What is sync on a computer

Many of us in our daily life are faced with such a concept as “synchronization”. This is what it is, and why it is needed at all, now it will be considered. Looking ahead, it can be noted that almost all people know about this term, unless they justify it from a scientific point of view and do not delve into the essence of the issue. For a more accurate understanding, let’s turn to computer and mobile technology.

Synchronization: what is it?

Let’s start with a brief scientific rationale. If we consider modern computers or mobile devices, synchronization can be understood as a set of algorithms that allow you to store certain information objects in the same state on different devices and at different time intervals, even if there is a change in one source.

If at least one of them is affected by change, all other associated data will be affected. On the other hand, synchronization can be called the display or use of the same data on different devices at the time of communication between them.

If you look at the field of application of such tools, there are several main aspects in IT technologies:

  • backup;
  • synchronization of accounts when connected to the Internet;
  • synchronization of devices with each other;
  • multiplayer games and applications.

Basic types of synchronization

However, the term “synchronization” can be found not only in computer systems. What is this in production? Yes, the same is true, for example, when several machines are involved in the technological process, which must perform a predetermined sequence of operations at strictly defined points in time. But back to computers and mobile devices.

In general, in the implementation of all these processes, two main types of synchronization algorithms are distinguished: one- and two-way.

The first type involves checking data on two devices, one of which is the main one, and the second is a slave (for example, synchronizing Google services with a smartphone, where the server is the priority device, and the phone on which the application is installed plays the role of the slave). In this case, changing the parameters of the same account or the created backup copy, provided that they are saved on the server, allows the data to be used on all devices with a similar application (for example, when replacing a smartphone with a different model and logging into the service under the old login).

In two-way synchronization, several criteria are used that determine the priority device, but the user can decide for himself which of them will be used to change the information. Accordingly, the data will be changed on the other device. For smartphones or tablets, this can be synchronization with a PC, and at the same time it does not matter at all where the changes will be made.

Synchronizing data on mobile devices

Synchronization is presented in several variations on mobile devices. Firstly, this is due to the accounts (accounts) used to log into some applications or Internet services.


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The simplest example is syncing an account on Android devices when you sign in to Google Play. Note that it happens automatically when the connection is established.

Secondly, if data backup is enabled in the system, when a copy is saved in the “cloud” storage on a remote server, applications, contacts and any other settings can be restored using a registered account on another mobile device.

Synchronization between devices

The phenomenon of synchronization can also be found when connecting a smartphone to a computer via a USB port, using Bluetooth or Wi-Fi.

You do not need to install any special applications to modify objects saved on internal and external media. For operations with files and folders, the usual Windows Explorer or any other file manager is suitable.

If you need to gain control over the settings or provide access to the list of contacts, you will need some kind of synchronization program (Samsung Kies, Sony PC Companion, MyPhoneExplorer, Nokia PC Suite, iTunes, and others).


Now one more look at the term “synchronization”. What is this in terms of backup? In fact, this also implies the process of simultaneously changing data with subsequent saving. But there can be two options. For example, on a computer, a copy can be saved in a specially allocated disk partition, or it can use “cloud” storage.

In the first, in the second case, synchronization occurs simultaneously, but for using the “cloud” the main condition is the presence of an uninterrupted Internet connection, and when saving a backup copy on the hard drive, additional disk space is used. However, what exactly to prefer, everyone decides for himself.

In any case, backing up can be done both by the system and with the help of special programs. However, in order to obtain simultaneous data changes, you will need to select the appropriate criteria (for example, creating dynamic partitions to increase the volume when there is a lack of space). In this respect, “cloud” technologies look more attractive, however, for such storages, limits on the use of free disk space are often set without payment.

Why do I need to set up synchronization in multiplayer games and applications

Finally, one more aspect. It’s no secret that modern computer games allow the use of command modes of passage. Remember at least the first Counter Strike or Quake championships.

Here, synchronization takes place between several terminals, behind which are the players of the opposing teams. In addition, here you can trace not only the synchronization of actions in the game itself, but also the connection between the players. Thanks to the emergence of specialized software products like TeamViewer, players were able to organize their actions through orders or coordination of movement.

And here we are no longer talking about, say, creating and demonstrating presentations when remote access is required, or banking operations.


It remains to add that these are far from all situations in which one can find the manifestation of synchronization processes. Here, only the main aspects related to computer technology were considered, but the very concept of this process is much broader. And in general, even in the organization of public life or sports, such technologies are used every day, but most of us simply do not pay attention to them, although they know about this phenomenon.


