Hey Apple, You Don’t Own My Contacts

By  |  Saturday, January 31, 2009 at 11:02 am

No Mobile MeAllow me to vent here for a second. As you may have read in my recent post about Mac products at Target, I have been in the midst of reloading things for my attempt at installing Windows 7 on the MacBook Pro. This included a wipe of OS X for good measure, which has been giving me some trouble anyway.

Part of that wipe took out my calendar and contacts–I knew I forgot to back something up, and that was it. Not to worry, though: I had them on my iPhone 3G, too. I could just merge them back on my first sync with my freshly-wiped and speedier MBP, right?

Not so fast.

I did not renew my service with MobileMe when it expired last December. Little did I know that once you sync once with the service, Apple all but owns your information.

This means that if you leave the service for whatever reason, your synced information is as good as gone if you don’t have it locally. It won’t sync with iTunes (I wondered why new appointments and contacts suddenly weren’t getting synced anymore), and there’s no way to go back to just syncing sans MobileMe. You’re stuck.

When I tried to disconnect the syncing, I found out the hard way that turning the sync off also wipes the services synced clean. Yep, even if you created the information before you even had MobileMe.

I thought I could get it back by going back to my old iPhone, signing up again for MobileMe (wasting $99), and waiting for it to sync up. Nope, didn’t work, even after I gave it 8 hours overnight to do it. The only way I could get over-the-air sync working again was to add something on the MobileMe side–which, you guessed it–wiped the iPhone clean, too.

Great. Now I’m spending my Saturday attempting to pick up the pieces of my contact list. Wasting what could be a nice day on the slopes to get appointments back in the calendar. A little peeved? You betcha.

Apple, this isn’t appropriate. You don’t own this information. I can see the e-mail service–but contacts and calendar information shouldn’t be held prisoner because I’ve decided to cancel MobileMe.

Is it wrong for me to think this way? Am I overreacting? I don’t think so. I do think if Microsoft did something like this with their service, they’d be run out of town with torches and pitchforks.


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66 Comments For This Post

  1. SkateNY Says:

    And you didn’t back up this data on another device because?

    Essentially, what you’re telling people is that you failed Data Management 101 by neglecting to back up the most important information in you life. How is this Apple’s fault.

    I grow weary of people whose first reaction is to blame others for their own failures.

    Time to grow up and move on.

  2. scott Says:


    Syncing IS backing-up. If it’s not the same thing, then tell me how it is different.

  3. Ed Oswald Says:

    Scott, thank you. There is NO reason why the data should be wiped when you disconnect syncing through MobileMe, Skate. What does my MobileMe status have to do with my contacts? Nothing. They are my contacts, not Apple’s.

    If you can explain to me why Apple has a right to wipe your data, then I will cede you this point.

  4. SkateNY Says:

    True. Syncing is backin up. So my question is this: Why didn’t you back up data that is so important to you on another device? A PC. A PDA. A cell phone. Or simply a piece of paper? Rationalizing your loss does not excuse your from your responsibility.

  5. SkateNY Says:

    If you disconnect from MobileMe without first backing up your data, you’re being irresponsible. If you lost your data in this fashion, talk to Apple about getting it back. If they can’t do this for you, it’s still your responsibility. Telling me what I’m missing here.

  6. Ed Oswald Says:

    Why should I have to? What does disconnection from MobileMe have to do with my contacts? That’s what you’re missing. Whether or not I’m a mobileme subscriber should have NO bearing on whether my contacts stay on my device or not.

    That’s the point, and I can’t see how you can argue that this wiping should occur. I should be able to turn syncing OTA on and off without ANYTHING happening to my data. MobileMe is a service, and should not take ownership of data, period.

  7. SkateNY Says:

    My point is this: If you’re contacts, or any other data, are important to you, then you should have them saved somewhere else.

    I’m not unsympathetic with your situation, but it’s also kinda sad that I need spell this out for you. Few, if any, online services would provide you with the satisfaction for which you’re asking.

    Any data I store on a Web site, I also store on my personal computer, my cell phone and my PDA. It only makes sense. I also have paper copies for my contacts and other data that is important to me. Why wouldn’t I? Why wouldn’t you?

    To my way of thinking, when it comes to important information, it is always and utltimately the owner of that information who holds absolute responsibility for its care. Even if you believe you have a good case against Apple — and it appears that you feel this way — if the data you stored with them was so important to you, then you should have set the terms at the beginning of the contract, not at the termination. That’s your responsibility, not theirs.

