ipda.jpeg With the iPhone just around the corner this may seems a really strange time to be thinking about software for your iPod which makes it behave more like a PDA than it was originally intended to.

I have always had a skepticism about the iPod as a PDA for the simple reason that you can’t enter data directly into the iPod itself, you can only ever get data onto the iPod from the computer.

To be honest over the last couple of years my lifestyle has changed so much that something like the iPhone really has no appeal to me. As I carry my iPod (5G 60GB iPod with Video) around with me pretty much all of the time, having my diary and contacts on it has become more and more useful. I also back up VodooPad to it as well, but apart from that it has always seemed a little restrcitive.

iPDA at $19.95 has changed all that for me. Setting it up was a breeze – the Apple options are self explanatory and although I don’t use Entourage it was good to see that as an option. I found the inclusion of the Backup option very handy, although the size of your iPods available hard drive is going to determine how useful that is for you. I chose to let iTunes sync the Address Book and Calendar, partly because they do a good enough job, but primarily because I don’t subscribe to an on line iCal. I had difficulty at first with the RSS option as it kept locking up, but I got some good support from the developer; “when
getting full articles it doesn’t seem to make progress — this is actually
quite tricky since things get messy when trying to extract standard web
pages. If you wait long enough it should complete but it’s likely not worth it…” and with the Mail and Backup options the less you want to transfer the better in terms of the time it takes. These are really issues with the iPod though – it wasn’t meant to be a PDA so while iPDA does a great job it has it’s limitations, specifically in terms of how much it can store as Notes.

At times it ‘seemed’ like iPDA had frozen and it did say ‘Application not responding’ at times, but this was when it was syncing larger files (I tried my whole mailbox one time), documents etc. Be patient – it sorts itself out in the end.

For me those limitations are insignificant. All I really want is to have access to more of my content, in particular Stickies, Documents and current emails, along with the odd unread RSS so I am more than happy with iPDA.



Transfer all or a subset of your Entourage events, contacts, messages, notes and tasks to your iPod.

Select Entourage information by category (or folder for messages).

Transfer all or a subset of your Stickies, Mail messages, Address Book contacts, and iCal calendars.

Download your Google calendars (or any web based calendaring system that supports the iCal standard) directly to your iPod.

Automatically backup folders from your Mac to your iPod to ensure that your most important files are always up-to-date and on your iPod.

Transfer Word, PDF, Pages, RTF and text documents for reading on your iPod.

Download RSS feeds. iPDA ensures that only unread articles are transferred to your iPod.

Download weather forecasts, driving directions and news.

Subscribe to Internet published iCals for direct download and transfer to your iPod.

Includes all of your Calendar and Contact information. Fields not supported by the iPod (e.g. meeting locations and IM addresses) are included within the event/contact notes.

Advanced filtering to control the information that gets transferred. Examples include date ranges for events, flagged contacts, unread (and/or flagged) messages and tasks based on whether or not they have been completed.

Supports all iPod versions:

* Messages, notes/stickies, tasks, news and weather forecasts can be transferred into your iPod’s Notes. The information is organized by type and category to allow for easy navigation to all of your information. Notes longer than 4KB are split into multiple notes. Notes are organized and linked to allow for easy navigation while reading.
* Events, tasks, weather forecasts and iCals can be transferred into your iPod’s Calendar. Your calendar information will be organized into separate calendars based on category. Tasks can also be transferred to the To Do list.
* For older iPods, iCal To Do items can be transferred as entries in a “To Do” calendar.
* For original iPods, contacts, messages, notes, tasks, news and weather forecasts appear as Contact entries. Long entries are logically split into multiple contacts.

Sync all (or a subset) of your information to your iPod with a single click. Uses your filter settings to determine what information gets synced.

Automate the syncing of your information by selecting automatic syncing on launch and automatic exit following a sync. Use iPod Launcher and connecting your iPod is all you’ll ever have to do!

Provides for manual transferring of information if you need more control over what gets transferred to your iPod.

Locates your iPod and transfers information to the correct location within your iPod without asking you where it should go.

Clean your iPod of all information within given iPDA categories.


7 thoughts on “iPDA

  1. andie Smith

    this is something i need. I need a PDA..but don’t want something else to carry around (or for me to loose)

  2. Michael Zapp


    The amount of space used depends on what you’re syncing. The biggest consumer would be doing a backup, but a few key files wouldn’t be an issue.

    As for calendars, notes, etc these are simply text files so they take very little space. Having said that, if you have a 100 page document it will take a lot of space.

  3. Chris Marshall Post author

    @Wayne – how long is a piece of string? All depends how much data you want to transfer 🙂 The application sits on Mac not iPod so takes up no space (in case that is what you were asking).

    It really didn’t take up too much space. The reality is that the iPod Notes size restriction is going to be a bigger hinderence than the iPod Nano size.

    @Andie – enjoy 🙂

  4. Wayne LeFevre

    Thanks. The reason I ask is I often have to uncheck songs, even entire playlists, in order to get all of my podcasts on there during syncing. As a podcast junkie, I make the sacrifice. Of course, I’ve been re-ripping a lot of content to 256, so there’s that…

  5. Michael Zapp

    Hi Andie,

    Just thought I’d mention that you can still use iPDA with your mini — all functionality is supported on the mini. It’s also worth noting that you can try iPDA for free and see how well it works for you.

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