When you are using more than one computer and mobile device, cloud services like DropBox and Apple’s new iCloud are the best ways to keep files and other data synced between all your devices.
As Apple explains it, iCloud is a service “which stores your music, photos, perhaps, calendars, and documents and wirelessly pushes them to all your devices.” The service is free for iOS 5 and OS X Lion users, and provides up to 5GB of free storage. This MUO article, What iCloud IsAnd Why It Changes Everything, explains in more detail the pros and cons of the service.
If you use one or more output devices you will definitely want to sign up for an iCloud account. However if you are a current MobileMe user you will need to move your MobileMe account over to the iCloud service. While Apple has made the transition relatively easy, there are a few things you need to know.
Before you move your MobileMe account you will need to have your Apple devices upgraded to iOS 5 and OS X Lion. A computer for example not upgraded to Lion will not be able to take full advantage of the iCloud services. See more about the limitations.
If you try to sign in or create an iCloud account on one of your mobile devices, you will be instructed to first move your MobileMe content over to iCloud. This means you can move your MobileMe Mail, Contacts, Calendar, Safari Bookmarks, Fine My iPhone, in Back to My Mac to your new iCloud account.
What you won’t be able move to iCloud are your iWeb websites, existing photo galleries, and iDisk content. This is unfortunate for MobileMe members who have developed and published iWeb sites and photo galleries over the last several years. Apple says you will have until June 30, 2012 to move your content to another server or lose it altogether.
Apple also says that any of your publicly shared iCal calendars will be unpublished in the transition. You will need to share those public calendars again after moving to iCloud.
Additionally, other MobileMe features including Mac Dashboard Widgets, Dock Items, Teachings, References, Mail Accounts, Rules, Signatures, and Smart Mailboxes will not be synched after moving to iCloud.
Start here to move your MobileMe account to iCloud.
Why Apple Made the Move
Because iCloud is an Internet service that automatically pushes your designated content between all your supporting devices, it is clearly better than the limitations found in MobileMe. I have been a long time user of MobileMe and have never experienced major problems with the service. However, the yearly $99 subscription fee seemed excessive for the services MobileMe offered.
Except for iWeb Internet hosting, you could easily find similar MobileMe-like features and services for free on Internet. For example, MobileMe iDisk storage is light-years behind cloud services like Dropbox, which offers 2GB of free service and has much better third-party support and integration with cross-platform applications.
Many MobileMe users probably have found the Gallery feature very useful because it integrated with iLife applications, including iPhoto, iMovie, and iDVD. This integration made it very easy to upload photos and homemade movies to well-designed MobileMe Galleries. Well, though the MobileMe Gallery feature is no more, Apple has already updated at least one of its iLife applications, iPhoto, for iCloud support.
iCloud users will now be able to use services like iTunes in the Cloud, Photo Stream, Documents in the Cloud, and automatic download and purchase of apps and books from iTunes Store. So basically all your designated data will be synced between all your devices–including documents you create in the iWork suite of applications (Pages, Keynote, and Numbers.) You will no longer need to manually add data to say iDisk in order to download them to other devices.
In the next several weeks, we’ll get to see how just how well iCloud works in everyday use. Drop us a comment and let us know how the transition is working for you.