Apple officially killing MobileMe sync for keychains, widgets, accounts, preferences

Posted:
in macOS edited January 2014
While many of the features of MobileMe are simply being upgraded in the move to iCloud, Apple has previously noted that Gallery, iDisk and iWeb are on the chopping block. Now, the company has further made it clear that data sync features will also be canceled in its iCloud transition steps.



A key feature of .Mac and later MobileMe was the cloud integration of iSync, Apple's Mac-centric tool for keeping data in sync among a variety of devices as part of its "digital hub strategy" first unveiled a decade ago. The data sync of .Mac and subsequently MobileMe moved the "truth database" from the user's Mac into the cloud, making it possible to sync additional types of data between Macs.



MobileMe currently allows a user to sync a variety of settings between Macs, including the layout of Dashboard widgets, Dock items, passwords and credentials saved in the Keychain, email account information including Mail Rules, Signatures and Smart Mailboxes, and System Preferences.



However, all of these features will terminate as soon as a user migrates from MobileMe to the new iCloud, according to Apple's transition pages at me.com/move.











Other MobileMe features that are not being carried forward into iCloud, including Gallery media hosting, iDisk cloud storage and its integrated iWeb web hosting, will be continued for exiting MobileMe subscribers until June 30 of next year, even after migrating other data to iCloud. These features are easy to maintain independently from iCloud, because there is no direct equivalent in iCloud.



Gallery media hosting is being dramatically rethought as Photo Stream, a push updating feature that presents a user's photos on the mobile devices, Mac photo albums, and on Apple TV rather than via a web site. Similarly, iDisk is making way for an entirely new type of document and data updating that focuses on a users' own hardware rather than web-centric hosting.



The iCloud migration process is currently only open to developers, as it requires users to have iOS 5 beta 5 on their mobile devices, Mac OS X Lion 10.7.2 with the iCloud for Os X Lion beta 6 package on their Macs, and the iCloud Control Panel for Windows beta 4 running on any PCs they use.







Why the long phase?



Apple's discontinuation of data sync in iCloud is curious, particularly for Keychains and System Preferences, although the company may have plans to delegate such features to third party app developers.



Mail accounts have been overhauled enough in Mac OS X Lion that a continuation into iCloud might involve too much additional work; mail accounts are now being presented differently in Lion, which integrates external accounts across "Mail and Notes," "Calendar and Reminders," Chat and Contacts apps, rather than simply associating email account information with Mail.



Similarly, Dock items are now expanded into Lion's new Launchpad feature, which could make it problematic to sync Mac OS X Lion items with other Macs running previous versions of Mac OS X.



Apple notes that while Mail, Contacts and Calendars can be migrated from MobileMe to iCloud, shared calendars may be affected in the move, while Bookmarks will simply be imported from a client system. This indicates the reduction in data supported in the transition to iCloud may largely be explained by Apple's hopes to keep the migration as simple and problem-free as possible, avoiding the issues users had in the move from .Mac to MobileMe.



Another reason for the shift in features between MobileMe and iCloud may be explained by the underlying security changes that differentiate the wide open iDisk from the carefully sandboxed design of iCloud's Documents & Data.



Currently, data synced to MobileMe by Mac OS X Sync Services is copied into openly accessible folders. It is likely Apple hopes to completely secure all iCloud data to avoid any embarrassing lapses and contain sensitive data from potential malware attacks. Individual apps, such as Keychain Access, Launchpad and System Preferences, may be modified in the future to take advantage of iCloud's key value data store, duplicating the old MobileMe features in a more secure fashion.



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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 127
    asciiascii Posts: 5,614member
    Apple have usage data that we don't have access too, maybe hardly anyone was using those other sync features? I think they're just trying to keep iCloud as simple and essential as possible, to make it easier to understand and increase adoption.



