The AirSync upgrade to doubleTwist and its Android app is really cool — press a button, and music, pictures, and videos sync across Wi-Fi. You can move past the button, though, and have your Android sync everything wirelessly on a regular schedule.
When this is set up — and, really, it only takes about 15 minutes, much less if you've already connected AirSync — you'll have a computer and phone that "check in" with each other regularly over Wi-Fi. No cables needed, and you don't have to click the Sync button.
Even if you're not a big fan of doubleSync's desktop player (and a good number of our commenters aren't), you can simply use it as your go-between, as it syncs iTunes and Windows Media playlists and libraries, too. Better still, if you're like me and take loads of pictures and videos with your Android and never get around to transferring them to your system, this will take care of that automatically, dropping them wherever you'd like.
What You'll Need
- The latest doubleTwist for Windows: Grab it at doubleTwist's site. The Mac desktop client supports airSync, but doesn't (yet) do an automatic check for your phone over the Wi-Fi network — it's coming soon, according to developers.
- The doubleTwist Android app and AirSync upgrade: AirSync is currently priced at $2.05, "until the next release", so grab it now if you're interested in wireless syncing. Be sure to grab the doubleTwist player app first.
- A wireless network at home: AirSync requires a semi-open Wi-Fi router to find the two devices and pair them together. Trying this at a coffee shop or other public or locked-down network won't get you far.
Step 1: Make the Connection
Before setting up our automated sync schedule, you'll want to ensure that both your desktop and Android doubleTwist apps are set up to find each other and communicate when they see each other.
Install doubleTwist on your desktop or laptop first. When that's done, install doubleTwist, and then AirSync. Launch the AirSync app from your application menu, or hit the "Settings" link from the doubleTwist player's main screen. Make sure AirSync is enabled here, and press the Set Up AirSync link.
You'll get a linking code on your Android screen. Now's the time to make sure your Android and Windows computer are connected to the same Wi-Fi network.
If they are, generally, they should see each other, and doubleTwist on your computer will ask you to type in the code you see on your Android screen. Type it in, then give both apps a few minutes to set up their initial connection. Nothing doing? Check that your Wi-Fi connection at home is set to a "Home" connection, i.e. one that allows device finding. You can change this by searching out the "Network and Sharing Center" from the Start menu, then clicking on the link underneath the network you're connected to. Set your connection to Home, if you're able. Some Wi-Fi networks are not set up to allow such inter-device communication; this type of connection tends to work best over a standard residential Wi-Fi router.
Step 2: Check Your Settings
With your device connected over Wi-Fi, look for it in the left-hand sidebar of doubleTwist. Click on its name, and click through each tab you see on the right-hand side. You may not see all of them — certain syncing features are only available for Android 2.2 at this point. But go ahead and decide what you want doubleTwist to send to your phone, and whether you want new stuff on your phone synced back.
Done with that? Hit the "Edit" menu at the top of the doubleTwist window, then choose Preferences. Click over to the Advanced tab, then check the box for "Automatically sync devices when connected." You can also check on "Don't show system tray sync notifications" if you'd like a totally quiet sync experience.
Over in the Library tab, make sure doubleTwist is putting stuff where it should, and grabbing from where it will find things. You can keep doubleTwist, and therefore your Android, up to date with your iTunes and Windows Media playlists, if you don't plan on actually using doubleTwist to play and organise music. Hit OK when you're all done.
If you're not sure how everything will work out, go ahead and connect your Android to your computer by USB, making sure to turn on USB storage to access your SD card. If that's annoying, there's a setting in doubleTwist to automatically connect through USB whenever it's plugged in. Try out a few syncs to make sure everything ends up where you'd like it, then disconnect to set up the final stage.
Make doubleTwist Start on a Schedule
We're going to set up doubleTwist so that it automatically runs at an interval you choose — hourly, ever day at 3pm, whenever you log on — whatever you'd like. We can also set up a task that will kill off doubleTwist after it's done syncing. You don't have to do that second step, but doubleTwist is, while lighter than iTunes, still something you might not need running all the time.
