I have a lot of Macs. I have a MacBook Pro that my work gave me, another MacBook Pro that is my personal computer and a 20″ iMac Core 2 Duo that is our family (err, my wife’s) computer. My wife also has a 12″ Powerbook […]

I have a lot of Macs. I have a MacBook Pro that my work gave me, another MacBook Pro that is my personal computer and a 20″ iMac Core 2 Duo that is our family (err, my wife’s) computer. My wife also has a 12″ Powerbook G4 that we use to check email and watch DVD’s when we’re on the road.

I used to find it almost impossible to move between computers with ease… All my passwords, bookmarks, and important files had to be transferred manually (usually on a thumbdrive) each time I worked on a different computer. I’ve found a few resources that help me transition easily between multiple Macs, and synchronize contacts, bookmarks, passwords and appointments and more.

.Mac and iSync

I know a lot of people complain about .Mac and what you get for $99/year. I don’t think an @mac.com email address is worth a Benjamin, but this surely is. You can sync your iCal calendar, Address Book, Mail accounts, Safari bookmarks and Keychains with several Macs, automatically, using .Mac.

Go to System Preferences and click .Mac. If you don’t have a .Mac subscription, sign up for a free trial.

Once you are logged in to .Mac, click the Sync tab. Here you will see the option to automatically sync several services. Just check the services you want to synchronize and you’re done!

.Mac Preferences

Go to another computer and simply log into your .Mac account. Set the second computer to also synchronize to .Mac and all your settings, appointments, passwords and bookmarks will magically download onto the computer. Once you have several computers setup in .Mac preferences, you can manage them by clicking on the Advanced tab.

.Mac Computers

.Mac uses iSync to synchronize the data, and will notify you of any conflicts and let you manually resolve, or resolve all with a single click. Because Apple offers developer tools for iSync, other applications can build in support for Mac to Mac sync. Transmit, a popular FTP client, has built-in support for synchronizing favorites between computers.

Firefox Bookmarks Synchronization

Foxmarks Bookmark SyncI love Safari (especially the new Safari 3 Beta) but I need my Firefox extensions. As a web developer, I just can’t live without my toolbars and extensions, so I use Firefox as my main browser. Getting my hundreds of bookmarks from one computer to another was a hassle until I found Foxmarks Firefox Bookmark Synchronizer.

Just install the add-on, create a username and password and it will upload all your bookmarks to Foxmarks. Do the same on other computers and all your bookmarks will be synchronized automatically.

Del.icio.us Bookmarks Toolbar

If you don’t want to synchronize bookmarks, and need access to them from any computer, install the Del.icio.us Bookmarks extension. It replaces your Firefox bookmarks sidebar with a Del.icio.us bookmark search.

You can go to Del.icio.us from any computer, anywhere and login to search your bookmarks, and have the ability to sync between different Macs. I personally use Del.icio.us Bookmarks toolbar because I occasionally work on a random PC in the office or when I’m out of town and need to look up a bookmark.

Options for Everyone

Whatever you decide, there are synchronization options available so you have your data and settings no matter what computer you are on.

Do you have any tips for synchronizing your data? If so, post them here!

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  1. What we’re talking about it a little password protected space online, something a lot of us already have. Why doesn’t Apple let us use our own password protected sites to store this information? Why should we have to pay this .Mac tax for what should be a free-to-all feature?

    Alternatively, someone could come up with a way to tweak iSync to give us this ability.

  2. halfeatenfish Wednesday, June 27, 2007

    Chronosync.. it can be tricky with dynamic IP addresses, but its workable… certainly with static IPs

  3. My issue around having two Macs (12″ Powerbook & 20″ G5 iMac) is that the Powerbook will not receive all of the emails that the iMac will.
    I have identical mailboxes and rules, yet some will go to the Powerbook and others won’t.
    I find myself trudging to the iMac when I hear designated mailbox sounds because I know that it won’t kick over to the Powerbook.
    I’ve done all of the above in Snyc and System Preferences – still doesn’t happen.

  4. hello from France,
    I’m freelancer graphic designer. Between an imac (work) and a macbook (home), i use Synk Pro with an 2″1/2 firewire external HD, excluding some folders/files (like the work files, p2p settings & files, etc.). Works like a charm.

  5. Google browser sync is also out there. Not too shabby on Mac yet, tho.

  6. I’m using rsync+ssh to commit my data to my server everytime i switch from my mac mini to my powerbook or vice versa and then I check it out again on the other machine. Works pretty well for me, except the fact that it is not really syncing since you always have to remember if you have to check in or out now and merging of data also isn’t possible.

  7. I have a .mac account and I sync three macs with this. Usually works okay, but I´m annoyed with some of the bugs that occur. Sometimes events in my calender shifts a few days forward, or my contacts lose their picture. Stuff like that. I find that I can´t trust it completely. I want to study it´s habits and find out why these bugs are happening.

  8. I use quicksilver and the delicious plugin so they go with me no matter which browser I’m using.

  9. I don’t sync my mail, so I don’t have a lot of experience with those issues. I primarily sync my calendar and address book through .Mac and sync my bookmarks through Del.icio.us Bookmarks. I find it works extremely well for me.

  10. I don’t think .Mac is worth the price of admission in its currently buggy and feature lacking state. With Gmail (or any online email), Google Calendar (or 30Boxes, etc), Google Docs, Google Reader, and Google Browser Sync all being free, and with Google Gears (allows you to save info locally, aka backup), I don’t need .Mac. Add to the mix programs from 37Signals, del.icio.us, etc… and you’re set.

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