I use MobileMe to keep my data synced on all my Macs that I use.  I like the fact that I can go from Mac to Mac and have my Address Book, Calendar, and many other native application’s data all synced.  This is good and bad at the same time.  In the past five years it has been good in keeping all my data synced.  However, that all changed last week.

When I went to look up a phone number in my iPhone I noticed that my Address Book Groups were all gone.  The addresses where still there, but the groups were gone.  So, I said to myself, “There’s nothing to worry about I have it synced with MobileMe.”  I’ll just stop the Address Book sync on my iPhone, and then I’ll re-sync and everything will be back to normal.  Well I did this, and my addresses came back, but the groups were still missing.  I still didn’t panic.  I thought to myself, “When I get home I’ll stop MobileMe from automatically synchronizing with my iMac.”

I got home and turned on my iMac, and I stepped away for a moment.  When I returned MobileMe had already ran.  So, I opened my Address Book, and my groups were gone.  At this point I started to panic a bit.  Now you might be saying to yourself, “Why’s he panicking?  He must have a local backup.”  That’s where you’d be wrong.  Because everything synchronized with one another I figured I didn’t need to make a backup.  My only guess is that the Address Book Groups were deleted from my iMac, and then synced with MobileMe.  Which in turn pushed it down to my iPhone.

I had one last chance to recover my Address Book Groups.  I turned on my MacBook, and before MobileMe could run I stopped it.  I opened Address Book, and all of my groups were still there.  I then exported my entire Address Book to my desktop.  Next I ran MobileMe.  When it was done I opened Address Book, and low an behold my groups were gone.  So, I reimported my entire Address Book, and now my groups were back.  I ran MobileMe again, and when it was done my groups were still in Address Book.  I then checked my iPhone, and all of my groups were there as well.  Lastly, I ran MobileMe on my iMac, and the Address Book Groups were put back.  All is well in the MobileMe Kingdom once again.

As I’m writing this I realized that if MobileMe had removed the groups, I could have turned to my Time Machine backup of my iMac.  From here I could have also restored my Address Book Groups.

The moral of this story is, always backup.  My over confidence in MobileMe’s ability to keep everything synchronized blinded me to the fact that I still should backup my data.  Has this happened to you?  Do you use MobileMe to sync your Address Book, Calendar, etc., or do you use Google for this?  I’d like to hear your experience with a synchronization gone awry.  Tell your story in the comments section below, or how you use Google or another service for synchronization.

Photo Credit: File:Address Book Icon.png

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