MobileMe logo.svg
Developer(s) Apple Inc.
Initial release January 5, 2000 as iTools
July 17, 2002 as .Mac
July 9, 2008 as MobileMe
Stable release 1.6.7 / October 12, 2011; 38 days ago (2011-10-12)[1]
Development status Active (Inactive: June 30, 2012 - services moved to iCloud)
Operating system Mac OS X
Microsoft Windows
Type Internet suite
License Subscription

MobileMe (formerly .Mac and iTools) was a subscription-based collection of online services and software offered by Apple Inc. Originally launched on January 5, 2000, as iTools, a free collection of Internet-based services for users of Mac OS 9, Apple relaunched it as .Mac on July 17, 2002, when it became a paid subscription service primarily designed for users of Mac OS X. Apple relaunched the service again as MobileMe at WWDC 2008 on July 9, 2008, now targeting Mac OS X, Windows, iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch users.

On February 24, 2011, Apple discontinued offering MobileMe at its retail stores. MobileMe retail boxes are also no longer offered through resellers.[2] Additionally, Apple is also no longer accepting new subscribers for MobileMe. At the iPhone special event on October 4, 2011, Apple announced it would launch iCloud on October 12, 2011, to replace MobileMe for new users. MobileMe will continue to function until June 30, 2012, at which point the service will no longer be available. MobileMe users are encouraged to migrate to iCloud before then.



iTools and .Mac were designed primarily to provide Internet services for Mac owners. All members of iTools and .Mac received a special e-mail address, showing the service's ties to the Mac hardware. However, with the release of the iPhone 3G in 2008, the renamed service, MobileMe, began providing Internet services for Mac OS X, iOS, and Windows. Members of MobileMe are given a e-mail address and are no longer restricted to Mac OS X software such as Mail and iCal, and they can access personal data from any computer connected to the Internet using the web interface at or a number of supported applications, including Microsoft Outlook as long as the user is using version 2003 or later. Support for MobileMe is available via chat and telephone.

Find My iPhone

The Find My iPhone icon

MobileMe allows users to track the location of their iPhone, iPod touch or iPad via the web portal at A user can see the device's approximate location on a map (along with a circle showing the radius of inaccuracy), display a message and/or play a sound on the device (even if it is set to silent), change the password on the device, and remotely erase its contents. An app has also been released by Apple which allows users to locate their iPhone from another device running the iOS 4 software. The feature was first announced on June 10, 2009 and was included in iOS 3.0 software update as a feature for MobileMe users.[3] Find My iPhone was made free of charge with the iOS 4.2.1 software update on November 22, 2010, but only for devices introduced in 2010.[4]


MobileMe has two different plans. The Individual plan includes 20 GB of email and file storage and 200 GB of monthly data transfer. The Family Pack includes 40 GB of storage split among one 20 GB individual (primary) and four 5 GB sub-accounts, each sub-account having its own email address, online storage and being able to use all the MobileMe features. Family members also have a Shared folder in their iDisk with which they can share access to data amongst themselves. Both the primary account and sub-accounts have read/write access to this folder and is limited to the free space available in the primary user's iDisk.

Members can buy additional storage in 20 GB or 40 GB allocations, although sub-account storage cannot be upgraded. In a family account, the amount of storage is designated per account.

Notes (from the Mail app on a Mac computer, and the Notes app on the iPhone) are synced via the MobileMe service, However cannot be viewed or edited online. To Do lists (controlled from the Mail app and the iCal app on a Mac computer) are viewable and editable through the MobileMe web site (under the Calendar tab), but are not viewable or editable on an iPhone. With the announcement of iOS 4 the sync for Notes over IMAP (including MobileMe) was implemented.

