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Apple's MobileMe users gripe about 'push' that isn't

Claim Apple misled them about sync from Macs and PCs

July 14, 2008 12:00 PM ET

Computerworld - Some Mac users are calling foul after discovering that information entered on their Mac and PC calendars and address books isn't pushed instantly to the servers in the MobileMe "cloud."

Apple Inc., meanwhile, has posted a support document to its Web site acknowledging that applications on a PC, or on a Mac running Leopard, synchronize with MobileMe only once every 15 minutes. Macs running the older Mac OS X 10.4, a.k.a. Tiger, sync with MobileMe only once each hour.

Users have vented on Apple's own forums as well in comments on sites such as, which posted a story early Monday on the brouhaha.

"It's really the desktop iCal and Address Book issue that's got everyone disappointed, though, because Apple didn't tell people it was only push one way down. Everyone understandably assumed that the desktop apps would push UP as well, based on Apple's marketing," said a user identified as "McToast" on a thread in Apple's MobileMe support forum Sunday. "But they don't."

Changes made to the iPhone's e-mail, address book or calendar are pushed almost instantly to the MobileMe servers, and entries added to or modified in the MobileMe Web-based applications push down to the iPhone at the same speed. Any changes that reach the MobileMe servers are pushed immediately to the user's Mac or PC, but on the upstream -- from Macs and Windows PCs to MobileMe -- there's a lag because of the best-speed-sync of every 15 minutes.

Apple confirmed the slower Mac/PC-to-MobileMe synchronization in a document published last week to the company's support database.

"Selecting Automatic in Mac OS X allows your computer to immediately sync and update when there are any changes on the MobileMe servers. Those changes can come from your iPhone, iPod Touch, the MobileMe Web site or another computer. Changes made on your computer will be synced to the MobileMe 'cloud' once every 15 minutes (or every hour in Mac OS X 10.4.11)."

Windows-to-MobileMe sync also occurs about every 15 minutes, Apple added in the document.

Most users contributing to the support forum were disappointed about the slower sync, and felt Apple misled them when it marketed MobileMe.

"This is definitely disappointing, and Apple's sales blurb is misleading if not downright wrong," said a user tagged as "keith.wilson" on the same thread as McToast. "They clearly state that 'when you make a change on one device, the cloud updates the others. Push happens automatically, instantly and continuously.' Whilst this is true for iPhones, iPod Touch and the new Web apps, it's not true for the Mac desktop applications."

"Disappointing to say the least," agreed another user, called "FarmacyMan."

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