MacMost Now 434: Is MobileMe Worth It?

Look at the services you get with MobileMe and decide whether the service is worth the price. You get email, calendars and contacts, storage, a web site, syncing, Back-To-My-Mac and Find My iPhone. There are free services that can be used to replace most of these, but they are not exactly the same.

Video Transcript
Hi, this is Gary with MacMost Now. On todays episode we answer the question: Is MobileMe Worth It?
So, I get asked this all the time: "is MobileMe worth it?". Well, it really depends on the individual. It depends on your needs and on your budget. But we can look at all the different features of MobileMe and you can decide for yourself.
So lets start by talking about price. Now, its often said that MobileMe is $99 a year, but that's only if you buy it from Apple. You can get it all over the place for as little as $70 which is less than $6 a month. You can even use those codes that you buy as renewals so you can just renew every year for about $70.

So the basic stuff you get with MobileMe is of course MobileMe mail, you get contacts and calendars, you get photo galleries and you also get the iDisk space. But there is a lot more to it than that. For instance, contacts and calendars, they sync with your Mac and also with any other Apple devices that you have and they do this over the internet. So, if you have, say, an iPhone, a laptop, and a Mac desktop you can sync all your contacts and calendars and your Safari bookmarks and it just happens instantly. You could actually be in a hotel room halfway around the world, add a bookmark on your iPhone and it will appear on your Mac desktop at home. Syncing actually also works with PC's. That's right, the PC programs can actually sync with MobileMe if you have MobileMe installed on your PC. So, its perfect if you have a lot of different devices that you have to access and you want to keep contacts, calendars and bookmarks in sync.
So iDisk is cloud storage but its much more than that, you can also create your own website and use tools to do things like create blogs and podcasts and host them all on MobileMe. You can also use it as shared space if you're, say, a freelancer and you need to share files with somebody, you can use it as a location to put your files and someone else from outside of your account can go and retrieve them.
The iDisk space is actually pretty generous, you get a lot of bandwidth and a lot of storage. Much more than you get through a free service, say, like, a Dropbox. If you wanted to get the equivalent of Dropbox you would actually have to have the paid Dropbox service.
One of my favorite features is Photo Galleries. It makes it so easy to actually just throw some photos up and share with friends and family. And you can do it right from iPhoto and the galleries it creates are really very nice and they're of course ad free and kind of at your own private web space.
Now, there's two miscellaneous services, the first is Back-To-My-Mac, which allows you to be able to access your Mac remotely when out of the house and it will work even if you don't have static IP set up at home. The other is Find My iPhone, which will allow you to locate a lost iPhone or track one of the iPhones in your family, using maps online.
So you can use some free services to replace parts of MobileMe, for instance you can use Gmail instead of MobileMe mail, but Gmail has advertising in it. You can sync contacts and calendars using Google services as well. You can also use Dropbox instead of iDisk, but you don't get as much space and you can't build your own website.
Now, of course people have their own little pet peeves about MobileMe, for instance the bookmark syncing works with Safari, so if you use an alternative browser like FireFox or Chrome then you're out of luck.
Now, if your budget is tight and you're looking to save some money then MobileMe is one of those places where you can cut corners. You can save yourself the $70 per year and use all the different free services. However, if you really like two or more of the different things that MobileMe has to offer and they will make your life easier, then you have to consider, less than $6 a month as a pretty good deal.
So, you can sign up and get a free trial of MobileMe at any time for 60 days. So its a great why to go and see these things first hand and exactly how they work.
So I hope this look at MobileMe helped you decide whether or not it's worth it for you to get it.
'Til next time this is Gary Rosenzweig with MacMost Now.

Comments: 17 Responses to “MacMost Now 434: Is MobileMe Worth It?”

    8/6/10 @ 10:25 am

    Thanks for the video on MobileMe Gary. I currently use the service.

    For renewals, where can I get for the $70 price you mentioned?


    8/6/10 @ 10:27 am

    Thanks Gary!