Address book and calendar

MobileMe maintains a synchronized address book and calendar feature using Push functions. If a user makes a change to a contact or event on one device it will be automatically synced to the MobileMe servers and, by extension, all the user's other devices. Supported devices include the iPhone, Address Book and iCal on Mac OS X, or Microsoft Outlook 2003 or later on Microsoft Windows. Subscription calendars in iCal on a Mac computer are not viewable on the online MobileMe service (although "Birthdays" is viewable online; as it gathers its information from Address Book, rather than CalDAV or iCalendar (.ics) subscription calendars). Conversely, on the iPhone "Birthdays" from Contacts on the iPhone are not viewable on the Calendar app (nor any other method; except looking them up individually in Contacts. Birthdays Calendar added on iOS 4.3), but subscription calendars are available to view in Calendar by adding them through Settings>Mail, Contacts, Calendar>Add Account.[5][6][7]

MobileMe Gallery

MobileMe has a public photo and video gallery feature. Photos and videos can be uploaded in the web browser at, synced by iPhoto or Aperture on Mac OS X or uploaded from the iPhone and iPod touch. Users can also upload movies from within applications available on the Mac, including iPhoto and iMovie. MobileMe also provides the user with an e-mail address that is used only for uploading photos and videos. All uploads by viewers of the gallery (either by the iPhone or iPod touch,, or sent by the dedicated e-mail address), will be synced back to iPhoto or Aperture. Galleries can be made public or hidden, or can be password protected - but only through iPhoto or iMovie on Mac OS X.


MobileMe features iDisk, an online storage repository accessible via a web browser at, Finder on Mac OS X, various Apps for the iOS, or as a remote disk in Microsoft Windows. It also allows sharing of files by selecting a given file using or the iDisk iPhone app, and then clicking a Share button that will generate a unique link to this file, protected by password, that can be then shared by email. Another way to use iDisk to share several files easily is by placing them in the iDisk Public Folder, which can also be password protected.[8]

iWeb Publish

Users of Mac OS X v10.5 or later can use the iLife '08 or iLife '09 or iLife '11 application iWeb to publish websites hosted on their MobileMe account, either to a domain name that they control or to a page on the website. Users without iWeb can also publish websites by placing files to the Web/Sites folder in iDisk. However, the web host doesn't support any server side language such as PHP or Apache.

Web applications

MobileMe uses Ajax and Dynamic HTML to simulate the look and feel of desktop applications within the user's web browser. Applications on include Mail, Contacts, Calendar, Gallery, Find My iPhone and iDisk access, plus an Account section. Most of the web applications are built on top of the open source SproutCore Javascript framework. Users can also configure features such as e-mail aliases or domain names for the iWeb Publish feature.

Supported browsers for are Safari 3.1 or later (Mac OS X and Windows), Firefox 3.5 or later (Mac OS X and Windows), and Internet Explorer 8 (Windows). Internet Explorer 7 (Windows), Safari 3.0, and Firefox 3.0 will run the web applications, but are not fully supported.

MobileMe is accessible from Linux using Firefox 3 despite a warning that will be presented to the user upon entry. Success has also been reported using the Konqueror browser on Linux, however this has not been confirmed by Apple.[9]


MobileMe users can connect to the AIM service with their or accounts. MobileMe connections are secured by SSL encryption. In addition, iChat users using a MobileMe account can encrypt their chats with other MobileMe members using iChat. You can also access the MobileMe Chat account on an iPhone or an iPod touch, using the free or paid-for versions of the AIM application provided by AOL, or any other iOS app that supports the AIM protocol.

