October 22, 2011

iCloud Oops

Ted Landau, writing about iCloud sync for macworld.com:

"While it generally works well when syncing documents among iOS devices, syncing to and from Macs is another story. Even when syncing among iOS devices, there is potential danger—including a chance that all of your documents will vanish."

(Via Dave Nanian.)

The short version: iCloud does not sync documents with OS X devices (MacBooks, iMacs, Mac minis) in any meaningful way. Documents must be manually copied to a user's iCloud account by dragging and dropping from the Finder to the iCloud web app. Documents are converted to mobile iWork format upon opening them with an iOS device running mobile iWork apps, and that iOS formatted version will automatically sync among a user's iOS devices. It will not sync back to the OS X platform in any useful way.

Note, too, that if you use some other document processing software, such as Microsoft Office for Mac, libreoffice.org or openoffice.org, you're currently SOL. You can't access the documents from your Mac once they're in iCloud, because there are no iOS apps for your chosen office suite. If you open the docs in mobile iWork you'll again end up with one version in the cloud and a separate, unsynced version on your Mac.

Wow. Apple appears to have really blown this aspect of iCloud. The one aspect that I personally found interesting, because truth be told why would anyone need to put their music "in the cloud?" My music is already on my iPhone and kept in perfect sync wirelessly with my Mac every time I plug it in to charge the battery (thanks to iOS 5 wireless sync).