  8. Kevin C. Tofel Says:

    While I agree with Ed that this situation generally sucks on the part of Apple, syncing is *not* backing up. Syncing is keeping data the same on multiple devices, meaning: if you wipe the data on one device, a “sync” could potentially wipe it on other devices. A backup isn’t something for real-time, production use. It’s for restoring lost data. Subtle but important difference IMO.

    Ed, I totally sympathize with you. In fact, we covered this risk a few weeks back: http://jkontherun.com/2009/01/13/cancel-mobileme-lose-all-your-local-data/ While I believe in having a secondary backup of key data, I’m not certain Apple has been very forthcoming about what happens to your data when closing down or not renewing a MobileMe account. I agree: it is *your* data.

  9. Chris (NY) Says:

    Without wading into the nuances of the discussion, I do believe it would be a great feature for iPods and iPhones to SELECT whether a sync goes to or from a device…especially with music DRM a non-issue, now.

    When you connect by cable or MobileMe a device to a computer or cloud service, we should have the option to sync the data from a device, to a device or merge the two.

    This simple approach makes sense and would render the debate at hand moot.

  10. SkateNY Says:

    The data on my iPod touch syncs to my PC. I’m having a very difficult time understanding what the problem is here. In short: Each and every time I sync my iPod, the same information is saved on my PC. I just don’t see what the issue is here.

    Furthermore, if the data on my iPod didn’t automatically sync on my PC or another device (and it does), I’d damn well make sure it would be saved somewhere else. I suppose there are some people who simply don’t make the time to take good care of the things that are important to them. It seems that we’ve become the spoiled generation.

  11. James Bailey Says:


    So, if syncing is backing up but you cancel the sync subscription service, isn’t that the same as deleting your backup? Once you aren’t using MobileMe any longer, you’ve no longer got a backup.

    Now you have your data in one location. Any glitch means you lose your data because your backup is now gone. It would be nice if software didn’t have problems but it is really hard to have a lot of sympathy for someone who says that their contacts are important to them but then they don’t bother to make sure that they have a backup. This is even worse when you don’t have a backup while making changes to your sync strategy.

    @Ed Oswald
    Sync software is tricky–mistakes are common. Before you change the way you sync or backup your important data, make sure you have a secure copy somewhere. This is simple common sense.

    You forgot to backup your data when you did a system wipe. Then you forgot to insure that your data was still valid when you canceled your MobileMe subscription. Something went wrong in the sync software on the iPhone and your contacts got lost. Sounds like you made a couple of mistakes there. Why didn’t you backup your drive before doing the wipe? You do backup your system right? If not, you are going to have more trouble in the future–which you will probably also blame on someone else. You should backup your system immediately. Anything else means you haven’t learned a thing.

  12. air phloo Says:

    I faced a similar situation not too long ago but fortunately had another backup. I do think it is a bit unfortunate the way this happens but I am going to have to also argue that Apple’s iPod/iPhone philosophy has typically been that the data on the portable device is never intended to be treated as a primary source or a backup. Rather, it is more like an reflection of what is on your computer. As such, the complaint here is that the author canceled his backup service and then deleted important data on his computer and is then upset that the data isn’t still backed up. I am glad he posted though because people need to learn this lesson if they haven’t. However, I don’t really think Apple needs to change anything here.

  13. Nunuvyer Bizniz Says:

    “This means that if you leave the service for whatever reason, your synced information is as good as gone if you don’t have it locally.”

    Well, Duh!

  14. SkateNY Says:

    @James Bailey: Good post. Exactly what I was straining to say.

    Anything I own — money, data, food, a car — all of it is my responsible in terms of what I do with it and how I manage it, regardless of whether or not I use an external source for storage.

  15. Marc Says:

    They call this the “Apple Tax” in certain parts of Washington.

  16. SkateNY Says:

    I’m not completely certain what an “Apple tax” means. What I do know without ambiguity is that I am the sole person responsible for my actions.

  17. Ed Oswald Says:

    I find it somewhat humorous that people keep coming back to the fact that I didn’t back up. That IS NOT the issue. I’m still waiting for the justification for Apple to delete information after disconnection from MobileMe.

    That is the issue here, not whether you back up or not. There is no good reason for it. Am I dealing with the Apple can do no wrong crowd here? 🙂

    James – Something did not go wrong in the sync. I suggest you check Google. I searched for this issue, it does this by design — it’s not an error. What I am confused about is to why this is done.

    Like I’ve said numerous times here… Mail is understandable. Apple provides you with that service as part of the fee. When you disconnect, Apple has every right to delete your information. However contacts and calendar data is not. They only provide the service, but they do not own that data.

    If you folks who are consistently coming back to the backup issue cannot see that, then it’s worthless arguing with you.

