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Increase frequency of Mac to MobilMe/iPhone synch System
Feeling conned by the promised "push" technology of MobileMe, specifically when making changes on your Mac, only to find out that it will not push, but instead, sync at 15-minute (60 minutes in 10.4.11) intervals? I found the .plist file that controls the "Automatic" sync interval for MobileMe, and changed it from 15 minutes to 1 minute. The file is located in ~/Library » Preferences » ByHost » com.apple.DotMacSync.your_MAC_address.plist.

Open this file in Property List Editor, find the AutoSyncInterval key, and then set it to the number of minutes after which you want it to sync with the server. I have it set to 1 right now, and it syncs every minute which is good enough for me at the moment. Hopefully this will be of value to anyone who needs something more immediate than a 15-minute sync, and doesn't want to bother with Manual sync.

[robg adds: I was disappointed to read that the 15-minute sync from a Mac to MobileMe/iPhone is a feature, not a bug. This hint seems to work well to create much more of a true push from your local Mac to the cloud; I tested it with both 1-minute and 5-minute settings, and it seemed to work just fine, and my setting survived even after opening and working with the MobileMe System Preferences panel. Obviously, though, if you use the Synchronize pop-up to change the sync interval, your settings will be overridden.]
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Increase frequency of Mac to MobilMe/iPhone synch | 30 comments | Create New Account
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Is this a good idea ?
Authored by: deasmi on Jul 14, '08 08:28:15AM

Given the problems Apple have been having with the MobileMe service and it's current slowness perhaps this isn't such a great idea ?

This will put 15 times the load of a normal user on the MobileMe servers for everyone that does it, that racks up pretty quick.

If not for Apple then for all the other poor users of MobileMe it might be better to wait for a more permanent solution to turn up.



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Is this a good idea ?
Authored by: marook on Jul 14, '08 08:31:37AM

But then Apple should have used true Push events, and only sync when there was something to sync, not every 15 min.
I think they deserve this...

Same as: Why go through all the trouble of adding Exchange support, when the calendar (in iOS 2.0) does not even support their OWN iCal Server.. Shame on them!

---
/Marook



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Increase frequency of Mac to MobilMe/iPhone synch
Authored by: ehouwink on Jul 14, '08 08:55:30AM
The elegance of push technology is that it takes just a few packets to update the status. So, if the average user in a population of millions, triggers more than 1 change in 15 minutes in due course (which I doubt) only that would worsely affect the overall load. Apple clearly departs from the strategy that it advertised and should come up with a couple of very good reasons to do so.

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Increase frequency of Mac to MobilMe/iPhone synch
Authored by: billdill on Jul 14, '08 09:14:59AM

With the risk of generating the typical internet frenzied hostility, I have to say that I don't understand the anger over the push feature of MobileMe. If you want push, it's simply a matter of going to the MobileMe web apps and making changes there. How critical are the speed of changes to my address book and bookmarks anyway? The whole thing is brand new. Yep, it's a sluggish right now. My guess is that it takes time to optimize such a thing. Activesync and Exchange have been around for a long time now. I have them at work. Yes it's true push but it's typical Microsoft, clunky and aesthetically just dumb. Apple's work is always elegant and a pleasure to use. How about we cut them a little slack?

Let the flaming begin...



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Increase frequency of Mac to MobilMe/iPhone synch
Authored by: hembeck on Jul 14, '08 09:51:55AM

Maybe I missed something . . . Since the new "push" features were announced, I had the impression that the pushing was really geared towards the iPhone and MobileMe website, not towards the desktop. I got the impression that the desktop would have to go through the normal sync process for calendar and contacts entries, and email would have to do a call out to the server. I guess I rightly underestimated the new feature set.

---
--Health, Wealth and Happiness--



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Increase frequency of Mac to MobilMe/iPhone synch
Authored by: lardawge on Jul 14, '08 11:04:14AM

Although I tend to lean toward cutting slack. Apple needs to have a wake-up call or there end user will ultimately suffer by them continuing lying to us. They advertised the service to work a certain way (maybe something they weren't able to do or just didn't have time to do) and then making money off that. Any way you slice it it's miss advertisement. So either we rally for a class action or we fight back and "entice" them to rethink by loading up there servers. I like the last option better. My three computers are connecting away!

On a footnote, Would love to hear the reason in a statement from apple as to why mobileme was launched this way when clearly they know how to make it work given the iphone does it.



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Increase frequency of Mac to MobilMe/iPhone synch
Authored by: jpiccolo on Jul 14, '08 09:27:28AM
For those who don't have Property List Editor to make this change (I believe it's only installed if you install the Developer Kit), I found a nifty little utility which I actually used to make my changes called Pref Setter <http://www.nightproductions.net/prefsetter.html>;. Good luck and happy "pushing." :)

---
Jonathan Piccolo
Apple-Certified Consultant
MacWizard, Inc.
http://www.callthemacwizard.com/

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Increase frequency of Mac to MobilMe/iPhone synch
Authored by: landi on Jul 14, '08 09:32:33AM

Yeah sure... Hey - why don't you set up to sync every 0.1 second ? Why apple doesn't support that ? I want my iphone/mac to be synchronized continuosly...

This kind of crap I hear every time. I work in organization with 40K+ employees and if everyone would like to set up synchronization every 1 minute it would generate 40K+ TCP connections + mobile devices + other servers + outgoing connections.. Do you guys don't understand that the technology is limited ?

