Preparing Your Data for the iCloud

October 4, 2011, By Christian Cawley

Migrating from MobileMe to iCloud should be straightforward – the process should retain your email messages, contacts, calendars and your World Wide Web bookmarks. However, it is worth considering what the consequences of losing this data might be, and looking into ways of preventing any loss.

The best way of doing this is to create a local backup; Time Machine users will probably have done this already, although if the ~/Library directory isn’t being backed up then you will need to make other arrangements. In fact, it is best to make your own external copy just in case.

Bookmarks, emails and calendars can all be backed up, so if you have any concerns about your data failing to transfer to Apple’s new online sync system, the following tips and tricks should help you prepare your data in the right way.

Preparing Your Data for the iCloud

Backing Up Your Email

Whether you use your email for business reasons or simply have a lot of messages that you need to keep, backing up the data is the best way to make sure that no problems occur.

Begin by opening Mail, and then identifying your mailboxes in the left pane. Select these (multiple mailboxes can be selected using the COMMAND button) then go to Mailbox > Export Mailbox…, which will create an archive of each mailbox in a new folder.

If anything goes wrong, you can restore your messages by opening File > Import Mailboxes…, which will restore the exported email messages back into the Mac Mail application!

Back Up Your Favorites

Whether you have been using the World Wide Web for years and have amassed a huge collection of favorite bookmarks, or if you’ve only had your first computer for five minutes, keeping a copy of your most visited websites is a good idea. There are various ways you might do this, from online services offering a repository for bookmarks to creating a local copy on your Mac.

For instance, you might use Google Toolbar to upload your favorites to Google Bookmark, or you might prefer to simply browse your Mac to open ~/Library/Safari/Bookmarks.plist and make a copy of this file.

What About Calendars?

Confusion exists among some Mac users about the ability to sync your calendars correctly with iCloud after the data has been moved from your MobileMe account. The best solution is to keep a backup of your calendar data, although of course this means having somewhere to store the data locally.

There is also an additional problem in that Apple’s advice is that users should export the data (File > Export > Export as Calendar…) due to the problems that will then occur.

So what is the alternative? It’s a little more complicated than the steps outlined for creating an archive copy of your emails and favorites, so we’ll come back to it later in the week…

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