An Introduction to Apple's MobileMe Service

MobileMe might have been an all time hit, if Apple hadn't also launched the iPhone 3G and iPhone software 2.0 at the same time, and if there hadn't been technical problems with MobileMe that made it completely unusable for a group of users. Instead, the only news that MobileMe generated through much of July was bad news.

There were technical glitches with MobileMe—some people couldn't use e-mail, others couldn't even set up their accounts—and Apple was mum for a few weeks about the problems. That just made life more confusing for users. I spent at least eight hours, two of them with Apple technical support, trying to figure out accounts.

Thankfully, as of late July, the technical issues with MobileMe had been fixed. And after a few weeks of using MobileMe, I'm happy to report that MobileMe is a great product.

What makes it so great?

MobileMe keeps email, contacts, appointments up-to-date between a Mac, and iPhone, iPod touch, and even a PC. That means if you make a change to an appointment or an address on your home computer, it will automatically appear on your iPhone and on any other computer you've set up.

There service does this by setting up what Apple calls a "MobileMe cloud." The cloud holds all your e-mail, contact, and appointment information. When you make a change to a contact on your iPhone, it automatically gets sent to the cloud and in a few minutes sent to your other computers. It also works with pictures and large files. What is on one device automatically gets sent to the others through the cloud.

MobileMe works with Microsoft Outlook and Mac Address Book so you don't even have to have a Mac—you can synch with the PC office computer too. All you need is an internet connection and be running Safari, Firefox, or Internet Explorer 7.0

But wait, there's more. With MobileMe you get a virtual desktop. That means on almost any computer attached to the internet, you can access your appointments, contacts, and your e-mail.

Next: How to set up iPhone/iPod touch for MobileMe.

Here's how to set up iPhone/iPod touch (Mac) for MobileMe:

1. Check to make sure you have the latest version of iTunes and the latest version of OS X Leopard (10.5.4) or Tiger (10.4.11). If not, go to software updates and download the update(s).

2. Connect your iPhone/iPod touch to your computer and make sure your iPhone/itouch software is up to date. (Click "Check for Update"). You must have iPhone software 2.0 or later on your device.

3. Sync your iPhone/iPod touch with your computer. Make sure that you have checked boxes for contacts, iCal calendars and Safari bookmarks in iTunes. Click Apply and then Sync. Your contacts, iCal calendars and Safari bookmarks are now on your iPhone/iPod touch. Check your device to make sure.

4. On your Mac, go to System Preferences, select MobileMe and sign in. (If you see the .Mac logo, that's okay, go ahead and sign in.) Click the Sync tab. Click the "Synchronize with MobileMe" checkbox and select as a synch interval such as "Automatically," which syncs every 15 minutes. Click checkboxes for Contacts, Calendars, and Bookmarks. Now click the "sync Now" button. Your contacts and calendars are now in MobileMe. To make sure, go to www.me.com, log in and check.

5. Set up your iPhone or iPod touch by tapping on "Settings". Make sure that "Fetch New Data" is set to "Push." Tap "Mail, Contacts, Calendars" and if you haven't set up your MobileMe account on your device, enter your account information and tap "Save."

6. Chose the data you would like synced to your device and tap "Save." Remember, when you tap the Sync button, you will overwrite any existing contact, calendar and bookmark data. Make sure you have synced your data with iTunes (step 3, above).

You're done! All of your e-mail, contacts, calendars, and bookmarks will stay in sync between your computer, your device, and MobileMe on the web at me.com.

TAGS:

iPhone, Apple, e-Mail, communications, calendar

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