PC synchronization

Users who wish to sync their MobileMe data with a PC must download and install MobileMe Control Panel. To install, the user must first download and install the latest version of iTunes, and then install MobileMe Control Panel. After installation, the user signs into the control panel using their username and password, and can control sync settings for contacts, calendars and bookmarks, and iDisk settings such as public folder access, in a similar manner to the MobileMe preference panel built into Mac OS X.[10]

MobileMe Mail Beta

MobileMe Mail Beta was released on May 13, 2010. MobileMe Mail Beta includes many new features such as photo inserting, font changing, wide screen views and much more. It was released as a final version on June 18, 2010.[11]

MobileMe Calendar Beta

MobileMe Calendar Beta was released on July 6, 2010. MobileMe Calendar Beta includes a new web application at with redesigned day, week, and month views, as well as a new list view to make scanning events easier. Performance has also been improved. It also features new sharing options that allow invited users to edit a shared calendar. It supports invitation through RSVPs, which sends an email to invited persons, then they answer by clicking a simple link (they don't have to be MobileMe members). It also supports CalDAV standard for compatibility with multiple devices.[12] However, with these updates came some decreased functionality. The capability to publish iCal calendars as publicly viewable web pages was removed. Users wishing to view a public calendar must now manually subscribe with a CalDAV compatible calendar device. Compatibility with Microsoft Outlook suffered too, since Outlook users cannot sync their primary Outlook calendar to a MobileMe calendar anymore; the only way to integrate MobileMe with Outlook now is to have a MobileMe calendar linked in through CalDAV. This means that a MobileMe calendar is always seen by Outlook as a secondary calendar, and alarms and notifications do not work.[13]


Below are the charges that Apple charged before they discontinued purchase on the June 6, 2011 in preparation moving to new service iCloud entirely. Current users are being encouraged to use MobileMe services inside iCloud (account migration will happen automatically anyway), but can continue to use their MobileMe services and access the website until it is shut down on June 30, 2012. Users wishing to cancel MobileMe —thus immediately end all services— can gain full refunds if purchased within 45 days of June 6, 2011, or pro-rata refunds if purchased 46 days or more, however it is unclear whether this refund policy will apply when the iCloud service launches in Fall 2011.

Market Price Personal in US$
(for comparison)
Personal Family
USA US$ 99 $ 149 $  99   
Canada C$ 109 C$ 159 $ 104.99
United Kingdom £ 60 £ 91 $  96.70
Eurozone[14]  79 € 119 $ 112.45
Europe (non EU) and Africa[14]  65.29 € 98.35 $  92.93
Singapore S$ 148 S$ 228 $ 117.41
Japan 9800 ¥ 15600 ¥ $ 116.63
Australia A$ 119 A$ 179 $ 123.45

With exception of Switzerland: € 70.25 / € 105.82[14] (Prices sourced from on 16 April 2010).


Mac OS X

MobileMe, like .Mac and iTools before it, is closely integrated with Mac OS X. Having a MobileMe account extends the functions of many programs, mostly within the iLife suite. Most notably, any iDisk can be mounted as any other volume on the Mac OS X desktop. Furthermore, it is possible to mount the public portion of another user's iDisk. This mechanism was one of the early ways to receive free software as part of .Mac. It is possible to queue files for upload to an offline iDisk, though they are only uploaded when the iDisk is mounted. iDisk commands are located in the "Go" menu of the Finder.

Additionally, any Address Book entries, iCal events and to-do entries, Safari bookmarks and keychains, mail accounts, mail rules, mail signatures, and smart mailboxes can be synched with the iDisk, allowing easy synchronization between multiple computers. iWeb allows users to create web pages that can be uploaded to iDisk and published. iPhoto can be used for one-click web-publishing of photo albums.[15] iCal can be used to publish calendars to the web.[16] Also, Backup software can be used to make backups to iDisk or local media.[17]

With the prior .Mac service, the iMovie, iPhoto, GarageBand, and iTunes libraries could easily be uploaded to any iDisk (subject to various licensing agreements).


MobileMe integrates with various applications on the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. This includes iCal syncing with Calendar, Address Book syncing with Contacts, Mail syncing across devices, Safari Bookmarks syncing across devices. Apple later introduced the iDisk[18] application for the iPhone and iPod touch, which makes it easier for members to access the contents of their iDisk from their iPhone or iPod touch. In August 2010, Apple introduced a feature that allows users to stream music that's stored on their iDisk in the background from their device.[19] There is also a universal application[20] for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch that allows mobile access to the Find My iPhone feature.

