Migrating from MobileMe to iCloud – I lived to tell the tale

We Apple early adopters are a strange folk. We are willing to brave the weather to stand in line in the wee hours of the morning to get one of the first new iPhones. We opt to monitor Apple’s website every second of the launch day to be able to update our iOS software the very minute it drops. And we are willing to pay for Apple’s products and services even when they are in beta stage and thus not yet perfected. We do this because we believe Apple is on the right track and we know that the payback makes up for any hardship associated with our bravery.

All this to explain that I opted to subscribe to MobileMe last November even though I knew fully well that it was half-baked. Mails worked fine across the devices. But because it was DOGSLOW I never actually implemented iDisk. Calendar sync was surprisingly non-communicative sometimes and there was not full editing function on each device. Fast forward to October 2011 where MobileMe users officially could use iCloud for the first time.

The patience of Apple’s early adopters was greatly tested this week with the iCloud, iOS5 and iPhone 4S launch. Downloading the multiple software updates took hours for many millions. I was on a business trip and returned only on Thursday evening, naively thinking that a full 24 hours after availability, things would have calmed down and the servers would be able to enable a smooth update for me and my MobileMe account, iPad, iPhone and Macbook I was wrong.

Like many others it would be a journey of discovery for me, which I somewhat prefer to following instruction manuals. Stumbling upon solutions is the better way to learn in my view. Which I did. I learned that moving to iCloud with all my devices necessitated updating Lion – which took 2 solid hours, then updating iPad and iPhone software to iOS 5 – which took a few more hours. Each. Yes, the iCloud migration process requires you update devices first before you can click on the start button. But of course I didn’t realize this in the beginning and stupidly initiated what I now understand is a separate iCloud account via my iPhone because I signed in/up with my normal iTunes Apple ID. Realizing this – I deleted the account on the iPhone (which does not seem to delete it anywhere permanently) while waiting for my iPad update. When this was done the next afternoon (had to work in the meantime) I clicked on the link www.me.com/move. It didn’t work the first time for me – I had to refresh, close the browser window before it reacted and confirmed the migration.

But then the fun part starts, especially for those with multiple Apple IDs.

Although thankfully Apple does allow a way to use separate IDs for iTunes purchases and iCloud, Facetime, iMessage and other apps, you have to decide which one to use for which. I decided to see what others were doing (thanks Macstories!) and have opted to use my MobileMe ID as iCloud ID and my main iTunes ID for things related to purchases and Home Sharing. This is still not a perfect solution because my husband and I have 4 iTunes IDs which we use to purchase content, and since Apple does not allow merging of these, we’ll have to switch back and forth if we want to get new releases. My humble plea is for Apple to find a solution to this ASAP.

With the iCloud migration, a few things have NOT happened. We discovered you have to re-allocate sharing rights on shared calendars. Deleting photos from Photo Stream seems to require resetting of Photo stream. Turning Photo stream off on the device only removes pics from the device and not from the cloud.

All in all, after the initial lethargy, I’m happy most things are up and running and we can get to working with the new software. Needless to say the next few days will be spent getting to know the brains of the machine, tweaking settings and reading up on tips from others. This we do because we are early adopters. We enjoy this perverse adventure of trying out the new that Apple produces. I doubt late adopters would be willing to go through what we did, but then again, as time passes and as bugs are addressed, there is more of a chance that things will run smoothly, as they should have done from day one.

This was my journey – hope yours will be smooth and painless!

If you want to read up about migrating here’s a link to Apple’s official page on the subject.

Frequently asked questions about transition to iCloud

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  • Chris Bird

    Thanks for the tips here. iCloud works wonderfully, much better the MobileMe.

  • Chris

    I really do wish they would allow you to merge ID’s. Want to merge my MobileMe and my iTunes store ID’s, but they say no… Sucks!!

    • AliciaB

      I know, this sucks big time!

  • Paul Duggan

    I have not been able to access my mobile me calendar for three days – presumably servers are overloaded due to volume related to iCloud. This is extremely poor service from Apple (whose web site says this problem has been recognised and corrected – incorrect Apple).

  • Tonya Michelle

    I am in the MIDST of the same journey…just bought the new iPhone 4s on day one of Sprint’s launch…now…I’ve upgraded to Lion…only to discover the my OLD Power PC apps….Adobe Photoshope/Illustrator/Acrobat Professional all need upgrading because Lion doesn’t support Rosetta….but I digress. So now I’m about to transfer my .mac account (user since 2002) to iCloud…wish me luck!

    • AliciaB

      Wishing you the best of luck!!