone is a customer of either Google, Apple, or Microsoft. (There are alternative platforms. I myself use a BlackBerry.) Contacts and calendars are synced between the device and the respective cloud and between the cloud and desktop or laptop computers. Ideally. This usually works well if all devices and computers are controlled by an operating system created by the company that runs the cloud used to synchronise.

But the trouble starts when a user decides to use different platforms.

Here I am trying to collect synchronisation possibilities that I have tested.

Microsoft (

  • online applications (email, contacts, calendar, OneDrive, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote)
  • Azure VMs (if running a Windows operating system listed below)
  • Microsoft Outlook (presumably on any supported platform including Apple OS X and Apple iOS)
  • Microsoft Windows 8 and newer
  • Microsoft Windows Phone 8 and newer
  • BlackBerry 10


  • Google online applications (mail, contacts, calendar, Drive, Docs, Sheets, Drawings)
  • Android
  • BlackBerry 10
  • Novell Evolution (Linux)
  • Any client supporting WebDAV

Apple (iCloud)

  • Apple online applications (mail, contacts, calendar, Notes, Pages, Numbers, Keynote)*
  • Apple iOS
  • Apple OS X 10.7 and newer
  • Microsoft Outlook (on Windows x86 and x64 but not on ARM)
  • BlackBerry 10
  • Any client supporting CardDAV and/or CalDAV

(*Apple online applications do not work on Android browsers because Apple are not vindictive and evil. This affects BlackBerry 10 as well since the BlackBerry Web browser appears to be an Android app.)

The reason Windows 8/8.1 and Windows RT don’t work with iCloud appears to be simply that Microsoft’s contacts and calendar apps won’t work with any non-Microsoft servers. Since at the same time Apple only support Microsoft Outlook on Windows x86 and x64 but not ARM, there seems to be no way to sync contacts and calendars on a Windows ARM computer with iCloud. I did download and try several third-party apps that claimed to be able to do so but none of them worked and some didn’t even include an option to add an account, let alone an iCloud account.

So currently my Windows RT tablet feels a bit left out. My Macs, my Surface Pro tablet and my BlackBerry all work with Apple’s iCloud and only my Windows RT tablet does not. That’s unfortunate for the moment.

 © Andrew Brehm 2016