MobileMe Free Trials Could Lose Your Precious Files

The MobileMe trial began to seem like it was going to go on forever, since Apple kept tacking on more time to make up for having released a half-baked service to begin with. Sadly, not so. My own trial term recently came to an end, but by the time it did, I’d become fairly dependent on the service, so I quietly acquiesced while Apple charged my credit card for the full subscription.

Some others did not go so quietly, and promptly canceled their account rather than be caught paying. The result? All of their data not only no longer synced, it no longer existed. Part of the downfall of storing info in the cloud is that when you stop paying for said cloud, it has a very short memory. What had happened was that users who’d forgotten to disable sync in their devices’ settings had indeed synced. With their information gone from the MobileMe servers, what replaced it was blank information. Long story short, sync with nothing and you end up with nothing.

It looks like the only way to recover the data is to pay for a full year’s subscription, and then cancel said subscription. Alternatively, you can just remember to turn off MobileMe syncing before canceling your account, if you haven’t already done so.

I’m conflicted as to who’s to blame here, but I’d say Apple should probably have made people more aware that this sort of thing might happen if they didn’t continue their MobileMe subscription or at least disabled the ability to sync to the account. A perfect time to do so would’ve been in those reminder emails they send out shortly before your trial subscription runs out. As a cautionary tale, the whole mess is a good reminder that the cloud is not yet the be all and end all of computing.