    But actually, not so sure they have succeeded here. There is a saying in politics that if you have to explain you've already lost. And how painfully long did Steve spend explaining iCloud in his keynote?
  • Reply 2 of 127
    To me this sucks for Mac people, when you look at the windows requirements, they get to use anything from vista forward, for us people that support Apple we have to be using Lion only. I have 2 machines at work that I can't load Lion on and have been using mobile me all this time to sync all my calendars, but not anymore thanks to Apple. They should give more flexibility to Apple users.
  • Reply 3 of 127
    I only sync bookmarks, contacts, and calendars. Seems those will all be in iCloud
  • Reply 4 of 127
    hmurchisonhmurchison Posts: 12,119member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by ascii View Post


    Apple have usage data that we don't have access too, maybe hardly anyone was using those other sync features? I think they're just trying to keep iCloud as simple and essential as possible, to make it easier to understand and increase adoption.



    But actually, not so sure they have succeeded here. There is a saying in politics that if you have to explain you've already lost. And how painfully long did Steve spend explaining iCloud in his keynote?



    I think understand iCloud is more about realizing that the attempt is for you to not have to worry about manually moving or selecting items to keep them in sync. It just happens and you never have to think about it.



    In fact Lion as an OS seems to extol this ethos. We are being groomed to worry less about applications running or saving, presumably so that we can focus our efforts on the task at hand and let the computer do what it does best.
  • Reply 5 of 127
    In all the years I have had MobileMe (and all of its incarnations) I have never synced keychains, widgets, accounts, or preferences. I did use Gallery, iDisk and iWeb publishing, but only very lightly.



    My biggest questions are on the limitations of Photostream. 1000 photos for 30 days? What does that mean?
  • Reply 6 of 127
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    Gallery media hosting is being dramatically rethought as Photo Stream



    How is Photostream anything remotely like Web Galleries? From my understanding, Photostream is not shareable. It's just your camera roll for the last 30 days. You would have to give someone your username or password to share your photo stream, or give them access to your Apple device. Even then, since it is just your raw camera roll, it's unlikely you would want to share your Photostream especially if it has naked pictures of your girlfriend or something equally sensitive that the majority of people probably have.



    Since Mail Rules have been removed as a syncing feature, and since "the truth is in the cloud" is the motto of iCloud, why isn't anyone covering what features iCloud mail has that allow you to filter your email so that all devices are getting mail in the right places? Do we have to keep our Mac powered on at home to filter our email and sync it back up to the cloud so that we aren't getting hundreds of insignificant mail messages pushed to our phone? That is hardly "demoting" the Mac.
  • Reply 7 of 127
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleZilla View Post


    My biggest questions are on the limitations of Photostream. 1000 photos for 30 days? What does that mean?



    No, Photostream stores ALL your photos from the last 30 days from the camera rolls of your iDevices and your "recently imported" section of iPhoto.



    Your iDevices only cache the last 1000 photos. Your Mac downloads ALL photos from ALL devices from the last 30 days, even if you shoot 4 million photos in the last 30 days.
  • Reply 8 of 127
    nvidia2008nvidia2008 Posts: 9,262member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleZilla View Post


    In all the years I have had MobileMe (and all of its incarnations) I have never synced keychains, widgets, accounts, or preferences. I did use Gallery, iDisk and iWeb publishing, but only very lightly.



    I liked syncing keychains, widgets and Dock items because I would do a fresh install from time to time or when moving to a new Mac.



    But I upgraded directly from Snow to Lion and the upgrade seems to have gone well, so I won't be doing, nor have time to do fresh installs nowadays. I like too many settings and apps just the way they are. Just having to reinstall and configure Adobe CS4 to my liking is half a day's work.



    Also, if I need to reinstall or upgrade to a new OS I can just restore from a Time Machine backup. That too seems to work well.



