Sync music, pictures, contacts, and calendars with a mobile device

There are two primary ways to sync a mobile phone, portable music player, or other mobile device with your computer. You can install the sync software that many manufacturers include with their devices, or you can use the new Device Stage feature in this version of Windows if your device supports this feature.

Device Stage lets you sync music, contacts, calendars, and other files and information with a compatible mobile device. It also allows you to perform other device-related tasks that vary depending on the device, such as creating ringtones for a mobile phone. What files and information you can sync depends on the type of device you have and what it supports. For example, you may be able to sync contacts and calendars with a smartphone, but not with a portable music player.

To see which types of files and information you can sync with your device, connect the device to your computer. If your device is compatible with Device Stage, this feature will open automatically. (If you've already set up your device to sync, Device Stage will open, but it will appear minimized on your Windows taskbar.) Device Stage will list various tasks you can perform with your device, including sync setup.

Picture of the sync setup page in Device Stage
The Device Stage sync setup page

Device Stage is customized for each device by the manufacturer of that device, and displays different options for different devices. If you have more than one device connected to your computer, you can have more than one instance of Device Stage open at the same time.

The easiest way to find out if a device you already have works with Device Stage is to connect it to your computer and see if Device Stage opens. For devices you don't already have, check with the manufacturer or review the specifications for the device. For a mobile phone, music player, digital camera, or other mobile device to work with Device Stage, the manufacturer must add compatible software (also called firmware) to the device.

Note

  • The ability to use Device Stage to change ringtones on a mobile phone is not included in all editions of Windows.

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To set up your computer to sync contacts, calendars, tasks, or notes with a mobile device

Device Stage has different options for syncing contacts, calendars, tasks, and notes than it does for syncing music, pictures, and videos.

  1. Turn on a compatible smartphone or other mobile device that has the ability to work with contacts, calendars, tasks, or notes. Connect it to your computer using a USB or other connection cable; or, if it's a wireless device, connect wirelessly.

    If Device Stage doesn't open, your device either doesn't support this feature of Windows or it isn't properly connected to your computer.

  2. In Device Stage, double-click Set up sync.

  3. Select the check box for each type of file or information you want to sync (contacts, calendars, notes, or tasks).

  4. For each type of content you selected, click the drop-down list and select what program to use as the source for your contacts, calendars, notes, or tasks. If you don't see the program you want listed, click Get more sync plug-ins. This will take you to a page where you can download sync plugs-ins for other programs.

    Note

    • In order for Device Stage to sync contacts, calendars, notes, or tasks with your device, it must have a source for those files and information. Device Stage can use as its source an e-mail program or similar program where you keep your contacts, calendars, notes, or tasks. But for a program to work with Device Stage, it must have a sync plug-in that allows Device Stage to interact with the program. If you don't see a sync plug-in for the program, it might not be compatible with Device Stage. Check with the program's manufacturer.

  5. To sync all your contacts, calendars, notes, or tasks to your device, click Sync now. They'll all sync immediately, and again automatically in the future, when your device is connected to your computer. To save these changes and sync automatically in the future (but not now), click Save changes.

  6. If you want, you can specify how Windows syncs your contacts, calendars, notes, or tasks. Click Settings and then follow the instructions. When you're done changing these settings, click OK to return to the sync settings page and then click Save changes or Sync now.

To set up your computer to sync music, pictures, or videos with a mobile device

Device Stage has different options for syncing music, pictures, and videos than it does for syncing contacts, calendars, tasks, and notes.

  1. Turn on a compatible music player or other mobile device that's able to store music, pictures, or videos. Connect it to your computer using a USB or other cable connection; or, if it's a wireless device, connect wirelessly.

  2. In Device Stage, double-click Set up sync.

  3. Select the check box for each type of file or information you want to sync (music, photos, or videos).

  4. To sync all the music, pictures, or videos in your Windowslibraries, select Sync now. This will begin syncing them immediately and also sync them automatically in the future, when your device is connected to your computer. To save these changes and sync automatically in the future (but not now), click Save changes.

  5. You can choose what music, pictures, or videos to sync to your device. Click Settings and then follow the instructions.

    The information at the bottom of the sync settings page shows how much space you've used on your device, how much free (available) space is left on the device, and how much space is required to sync all the music, photos, or videos you've selected. Because music, photos, and videos can take up large amounts of space, it's a good idea to check how much available space is on your device when deciding what to sync.

  6. After you're done selecting what music, photos, and videos to sync, click OK to return to the sync settings page, and then click Save changes or Sync now.

Note

  • Device Stage can sync photos in the JPEG and PNG file formats. Photos in the GIF, TIFF, and BMP formats might sync, but they could be placed in a folder on your device where pictures aren't normally stored. Photos in other file formats won't sync.

To check if your mobile device is connected to your computer

Any mobile device successfully connected to your computer should appear in Devices and Printers in Control Panel, regardless of whether the device is connected with a cable or wirelessly. Many mobile phones connect using Bluetooth wireless technology.

Even devices that aren't compatible with Device Stage should appear in Devices and Printers. Here's how to check:

  1. Open Devices and Printers by clicking the Start button Picture of the Start button, and then, on the Start menu, clicking Devices and Printers.

  2. Look for your device. If the device is connected properly, its name should appear in Devices and Printers. It might be listed under a different (and sometimes not obviously related) name than the make and model of the device. If you haven't changed the name of a device in Windows, Devices and Printers will display whatever name the manufacturer gave the device.

Notes

  • If you don't see your device in Devices and Printers, and you’re sure you connected it correctly to your computer, make sure the device is turned on and has fresh batteries or is fully charged.

  • If you see your device in Devices and Printers, but it doesn't automatically open Device Stage when you connect it to your computer, then the device isn't compatible with Device Stage. It should automatically open AutoPlay instead.

  • After you've set up your device to sync with Device Stage, the next time you connect the device to your computer, Device Stage will open automatically, but it will be collapsed on the Windows taskbar. To change your sync settings, click the device icon on the taskbar to open Device Stage.

  • Syncing a Bluetooth enabled device wirelessly can be much slower than syncing a device connected by a cable. If syncing wirelessly takes too long, try connecting the device with a USB cable or whatever wired connection the device supports, if any.

  • Some wireless devices use Wireless USB or Wi‑Fi connections. These are typically faster than Bluetooth connections. For more information about connecting a wireless device, see Connect to Bluetooth and other wireless or network devices.

To start syncing a device

After you’ve set up your device to sync, Windows automatically syncs files with the device any time you connect it to your computer. If you leave the device connected for a long time, Windows checks for new contacts, calendars, and similar types of files to sync approximately every 30 minutes. Windows also checks for new music, pictures, and videos that you have set up to sync, but only when you connect the device or click Sync Now in Device Stage.

If your device is set up to sync automatically, this can drain the battery quicker than if sync is turned off. If it seems like Windows is taking a long time to sync some files, it might be due to the types of files it's syncing. For example, video files can be quite large and take much longer to sync than music or photos.

If you’re about to sync many files—such as your entire music collection—with a new device, it might take a long time. After you’ve finished syncing the files once, however, Windows will only sync new files next time, which should be a lot quicker.

Note

  • Device Stage allows you to sync as many folders on your computer as you want with a device. However, you can only sync up to 50 folders that aren't in your Windows libraries, such as your Music Library or Photo Library. If you have more than 50 folders you want to sync a device with, make sure they're in your libraries. For more information, see Working with libraries.