Public URL subdomains

There are public subdomain access points to each MobileMe members' individual account functions. These provide direct public web access to each MobileMe users account, via links to each function directly; Gallery, Public folder, published website, and published calendars (not available currently). See list:

  • – member login.
  •<username> – member public photo/video Gallery.
  •<username> – member Public folder access.
  •<username> – member Website access.
  •<username> – member file sites access.
  •<username>/<calendar name> – member individual calendar publishing. In the older system, many calendars could be published at the same time. In the current iteration of MobileMe, there is no calendar publishing available.




The original collection of Internet software and services now known as MobileMe was first called iTools. Announced and released at Macworld Expo San Francisco on January 5, 2000, iTools was made available free of charge for Macintosh users.

Services offered by iTools included the first availability of e-mail addresses, which could only be accessed through an email client such as Outlook Express; iCards, a free greeting card service; iReview, a collection of reviews of popular web sites; HomePage, a free web page publishing service; the first version of iDisk, an online data storage system; and KidSafe, a directory of family-friendly web sites.

iTools was primarily a Mac-only offering and provided only limited, discussion board-based technical support. However, some features of iTools were accessible via non-Mac platforms although a Mac was needed to establish an account.

For example, modifying HomePage content was possible using a web browser on Windows or via Linux.

Although the original version of iDisk used AppleShare IP for transport and required Mac OS 9, it was eventually updated to use WebDAV technology and therefore opened up access to non-Mac operating systems. Apple even offered an application for use with Windows XP.[21]

The e-mail service only supported IMAP access.



As costs rose, most particularly due to iDisk storage space, the wide demand for e-mail accounts, and increasing support needs, iTools was renamed .Mac at Macworld Expo New York on July 17, 2002, as a subscription-based suite of services with a dedicated technical support team.[22]

The new .Mac offered several tools to subscribers, including upgraded versions of HomePage, the personal web hosting service; iDisk, the online disk storage service;, the e-mail service provider offering both POP and IMAP protocols; and iCards, the online greeting card service. New services offered by .Mac included Backup, a personal backup solution that allows users to archive data to their iDisk, CD or DVD; and McAfee Virex, a virus scanner given to .Mac subscribers until June 15, 2005.

Apple announced on September 17, 2002 that more than 100,000 people had subscribed to .Mac since its launch earlier that year.[23] Existing iTools accounts were transitioned to .Mac accounts during a free trial period that ended on September 30, 2002. This move generated a mixed reaction among Mac users, some believing .Mac was overpriced.[24]

.Mac occasionally received new features. In October 2006, Apple launched an update to its .Mac Mail service whose interface was close to that of Mac OS X Mail. The new functionality was built on top of Ajax and provided drag-and-drop, a live-updating three-way split view, and ability to resize panels.[25] Mac OS X v10.5 used .Mac to provide dynamic DNS services for its Back to My Mac feature, a remote desktop service.

On August 7, 2007, Apple's CEO Steve Jobs announced new features for .Mac, including a new Web Gallery feature, similar to Flickr and YouTube combined. Each .Mac account now came with 10 GB of storage space that could be divided between e-mail storage for an e-mail address and the user's iDisk. An account preference allowed the user to decide how much storage space to allocate to either service as they see fit. Users who wanted additional storage capacity could buy up to a total of 30 GB for a higher annual fee. The storage space for both e-mail and an iDisk could be used in any way the user wanted, subject to the terms of the .Mac license agreement.

.Mac was also offered in a boxed version, available at stores and online (as a physical product). The box contained an activation code that was entered when registering or renewing a subscription.


