July 19, 2005

Treo 650 Bluetooth Sync with Mac OS X


Okay, so I have this new toy. It's not great. It's okay. It's got more features than my beloved Kyocera 7135, but is definitely a massive step backwards in terms of phone functionality (that's what you get for buying a phone from a PDA company, I guess).

My problem, for the past few days, has been that I have been unable to get the damn thing to sync with my Mac over Bluetooth. Whenever I tried, the Treo would say "Unable to complete request: port is in use by another application." When I went investigating on the Mac, I found that the Hotsync manager on the Mac (I'm using Mac OS X 10.4.2) would refuse to enable HotSync software if Bluetooth was selected, with the following error: "Transport Monitor was unable to complete your request. (16)"


After a completely useless call to Verizon (who at least admitted that they couldn't help me) and then two completely useless calls to PalmOne tech support, both of which got 'mysteriously dropped' ten to fifteen minutes in when techsupportdroid du jour ran off the bottom of their script and had to 'place me on hold', I gave up on that route. My favorite: telling me to reboot the Mac and soft-reset the phone before even asking me what the problem was.

Anyhow, for anyone else who might have this problem, here's what fixed it for me:

  1. Make sure no Palm software (or iSync) is running on the Mac.
  2. In ~/Library/Preferences/ByHost/, trash all com.palm.* files.
  3. In ~/Library/Preferences, trash all com.palm.* files (should be 1).
  4. In System Preferences (the app), under 'Bluetooth,' make sure your computer is 'Discoverable' (box checked) in the 'Settings' tab.
  5. In the 'Sharing' tab, make sure the 'Bluetooth-PDA-Sync' service has the 'On' box checked (mine wasn't!). Select the service name. On the right, there is a dropdown box for 'Type:' - make sure that is set to 'RS-232' - not Modem.
  6. Exit Bluetooth prefs, saving all changes if it asks you to.
  7. At that point, you should be able to go to HotSync manager and enable Bluetooth-PDA-Sync sync method and enable connections. Then go to your Treo, enable Bluetooth, and initiate a HotSync. It should work.
Whew. Wouldn't it have been nice if Palm had, I dunno, either documented that, or even told their tech support crew about it?

Posted by jbz at July 19, 2005 2:02 PM | TrackBack


Will this method also work for the Palm 680??? I can't seem to get them to sync following this advice.

Posted by: K at September 25, 2010 5:48 AM

if you're using Mac OS 10.5.8 or later just do, seems step 2 & 3 are useless since i could find any file com.palm

new treo got stolen, had to used my old treo650
your instruction was precious

thanks !

Posted by: Ollivier at December 13, 2009 2:33 AM

Great info.
But I still have 1 problem.
After a few sec hotsync, a popup say "Conduit Manager. Volume locked". What does it mean? Coz after a few item sync, the connection lost. It says in my mac "Application error".

Any idea?
Thanks so much.

Posted by: sck at July 28, 2009 11:58 PM

The best information i have found exactly here. Keep going Thank you

Posted by: LnddMiles at July 23, 2009 6:20 AM

i find if i reboot my phone it works after following setup above

Posted by: pooh bear at December 5, 2007 9:35 PM


How the bluetooth got turned off, I don't know - but I'm so thankful it was such a simple fix, not so thankful that I wasted so much time in the Palm website searching for a fix! :)


Frustration Over... :

Posted by: Frustration! at December 1, 2007 2:23 AM

Just have to add my thanks. This is the only place I found the solution.

Posted by: Matt at May 29, 2007 6:45 PM

"Unable to initiate HotSync operation because the port is on use by another application"

Any ideas? I just got them to read each other, now this is the final step I'm not getting.
This is a new 2.66 Intel, btw but shouldn't matter I'd think. The Palm software acts like it did before...

Posted by: Matt at April 17, 2007 5:05 PM

Thank you so much!!! you are a god! and a life saver!!

Posted by: Jeff Schiefelbein at March 19, 2007 4:17 PM

worked a treat. Didn't need to trash files.