    Again, if Microsoft did something like this, it would be akin to grand larceny in people’s eyes.

  18. sfmitch Says:

    I, too, am sympathetic about the author’s lost data. However, I completely disagree that it is Apples fault.

    SkateNY seemed to lay it the most clearly – backup your own data.

    It seems like everyone has to learn about the importance of backing up the hard way – by losing important data themselves.

    The Mac has several fantastic backup options:

    1. You could do a backup within calendar and contacts and save that data anywhere outside of the computer.

    2. Time Machine is a great backup option.

    3. Cloning software – Carbon Copy Cloner and SuperDuper are both great programs that allow you to make a bit for bit clone of your entire hard drive that is BOOTABLE on any other Mac (Intel clone usable on any Intel based Mac, PowerPC clone usable on any PowerPC based Mac).

    If you are not backing up AND testing your backups then it is only a matter of time until you get burned.

    And specifically about blaming a company once you stop paying for their service – that is completely unreasonable.

    Please people – be responsible for your data – it is yours.

  19. Steven Fisher Says:

    On the contrary, you not backing up is *precisely* the issue. If you don’t back up, your data is not valuable to you. It all relied on the integrity of a single database file. Sure, the procedure you followed killed that file, but so could a hundred other things.

    Next time, be an adult and back up what’s important to you.

  20. Ed Oswald Says:

    So explain to me then Steve why Microsoft’s Live Mesh, also a cloud service, stops syncing but leaves local data intact.

    Yes sir, that IS the issue.

  21. Steven Fisher Says:

    No, it isn’t. Because a hard drive failure would have also destroyed your data. That it has something to do with MobileMe gives you someone else to blame, but it doesn’t change the *fact* that backing up your data would have saved it.

    Man up.

  22. Ed Oswald Says:

    Then we’ll agree to disagree on this.

  23. Some Guy Says:

    If the contacts on the iPod were maintained by a sync to MobileMe, then it makes sense that turning off the sync (or, in your case letting the service expire) would wipe the contacts. In essence, you’re saying you’re no longer interested in that synced data via MobileMe, and that you’re going to use a local iTunes sync (or just not use contacts at all) instead.

    Software developers aren’t mind readers — they try to make the behavior as consistent as possible based on what the service is meant to do. What happened on your iPod makes perfect sense to me — if it behaved like you wished, I can see someone getting pissed that turning off MobileMe *didn’t* wipe their data from the iPod. You just can’t make everyone happy…

  24. Steven Fisher Says:

    Ed: There’s nothing to agree to disagree on here. I’m not saying turning off syncing should have removed your contacts. I’m saying if you had defended against any one of the hundred ways your contacts could have been lost you wouldn’t have lost them.

    By all means, call Apple on deleting the contacts. Maybe they’ll fix it, I hope so. But the fault for losing them is yours because you weren’t technically mature enough to make backups.

    Stop trying to shift blame on this and accept it. Next time it could be something MUCH more significant than your contacts.

  25. sfmitch Says:

    @ Ed

    If blaming someone makes it easier to get through this, then blame away.

    But moving forward – don’t let yourself be a victim. It is your data, you can safely assume that NO ONE will treat it as their own other than, possibly, you.

    Protect yourself – protect your data! Have multiple backups with at least one offsite backup.

  26. Steven Fisher Says:

    Let me add something else. Between the time I posted my first and second comments, the iLife 09 update deleted a bunch of Christmas day videos of my boy’s second Christmas (and the first one he was fully out of blob mode for).

    Unlike your contact list, if it’s lost those videos can never be recovered. I could blame Apple for this, because their iLife updater should be smart enough to not remove video. But it isn’t Apple’s fault, it’s mine, because if the movies are lost it’s that my backups aren’t good enough.

    (I *think* I do have a backup, though, because this happened recently and I’m using Time Machine.)

  27. Bill Wilt Says:

    I have to agree with everyone on this subject, yes he should have had a backup since Time Machine is such a wonderful feature of the Mac OS. That being said I would be upset also if Apple wiped my contacts. If I have 50 contacts in my address book on my computer and iPhone at the time of canceling or not renewing Mobile Me. I would expect those 50 contacts to stay there – on my computer and iPhone (not on Apples server). If I add an additional contact in my computers address book, I would expect it to sync with my iPhone at the next sync. Then if my hard drive crashed, I would expect my next sync with my phone to sync all my contacts back to my freshly installed new hard drive through the little USB cable. It would be rotten if I were to plug-in the USB cable and iTunes says, “Well since you didn’t renew Mobile Me, I’m going to completely wipe your phone.” From what I understand the iPhone should sync address book data with the computer and the phone back and forth without Mobile Me, just that having Mobile Me the sync is almost instant, wireless and automatic. I would expect Apple to wipe my data from their servers although some companies like Blizzard with World of Warcraft keeps the data so if I decide to resubscribe I can start right back where I left off when I canceled my subscription.

