What do you mean I need to create a new Apple ID? You have one (or so you thought but can’t get iCloud to understand)! If you have a mobile me account (and maybe a previous .mac account) and are confused by what you need to do to move to iCloud, these instructions may help. Please read these instructions all the way through before beginning the process. They are written a little choppy to convey the idea simply. These instructions do not apply if you are simply setting up an iCloud account and do not have a previous mobile me or .mac account.
FAQs about transitioning from mobile me to iCloud are addressed here. You may also want to bookmark the iCloud support page and review some specific how do I… before beginning. This process may take 10-30 minutes (depending on back up time and internet connection speed and need to update your system OS and iOS). Do not start the process if you are in a big rush.
Something that is not very clear in this process is how your music may work with iCloud. Your iTunes account name and your iCloud account name may not be the same. That is ok. Your iTunes account name is tied to a credit card and your iCloud account is tied to an email address. Your iTunes account name and your iCloud account name can be different. You can read about iTunes in the Cloud.
iTunes Match, the feature that allows you to have access to music that you have previously loaded on your computer that was not purchased from iTunes, is “coming soon.”
You will need to do the following:
1. Have Mobile Me and/or .Mac account name and password.
2. Backup of Contacts, Calendars you will be moving. (This is explained below and here.)
3. Update your computer to the latest OS (Mac 10.7.2).
4. Update your iOS device(s) to iOS 5.0.
5. Make sure you have not logged into or created an iCloud account that is active on your iOS device. (Although in theory you can have one there first, it may make the process more confusing. So, delete the iCloud account from your device. If you have important information, you may want to backup or transfer the information first to your computer.)
Starting the Process
First, go to www.me.com/move. Sign in with your mobile me account credentials (ID and password).
Click Get Started.
Click next to see confirm that you will be moved to iCloud.
You will see the mobile me services that will continue to be available with iCloud until June 30, 2012.
The features that will no longer be available or supported will be identified. Do not go past here is you wish to use some of these features a little while longer.
You will need to make sure your computers and devices are running the proper OS or iOS so upgrade your devices and computers.
You will need to make sure your Contacts and Bookmarks are updated on at least one device.
Next BACKUP contacts, calendars and bookmarks before moving.You can learn how to make your backups here. Do this before committing and make sure it works. This data should be kept somewhere secure and safe in case your upgrading process to iCloud goes wrong.
You will need to agree to the Terms of Service
The transition and moving of data will take place and the progress will be shown.
When it is completed, you will be shown a screen similar to the one below. iCloud set up completed.
Now, on your Mac, go to System Preferences > iCloud and enter your Apple ID and password to sign in. This should be your prior mobile me or .mac account name and password.
On your computer, you will be given the option of allowing iCloud to import your mail, contacts, calendars, bookmarks, etc. Additionally, you will be able to turn on features like photo stream, documents and data, back to my mac and find my mac. You will be given a default screen to allow all or you can select the one’s you wish to use. You can read about the different features here.
After the import process, using your browser, go to iCloud.com and check to see if your data has loaded. On the browser, log in using your Apple ID and password (prior mobile me ID and password) and see that your calendar, contacts, etc. are there. Depending upon how much data you have, it may take a few moments or minutes to load the information from the initial import. After your information is in the cloud, you will need to turn the iCloud feature on your iOS devices so that the syncing can begin.
On your iOS5 device(s) go to System Preferences > iCloud and enter your Apple ID and Password to sign in. You will be able to choose which information to sync with that device by turning them on or off.
In theory, you have completed the transition and all should be working automagically. Well…in theory. Good luck.
UPDATE: Joe Kissell, author of several e-books on Mac products, has written about iCloud. The book, Take Control of iCloud is described here and can be downloaded.