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Take Control of MobileMe
Oct 26, 2010

Take Control of MobileMe, Second Edition

MobileMe provides oodles of features, but are you making the most of your $99-per-year membership?

When Apple discontinued MobileMe at the end of June 2012, this book became obsolete. You may instead be interested in Take Control of iCloud, also by Joe Kissell.

MobileMe has become a Swiss-army knife of online services, offering not only a whizzy “push” data-syncing service for tracking calendar, contact, bookmark, and note info on a variety of devices, but also email services, online storage and file sharing, a place to put your iWeb site or share photos or videos, and more. Take Control of MobileMe helps you understand the features and get set up, and then it dives into the details of real-world tasks.

More Info

This 140-page ebook covers how to handle many aspects of using MobileMe, including:

  • Syncing—what to expect, handling problems, and more
  • Various ways to use an iDisk for storing and sharing files
  • Setting up and using a MobileMe email account
  • Managing calendar and contact data on the MobileMe site
  • Posting photos and videos online via the Gallery and iLife ’11 or ’09
  • Publishing a Web site to MobileMe’s servers via iWeb
  • Using Back to My Mac to get at the files and screen of one Mac from another
  • Understanding what Apple’s Backup, free with MobileMe, can and can’t do, and whether it’s a good choice for you
  • Tracking your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch via Find My iPhone
  • Accessing your iDisk from an iOS device (with instructions for Apple’s free iDisk app and notes on several third-party apps)

"Kissell cuts through [the syncing] thicket cleanly, with clear step-by-step instructions, with key caveats included. The book also provides great detail - good for peace of mind…"     —The Cherry Creek News

Read this book to learn the answers to questions such as:

  • What are MobileMe’s primary features?
  • How do I set up MobileMe syncing on my iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch?
  • How quickly should I expect MobileMe to sync my data?
  • Which types of data sync only between Macs and which can sync across platforms?
  • How do I configure my email software to use MobileMe?
  • How do I access my iDisk from Windows?
  • How do I add movies and photos to my Web Gallery?
  • Where in my MobileMe account does my iWeb-created site go?
  • What should I do to host a non-iWeb site in my MobileMe account?
  • How can I configure my AirPort Extreme to work with Back to My Mac?
What's New

What’s New in the Second Edition

A great many changes affecting MobileMe have occurred since version 1.2 of this book was released. The iPad appeared, as did the iPhone 4 and iOS 4; Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard was released, as was iLife ’11; and the MobileMe Web site got a major overhaul (especially the Mail and Calendar applications). The second edition of this book is an attempt to bring it up to date with these new developments. Although the book contains numerous changes, the most significant are these:

  • Added coverage of the new site layout, navigation controls, toolbars, and other changes in Navigate the MobileMe Web Site.
  • Updated the section A Word about Push Synchronization so that it remains correct for 10.5 Leopard while also more fully describing Snow Leopard and iOS.
  • Completely revised the discussion of Notes, which now sync via push across Macs and some iOS devices.
  • Thoroughly updated the Mail chapter to account for changes such as a new layout, styled text, server-based rules, support for multiple From addresses and POP accounts, and greatly revised preferences.
  • Gave the Calendar chapter a massive makeover to reflect the sweeping changes to the MobileMe Calendar application.
  • Updated the iDisk chapter to keep it current with the latest user interface and feature changes.
  • Broke out Find My iPhone as its own chapter and expanded it significantly, now that Apple has added to Find My iPhone’s capabilities and put it in a new location on the Mobile Me site.
  • When iLife comes up, I discuss iLife ’11 and iLife ’09. (I dropped coverage of iLife ’08, and Apple never released an iLife ’10.)

What Was New in Version 1.2

Version 1.2 added instructions for using Apple’s then-new MobileMe iDisk app for iPhone and iPod touch (see Connect Using an iOS Device) and removed one tiny leftover mention of .Mac Groups.

What Was New in Version 1.1

Version 1.1 of Take Control of MobileMe was released in July 2009, and brought this ebook up to date with the latest developments in MobileMe and Apple software since its original publication, so it covered interactions with iLife ‘09 and iPhone OS 3.0 software. Noteworthy changes included:

  • Coverage of MobileMe’s improved support for push synchronization
  • Details about new MobileMe features for owners of iPhones and iPod touches with iPhone OS 3.0, such as mobile iDisk access and Find My iPhone
  • Updated instructions for sharing media with iLife ’09
  • Instructions for using the iDisk file sharing feature
  • New information about publishing Web sites made with your own tools—even when using a personal domain
  • Details on using Back to My Mac with a Time Capsule or AirPort Disk
  • Removal of information about HomePage sites and .Mac Groups, as those features have been officially discontinued

What types of hardware and operating systems does this ebook cover?

The ebook assumes that you are running Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard or 10.6 Snow Leopard on a Macintosh computer, and it has plenty of details about using an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch with MobileMe. To a lesser extent, it discusses using MobileMe with Windows, so if you’re using Windows, you’ll find the ebook useful—and you’ll find some content aimed at Windows users, but you won’t be the main case that the ebook is assuming. Apple no longer supports Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger with MobileMe, so the ebook does not cover 10.4 Tiger.

I can’t make Back to My Mac work. Will this ebook help?

Maybe. If you are using an AirPort Extreme or Express and just need to turn on NAT-PMP, this ebook will tell you how. But, if you need to understand how Back to My Mac works behind the scenes, or if you need help with a tricky router configuration, this isn’t the ebook that you want. What you want is Take Control of Back to My Mac, by Glenn Fleishman.

