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Getting my memos from my Palm Handheld to my iPhone

Written By: Gary on July 29, 2009 2 Comments

I never imagined getting my memos (just text notes) from my Palm Treo 755p could be such a hassle. First let me point out how important some of these memos are to me, they aren’t just from my Treo 755p: before that they were on my Treo 700p, before then they were on my Samsung SPH-i500 (best phone ever!) and also my Samsung(s) SPH-i330 and SPH-i300 (from 2001, I think). So some of these note have been around for a while…

Googling around there is no good solution to get them on the phone into the iPhone Notes application, lots of people looking for solutions. The simple solution (but not what I wanted) was just to open Palm Desktop (for the Mac) and print all your memos to a PDF file and e-mail it to yourself and you can always open that later (or store it on your iDisk if you have MobileMe).

Here’s the steps I went through to get them into the iPhone Notes application (I’ve only been using an iPhone since OS 3.0 so I don’t know when they added the Notes feature):

phoneview.jpg1- Export your memos from the Palm Desktop software (I did this on my MacBook) choosing exported as tab delimited (you can turn some of the columns off if you want, I only exported the title and the body of the memos).
2- Then I opened this text file up in the Mac’s TextEdit application, did a few search and replaces of any goofy characters.
3- Then I used PhoneView from ecamm to view the notes on the phone.
Here’s the mundane part:
4- I highlighted the title and body of a memo.
5- Dragged the selected text into the PhoneView application and let go.
6- PhoneView created a memo with the first line of text being the title which was exactly what I wanted.
7- Go back to step 4 and repeat for every memo you want. I only kept about 60% of my memos and more than a few of those might be out of date (but I have them!!!).
8- Click the Apply Changes button in PhoneView to save the changes to the iPhone.
9- I then exited the application and synced with iTunes.
10- I then checked the Mail application on my MacBook for my Notes (why are notes kept in the Mail application?) and they were all there.

PhoneView has a free demo, but I don’t know if any limitations will stop you from doing this. I already owned the application so I don’t know about this. If you’re reading this far, you obviously owned a Palm OS handheld so if you ever owned BeamPro, this is the company that wrote that software. And ecamm is the same company that wrote CardRaider which saved my Chicago photos last summer.

Obviously, PhoneView isn’t made by Apple so I’m sure if it screws something up, it’s not covered under warranty. But a restore from your backup should make it all happy again if something happens.

More ramblings about this process:

This will take you a while if you have thousands of notes, so I thought I’d mention a few things.

After step one (1) I was able to import this document into the spreadsheet in Google Docs and it put the title in one column and the body in another, so if you can manipulate it from there you might be okay. If I recall correctly if I could save each memo as it’s own text file I could just drag that to the Mail application Notes area (or PhoneView) but I didn’t have a way to separate the memos easily. Otherwise I think I just could have dragged 100 notes files in very quickly (Mail didn’t want let me drag TextClippings in nor could I view them via the iPhone iDisk application).

Remember, the notes only get synced with iTunes, no wireless syncing with MobileMe (not even an option to view in MobileMe).

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2 Responses to “Getting my memos from my Palm Handheld to my iPhone”

  1. Bob N says on: 24 October 2009 at 3:14 pm

    Could you go into more detail about how you actually transferred the memos? I understand that you highlighted a line in TextEdit, and that line has a tab between the heading and the note content. What did the OpenView application look like when you dragged the text onto it, and where exactly did you drop it? I’ve tried this to no avail, other than to get the entire text into the heading box.

    Bob N

  2. Bob N says on: 24 October 2009 at 3:20 pm

    Never mind, I’ve got it. You can drag a memo from the Palm Desktop memo list onto the PhoneView Notes list (after clicking the Notes icon in the sidebar), and it will in fact create a Note properly.

    This in itself justifies purchasing PhoneView!!!

    Now, has anyone figured out how to do this for multiple memos at once?

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