(Pocket-lint) - Having multiple gadgets is all well and good, but it's even better when they talk to each other. Whether you have a tablet and a smartphone, a smartphone and a desktop computer, a smartphone and a laptop, or all of these gadgets in your house, you'll want them all to sync seamlessly.
We have come up with tips to help you make sure your devices are talking to each other the best way they can. Naturally this is a lot easier when you have the same brand of devices, but it's not impossible even if they are all different.
If you don't already have a Google account, now is the time to get one. Allowing Google to manage your contacts is one of the easiest ways to get your names and numbers to appear on all your devices, no matter what platform they are on.
You can access your contacts no matter where you are and what smartphone, tablet or computer you are on, as long as you have an internet connection. If you head into your Google Mail account on a browser and click on the Mail drop down menu on the top left, you'll see the Contacts option. From here, you can add, edit and delete your contacts and they will follow you whatever device you are using.
Messages are slightly more tricky to sync than things like photos and contacts, especially SMS messages. Unless you have all Apple devices and you have Continuity set up or Microsoft's equivalent, you're going to struggle to get your text messages to appear on your computer or tablet.
It's easier with services like Skype however as messages are automatically synced as part of Skype itself. If you are signed into Skype on your iPhone for example and you are reading your messages, when you sign in on your PC or laptop, or even your Android tablet, the messages you have read will appear as read so you don't need to go back and read them all again to get the unread number to vanish.
Photos are probably one of the main things you will want to sync across your devices and it's easier than you think, even if you have an Android smartphone but an iPad as your tablet for example.
Of course, each platform has their own service, such as OneDrive for Windows, Google Drive for Android and iCloud for Apple devices but there are other third-party services too, including Dropbox and Box.net. Using Dropbox as an example, you can set it to automatically back up the photos you take on your devices, which you will then be able to access through the Dropbox app, or via a web browser.
There is currently a new feature of Dropbox called Carousel that has been designed to be a faster, prettier way to view your photos and videos. It enables you to turn off automatic back up, as well as choose whether a back up should be performed using Wi-Fi and cellular data, or just Wi-Fi. It's worth bearing in mind that backing up videos will take time and eat chunks of data so depending on your data plan, you might be better off to set this to Wi-Fi only so you have more 4G data for other tasks like streaming the latest episode of House of Cards.
Music is another area that is likely to be high up on your list for syncing as if you have bought a track on your phone, you will probably want to be able to listen to it on your computer too, as well as your tablet.
If you have all Apple devices and you buy your music through iTunes, this is nice and straight forward. Similarly, if you use a streaming service for your music like Spotify, syncing won't be a problem as these services automatically sync between various devices using your account.
It is possible to transfer files you have purchased to your devices, even if they are different platforms however, and one of the ways to do it is by using Google Music Manager. This service enables you to upload music from your computer and listen to it through the Google Play Music app on your mobile device. It supports a range of file types, including MP3 of course, and it will allow you to upload 50,000 tracks.
For those that use their devices to work on the go, having documents syncing across smartphones, tablets and laptops is a necessity. Like photos, it is nice and easy to do, even if you work on various platforms, but you will need to make sure you have an app or programme that enables you to open and work on your documents.
Dropbox is a good platform for saving your files and accessing them on whichever device you are using, but Google Drive is also great. It offers a similar service to Dropbox, allowing you to save your documents to it and then retrieve them via the app or your Google account. Several people can also simultaneously work on one shared document using Google Drive so if you are on the move and a contract is being constantly updated and amended for example, it enables you to see the corrections straight away without having to wait for an attachment via email.
Last but not least is surfing the web. Having your photos, documents and music syncing is great but it's also handy to be able to access the last few websites you checked out on your computer, on your smartphone, tablet or laptop.
Microsoft and Apple both announced this is on its way for their own browsers but Google Chrome is leaps ahead and already offers it. We told you having a Google account was a good idea when it came to syncing, and this is another place where it comes into use. If you use Chrome on all your devices and sign in with your account, it will pull up your history and bookmarks so you can quickly find then last sites you were checking out. Simple, but very useful.
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