Syncing with multiple Macs

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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