    8/6/10 @ 10:29 am

    If I order online, do they actually ship out the MobileMe or just provide me with a renewal code? I just need the latter.

      8/6/10 @ 10:33 am

      If you order from a third-party store, they ship out a small, light box with the renewal code. The same box you get if you buy it in a retail Apple Store. The only way to just get a code (not even a code, actually) is to renew online for the full $99 from inside your MobileMe account.

    8/6/10 @ 10:35 am

    Thanks Gary, I might just renew online as I live in Canada and do not want to incur any type of customs duties.

    Edward Walsh
    8/6/10 @ 10:43 am

    Hi Gary:

    Thanks for today’s video on MobileMe. I have had that service since the beginning of this year. So far my favorite features are the Photo Gallery and Mail. Plan to start using in the near future the Calendar along with Contact and sync them to my computer and iPhone. Also, the fact that I am not inundated with advertising is for me a big plus!

    For reference, here in Canada I paid $109 for my MobileMe Account. You mentioned getting it for around $70 (US) and you can renew your present account with that lower rate. Could you elaborate on how to do that? From the looks of it I am automatically set up to renew each year at the rate of $109 and like anyone else if I can save a few dollars – why not!!

    Thanks again for the shows.

    Edward Walsh
    Marystown, Newfoundland

      8/6/10 @ 10:48 am

      Just buy the MobileMe box from an online site (MacMall, Amazon, etc) and you get a box with a code. Use that code to renew your service near the end of the year.

        Edward Walsh
        8/6/10 @ 11:15 am

        Hi Gary:

        I apologize as it seems like I am the second one in a row to ask you the same thing. I guess I don’t type as fast as others – when I started to type out my response no one had yet left a comment.

        Just the same, thanks for the reply.

        Edward Walsh
        Marystown, Newfoundland

    8/10/10 @ 7:13 am

    I’d love to use this Mac product, but 20 GB quit being lots of space long long ago. Just the number of “high quality” photos Mac claims it will hold must be based on digital cameras at least 5 years old. Come on APPLE. Server space is not that expensive. I’d love to be able to use that smooth seamless Apple work flow, but until you are less stingy with space, my $99 is much better spent with other solutions.

    8/12/10 @ 11:34 am

    I personally do not find the cost a reasonable return on investment, but give Apple props for offering such a service.

    But I will say how much I liked your outdoor shooting! I think you should try this more often.

    8/16/10 @ 8:24 am

    Hi Gary,

    I always love your video explanations on everything Apple.

    Keep up the good work !


    Mario (from Belgium).

    John DeBrita
    9/24/10 @ 10:31 am

    when you get down to a reasonable price of 45.00 a year I would most likely grab it quick. after all how many millions of people already get something like that for free through MS outlook just through a one time purchase of software?
    maybe it Outlook doesn’t have all these features , but for the most part its free after purchase and then you can download a lot of apps for free that are associated with it.
    so if MS is doing it for free then why do people want mac? especially when Mac’s cost double what the PC costs?
    I wanted a Mac for my iPhone, but I cannot justify it for $2,700.00 when I have a pc laptop that does more than your expensive desktop, and its compatible with my iPhone already.

    11/27/11 @ 6:05 pm

    How can I remove/uninstall MobileMe on my Mac?
    I don’t want the Sync Now icon on the Menu Bar.
    Since I don’t have a MobileMe account all the options are disabled in Sys Prefs
    What should I do?

      11/27/11 @ 6:10 pm

      So you just need to remove the icon? Did you try Command+click and drag?

    11/27/11 @ 6:18 pm

    I don’t want to remove just the icon but all the MobileMe thing.
    Since the icon appears my thoughts are that the MobileMe software is running, am I wrong?

    It can be removed/stopped? :s

      11/27/11 @ 7:20 pm

      Turning off the options in the system preferences is what you do. You don’t need to do anything else. You don’t “remove” the system preferences or anything. Just leave it there turned off. It is just like any other feature of OS X that you don’t use. You just turn it off or don’t use it, you don’t’ try to remove it from OS X.

Comments Closed.