Why did I not renew my Mobile Me account? Or why to avoid Mobile Me all together

I had purchased Mobile Me during July of 2008 when I purchased my iPhone 3G. I figured I would go ahead and use it for backup, storage and a way to sync my Macbook and iMac. I was one of the groups who got a free 90 days out of Apple for our initial issues with Mobile Me’s launch. Despite all of the hopes and dreams of Mobile Me, I never really ended up using it, nor did it ‘wow’ me enough to continue paying the prices.

I did end up using Mobile Me to backup all of my documents and important files; however, other than that, I never really used it. I could never get back to my mac working with OS X Server, so that was useless. I did try the ‘find my iPhone’ feature when it was introduced, but it was never really all that handy.

I made the decision not to renew and decided I wanted to have a copy of all of the items on my iDisk, just to make sure that I had everything before my account expired. In order to facilitate this backup, I connected to my iDisk, and began copying everything. There weren’t any problems except for the fact that EVERYTHING in my Documents Folder on my iDisk was GONE. ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING was gone in the Documents folder.

Can somebody explain to me what the hell is going on at Apple so that this type of thing can happen. Granted, it is not the end of the world because I follow the Alex Lindsay theory of documents. “Data doesn’t exist unless it exists in two [or more] places”. Of course I have other backups of all of the documents but that’s besides the point. The point is that nobody should have to worry about their backups not containing all of their backup files, unless you are a Sidekick user.

I would be more angry about this but I have other backups in place. In addition to the possible loss of my backup files, the cost of Mobile Me is way too steep. For the standard amount of space, 20GB, the cost is $99 per year. With this, you get an email account, back to my mac and not much else.

For that $99 you could get Carbonite, which is about $4.58 a month, or approximately $54.95 a year. That’s a saving of $44.05 and you get unlimited data backup. Despite the unlimited storage, you do not get an email address nor back to my mac, but you do get the ability to access the files from any computer.

Another option is to use Amazon S3, which could possibly cost more than $99 per year depending on how much data you store and how much you transfer per month. However, I have spent about $80 in the last year to keep all of my Documents on Amazon’s S3.

I’m not sure what the point of this article is, other than to complain about Mobile Me, or maybe it’s to remind you to do backups so that you do not lose data that cannot possibly be retrieved. So remember to do your backups. Not just local backups, but remember to have an offsite backup plan. I would also suggest making sure that those backups are available from anywhere. Just in case you need to retrieve a file while on the road or at someone else’s house.

You must remember that this feature means that if you wanted something encrypted the company that allows you to access your files from anywhere has the ability to decrypt your files. If you really want to verify that your private files are private you can use something like trucrypt to create an encrypted volume and store items in there. If you want use an Apple product instead of a third party, there is always encrypted sparse image.

By using Amazon’s S3 storage, Amazon cannot read your encrypted backups, they do not possess any ‘master’ symmetric key to decrypt any of your data, which can be handy if you really want to keep your files private. Just remember, if you do this, and you forget your master password, you cannot decrypt any of the files contained within your encrypted backups.

Additionally, in the wake of the reports of the Sidekick user’s data being lost, relying on a single company to house your data is not necessarily in the best interest of anyone. One last thing, remember to test your backups. Try restoring information just to verify that you do not have any corrupt backup files. Nobody would want to try and do a restore of their backups only to find that they cannot due to corruption or something having gone massively wrong.

I'm into everything technology related, particularly anything Apple related. I enjoy programming and tend to lean towards server-based technologies over client-based. You can contact me on twitter, via e-mail, or follow me on friendfeed.