Initial speculation about a new service to replace .Mac came in early June 2008, when Apple bought the domain name.[26] At WWDC on June 9, 2008, Apple announced that .Mac would be replaced by MobileMe. This was launched on July 9, 2008: was taken offline from 8 p.m. to 12 a.m. that day, and the MobileMe service went live between 8 p.m. and 2 a.m. (both Pacific Time).[27] MobileMe was taken offline a short time later, leaving customers redirected to the MobileMe information page,[28] where there was no option to log in. After several hours of infrequent service, MobileMe officially went live during July 11, 2008.[29]

Several .Mac features were removed after the transition to MobileMe:

  • Support for Mac OS X 10.4.10 or earlier (some features require Mac OS X 10.5 or later, such as iLife integration)[30]
  • iCards
  • web-access to bookmarks
  • .Mac slides[31]
  • .Mac Groups (with files uploaded to Groups being transferred to group owners' "Group Archive" folder).

The launch of MobileMe was plagued by various issues. MobileMe, as a .Mac successor, was initially criticized during its launch for being unstable[32] and for having syncing problems.[33] There were reports of users being unable to access any of the Mail functions of MobileMe. This was suspected to be related to the .Mac to MobileMe switch-over.[34] The free trial of MobileMe inadvertently charged some Australian and European customers’ credit cards, leading Apple to issue refunds and extend the free trial to four months.[35][36] Because of the problems with switching over .Mac accounts and other issues, Apple created a status news page and revamped their support page.[37]

Initial versions of the Windows MobileMe control panel allowed synchronization of corporate Outlook accounts with MobileMe. A mid-2008 update to the control panel removed the ability to synchronize Outlook to MobileMe when Outlook is using Microsoft Exchange Server Calendars and Contacts.[citation needed] According to Apple Support, this is by design and is not a bug that will be fixed.[citation needed] There is no support for synchronizing even standalone Outlook Tasks and Notes to MobileMe.

In May 2011, Fortune magazine reported that during the summer of 2008, after MobileMe had launched to mostly negative reviews, Steve Jobs summoned the MobileMe team to a meeting in the Town Hall auditorium at 4 Infinite Loop. After asking them "what MobileMe is supposed to do," and someone answered, Jobs reportedly shot back, "So why the fuck doesn't it do that?"[38]

In an internal e-mail sent to Apple employees on August 4, 2008, Jobs admitted that MobileMe was launched too hurriedly and “not up to Apple’s standards”. He wrote that “it was a mistake to launch MobileMe at the same time as iPhone 3G, iPhone 2.0 software and the App Store”.[39] On August 18, 2008, it was announced that MobileMe subscribers would be offered a 60-day extension in addition to the one-month extension previously offered.[40]


As of early 2011, MobileMe retail boxes were removed from all Apple Stores, and users were prevented from subscribing via Apple's website. At WWDC 2011 on June 6, 2011, it was announced that MobileMe will continue to be active for current subscribers through June 30, 2012. It will be replaced by iCloud, which in addition to MobileMe's email and calendar services, will sync files across multiple devices. It will give users of Mac OS X Lion 5 GB of 'cloud' data. The service is free of charge and scheduled to begin fall 2011.[41][42] Because of MobileMe's failings, Jobs anticipated skepticism to his claim that iCloud "just works", and asked rhetorically, "Why should I believe them? They're the ones that brought me MobileMe!".[43] iCloud was released on October 12, alongside iOS 5.


