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iCloud: What's in, what's out for MobileMe users

Gregg Keizer | June 27, 2011
Web calendar and contacts in, iDisk and password sync out, says Apple.

Apple has said nothing about files generated on a Windows PC or on a Mac outside of iWork.

So with iDisk gone, what do I do? Apple hasn't said, but it seems the company has ceded that market to the likes of Dropbox and Microsoft's Windows Live SkyDrive.

Dropbox gives Mac and Windows users 2GB of storage space for free -- and syncs that space between platforms, machines and mobile devices, while SkyDrive offers 25GB for free.

For online backup purposes, you may want to look into services like Carbonite or Mozy. The former charges $55 per year for unlimited storage, while the latter provides 2GB free, with 50GB of space costing $6 per month.

What's happening with MobileMe's iWeb and Gallery? They'll vanish in June 2012.

Neither service is making the move to iCloud, so June 30, 2012, is the date to remember: After that, a site (or sites) you've published to iWeb, and photos or videos you've stored on Gallery, will be inaccessible.

Apple recommends that users move their iWeb sites to another hosting firm, and either sync Gallery with iPhoto '08 or later, or download the photos and movies to the hard drive of a Mac or Windows PC.

Can I keep my .me or .mac email address? Yes. "If you have an active MobileMe account when you sign up for iCloud, you'll be able to keep your or email address," Apple said.

Will iCloud sync my passwords between Macs like MobileMe? Nope. "Syncing of Mac Dashboard widgets, keychains, Dock items and System Preferences will not be part of iCloud," Apple said in its transition FAQ.

"Keychain" is Apple's name for its password management system, so once you shift to iCloud, you won't be able to sync passwords between Macs using Apple's service.

Instead, you'll have to switch to a password service or manager that supports synchronization. The $40 1Password, for instance, stores passwords on all your personally owned Macs and uses Dropbox to sync. A free alternative is LastPass, an all-online password manager that syncs across multiple browsers, OSs and devices.

Both Dropbox -- which 1Password relies on for sync -- and LastPass have had confirmed or suspected security breaches this year, however, so the cautious may want to standardize on Chrome or Firefox on all their Macs, then use the browser's built-in sync service.

What about Find My iPhone? It will live on in iCloud, says Apple.


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