  28. Ed Oswald Says:

    Bill, I think you have made my point better than I have. 🙂

  29. SkateNY Says:

    If I cancel my lease with an auto dealership, I don’t get to drive the care again.

    If I cancel my subscription with the New York Times, I don’t get to read that paper without purchasing it on my own, and I’ve no right to expect daily delivery to continue.

    If I cancel my cell phone service, and forfeit the right to have my data available on that cell phone.

    If I divorce my wife, I no longer have whatever benefits by virtue of being married to her may have provided me prior to the divorce.

    It’s about personal responsibility, something that’s sorely lacking in the way many of us live our lives.

    Each of is responsible for making our own bed; and each of us is also responsible for lying in that same bed.

  30. Alan Says:

    Using you analogy, when my lease on my automobile is up, I DO give the car back, but everything I added to the trunk which I PUT THERE, is still mine. It should not go to the dealer with the car.

  31. Ed Oswald Says:

    Skate.. your analogies would work if I was asking for it to still sync with MobileMe. **NO**. I was asking it to sync to my computer instead. MobileMe by design deletes the data. It is THE ONLY cloud service I have seen so far that reacts like this. THE ONLY ONE.

    Others cut the sync, but either leave the data on both sides intact, or deletes the data ON THE SERVER SIDE of the cloud, not on the device side.

    Your opinion frankly has gone from the contrarian point of view to the ridiculous. You cannot obviously justify why a disconnection justifies a data wipe.

  32. SkateNY Says:

    You really need to grow up.

    You have absolutely no capacity to engage in a mature dialogue or engage a rational debate. You have no capacity for insight. You seem to say things that seem to be important, but ultimately don’t mean anything of significance. You have no capacity to understand your own feelings, or to act on them in a way that serves your better interests.

    Several other people here besides myself have told you that you are irresponsible in the extreme in the ways that you manage your life. Yet you continue to argue that it’s someone else’s fault when you fail to take care of yourself. And the very best that you can do in response to those considered replies is to continue whining about your being a victim, that life is unfair, that someone else should have protected you.

    What you do represents the worst among the worst among us who simply neglect taking care of themselves. If you’re in pain because you didn’t take steps to ensure that you wouldn’t be in pain, it’s no one’s fault but your own. But you’ll never hear this, in part, because you seem to so much enjoy being a victim. That’s who you are. That’s what you do. Yes, you’re a victim, and love being a victim.

    You’re very much like my three-year-old who wants what he wants when he wants it. But he’s only three, and that’s the way he’s supposed to be at three. How long do you want to be three years old?

    You need to be spanked. But I’m not going to do that for you, no matter how much you so clearly are begging me and others to do so.

    Put your toys away. Go to bed.

  33. Mike Schroll Says:

    Let’s shift the focus here – I can see this as a failing on Apple’s part – of user education.
    When you cancel MobileMe they should provide reference guides to users on how best to stop using the service and get their data out. So users understand the affects of canceling.

    Had this happened, the op would have deleted his MobileMe sync setting on the iPhone immediately, and switchedover to his iCal copy – how he expected the iPhone itself to work.

    Lack of education here caused no action to be taken until it was too late: after the iCal copy was gone.

    For your future usage may I suggest using nuevasync.com with the iPhone and sync your iCal with google. You now have 3-way sync for free. Finally, do as I do: regularly export all contacts as csv from gmail as your form of backup, in the event a sync hiccup causes you to lose a contact.

  34. Harley Says:

    Most of the comments here missed the whole point. I went through the same scenario as Ed. When I first loaded Mobile Me, I already had over 500 contacts in Outlook synced and stored on my iPhone. When I installed Mobile Me, there were no instructions or advice on the consequences of removing Mobile Me.

    When Mobile Me crashed my Outlook files, I had to purchase software to recover my emails and contacts. It recovered everything but my email addresses and Calendar. It was then I decided to remove Mobile Me and ran into the deletion of my iPhone contacts problem. It is also when I figured out that syncing with the iPhone will only go from Outlook to the iPhone, not the other way. Now I was in a Catch-22: either take what I had in Outlook and move to the iPhone losing my unrecovered email addresses and Calendar or find another way to get the email addresses out of the iPhone. Since I could make the iPhone recover itself from iTunes, I did so and then used ContactSync to get my email addresses to the web and re-loaded into Outlook.

