Preparing for MobileMe’s June 30 Shutdown

Apple has been reminding MobileMe subscribers for months that this Saturday, June 30, will be the day it shuts down the online service and moves forward with iCloud. If you haven’t migrated your MobileMe content to iCloud yet, there’s still time — but not much.

MobileMe: It's time to moveMobileMe: It’s time to move

The transition from MobileMe to iCloud officially started on October 12, 2011, and both services will run concurrently through June 30. After that deadline, however, any content stored in MobileMe accounts will be lost forever.

After migrating to iCloud, you’ll still have several of the same services you’re already used to such as calendar and contact syncing, and you get to keep your and email addresses. iCloud users can also auto-download new app purchases to multiple devices, iBooks bookmarks sync between iOS devices, documents stored on iCloud can auto-save, iPhone, iPod touch and iPad photos can auto-sync between iOS devices and iPhoto via Photo Stream, iTunes libraries can be stored online for sharing between multiple devices, and more.

What users will lose when MobileMe is gone includes website hosting, Web Galleries, Keychain syncing and iDisk storage, which for some is a serious headache. Like it or not, however, Apple is pulling the plug on MobileMe, so users need to make the move to iCloud before Saturday.

Apple worked to make it as painless as possible to move from MobileMe to iCloud by automating the process; Just pay a visit to the MobileMe website, or hop into the MobileMe or iCloud Preference Pane in OS X’s System Preferences app. All can start the migration process and include step-by-step instructions on settings you need on your iOS devices, too.

Back it Up: Better Safe than Sorry
Most people that have already made the move to iCloud didn’t come up against any serious problems, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be ready for surprise headaches — and that means making sure you’re important data is backed up.

Apple’s Time Machine is included with OS X, so hopefully you’re at least using that to backup your files, photos and music. If you’re especially concerned about protecting your data, there’s a good chance you have more than one backup system in place — like me — and a good backup makes the difference between a minor headache when something goes wrong and total disaster.

One of the headaches you might have deal if you transition to iCloud on one device, say your iPhone, but not on another, like your Mac. Your Calendar and Contact data will be syncing to two different services, and changes you make on one device won’t show up on another. That’s when it’s a good idea to make an extra backup of your contacts and appointments just in case the data on each device has changed.

You can export you iCal events to make an extra backupYou can export you iCal events to make an extra backup

TMO’s Melissa Holt did a great job of detailing how to make sure the iCal database on your Mac is safely backed up before moving to iCloud, and she even included a quick walk-through on the migration process. She has you covered on how to backup contacts and calendars from iCloud, too.

You can also force your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch to backup to iCloud any time you like after you finish migrating from MobileMe. Melissa details that, too, because she’s awesome like that.

Since iCloud includes 5GB of storage for your documents and backups, you’ll probably want to check every now and then to see how much of that space you’re using up. That’s easy to do, and Melissa shows you how it’s done.

Apple’s Give & Take
Apple gave us some new features with iCloud, but it also took away a few that MobileMe users had grown accustomed to. While some will be satisfied with Photos Stream and iPhoto Journals as a replacement for Web Galleries, losing iDisk storage and Web design tools huts a little more.

While the iWeb application still works, it isn’t supported by Apple anymore. That’s not a problem until it OS updates break compatibility and it stops working, so looking for a replacement app now will save you the stress of trying to find new tools after iWeb is left in the dust.

TMO’s John Martellaro has already started that quest, and he has some tips on hunting for reasonable Web hosting alternatives, too, since MobileMe Web Hosting is also a casualty in the transition to iCloud.

Moving to a new website design tool from iWeb will leave you with some cleanup work because, as John says, “it’s currently not possible to brute force import an iWeb site into a new app.”

Karelia is working to make migrating from iWeb easierKarelia is working to make migrating from iWeb easier

Karelia Software’s Sandvox, however, is getting close to an iWeb migration solution. Sandvox 2.6 added a content extraction tool that can create a local copy of your site’s content, but can’t work around some of the unique structure and code schemes that iWeb created, including those just for MobileMe. That means you’ll still need to clean up your new site after moving on from iWeb, but it won’t be as big a job as it could’ve been.

The developers are working on a way to directly import iWeb projects, too.

With the loss of iDisk, MobileMe’s Web-based file storage feature, you’ll need to find an alternative for storing and sharing those documents you like to keep online.

Dropbox is the easy solution since it’s well known and can handle syncing documents between computers as well as file sharing. Dropbox includes 2GB of storage for free, and you can get more storage for a monthly fee. Since Dropbox is so popular, there’s a good chance your friends already have accounts, too, so they won’t have to download any software if you want to share document folders with them.

SugarSync, Box, and other online storage companies offer similar features as well.

The End is Near
Whether or not you’re a MobileMe fan, the service is only days away from shutting down forever. If you haven’t made the move to iCloud yet, it’s time to hop to it since you Apple is shutting down MobileMe on June 30.

There’s still time to get through the migration process, and you can connect to your iDisk just as you always have even after moving to iCloud — at least until June 30. After that, however, it’s an iCloud world and MobileMe will be just another memory.