Posted by: at March 15, 2007 9:54 AM


Posted by: at February 6, 2007 2:38 PM

Thanks a bunch! it worked like a charm

Posted by: Fernanda Foertter at January 5, 2007 3:24 PM

Any thoughts on fixing this same sync problem between a Palm E2 and Mac OS X?

Posted by: Ezer Kang at November 12, 2006 1:47 AM

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. It works!

Posted by: Secret South at November 1, 2006 7:58 PM

THank you it worked :)

Posted by: isaac at October 9, 2006 5:44 PM


But I didn't have to trash any files, I just tried all the other parts, and it worked!

Posted by: daver at October 9, 2006 1:39 AM

I was terrified to try this, for some reason my sync cable hadn't been working recently and I was a little spooked to go randomly deleting config files, it WORKS PERFECTLY. Well done my friend, well done!


Posted by: sfgeek at August 31, 2006 1:30 AM

Yes but one has to be logged into their Mac as root to get any of this done, actually and that is a HUGE step that only took me 2 hours to figure out.

Posted by: Lisa at July 27, 2006 2:38 PM

Worked for me. Thanks. The only thing I added to it was checking that HotSync was actually enabled in the Hotsync Manager/Hotsync Controls part of the fix above. It was actually clicked to be disabled - can't explain why. Worth checking if the above fix mysteriously doesn't work. I didn't set it up to be disabled so it could happen to others I guess...

any way thanks...


Posted by: John Duncan at May 18, 2006 3:57 PM

I've had my Treo for 8 months now, and have never gotten Bluetooth to work. This worked beautifully. I found four com.palm files in the preferences folder, and nervously removed them all. I got the same message about virtual serial port, and just clicked continue all the way through. I'm pleased to say it's synchronizing right now.

Does anyone have any idea how to transfer MP3 files to my card? And where does it put the pictures that it's apparently synchronizing?


Posted by: Kat at May 4, 2006 2:06 AM

Hey jbz
I couldn't find the 'sharing tab' in step five...are you using 10.4?

I'm using 10.3.9...plus my error message is 'the connection between your handheld computer and the desktop could not be established. please check your setup and try again.'


Posted by: Andy at April 25, 2006 11:00 AM

Thanks J.B. Zimmerman! Of all the many suggestions on how to get a PB and a Treo to sync, this one actually worked. thanks again!

Posted by: tmk at March 22, 2006 3:10 PM

googled your advice by chance and it worked like a charm. Thanks for sharing your grief :)

Posted by: gt at March 17, 2006 1:32 PM

You're my new bestfriend.

Posted by: SubPalm at March 12, 2006 2:43 PM

Absolutely worked!!! I could hardly believe my eyes . . .

Posted by: Stephen Yadzinski at February 18, 2006 9:03 PM

Does the Treo 650 now sync with 10.4 using only iSync and Hotsync manager? I still have a treo 600 which syncs like a dream which is the main reason why I am soldiering on with it.

Posted by: Paul Reading at October 31, 2005 11:00 AM

Worked like a charm!! Thanks for saving me the brain numbing experience of a half dozen useless calls to tech support! Really - thank you.

Posted by: Patrick at August 22, 2005 10:07 PM

Everything worked up the point of being asked to create a virtual serial port. Did anyone else encounter this?

Otherwise, the advice was invaluable. Thank you.

Posted by: Mike at August 19, 2005 2:19 PM

Solution works with Cingular too. Thanks!

Posted by: Steve Banks at August 8, 2005 6:10 PM

After useless calls to Cingular and Palm, I'm extremely grateful for these directions, which worked perfectly the first time. Thank you.

Posted by: Jeff at August 4, 2005 11:12 PM

ymmit: Yep, you can have 'bluetooth-pda-sync' and 'USB' and 'PalmConnect' all checked in the HotSync Manager connection settings. If you do so, then it will sync via BT *or* via USB cable, depending on how you initiate the sync. That's how I have mine set up. If I initiate with BT, it works; if I connect the cable and hit the button, it syncs that way.