    I started using Mobile Me with 500 contacts and would have expected to get my 500 back upon termination of the software agreement. My backup was in Outlook which Mobile Me had destroyed. Even though I eventually recovered everything (including my Calendar that I manually re-entered), what right did Apple have to destroy that which I already gave it. No other piece of software I have ever purchased, destroyed data files created before the software was installed.

    Ed you are right on, and Apple should be ashamed of the disregard for a user’s data created before the Apple software was installed. I don’t write software that works this way, and Apple should not either.

  35. Paul Britton Says:

    What a bummer, Ed. With Windows Live — forget Live Mesh for a moment since we’re talking about contacts — whether you are a paid subscriber or not…they are YOUR contacts. They show up in Messenger, Hotmail, your Profile, Windows Live Mail, and of course your Windows phone!

    Given that Apple is new to this game…I’ll cut them a bit of slack. Still no solace for you I know. 🙁

  36. Blackhawk Says:

    Ok your analogies are kind of skewed which shows how you’ve interpreted this, for instance;

    “If I cancel my subscription with the New York Times, I don’t get to read that paper without purchasing it on my own, and I’ve no right to expect daily delivery to continue.”

    Well to fit the situation apparently you also give them permission to come into your house and remove any previous editions of that paper that you may still be in possession of.

    “If I cancel my cell phone service, and forfeit the right to have my data available on that cell phone.”

    All my contacts are still on my phone when I cancel my contract and I can still turn on the phone, i just don’t have a phone number therefore no access to a cell network>

    The issue isn’t backing up, it’s where the data is stored if I use outlook to download my email and then my account expires my outlook folder doesn’t disappear.

  37. Leon Says:

    I think Ed, that a bit of intelligence on your part could have saved you some trouble. First of all, the problem here is not with Mobile Me, not at all. They have no right to keep your data once you stop paying for their service. Them problem is with iTunes and iPod / iPhone syncing. iTunes syncs your data with your computer to your iPod, and if it is isn’t on your computer then it is deleted from your iPod. This nothing to do with the cloud service; it’s out of the equation at this point. Now I’m not saying this, is how it should be done, but surely, you must have synced your device with iTunes before, and noticed that this was the case? Unless you have always had your data synced with Mobile Me, in which case I suppose it could make sense that you didn’t understand this, but again, there’s the value of backing up. Anyway, your anger should really be directed at the syncing with iTunes, not at Mobile Me, it left your local data as any other cloud service would have, it’s iTunes which deleted it (which you should have forseen.)

  38. Leon Says:

    Reviewing previous comments, it is clear people are angry at the subscription service. Just to clarify:


  39. Leon Says:

    I particularly like this section, by the way:

    “I knew I forgot to back something up, and that was it. Not to worry, though: I had them on my iPhone 3G, too. I could just merge them back on my first sync with my freshly-wiped and speedier MBP, right?


    I did not renew my service with MobileMe when it expired last December.”

    Ahem, “not to worry, I can just rely on that service I stopped paying for”.

  40. RobInNZ Says:

    When you first sync enable sync with MobileMe (or Exchange), you are effectively disabling the local iTunes sync of Calendars / Contacts etc, and it actually removes all the iTunes synced contacts/calendars off the phone.

    The MobileMe / Exchange sync contacts appear to be stored using a slightly different mechanism, and the sync path of that mechanism is via MobileMe, not iTunes. It appears to be an either / or situation.

    This makes sense as you would otherwise have a synch-loop where no device is the ‘master’. In the case of the MobileMe synching, I think the master is actually MobileMe, not your local computer, and all devices synch to MobileMe. But I suspect your computer is treated as a slightly more senior member than the phone and can store data independent of the MobileMe config.

    The process I would go through to get rid of MobileMe would be (note I havent researched this):
    1. Backup mail / contacts / bookmarks / calendars on local computer
    2. Delete MobileMe account on phone (it will now have NO contacts or calendars etc)
    3. Turn off MobileMe sync on computer
    4. Resync phone using iTunes.

    But yeah, it is kind of disappointing that iTunes cant sync from the iPhone MobileMe account back to the local computer apps in the situation where those are blank.

  41. Josh Says:

    Ed, were your contacts still on your computer after you unsubscribed from MobileMe?

    Forget all the discussion about whether or not you should’ve backed up. Also, for the sake of argument, forget that you wiped your computer and accidentally lost your calendars and contacts.

