Get off of my iCloud

Like several people I know, I have two AppleID accounts for personal use. I have one that I set up back when an iPod was my only Apple gadget and they first opened the iTunes Store. This has all my (large number of) iTunes purchases associated with it. I also have a MobileMe account that I set up a while later when I first bought a Mac, which I now largely use for the me.com email address associated with it. So far this has worked nicely. I log in to the iTunes account for iTunes and to the MobileMe account for email, sync etc.

The age of iCloud is rapidly approaching. We MobileMe users have an easy migration path, and until next summer to migrate. The idea with iCloud is that you need log in to only one service for everything. This makes sense: the idea is that you have everything bound to a single identity. You log in to that and you get all your email, calendar, backups, media, apps etc. Shiny. Except…

The MobileMe-iCloud migration FAQ makes it clear that accounts can’t be merged. This is Apple’s historical policy – whatever opinion one has about it, it’s not unexpected. Generally the opinion one has about it is that it’s somewhat lame, especially when the merging of iTunes and MobileMe is the entire *point* of iCloud (other than gaining distance from the now-embarrassing MobileMe brand and using the word ‘cloud’ in something).

The trick is that they also don’t make it clear whether you can do a ‘manual’ merge. If I close my MobileMe account, I don’t know whether that will make my email address available to attach to my iCloud account. I’ve just spoken to Apple’s MobileMe support and they don’t know either, though iCloud is still in developer beta so it’s likely they just haven’t been given details at the consumer support level yet. I have previously investigated the possibility of moving my iTunes purchases’ “association” to the MobileMe account. Apparently that can’t be done either.

So now it seems that MobileMe users in this situation might end up having to manually switch between accounts depending on whether they want to send email or watch a movie right now, or sacrifice their existing MobileMe address and pick a new one for iCloud. This is really my main concern: I’ve used that address on so many sites I have lost track, so it’s really not feasible to chase them all down and change them. More to the point, I don’t want to and I shouldn’t have to.

My hope is that there’s a gap in my knowledge and some path will be open to merging or migration. It seems a little unfortunate that when Apple are finally starting up an online service that is free and, hopefully, reliable, they are causing more headaches for the people who paid to support its overpriced, unreliable predecessor.