MobileMe Calendar — Not for business use

Recently, I have come across some major deficiencies in Apple’s MobileMe service, as well as their implementation of caldav support and iCal. Since the upgrade to the new calendar format, a client has been having some major difficulties syncing work calendars. Prior to the recent forced upgrade to the new calendar structure, MobileMe was able to sync calendars between the owner’s MacBook Pro and the office Mac Mini just fine. There are about 15 separate calendars used for scheduling various tasks and work crews with about five years worth of data in them. On the surface, everything looks great. The calendars maintain their customized colors and content between the two Macs, three iPhones and an iPad. The problem is that since the upgrade, syncing has become an exercise in futility. When syncs do complete properly across all devices, it can take upwards of six hours to complete. I contacted MobileMe chat support. According to Apple, the issue is caused by the large number of events stored in the calendars. Adding insult to injury (so to speak), it was suggested that we delete unused events from the calendars to improve the sync times… one by one. Archiving the calendars, or simply exporting them and importing them as local calendars on each Mac would not be a problem. The real issue is that there is no way to delete a range of events in iCal or through the MobileMe website. I did not spend significant time looking for a mechanism to accomplish this, but initial tests seemed to indicate that it is possible to delete calendar events one month at a time by accessing MobileMe calendars through Evolution on Ubuntu… go figure.

Incidentally, we also have exchange calendar capability. In exploring a possible solution to the sync issue, I exported all calendars and then imported them through iCal to an exchange account. Activesync replicated the calendars (while maintaining the calendar colors) to the other Mac with no problem whatsoever. Unfortunately, iOS does not maintain the color schema. In fact, toggling the exchange calendar on and off on an iOS device cycles through random calendar colors in a non-sensical manner. Very disappointing, Apple. Very disappointing.

Related Links:

Sync Services: Advanced troubleshooting for contact and calendar syncing

Unreliable MobileMe Remains a “Hobby” for Apple [Opinion]

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