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What do I need for iCloud on a Mac?

For any questions not answered here that require direct feedback from Apple iCloud support, please submit your inquiries to:


As iCloud has progressed, some of the links below were removed from the knowledgebase.    If you find one that has, ask on the forum for iCloud

what user's experience has been.


Note to transition to Lion you still have to backup your data, but at least you now won't have to pay double for your upgrade to Lion,

as long as you have the bandwidth.  Additionally, upgrading to Lion, Mountain Lion, and Mavericks (10.7 or later) will affect your compatibility of many applications:



Note that June 12, 2012, and June 30, 2012 several services were be shut down, and read carefully in the link above which of these may affect you.


Certain iLife applications work best with Lion according to


Apple explains how iWeb websites will be impacted in this article:

iWeb has never been completely compatible with all web browsers. offers tips on making your website more compatible. offers numerous tools to make it more compatible, including the free Textwrangler.  Any web software development engine that at least lets you save as pure HTML without forcing code into your website will do the same thing.


Apple's transition to iCloud from Mobileme is outlined in this article: - note this link is an old archived version from the Wayback Engine that should help those

wondering how things changed.


Which also explains the full assortment of system requirements for iCloud.  What you can see is at least Safari 5, which is available for Mac OS X 10.5 can access some iCloud features.  For a complete listing of what's supported and what is not in pre-Mac OS X 10.7.2, see:


Note: sadly at last look this article has been taken off the web by Apple.  Please send Apple feedback to get it back up.


For migration tips from MobileMe, see:


For full iCloud support virtualization of Windows 7 or Vista is an alternative that some may wish to consider if one wishes to maintain PowerPC application compatibility that does not exist in Mac OS X 10.7. Note, you will have to choose a 32bit incarnation of either version of Windows unless your Core2Duo is also amongst the 64bit supporting Windows on this article:


Also if one has an Intel Core Solo or Intel CoreDuo, or a Core2Duo with under 2 GB of RAM, installing virtualization may be your only solution to use certain iCloud features since Lion won't install on anything less than a Core2Duo with 2 GB of RAM.  PowerPC Macs won't install either Vista or Windows 7 on virtualization since they are too slow.  Third party alternatives exist for them like Chronosync and numerous webhosts, including possibly your own internet provider if you wish to sync across the internet.   Those upgrading to 10.7.2 for iCloud full support, should read this tip first:


Lion upgrade questions


Strictly speaking iCloud is not compatible with earlier operating systems, but it's possible to migrate and set Mail up in them.


You can migrate from MobileMe to iCloud at even with earlier systems: when asked to confirm that your Mac is running Lion just lie and say 'yes'. Of course you won't be able to access iCloud directly from your Mac.


If you have MobileMe mail set up to collect mail from external POP accounts you should cancel this before migrating, or you may find it still working in iCloud (where it isn't supposed to) and with no way of stopping it.


This will be the situation with Snow Leopard when you have migrated:


  • Your email, calendars, and 'Find my iPhone' will be migrated to iCloud. Contacts and Bookmarks cannot be migrated from a Snow Leopard Mac.
  • Your iDisk, together with website hosting and Gallery, will continue to work as before until next June.
  • Syncing of Dashboard Widgets, Dock Items and Keychains between Macs, and Mail Accounts, Mail Rules, System Preferences, Signatures & Smart Mailboxes between Macs & iOS devices, will cease altogether.
  • You will be able to access email and calendars on the iCloud website at provided your browser is reasonably up-to-date.
  • You will not be able to sync contacts or bookmarks from a pre-Lion Mac.
  • You will be able to enter the server settings for email manually in the Mail application and access your email.
  • You will not be able to sync your calendars directly.
  • Some people have been able to set up calendar syncing by using the method detailed here - this is an unsupported hack and may not be reliable, and may stop working at some future point.
  • There appears to be no method of syncing contacts (though Address Book on a Mac can be synced with Google or Yahoo address books - I don't know how reliable this is).


It's also possible to set Mail up manually on Leopard and Tiger but it's not possible to sync Calendars or any other data with iCloud using them.


There are a couple of third-party solutions which may be of interest.

  • BusyCal is an iCal-like calendar application with extra facilities: it can sync with the iCloud Calendar while running on Leopard, Snow Leopard or Lion. A single user licence (two machines allowed) is $49.99.  I've been made aware the latest version of BusyCal does not support anything earlier than 10.7.2.  I would contact the author to determine if you can still use an older version without their support or not.


  • Soho Organizer can sync Calendars and Contacts with iCloud on Leopard, Snow Leopard and Lion. A single user licence (multiple machines allowed) is $99.99.



I strongly recommend if you feel iCloud needs further support to post to:

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