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Synchronization – what is it?

Today, the term “synchronization” is often used in the information technology field. It refers to the process when differences are eliminated between multiple copies of data.

The easiest way to explain this is using the clock and date as an example – if the time has not been set on the smartphone, then if there is an Internet connection, synchronization with the server will occur and the time will be displayed in accordance with your time zone.

There are several main types of data synchronization:

  • synchronization of application data;
  • synchronization of web resource data;
  • synchronization of in-game data.

Let’s consider each of them separately.

Synchronization in the app

Conventionally, information in the application can be divided into two types – user and service information. User information can be synchronized with the cloud, which stores a copy of it. For example, Microsoft Word text files can be placed in the OneDrive cloud storage and manipulated as needed.

Service information is settings. Some applications make it possible to save settings in the cloud storage and restore them with one click when reinstalling the program. Some applications need to synchronize data in real time, while others strictly at the direction of the user.

Initially, synchronization was present only in applications for personal computers, but with the development of technology, it has appeared on mobile devices running iOS, Android and Windows, as well as on game consoles, smart watches and many other inventions.

In real time, synchronization occurs, for example, in messenger applications. If the interlocutor sent you a message, then its contents will immediately become visible to you, provided you are connected to the Internet. The Telegram channel instantly displays the latest publications from those channels to which you are subscribed.

The best example of synchronization is in modern web browsers. They are able to save browsing history, favorite pages, passwords and some other data in the cloud storage. Thanks to this, after reinstallation, you can complete the synchronization procedure with the cloud and work with the browser as before.

Synchronization on a web resource

The spread of the Internet today has reached colossal proportions. Most of the inhabitants of Russia have constant access to the global network and enjoy all its benefits. To ensure their stable operation, data centers with many servers operate around the clock.

The synchronization procedure for a web resource is important if it deals with dynamic data that can constantly change. Some sites may well do without synchronization if they host some kind of static content.

To ensure synchronization, there is a database on the site. It stores many parameters that users can influence. So, for example, if you are blocked in a community on a social network, then you will instantly know about it, having lost the opportunity to view the wall.


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In addition to internal synchronization within a resource, it can also occur between multiple sites. If you have friends on the Facebook social network, then you can sync with it and the VK social network will add those of them you can find.

In-game sync

Games today are one of the favorite ways of spending leisure time for many people of different ages. There are offline games that do not require an Internet connection, and there are those that are inextricably linked with it.

For example, in a multiplayer shooter, the player interacts with several dozen other people. The game constantly synchronizes the state of the player with the rest of the people on the server. Therefore, any changes become visible to all other players.

In MMORPGs, statistics are stored on the server, and when you enter the game, synchronization occurs. Data about the game level, the number of points, a list of friends and other information are loaded.

In addition to the games themselves, there are also applications for digital distribution – Steam, Origin, Uplay. They have the ability to purchase licensed copies of games, as well as a system of achievements and some other data. When a user logs into his Uplay account, synchronization occurs immediately – the list of games, available achievements, points, a list of friends and other information is loaded.

A gaming-specific term is vertical sync. It is related to the frame rate that the game is capable of displaying per second. When this function is activated, the frame rate is fixed at 60 fps and cannot exceed this value.

Thus, synchronization is an extremely important process, without which many ordinary things would be inaccessible to device users.

Synchronization of processes – bringing two or more processes to such a course, when certain stages of different processes are performed in a certain order, or simultaneously.
Synchronization is necessary in any cases when parallel processes need to interact. For its organization, means of interprocess communication are used. Among the most commonly used tools are signals and messages, semaphores and mutexes, pipes, shared memory.

Data Synchronization is the elimination of differences between two copies of data. It is assumed that previously these copies were the same, and then one of them, or both, were independently modified.
How data is synchronized depends on additional assumptions made. The main problem here is that independently made changes can be incompatible with each other (the so-called “conflict of edits”), and even theoretically there is no general way of resolving such situations.

Synchronization with a computer – the ability to synchronize data between the phone and the computer – for example, exchange phonebook entries or synchronize the phone organizer with the organizer in the computer – what was only in the phone is copied to the computer, and vice versa. You can also sync your contacts with Microsoft Outlook.

by Abdullah Sam
I’m a teacher, researcher and writer. I write about study subjects to improve the learning of college and university students. I write top Quality study notes Mostly, Tech, Games, Education, And Solutions/Tips and Tricks. I am a person who helps students to acquire knowledge, competence or virtue.

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