I am afraid that the switch to iCloud will make life very complicated, particularly for Snow Leopard users like myself. I am also afraid that Apple will make life generally more complicated.

So I am wondering if I can theoretically switch to another provide for synced email configurations, address book data and calendars.

I don't mind paying for those services, I just need my address book, emails and calendars to be the same between my devices, ideally between Mac OS X and iOS and everything else (Linux, Windows, Solaris etc.).

Any ideas?


Googles Services


  • (Push) Email using the IMAP protocol

    • Push is not default. You have to set it up manually.
  • bi-directional contacts sync (Exchange supported)

    • If you do not sync contacts using the exchange protocol, you only sync via iTunes.
  • bi-directional calendars sync

    • I don't have good experiences with the bi-directional sync using the iOS calendar app. Luckily, there are plenty of third-party apps available which offer a tight integration of Google Calender.
      CCal has been quite an enhancement to my Google experience.


iCal, Address Book and Mail allow to integrate sync with Google's services in Preferences → Accounts.

Google Services on other platforms

Google's Services are more widely available than anything else I know. It allows to keep contacts/calendars/email in sync on OSX, iOS, Android and Linux. In Ubuntu I use Google's Services in Thunderbird and Google Calendar/Contacts extensions.

  • Please take my answer with caution. I've used Google's Services on iOS for over a year. But I've recently moved to Android. Some little setup details might have changed. – gentmatt Mar 5 '12 at 8:12
  • Ta. I'll have a look at this. Is Apple's iOS calendar not configurable? How do I "sync contacts using the exchange protocol"? – Andrew J. Brehm Mar 5 '12 at 8:52
  • I've had plenty of troubles with getting created events on the iPhone to sync with the cloud. But more than that the iOS calendar was missing week view and the ability to show "connected events" (events that last for several days). – gentmatt Mar 5 '12 at 9:06
  • You set up contacts sync via exchange by choosing Exchange instead of Gmail for your accounts. Once you've setup your exchange account, you can choose to sync email and contacts. – gentmatt Mar 5 '12 at 9:10
  • Sorry. I am confused. Choosing Exchange instead of Gmail where? – Andrew J. Brehm Mar 5 '12 at 10:38

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