Forum Question: Does true syncing between devices exist?

I always thought that multiple devices using the same Apple ID stayed in sync with each other. But now I have an iPad. After I’ve checked and deleted messages in Mail on my MBA,I then open my iPad to find the same messages marked as unread. This is not how I expected syncing to work. Have I misunderstood syncing, or have I missed something?

Comments: 7 Responses to “Does true syncing between devices exist?”

    7/29/11 @ 2:08 pm

    So you are talking about just email, right?
    It depends on your email server. Nothing to do with Apple IDs, unless you are talking about MobileMe email.
    If you are using POP email, the old style of doing things, then no. Email is downloaded from the server on each computer individually.
    If you are using IMAP, Exchange, MobileMe or some other advanced system, then your email is really on the server. You are communicating with the server using each device. So marking one read, or deleting one, on one device will then show that change on another device.
    So check to see which type of system you are using. If you are using POP, then see if there is an option to use IMAP instead. Many servers support both.

      7/29/11 @ 3:29 pm

      It’s currently POP. Sounds like IMAP will do what I want, but one question. Right now, when I delete a Mail message, it’s still on the server, and if, for some reason, I need information from that message months later, I can still access it via Safari. If I switch to IMAP, when I delete a message in Mail, will it truly be deleted forever? (This makes me nervous)

        7/29/11 @ 4:12 pm

        Yes. When you delete the message, you are deleting THE message on the server. Right now, it sounds like you just let all your email accumulate on the server, which will eventually fill up your mailbox.
        Of course, you can copy messages to a local folder. Some, or even all. Or, you can refrain from deleting messages on the server, and instead move them from your Inbox to another folder. This is hold Gmail works, by default in fact.

          7/29/11 @ 7:40 pm

          I’m using Gmail (POP) now. As messages come into Mail, I read and delete them, because I know I can always access them at years down the road. But you’re saying that Gmail moves messages to another folder by default. I’m not sure I understand. Do you mean another folder on their server or on my Mac? And this is using IMAP, correct?

            7/29/11 @ 10:42 pm

            No, Gmail doesn’t move messages to another folder — sorry — I meant that you don’t delete them. Gmail actually doesn’t have folders, it have labels.
            But the idea is the same. You don’t delete email, you simply move it out of your inbox — on the server.
            So I would switch to using Gmail IMAP, not Gmail POP. Or, actually just use the Gmail account setting (when you create a new account) and it will handle it like IMAP.

              7/30/11 @ 4:48 pm

              Okay, so just to clarify, when I delete a Gmail message in my Apple Mail inbox, where does it go? Is it still on the server, just labeled differently, or is it truly deleted?

                7/30/11 @ 4:53 pm

                You should test it yourself. But in my tests, “delete” will remove the “inbox” label from the message. But it is still in your online mailbox. The only way to see it is to look in “All Mail” since it has no label. But you could have also labeled it something else.
                A neater way to do it in Lion is to use Message, Archive. Or, the Archive button which is an optional addition to the toolbar if you customize it. In iOS, the “delete” button is automatically replaced by “archive” if you are using Gmail.
                Read up on Gmail labels and how gmail differs from IMAP to get a good understanding of it.

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