Bugs & Fixes: Logging into iCloud and MobileMe with separate accounts

Wednesday, October 12, 2011 was D-Day (Download Day) for Apple users. I believe it will go down in history as the day Apple released more software than it has done in any single day before.

From iOS 5 to Cards. From Mac OS X 10.7.2 to iPhoto 9.2. And everything in between. Plus, don’t forget the Apple TV Update and iCloud going live. Apple also published new iOS 5 versions of its user guides and a slew of support articles. It will be days before I have time to give even a brief look to everything that’s new.

From a troubleshooting perspective, iCloud appears to be a likely first stop. Certainly, iCloud has been the subject of the Lion’s share (couldn’t resist the pun) of Apple’s latest support articles.

If you need help with iCloud, Macworld may already have you covered. I would begin with Getting started with iCloud, Apple’s new sync service. It goes over all the basics and provides links to additional more detailed articles on topics such as syncing and backing up.

People who will likely have the most trouble with iCloud are current MobileMe subscribers facing migrating to iCloud. Macworld’s look at common iCloud signup scenarios covers most situations you are likely to confront. You should also check out these Apple articles: MobileMe transition and iCloud, MobileMe: About moving to iCloud, and iCloud: Account troubleshooting.

Some MobileMe subscribers may wish to set up a new Apple ID for iCloud rather than migrating — at least initially. Perhaps you want to test out iCloud before irrevocably migrating away from MobileMe. If you intend to go the separate account route, here are a few tips to help you get started:

• If you go to the iCloud System Preferences pane on a Mac (running OS X 10.7.2), you may see the following screen:

There is no option to create a new Apple ID or log in via a separate account. To change this, go to the MobileMe System Preferences pane and log out. Return to the iCloud System Preferences pane. It should now look like this:

At this point, you can create a new Apple ID (if needed) and log in via your separate account.

• After logging into iCloud successfully, suppose you want to go back and log in to MobileMe. You guessed it: You won’t be able to do so without first logging out of iCloud. If you don’t, you will get the following message in the MobileMe pane:

The message is actually misleading. You don’t need to move your account to iCloud or remove your iCloud account to sign into MobileMe—unless by “remove,” Apple means “log out.” True, when you do log out of iCloud, you lose access to iCloud-synced data (such as calendars and documents) that are not also stored locally.

Additionally, unlike what is implied by the message, you won’t be able to log in to MobileMe and iCloud at the same time, even if you do migrate. At least in my testing, you can only log in to one service at a time—no matter what.

• Even though you can’t log in to both accounts simultaneously on your Mac, it appears your Mac can still sync both services at the same time—if you are currently logged into iCloud. To see this, go to the Mail Contacts & Calendars System Preferences pane in Lion. Both iCloud and MobileMe are listed, even though you are not currently logged in to MobileMe.

• Going beyond separate accounts: If you later decide to migrate from MobileMe to iCloud, any other MobileMe users with whom you share a calendar should migrate at the same time. Unless the other person migrates, Apple says you will “no longer be able to see that calendar.”

Speaking of calendars, if you use BusyCal, check out Upgrading BusyCal to iCloud for guidelines on how to make sure that BusyCal works with your iCloud data after you migrate.

In other news…

Two other unrelated items of interest I spotted while scouring Apple’s latest support articles:

MacBook Pro (15-inch, Mid 2010) Black screen: Apple states: “Apple has determined that a small number of MacBook Pro (15-inch, Mid 2010) computers may intermittently stop displaying video on the built-in display or on an external display connected to the MacBook Pro.” Apple is working on a solution.

iOS backup troubleshooting: Apple’s latest article on troubleshooting problems with backing up an iOS device in iTunes offers a new tip I had not seen before: Reset the Lockdown folder. Read the article for full details. Briefly, go to /var/db/lockdown and delete all the files in the folder (not the folder itself).

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