    Between the time when you unsubscribed from MobileMe and the time you wiped your computer, did you have full access to your data? If you answer “yes,” then I believe you must retract your insinuations that Apple somehow claimed ownership of your data. Clearly, you owned your data because it was still on your computer for you to do with as you pleased.

    Everything that happened after your wipe is irrelevant.

  42. Leon Says:

    I know I keep commenting, but I can’t quite get over how wrong the perspective of this article is. How can you blame Mobile Me at all for this. As far as I can tell, you stopped using the service a month or so before this incident, so let’s just take what happened here and break it down:

    1. You stopped using Mobile Me. Your data was deleted of their servers, and left safely on your computer and iPhone.

    2. At this point Mobile Me has done nothing wrong, it has acted as expected and is now out of the picture, it does nothing at all after this.

    3. Your hard drive crashes. You haven’t backed it up.

    4. Your information is on your iPhone, and no-where else. You mis-understand the meaning of the word “sync”, and sync your iPhone with your computer (which doesn’t have your data on it). All your data is lost.

    First of all, like I’ve said, Mobile Me does nothing unexpected here. You have left the service, and it did nothing to your data, that was iTunes job.

    Secondly, it has come to my attention that it is your inability to understand what “sync” means that has caused this problem. Sync means “to make data the same” or something like that. You were syncing your iPhone WITH YOUR COMPUTER. Not your computer WITH YOUR IPHONE. That’s the distinction to make. You probably could have found a way of extracting the data from your iPhone using an app (In fact I’m almost certain that there are apps that can take your contact list and export it as some sort of file to the internet, where you could have retrieved it.

    Instead you went ahead and clicked the SYNC button, making the data on your iPhone the same as your computer. Surely you had some knowledge of how the syncing process worked? It works this way so when a user deletes a file from his computer (the only place it can be deleted from almost all of the time), it doesn’t just come back if it is on his (or her) iPod/ iPhone. If the data is gone from the computer and you need it, DON’T SYNC. Get it off the iPhone somehow, or at least try. Of course the easiest way (must I re-iterate?) to avoid this is…

    (say it with me everyone…)


  43. Ed Oswald Says:

    Leon – on your comment about reverse sync a few comments back, that is not true. You can send information right back.

    As for the subscription service, nowhere have I ever heard anything about not being able to go back to a standard sync without a wipe by the device. If I didn’t know about it, how in god’s name is the average consumer?

    I’ll say it here, here is not a single reason that the wipe needs to happen to disconnect from MobileMe. None of you who have criticized the post yet have come up with a valid reason for it. I am honestly waiting.

    Say I entered a bunch of information before the sync was broken, and MM ended up never getting them? THIS HAS HAPPENED. MM has hiccuped.

    Again, the wipe is a very dangerous thing. I’m not saying Apple is doing anything nefarious, and I know the Apple community is very sensitive from covering it for the past 3+ years. I’m saying its an oversight, and a potentially troublesome one.

  44. SkateNY Says:

    @Josh: Great post.

  45. Leon Says:

    Wait, I’m confused. Did the iPhone wipe all your data as soon as you disconnected from mobile
    Me, or when you connected to iTunes?

  46. SkateNY Says:

    I’m growing tired of this thread. Whatever we own, however we break or lost it, what every happens to it…each of is responsible for its dispostion. Period.

    Ranting/buying a service that holds my data while I’m signed up with them does not relieve me of the responsibility for backing that data on my own.

  47. Steve Says:

    I think youre crazy your a fucking idiot apple dosent stole your contacts… fucker

  48. ESW Says:

    Okay, I got tired of reading the back and forth comments, but the same wipe happened to me. Yes, I had my contacts/calendar backed up in google and outlook, and I’m pretty sure mobileme said to back them up before cancelling as well. Not the point. While all of my contacts & cal were still on my ipod touch, after I went to remove my me.com email from the list of accounts on my touch that wiped the contacts & calendar. Not a huge pain, but agreeing with Ed, why did it take complete control or ownership over that data when most of it was there before the me.com account was added.
    Said my piece. Peace.

  49. Daniel Says:

    SkatenNY: Let’s imagine for a minute that he backed up his contacts and calendar on a piece of paper, with several copies around.
    Now reread the article. Do you get what he means now? Why in the world should they erase the data from his iPhone ANYWAY? can you understand that? If not, then my apologies, I guess some people just aren’t capable of such mental task.

    If someone needs to grow up, it’s you. If there’s someone who needs to learn to handle their lives, that’s you, as you spend an irrational amount of time typing out arguments to a topic that is not important enough to dedicate time to from your oh-so busy life.

    I think you’re pathetic and need to learn to TOLERATE, and I’m noy coming back to reply to any comment you have to make, so knock yourself out.

