2/14/11
11:56 am

MacMost Now 516: Syncing Files Between Macs With iDisk Sync

If you are a MobileMe user you can turn on iDisk Sync to create a way to share files between your Macs and your iDisk storage. Your iDisk is then treated like a normal local drive and automatically syncs with the server. Other Macs using iDisk Sync with your account will automatically stay in sync as well.

Video Transcript (Click to Expand)
Hi, this is Gary, with MacMost Now. Today's episode: Let's look at how to sync files between multiple macs using iDisk. So I get asked this question all the time: "Can I use an automator script or some third party software so I can sync files between my computers using iDisk? But, you don't need any extra software or an automator script. You can do this using built-in iDisk functionality. You just need to turn it on. So to turn this functionality on, just go to your system preferances, mobile me, then, click on the iDisk tab. Under there at the bottom, you'll find iDisk Sync, turn it on by starting it. Then you have options, you can have it update automatically (which you should do.), or manually. You can also determine how conflicts are resolved, whether or not the most recent version of every file's just automatically kept or whether you're asked about any conflicts.
So once you have that set up you can go to your iDisk, using one of the many methods, like the 'Go' Menu, and bring up your iDisk here. Now, you've got some additional things, you've got this little syncing icon here and you can click it to manually sync it anytime that you want. You've also got a 'sync now' item here under the 'tool' menu, and a checkbox here for the automatic syncing.
Now, say you've got two macs, and using iDisk Sync, so you've actually got three copies o the files, one locally on the first mac, one locally on the second mac, and a third copy that's remotely stored on the iDisk server. But you don't have to worry about those details, all you need to do is go to your idisk on either one of those macs and sure, you'll be accessing a local copy of that, but it will be kept in sync with the one on the server and in turn kept in-sync with the one on the second mac automatically. You never see two separate locations for the file, you just see one iDisk, and you let iDisk Sync worry about keeping it in sync between your macs and the server.
So you can use your iDisk just like any attached drive. You just select it, and treat it as something local. You can see at the bottom here, it will actually show you what its doing, in this case its actually syncing one file there, and when its done syncing or anytime in between it will actually show you the time of the last sync, so you can kinda get an idea whether or not its able to connect to the server and keep things up to date. If I go and change a file, so let's go into documents here, and change this file here, I save it, you can see that before too long iDisk will go and sync that file back to the server to make sure the server copy is up to date. There it goes.
So you kinda have to change your behavior a little bit, instead of storing documents in your documents folder, you want to store them in your iDisk documents folder. That saves them locally and syncs them with the server, and you have that local copy. So if you're not connected to the internet at any time, you can still access the local copy, make changes, and the next time you're connected, it will sync it with the server.
So I guess syncing is great if you have one mac and you simply want to sync with iDisk so you have a copy available remotely, or, think of it as an automatic back-up system too. Or if you've got two macs and you want to keep files between them in sync, you just start using the iDisk documents folder rather than your regular documents folder. Hope you found this useful, until next time, this is Gary, with MacMost Now.

Comments: 9 Responses to “MacMost Now 516: Syncing Files Between Macs With iDisk Sync”

    Phil
    2/15/11 @ 10:15 am

    What if you have a MAC and a Windows computer? Is there any way o keep the files synched between them like you did with the two MACs using iDisk?

      2/15/11 @ 10:25 am

      That gets tougher. I would just use a cloud service and store the files in the cloud. DropBox might be a good option there.

        Phil
        2/15/11 @ 6:45 pm

        Thanks. That’s what I thought, which is a shame, because I subscribe to MobileMe and it would be great if it worked like DropBox. Apple surely does some lame stuff at times…

    Craig
    2/18/11 @ 12:50 am

    So instead of me saving to my Documents Folder, i can save to idisk Documents Folder. But you said i would still have a copy on my local mac, is that correct?

    I did not want to do this originally because i was under the belief that if i stored to idisk, i would have to be online, and then i run the risk of losing any files stored on the server in some crazy mishap.

      2/18/11 @ 7:33 am

      That’s the point of iDisk Sync. You don’t have to be online. A local copy of each file is stored on your drive so you can access it when offline. Then it will sync back to the server the next time you are online. Watch the video again.

    Keith
    2/18/11 @ 5:55 am

    When using iDisk to sync between 2 or 3 Macs (I have three) is there an order to use in turning sync on? Should there be a time lapse between turning each Mac’s sync on? Each Mac will take some time to get into sync with the local copy and the cloud copy so I wonder if turning sync on with too little time delay will cause conflicts.

      2/18/11 @ 7:24 am

      It shouldn’t matter. Turning it on the first time just means that a local copy of whatever is already up on your iDisk will be downloaded to your Mac. So turning on all three at the same time will just mean that all three will download the files at the same time.

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