  1. ^ "MobileMe Control Panel for Windows". Apple. Retrieved 2010-10-28. 
  2. ^ "Apple discontinues sale of MobileMe retail boxes as overhaul looms" (Press release). 2011-02-24. Retrieved 2011-02-25. 
  3. ^ Slivka, Eric (June 8, 2010). "iPhone OS 3.0 Launching June 17th - MMS, Tethering in Some Countries". MacRumors. Retrieved January 17, 2011. 
  4. ^ O'Grady, Jason D. (November 22, 2010). "iOS 4.2 released; Find My iPhone free for iPhone 4 users (updated)". ZDNet. Retrieved January 17, 2011. 
  5. ^ Copying Calendar subscriptions from iCal to your iPhone or iPod touch, Apple Knowledge Base article HT3634, dated 03 August 2009
  6. ^ [MobileMe: Syncing calendar subscriptions and CalDAV calendars], Apple Knowledge Base article TS1213, dated 17 June 2009.
  7. ^ iPhone User Guide pdf, page 93 "Subscribing to Calendars", dated 10 July 2009.
  8. ^ Using your iDisk to share files Retrieved July 22, 2008. The iDisk can be used as a hosting server for your MobileMe website. Backups from Backup can be stored onto your iDisk, making it easier backing up settings and more.
  9. ^ Chavda, Pranav. "Howto: Apple's MobileMe on Linux". Retrieved 2008-09-18. 
  10. ^ "Apple - MobileMe also works great with your PC.". Retrieved 2009-07-11. 
  11. ^ "MobileMe Mail. Now Available to All Members..". Retrieved 2010-07-12. 
  12. ^ "Preview the New MobileMe Calendar Beta". Retrieved 2010-07-31. 
  13. ^ "Apple Discussions - Frustrated at Outlook calendar sync". Retrieved 2011-03-27. 
  14. ^ a b c
  15. ^ .Mac Support, Article dated December 19, 2007
  16. ^ Sharing Your Calendar
  17. ^ MobileMe: About Backup 3.2, Article dated April 13, 2010
  18. ^ iDisk application
  19. ^ Michael Robertson (August 3, 2010). "Apple Quietly Enables Online Streaming To iPhones, iPads and iPod touches". Retrieved August 18, 2010. 
  20. ^ Find My iPhone application
  21. ^ iDisk Utility
  22. ^ .Mac announcement
  23. ^ .Mac users
  24. ^ "Net surfers are getting the message: Pay up." Seattle Post-Intelligencer Reporter, August 13, 2002
  25. ^ .Mac mail
  26. ^ "Apple to target the self-involved". DoesWhat. Retrieved 2008-06-03. 
  27. ^ Apple .Mac Support, Apple Inc.. Retrieved July 8, 2008.
  28. ^ MobileMe information page.
  29. ^ MobileMe appears to be up and running, TUAW. Retrieved July 12, 2008.
  30. ^ "MobileMe: What you need to know". Macworld. June 18, 2008. Retrieved July 15, 2010. 
  31. ^ McNulty, Scott (2008-06-09). "What isn't making the cut from .Mac to MobileMe". The Unofficial Apple Weblog. Weblogs, Inc.. Retrieved 2008-06-10. 
  32. ^ Mann, Merlin MobileMe: .Mac's iPhone-Friendly Replacement, 43 Folders. Retrieved June 9, 2008.
  33. ^ Mossberg, Walt Apple’s MobileMe Is Far Too Flawed To Be Reliable, The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved July 23, 2008.
  34. ^ MobileMe users seethe over four-day e-mail outage, Retrieved July 22, 2008.
  35. ^ Palmer, Robert (2008-06-22). "Apple adds another month free for some MobileMe trials". The Unofficial Apple Weblog. Weblogs, Inc.. Retrieved 2008-06-22. 
  36. ^ Moses, Asher (July 22, 2008). "Apple's MobileMe meltdown". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 2008-07-27. 
  37. ^ Status news page; support page.
  38. ^ Adam Lashinsky, Sr., "How Apple works: Inside the world's biggest startup," Fortune, 9 May 2011.
  39. ^ Steve Jobs on MobileMe: the full e-mail, ars technica. Retrieved August 5, 2008
  40. ^ Apple offers MobileMe users a second extension, Computer World. Retrieved August 19, 2008.
  41. ^
  42. ^ Apple Introduces iCloud
  43. ^ Sutter, John (9 June 2011). "iCloud: Revolution or the next MobileMe?". CNN. Retrieved 11 June 2011. 

External links

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