Apple shuts down MobileMe, offers ‘limited time’ to access and download files

mobile me closed

Apple has finally shut down MobileMe. Its users were e-mailed a reminder one month ago to transfer their data from the MobileMe service to the new iCloud. The landing page for has been replaced with a bright red “Closed” sign.  Apple is allowing existing MobileMe customers to access and download their files for a “limited time” before upgrading to Apple’s iCloud. 

The services that will be shuttered and have not made its way onto iCloud are Gallery, iDisk, and iWeb Publish, a Web publishing and hosting service. The ability to sync Dashboard Widgets, Dock Items, Keychains, Mail Account, Mail Rules/Signatures/Smart Mailboxes, and System Preferences will also be discontinued. Accessing the remaining services — MobileMe address book, e-mail, calendar, bookmarking and storage — requires users to upgrade to iCloud. Data from these aforementioned services will automatically be transferred to Apple’s iCloud upon upgrading from MobileMe.

However, “Find My Phone,” an application that enables users to track the approximate location of their lost phone or even take limited control of the device remotely, will continue to work even without an upgrade. Owners of Apple devices that cannot be upgraded to iOS 5 or OS X Lion won’t have to fret about scouring for a new device tracking application. What is made available on iCloud is “Find My Mac,” which enables owners to track their lost Mac laptop (or PC).

While some MobileMe services are on iCloud, Apple is encouraging users to download all of their files. That includes their contacts and e-mails. As we’ve witnessed through Amazon Cloud’s latest outage, which took down multiple high-profile websites, cloud-based services are still vulnerable. There’s always a potential liability with entrusting a third-party service with your information — including iCloud. You can download all of your existing MobileMe documents, which will be nicely packaged in a .zip file, onto your computer. As they say, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

To download your iDisk, iWeb and Gallery documents, ArsTecnica offers a comprehensive how-to for those of you who have procrastinated on upgrading to iCloud. We’d suggest that you access your MobileMe account and get right to downloading your documents as soon as possible, given that Apple hasn’t made it clear exactly how much longer MobileMe users will be able to access their account.