    So, it is a handy feature of MobileMe, but for my use June 30 2012 is when I can say goodbye without being too concerned. They may well integrate these into iCloud by then anyways, or it may be part of that "Internet Restore" thing for Lion which I don't quite understand yet.
  • Reply 9 of 127
    nvidia2008nvidia2008 Posts: 9,262member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by theguycalledtom View Post


    Since Mail Rules have been removed as a syncing feature, and since "the truth is in the cloud" is the motto of iCloud, why isn't anyone covering what features iCloud mail has that allow you to filter your email so that all devices are getting mail in the right places? Do we have to keep our Mac powered on at home to filter our email and sync it back up to the cloud so that we aren't getting hundreds of insignificant mail messages pushed to our phone? That is hardly "demoting" the Mac.



    FWIW Junk mail to MobileMe addresses identified at the Cloud level get filtered at the Cloud level.



    That said, cloud services is arguably one of Apple's big weaknesses. They're just trying to take it step by step.



    The exception being iTunes Store which seems to be quite robust. Not sure if it's a different team working on that instead of iCloud?



    Colour me intrigued but somewhat confused.
  • Reply 10 of 127
    asciiascii Posts: 5,614member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by hmurchison View Post


    I think understand iCloud is more about realizing that the attempt is for you to not have to worry about manually moving or selecting items to keep them in sync. It just happens and you never have to think about it.



    In fact Lion as an OS seems to extol this ethos. We are being groomed to worry less about applications running or saving, presumably so that we can focus our efforts on the task at hand and let the computer do what it does best.



    Yes, you are right, these ideas are closely related. The ideal of the cloud is that you simply don't have to worry about your data. As soon as you create something it's just there, everywhere, always even if you haven't explicitly saved/named it. In Lion you can even reboot with an unsaved document and it will still be there when you restart.



    I can't help but feel this is just the first step in something. Like ultimately every save dialog in every app will save two things: the document locally, and document metadata to the cloud. And then in the background as you are doing other things, documents/diffs will trickle across the network syncing everything up.



    Once people begin to expect this behaviour, systems that don't have it will start to look very primitive indeed. This is where the open source OSes will have trouble competing -- no money for big server farms.
  • Reply 11 of 127
    esummersesummers Posts: 880member
    Some of this could come back through the more generic document syncing APIs. It makes sense to remove the legacy syncing methods.
  • Reply 12 of 127
    jbrunijbruni Posts: 29member
    I will miss the keychain sync mostly.
  • Reply 13 of 127
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    ... Apple's discontinuation of data sync in iCloud is curious, particularly for Keychains and System Preferences ...



    Curious???



    wouldn't this rather obviously be the result of the fact that the sync has to work on two different OS's? I don't see what's surprising (or even mildly interesting), about this at all.
  • Reply 14 of 127
    geekdadgeekdad Posts: 1,130member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by urbansprawl View Post


    I only sync bookmarks, contacts, and calendars. Seems those will all be in iCloud



    I do the same thing only I use Google to sync my bookmarks (Chrome browser) iCal (Google) Mail (Google) Docs (Google) Contacts (Google)...... all for free but waiting to see what iCloud can and might try it out.....
  • Reply 15 of 127
    The keychain sync is incredibly useful and really fiddly to achieve any other way. It does seem that Apple is looking at this from the point of its own convenience rather than end-user utility.



    I'll also miss iWeb. Handy for quickly running up pretty websites \
  • Reply 16 of 127
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by ascii View Post


    Apple have usage data that we don't have access too, maybe hardly anyone was using those other sync features? I think they're just trying to keep iCloud as simple and essential as possible, to make it easier to understand and increase adoption.



    But actually, not so sure they have succeeded here. There is a saying in politics that if you have to explain you've already lost. And how painfully long did Steve spend explaining iCloud in his keynote?



    Simple for the user but they are coming out of the gate with a complex system. Steve introduced 9 core features of iCloud plus APIs for developers.