  50. Daniel Says:

    Sorry for the misspelling on your username.

  51. Stan Says:

    (copied directly from the MobileMe Terms and Conditions, i left out the part about termination of account by Apple as it didn’t pertain to your situation)

    10. Termination
    Termination by You
    You may terminate your account and/or stop using the Service at any time. To terminate your account contact MobileMe Support at http://www.apple.com/support/mobileme/ww. Any fees paid by you prior to your termination are nonrefundable (except as expressly permitted otherwise by these TOS), including any fees paid in advance for the term during which you terminate. Termination of your account shall not relieve you of any obligation to pay any accrued fees or charges.

    Effects of Termination
    Upon termination of your account you lose all access to the Service and any portions thereof, including, but not limited to, your Member Account (any Sub-accounts thereunder), Subscriber ID, email account, iDisk, domains, iChat account and MobileMe Gallery albums. In addition, Apple shall delete all information and data stored in or as a part of your account(s) including, but not limited to, data files, email, albums and preferences. Any individual components of the Service that you may have used subject to separate software license agreements (e.g. Backup software) will also be terminated in accordance with those license agreements.

    Ed I am in no way saying that what happened didnt suck, but you got to read the fine print when dealing with any company. It states right here that they delete your relevant data upon termination and if you attempted to sync with that account afterwards its essentially like syncing to a blank iTunes library. The earlier description that a sync is basically a photo copy of the data is accurate, and what happens when you copy nothing, you get nothing back. Dude this blows hugely and I sympathize but read the print and sync BEFORE you cancel and dont then try to sync after the fact.

  52. Germantown Says:

    I had the same problem. Quit mobile.me and they pulled my contacts. Yes I had them backed up in itunes and I thought they resided on my sim card. What happened is Apple reached into my itunes and removed all of my backups and left me with my most recent which was devoid of contacts.

    SOLUTION: Reactivate your mobile.me and pay the $99 dollars this will allow you to get your contacts back on the phone. Then (I’ll try this on Monday) go in to the Apple store and ask for your money back.

    Of course you will in the future export your contacts to outlook or google.

  53. Shawn Says:

    Ok Mobile me did just that to me as well. I run a business and have my business work schedule on it as well as my personal schedule. Ok what I have learned. I went to the Genius bar to figure out why my Ical would not sync with Mobile me. After 30 minutes with a girl there that could not figure it out I had to leave for my next appt. While driving to my appt everything was gone. Nothing just gone. Well good for me I just back up my Iphone on Itunes a few days before so not the end of the world. I did a restore from my Macbook Pro wow nothing, No data what so ever. I ran over to the Apple store freaking at this point. I was told that since you have the Cloud (Mobile Me) when you do a back up on Itunes it does not back up this data since it is in the cloud. Well the Genius bar has vaporized my cloud and everything is lost. I personally can not tell you how expensive this has been for me and I am trying to pick up the pieces of my job schedule and contacts. I would sue if there was a way. The manager at the store did give me a brand new time machine but I have lost way more than 500 bucks I am talking thousands due to lost appts and such.

  54. MobileMeUser Says:

    I’ve had issues with mobile me before. Everytime sync changes more than 5% of anything (notes, preferences, etc) it always asks me if I want to make those changes. I have an iphone and 2 macs that sync to mobile me. Sometimes something on one of the machines screws up with syncing and I manually stop syncing to mobile me until I can figure out the problem. I usually end up completely overwriting mobile me with my computer’s info or vice versa.

    It didn’t ask you to make the changes when me.com (which now had nothing) tried to sync to your mac (which had a ton of contact, etc)?

    You should be able to restore your backups with time machine (not that I have had to).

    I believe there are other services (even microsoft-based) that might be able to take the place of mobile me since now apple supports microsoft exchange-type servers.

  55. DT Says:

    The point is this: the contacts on your phone are NOT the back-up. They are the source data…there is absolutely no reason for these to be deleted from the PHONE. No one is arguing that they must retain this data on their servers for posterity…just don’t proactively remove the source data! This is a very simple concept. If Ed had deleted the contacts from his phone due to some error he made, he should not (nor does he, I don’t think) expect to go to the service he cancelled to reinstate this. A user should never anticipate nor have to deal with a service deleting the source data!


    This is a terrible software consequence that really ought to be addressed.

  56. shep Says:

    Can any one help as you all seam to know what you are talking about.