What versions of iLife does this ebook cover?

At present, the ebook covers iLife ‘09 and iLife ‘11. (Note: Apple never released an iLife ‘10.)

Update Plans

October 24, 2011 – Because Apple is replacing MobileMe with iCloud, we do not plan to update this ebook again.

Posted by Tonya Engst

  1. Joe Kissell and Adam Engst Say Adieu to MobileMe

    If you haven’t yet had the time or temerity to move from MobileMe to iCloud (and you really should, since MobileMe has been MobileDeadToYou since June 30th, 2012), you can find helpful migration tips and observations in the TidBITS Presents event that Joe and Adam hosted live on on June 16th. A TidBITS article, Watch Joe Kissell and Adam Engst in TidBITS Presents: Adieu MobileMe, describes the event and provides some useful links; the event itself can be viewed on YouTube.

    Posted by Tonya Engst (Permalink)

  2. Further iCloud Transition Details Emerge

    Responding to enormous customer confusion and anxiety, Apple has posted a MobileMe to iCloud Transition page which answers many, but not all questions about the upcoming changes. (For more about this document, read Apple Details Transition from MobileMe to iCloud in TidBITS.)

    A few crucial highlights:

    • iDisk (including iWeb publishing) and Gallery will be completely discontinued as of June 30, 2012.
    • Mac-to-Mac syncing of Dashboard widgets, keychains, Dock items, and System Preferences will also disappear when MobileMe ends.
    • Bookmark syncing and Back to My Mac will become part of iCloud.
    • Email, contacts, and calendars will continue to be accessible via Web browsers at
    • It will be possible to move one’s email, contact, calendar, and bookmark data from MobileMe to iCloud (although Apple hasn’t yet said how this will happen), and you can keep existing and email addresses.
    • It won’t be possible to merge multiple Apple IDs, but you can use one for iCloud and a different one for iTunes Store purchases, for example.

    Some questions remain unanswered, and in all probability the complete story won’t be known in detail until iCloud is officially released.

    Posted by Joe Kissell (Permalink)

  3. Goodbye, MobileMe; Hello, iCloud

    On June 6, 2011, Apple announced a new service called iCloud that will appear at some point later this year (Apple describe it as “fall,” and which will effectively replace MobileMe. Until then, MobileMe continues unchanged, except that Apple is no longer selling subscriptions or charging for renewals; all current members automatically have their accounts extended through the end of June 2012.

    When iCloud becomes available, existing MobileMe members will be able to migrate to the new service, which will be free (albeit with optional paid features, such as iTunes Match and additional storage). If you sign up for iCloud, you’ll gain access to the new features, but you’ll also give up access to some things MobileMe currently offers. So far, Apple hasn’t released any details about the fate of iDisk (including file sharing and iWeb publishing); MobileMe Gallery; Back to My Mac; the Backup application; Web-based access to Mail, Contacts, and Calendars; or Mac-to-Mac syncing of things like preferences and keychains. But unless or until Apple tells us otherwise, the safest assumption is that all those things will go away, so if they’re crucial to you, it’s not too soon to start looking for replacements from other providers.

    Since MobileMe as such won’t be around much longer, we won’t be releasing any new versions of Take Control of MobileMe. However, we will definitely have complete Take Control coverage of iCloud! Exactly what that will look like and when it will appear is still under discussion.

    In the meantime, you can learn more about iCloud and what it might mean for MobileMe users in the following places:

    Posted by Joe Kissell (Permalink)

  4. Important: Read Before Installing iPhoto ‘11

    On 20 October 2010, Apple released iLife ’11, which includes a major update to iPhoto. You can read about iPhoto’s new features in iLife ’11 Updates Three of Its Apps, but, before you install, you need to know that many users have had serious problems with the upgrade that have resulted in some users losing their entire photo collections.

    The problem seems related to the length of time needed to update larger iPhoto libraries. In some cases, this update process can take hours or even days, and it is the act of force-quitting iPhoto in the middle of the update that triggers the data loss. Liz Castro describes her encounter with the problem in WARNING!!! iPhoto 11 Erases ENTIRE iPhoto Libraries.

    If you have purchased iLife ’11 but have not yet installed iPhoto, you should either avoid the upgrade or make a complete backup of your current iPhoto library before you install iPhoto ’11. The internal version number of the problematic iPhoto application is 9.0; you can see the version number by selecting the application in the Finder and choosing File > Get Info.

    Apple has released an update to iPhoto ’11 (9.0) to eliminate this dangerous bug and to restore calendar support, which was missing in the initial release. The 177.33 MB iPhoto 9.1 updater is available here. It updates iPhoto ‘11 to version 9.1. For more, see iPhoto ’11 9.1 Brings Calendars Back.

    Apple also has issued a support document that both describes the problem fixed by the 9.0.1 and 9.1 updaters and provides advice for how to avoid the problem.

    As with previous iLife applications, updates to iPhoto ’11 are also made available via Software Update. To receive the update, you will need to install the iPhoto ’11 (version 9.0) application on your Mac, but not run it, in order for Software Update to detect it.

    Posted by Tonya Engst (Permalink)

The Author

Take Control publisher Joe Kissell has written more than 60 books about technology, including many popular Take Control books. He also runs Interesting Thing of the Day and is a contributing editor of TidBITS and a senior contributor to Macworld.