    Quote:
    Originally Posted by bbell52 View Post


    To me this sucks for Mac people, when you look at the windows requirements, they get to use anything from vista forward, for us people that support Apple we have to be using Lion only. I have 2 machines at work that I can't load Lion on and have been using mobile me all this time to sync all my calendars, but not anymore thanks to Apple. They should give more flexibility to Apple users.



    By the time MobileMe goes dark Lion will have been out a year and it'll be half a decade since PPC and Core Duo Macs were last sold. How many years should they wait for the stragglers to catch up? How about a full decade? How about 2 decades? How about they go back to the original Mac?





    Quote:
    Originally Posted by esummers View Post


    Some of this could come back through the more generic document syncing APIs. It makes sense to remove the legacy syncing methods.



    Good point.
  • Reply 17 of 127
    mrrmrr Posts: 60member
    How is this all going to effect 1Password users?
  • Reply 18 of 127
    wigginwiggin Posts: 2,258member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    Gallery media hosting is being dramatically rethought as Photo Stream



    Photo Stream is in no way a rethinking of Gallery. I'm not sure there is a single thing these two services have in common. They are entirely different.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Prof. Peabody View Post


    Curious???



    wouldn't this rather obviously be the result of the fact that the sync has to work on two different OS's? I don't see what's surprising (or even mildly interesting), about this at all.



    How so? All of the syncing in iCloud, such as documents, have to sync between different OSes. Keychain is just another type of document. If I have iWork on my Mac and don't have it on my iPad, then my iWork documents simply don't sync to the iPad. And if the other OS you are talking about is Windows, there's no iWork there, either. And Windows doesn't have iPhoto, and yet photos sync. MobleMe works now with multiple OSes.



    So please explain why it's so obviously "the result of the fact that the sync has to work on two different OS's". That argument makes no sense whatsoever.
  • Reply 19 of 127
    bregaladbregalad Posts: 816member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by geekdad View Post


    I do the same thing only I use Google to sync my bookmarks (Chrome browser) iCal (Google) Mail (Google) Docs (Google) Contacts (Google)...... all for free but waiting to see what iCloud can and might try it out.....



    So Google knows every site that interests you, every appointment you have, every person you exchange email with and exactly what you say to each other and they even have access to the content of your documents. I'll bet you get remarkably well targeted advertising as you browse the web.



    iCloud is about keeping personal data synced across multiple devices. I don't like the idea that Apple has access to everything I ever do, but unlike Google they make their money selling hardware not my data so there's a good chance they aren't reading it.



    Unfortunately iCloud eliminates the sharing component that MobileMe has.



    Gallery let users post selected photos for grandma to see. Photo Stream requires grandma to visit you or you to visit her and take your iPad/MacBook/AppleTV with you. By eliminating Home Page, Gallery and iWeb Apple has conceded the photo sharing market to Yahoo, Google and Facebook. I consider that a huge and unforgivable step backward.



    Actually I don't understand Photo Stream at all. The photos that belong on a mobile device are those specifically selected for sharing with other people. The set automatically synced by Photo Stream has absolutely zero chance of representing the set I want to share.



    Eliminating iDisk means no other document types can be shared either. Mac users who share documents will have to find third party alternatives. It seems very strange for Apple to be sending millions of users to competitors who have no qualms about selling our identities to the highest bidder.



    Finally I'm worried about moving mail filtering to the cloud. No matter what anyone says email requires human filtering. My ISP incorrectly marks quite a few messages as spam. I don't know what MobileMe is doing, but I suspect they're blocking mail I'd like to see. I know there are issues trying to send email with attachments through MobileMe. It's a big enough problem than I only send plain text via Mobile Me and rely on my home ISP or the mail server at work to deliver messages with attachments.
  • Reply 20 of 127
    hmurchisonhmurchison Posts: 12,119member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by mrr View Post


    How is this all going to effect 1Password users?



    More sales.



    1Password went to their own more secure Agile Keychain with Version 3.
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