    I just ended a trial subscription with mobile me. However… They seam to have taken my numbers from my phone too! Is this allowed? I also had them backed up to itunes and tried updating it. My numbers are still not on my iphone? Hopefully its just a simple task and i need to tick a box on my itunes? I cant even find a file on computer where itunes siore the numbers? Very confused and need my numbers back soon. HELP! andy

  57. j Says:

    I just had to deal with this as well. Apple hardware is “pretty” and all but they have got their heads so far up there asses on so many simple decisions… it is insane….

  58. steve Says:

    i know this is going back a bit but what planet is skate on? why should i suspect that ending a trial period of mobile me would wipe my contacts even if i had backed up?
    as skate suggests i did back up my contacts on two pc’s, the problem is that they are in the uk and i am in spain for another, week now without any contacts(703)

    the warning when canceling should clearly say

    “back up your contacts before canceling your account as all current data will be lost”

    this is shoddy software and apple should solve the issue, it has been known about for over a year.

  59. Jimmy Says:

    MobileMe couldn’t suck more if it tried. Ridiculous problem. Delete a sync program and you lose the data? wtf? Somebody here tried to blame the OP. They made an analogy to the New York Times. Well guess what? You’re right. If you cancel the paper, you don’t keep getting the paper. BUT, the delivery boy doesn’t come into your house and take the newspapers you already have. Here’s another analogy. When you close your bank account, they don’t get to keep your friggin money. I have no problem with MobileMe deleting the info online. But deleting them off the phone is straight up ridiculous.

    This is an absurd problem with MobileMe and Apple should be ashamed of themselves.

  60. SkateNY Says:

    So much pissing and whining about Apple here.

    One would think that they’re among the top three corporations in market capitalization.

    You people need to get over your anger issues…and fast.

    Nobody cares why you don’t like what Apple does, especially the millions of people worldwide who endorse their products by purchasing them at what you describe as a “rip-off” price.

    Stop wasting your time posting what amounts to personal garbage on this and other Web sites.

    Get a fish tank.

  61. Cameron Says:

    Apple Coolaid drinkers… Guys… you are missing the point… i just found this thread by experiencing the same principle issue with my iPhone. I just removed MobileMe from my iPhone and inadvertently wiped my contacts as well… Ok, well no big right? Just restore from backup! So I did, but now MobileMe is back on my phone and I CANNOT REMOVE MOBILEME without wiping my contacts again! This is idiotic! Why the (dis)service (oxymoron?)? They are essentially acting as the master of our data and not allowing us to decide what we should do with our data once we no longer desire their "service". This is a boneheaded way to provide service… it just happens to put Apple in a HUGE advantage of hooking you back in for more money! MobileME sucks and needs to get a clue on how to treat customers! Ugh! K… got that off my chest!

  62. renee lowery Says:

    Username, Reneelowery. Yahoo is ( rlowery1269@gmail.com)

  63. The Luminary Says:

    There are some problems with MobileMe. I agree that everyone is responsible for their own data, but Apple has no right to delete data off of MY cell phone because I chose to discontinue the use of their MobileMe service. All of my contact/calendar data was generated completely independent of Apple. Canceling MobileMe does not give Apple the right to conduct Thermo Nuclear Warfare on the contact data on my phone or PC. If they delete the data from their own servers, that's fine…..but leave my devices alone! The Apple Bastards!!!

  64. Brian Says:

    I sympathize and understand everyones comments here. I, too, had this issue regarding the deletion of my data from the calendar. I did not expect this to happen as I am not tech/IT savvy. I am just a consumer with little knowledge (I would assume I fall into the majority). Luckily, I have my previous iPhone and will need to manually input important information back into my iPhone 4. I am glad that I was able to learn from all the posts. So, thank you all for this knowledge.

  65. Lisak Says:

    Well they are our contacts, how ever how often do you have a software in which you use for email and then because you do not have the phone that is now associated with it; you lose the email account which you paid $99.00 for. That does not seem right. I did not cancel Mobile me. I did get rid of my I Phone. How does that work. Should I not get money back for my 1 year subscription, since I did pay for a year? I had no Idea that Apple owned Mobile me, thus can cancel my account with out any notice.

  66. beachgal Says:

    wow. i'm a novice computer user and came here looking to see what the ramifications will be if I cancel Mobileme. It's screwing up my outlook for mac and Iphone mail.

    glad I did! i too believe that mobile me is a storage facility but that as long as you still have your address book on your computer all your contacts would be safe. I would never have thought to back up my contacts. I would have just discontinued my mobile me program and assumed everything else would stay as is.

    For normal everyday people like me, this technology is very confusing and when we reach out to the tech community for help, they use tech words when defining the problem/solution which is greek to me. I'm with ED. It's an assumption that we made.

2 Trackbacks For This Post

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