• Create a shortcut to the doubleTwist application. The easiest way I know of is to open the Start menu (in Vista or Windows 7), start typing in "doubletwist", then click and hold on the app result. Hold down the Alt key and drag the app to the desktop, or into a folder for safe keeping (either way, you'll move the shortcut off the desktop eventually).
• Right-click on that new shortcut and select Properties. In the Shortcut tab, look for the "Run" option, and click the drop-down to select Minimized. Hit OK, and now stash this shortcut somewhere it won't get deleted.
• Open the Task Scheduler (type it into the search box of your Start menu). In the right-hand pane, click the link to "Create Basic Task." We're going to set the times when doubleTwist launches on your system and looks for your phone.
In the first box, give you task an obvious name — "Launch AirSync" works. Hit Next. Now is when you pick how often doubleTwist will try to sync. Most likely, you'll pick Daily, which can actually be set to be hourly. Hit Next. On the next screen, pick the first time of day you want doubleTwist to launch. We'll try to set doubleTwist to be quiet, but you might still stay away from times when you're doing important work. Hit Next again, then pick "Start a program" when asked which task you'd like the app to perform. Finally, hit the "Browse" button on the next screen, and point it to that minimised shortcut you create for doubleTwist. On the last screen, showing everything you've set up, check the box for "Open the Properties dialog ..." near the bottom, then hit Finish.
• In the properties box that launches after finishing your task creation, click over to the Triggers tab, and double-click on the "Daily" trigger you created. If the Properties box doesn't show up, simply double-click on the task you created in the "Task Scheduler Library". When your "Edit Trigger" window appears, look for the controls at bottom. You can set your doubleTwist app to launch every hours, every three hours, and so forth. Once or twice a day is probably enough for all but the most heavy of phone users.
While you're poking around in the Properties, be sure to check out the Conditions tab. One of the conditions turned on by default is that this auto-launcher only runs when the computer is on AC power — you can disable that if you'd like. You can also set the task to only run when you're connected to a certain Wi-Fi network, which might be smart to set for your home network.
When doubleTwist launches, it should quietly drop down to your taskbar — it might show up first on your screen, but it should take care of itself fairly soon. It will automatically look for your phone on the Wi-Fi network, and if it finds it, syncs up whatever you set up to sync. You can set it to sync when you're sure you'll have your system on, or fiddle with the Properties of your scheduled task and set it to run every few hours, but only if your computer has been idle. Dig around the "Settings" tab of your launching task — you can basically command doubleTwist to start up and auto-sync whenever you'd like.
Make doubleTwist shut down
If you're fine having doubleTwist stay open in the background until you decide to close it down, you can skip this step. Otherwise, it's a pretty quick hack, with two methods:
Shut Down After 30 Minutes (Task Scheduler) In the Task Scheduler app, with the Task Scheduler Library selected in the left-hand pane, click on your doubleTwist automation task and then head to the Triggers tab below. Double-click your timed trigger. Near the bottom of this "Edit Trigger" window, you can check a box to "Stop task if it runs longer than: X," with X being a drop-down box. The shortest option is 30 minutes, and that's a decent amount of time to ensure even a big doubleTwist sync happens.
Shut Down Whenever You'd Like To ensure doubleSync goes away when you want it to, you'll need to create a batch script that kills it off. Don't worry! It's two lines in a Notepad file.
Open Notepad. Type in the following lines:
@echo off TASKKILL /IM DoubleTwist.Desktop.exe
Head to the File menu and hit "Save As." Use quote marks to save the file as "killdoubletwist.bat" or something similar, and stash it someplace safe.
Now you're simply going to run through the Task Scheduler process again, just as described above, and set this batch file to be triggered a few minutes after each time the doubleTwist launch task runs — 5 minutes, 10 minutes, whatever you'd like.
Now you've got your phone and main system set up to keep each other updated on playlists, photos, and videos. If you've got an improvement for our system, do tell us about it in the comments.