Tom: Hmm, whoops. Make sure you have HotSync 'Enabled' in the Palm HotSync manager app on the Mac. Make sure your Mac is 'Discoverable.' Essentially, other than what I did above, I followed the instructions on my Treo when setting up BT sync. :-(


Posted by: J.B. Zimmerman at July 25, 2005 12:05 PM

I've got a question though. I can now sync my treo 650 with iCal addressbook etc using the USB cable.

let's say if I were to follow your instructions and sync via bluetooth. will i still be able to sync via USB cable?

Posted by: ymmit at July 25, 2005 2:36 AM

I followed these instructions to the letter. Still doesn't work. Though I no longer get the port in use error, there is no connection and the Treo eventually says, "The connection between your handheld computer and the desktop could not be established. Please check your setup and try again."

There is probably something else that you did without realizing that it was a necessary step.

If anyone has any additional ideas please email me!


Posted by: Tom Ainscough at July 25, 2005 1:32 AM

Mostly by piecing together stuff that's on the net. Treonauts had some helpful tips. There was some good stuff available by Googling for 'Treo 650' and 'Mac OS X Bluetooth Sync' - that's how I came by the 'delete all the com.palm.*' files. I found the Bluetooth settings stuff through sheer desperate bullheaded flailing around.

Posted by: J.B. Zimmerman at July 24, 2005 1:10 AM

My question is how do you come to figure this out?

Posted by: Todd Baur at July 23, 2005 6:28 PM

Thank you Mr. Zimmerman for this great Blog. I did everything on the Treo support site to set up my PowerBook to sync up, through Bluetooth. with my Address Book and iCal apps. I had not been able to sync my 650 to my PowerBook using Bluetooth until I read your article. The instructions that came with the Treo650 to do this were simply useless. Nothing worked and I spent hours trying, eventually giving up on Bluetooth and forced into using the Treo sync cable. Having my other SonyEricssons sync up to my PowerBook with no problem using Bluetooth, I couldn't stand having to keep that Treo sync cable around and having to use it every time I had to sync my new Treo650. Now, after reading your article and being able to FINALLY sync the 650 with the PowerBook over Bluetooth, I love the phone even more! This is great. Thanks again.

Posted by: E.Pianelli at July 23, 2005 2:28 PM

I didn't even try using the Palm software...I bought the Missing Sync right away and have never looked back :)

Posted by: Brian Peat at July 23, 2005 2:25 PM

I've had it with the clumsiness of using this Treo 650 with my Powerbook. I'm tired of its short battery life and strange behavior. Weary of it's tiny buttons (which require me to re-type my voicemail password three times until I can get it right) and of carrying a small brick around in my pocket. I'm going back to Sony-Ericsson. Just ordered the K750i. You can keep your Treo 650. And when you do you can think about how it is a perfect example of how having thousands of features makes for a phone with watered down quality.

Posted by: aidan hadley at July 23, 2005 11:11 AM

There's a collection of Treo 650 and Mac OS X tips and observations here:

Posted by: btn at July 22, 2005 6:32 PM

I sync my powerbook G4 to a treo 650 via bluetooth all of the time. The solution that worked for me was the third party package "missing sync."

Posted by: Archon Fung at July 22, 2005 10:22 AM

Here is a bit more detail:

In point #7 above, within HotSynch manager (which is a Palm application on the Mac), go to Setup, and in there is a settings button which is active once you select Bluetooth-PDA-Sync. If you click on it, you need to select "Serial" from the pull down tab, and a speed, which I left at "as fast as possible".

Then on the Treo within HotSynch there is a pulldown tab under the synch icon, and the name of your computer should appear (for mine it said "unnamed computer". select that and then touch the hotsynch icon to start the process

Posted by: Bill Elkus at July 22, 2005 9:56 AM

Mine came with perfect instructions on How to Sync to a Mac through bluetooth

Posted by: at July 22, 2005 9:34 AM
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