How good is MobileMe syncing?
November 11, 2010 1:46 PM   Subscribe

How good is MobileMe syncing between iOS devices and Macs?

My parents are trying to get their contacts and calendar entries to automatically sync across their two iPhones, one iPad, and two Windows computers. Using MobileMe they now have the iOS devices syncing well over the air, but the Windows machines are hit-or-miss.

They're thinking about switching over to Macs, though it would be a major investment of time and money. But they're only interested in doing it if it would mean that the MobileMe syncing would actually work, so that if they add or change a calendar event or contact entry on any one of the various machines, it would automatically update, over the air, on the others. Is this likely to work?
posted by raf to Technology (12 answers total)
My experience is that it's still kind of flaky even among all-Apple devices. It might work better than your current setup (I haven't tried iOS↔MSWindows syncing at all) but it's definitely not in "oh, that Just Works" territory.
posted by hattifattener at 2:01 PM on November 11, 2010

Yes, it should work flawlessly.

If I might suggest an alternative -- Try Gmail instead of Mobile Me on Windows. It's free, so it can't hurt to try.
posted by empath at 2:02 PM on November 11, 2010

Response by poster: We've talked about the Gmail option and for a variety of reasons it doesn't work here.
posted by raf at 2:04 PM on November 11, 2010

Do your folks have Outlook installed on the Windows machine? I think that's the program MobileMe needs to sync with, according to this Apple site.
posted by heathergirl at 2:09 PM on November 11, 2010

Response by poster: Yes, they're trying to sync with Outlook.
posted by raf at 2:25 PM on November 11, 2010

I have never had a problem. I realize that some people have, but for me, it works just like in the keynote-- add an appointment, contact, or bookmark* on one of my Macs (I have 3), and the next time I look at my phone, it's there. Works in reverse just as well, and to all the other computers. It's expensive, but I like it. Also can't beat iDisk and photo/gallery integration.

(* The bookmark synching was my surprise favorite.)
posted by supercres at 2:53 PM on November 11, 2010 [1 favorite]

My two macs and two iOS devices sync consistently and w/o issue via MobileMe. The only time I ever had a real issue with it was using the MobileMe add-on for Windows.
posted by phearlez at 3:25 PM on November 11, 2010

I've found it works well between Macs (my MacBook at work running 10.5 and my iMac at home running 10.6, and also between an iPhone and an iPad) until it doesn't.

Every now and then something will happen – who knows what – and it will refuse to sync. I suspect it's dodgy data in one of the entries, but it's very difficult to narrow it down. When that happens, it can often be fixed by just replacing the data on one device with the data from the cloud or another device. But at least once when that has happened to me, it hasn't told me the syncing had failed, so I ended up with devices that were months out of sync, and fixing it resulted in the loss of some data.

The other catch is that there is a new MobileMe calendar which supports iCal on 10.6 but not, apparently, 10.5. If you're getting new Macs though, that shouldn't be a problem.

Most of the time, however, it's pretty flawless.
posted by damonism at 4:26 PM on November 11, 2010

My experience between two macs and iOS devices is it will "just work". I put an appointment in Address Book on a Mac and it will be on the iPhone and other Mac nearly instantly. I use Safari on my Macs and love that if I add a bookmark on one device it will show up on the others. When I got my new iPhone 4, all I had to do was enter my MobileMe login credentials in mail and within seconds all of my contracts, appointments and bookmarks were on the new phone. I've been using MobileMe since it was dot Mac and the new iOS additions (the syncing and Find My iPhone) make me easily renew?

Is reliable MobileMe syncing THE reason to switch to a Mac? Probably not but it is definitely something in the positive column for deciding to switch. There's a lot of other great reasons to switch especially when you have other Apple devices in your life (iTunes seems to work better on Macs than it does on PCs)
posted by birdherder at 5:53 PM on November 11, 2010

I'd die without MobileMe (or at least be more horribly disorganized than I am naturally). I've been using it for OTA syncing between my MacBook and iPhone for two years and have had only one hiccough, when calendar events started randomly showing up in duplicate. A manual sync between computer and phone solved the issue. I take a lot of notes on my iPhone and I love that those sync OTA as well. It wouldn't be my sole reason to switch to a Mac, but if you're already paying for it it's going to be a much better experience than on Windows.

(If they end up with more than one computer, I like the "Back to My Mac" feature a lot, too. I use it to control my Mac Mini that I have running as an HTPC from my MacBook. It's not perfect by any means but it's pretty idiot-proof.)
posted by cosmic osmo at 8:05 AM on November 12, 2010

It's gotten better over time. A couple of years ago it was kind of sketchy at times, but lately it's been almost flawless, just a few hiccups here and there that usually go away on their own.

I'm pretty happy with it, though I don't use 'note' syncing since 3rd party solutions are superior (for my needs), but for calendars, contacts it's great.
posted by justgary at 10:39 AM on November 12, 2010

I've never had any issues with it between my Mac, iPhone, and iPad. Occasionally I will see sync issues at the Genius Bar (I work at an Apple Store) such as duplicating contacts or calendar events, but they are generally pretty easily resolved. MobileMe has pretty good tech support, a feature that none of the other similar syncing options offer.
I recommend it.
posted by raygan at 9:32 AM on November 13, 2010

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