Probably in most circumstances you'll get overlapping connections as default TCP timeout is 60 sec.

And don't tell me you live so fast you can't be out of sync for 10 min.



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Increase frequency of Mac to MobilMe/iPhone synch
Authored by: Bodoggy on Jul 14, '08 09:48:55AM

heh, my thoughts exactly.



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Increase frequency of Mac to MobilMe/iPhone synch
Authored by: hembeck on Jul 14, '08 09:56:15AM

I agree. . .This "limitation" of pushing out to the cloud seems to be by design, to limit the impact on the servers. It makes sense that changes made in the cloud environment i.e. on your iPhone or MobileMe website, would trigger the "push" to other devices.

---
--Health, Wealth and Happiness--



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Increase frequency of Mac to MobilMe/iPhone synch
Authored by: lardawge on Jul 14, '08 11:12:54AM

There is no reason they couldn't have implemented whatever push they have going on the phone into the desktop meaning no server load unless needed... which is what I paid for.

Reason it's necessary is what if I am going out quickly, make a change on my mac to my calendar with directions to where I am going. I then get ready to leave and sleep my computer. Well the update didn't fall into that 15 min window and maybe I didn't check. I'm screwed.

Point is quit living in such a small world. I get you are an IT guru and know how it should be and why it isn't. Please don't make decisions as to why I do or don't need a feature to work correctly and as expected.



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Increase frequency of Mac to MobilMe/iPhone synch
Authored by: jpiccolo on Jul 14, '08 11:28:49AM

Your scenario is exactly why I looked into making the sync time faster. I am often on the phone making notes, appointments, changing contact info and then within minutes am out the door and back into my car off to see another client. When I'm on the road the information I usually need right away is usually the most recently added (client phone numbers, appointments with pertinent notes added to them, etc). Before MobileMe I would have to sync my phone (via USB) one last time which is painful to wait for or just not practical and often times not done at all because of it. To all the "haters," nobody said you have to change your sync time so if you don't like it, don't do it. Furthermore, it doesn't have to be set to 1 minute - even 10 or 5 minutes is better than 15.

---
Jonathan Piccolo
Apple-Certified Consultant
MacWizard, Inc.



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Increase frequency of Mac to MobilMe/iPhone synch
Authored by: lardawge on Jul 14, '08 12:03:59PM

Well I am ecstatic with this hint and appreciate you doing the work and then posting it.



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Increase frequency of Mac to MobilMe/iPhone synch
Authored by: landi on Jul 14, '08 02:52:50PM

Improving the syn to make it faster - I agree in 100% - but again syncing every 1 minute is not going to solve the problem.
I can hardly call myself as 'network guru' as you named it, but only what I'm saying is that technology is limited and doing against it won't save you nor improve the performance of syncing.
More likely sooner or later you'll find yourself not being able to sync at all due to all users setting up sync every 1 min... so encouraging it is not a solution to the bigger problem.

Why not going for a healthier solution to all - if you are worried about missing some events you've just entered - just sync before you leave.



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Interesting side-effects
Authored by: ratzfatz on Jul 14, '08 10:23:09AM
For those of you interested into what happens during these "pushes" I have upladed two pictures, showing server load and network traffic of my Leopard Server with ONLY ONE (1) client connected to the home directory located on the server, iDisk is unmounted all the time! The client is part of a group which I configured in my .mac family account. I discovered these "peaks" for the first time around 3 weeks ago. The pictures can be seen here:

http://www.wir-in-neersen.de/pics/1.jpg
http://www.wir-in-neersen.de/pics/2.jpg

Server Hardware is a 2008 iMac 20" with 4GB RAM. The WAN connection is done over DSL 16,000.

I wonder what happens with 20 users connected to the server, all setup for a 1 minute "push" interval. What do you think?

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Increase frequency of Mac to MobilMe/iPhone synch
Authored by: visionaut on Jul 14, '08 11:57:56AM

Well I guess I don't see a problem if folks want to increase their Mac/PC to 'cloud' sync frequency. Hopefully it only is doing any 'real work' besides a check, if something's actually changed. A better solution might be a 'sync now' button for situations when you gotta run, and need you last/latest changes synced before you run - rather than have a constant smaller sync interval.

I have to take issue with those saying Apple advertised the Mac/PC connection to the cloud as 'push' versus 'sync' though. I think they made it clear it's still interval-based 'syncing' for Macs/PCs, and isn't continuous. Here's info right from the MobileMe website:

"MobileMe stores all your email, contacts, and calendars in the cloud and keeps them in sync across your iPhone, iPod touch, Mac, and PC. When you make a change in one place, MobileMe pushes the new information up to the cloud, then pushes the change down to your other devices. Choose a sync interval for your Mac or PC. On your iPhone and the web, sync happens continuously."



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Increase frequency of Mac to MobilMe/iPhone synch
Authored by: jwbales on Jul 14, '08 05:13:08PM

There already is a sync now "button".

Open the MobileMe Preference Pane, click the Sync tab and check the Show Status in menu bar option at the bottom.

When you make updates on your Mac and desire an immediate sync simply click the Sync Icon in the menu and choose Sync Now.

As for those crying foul. Apple's advertising was very clear, as was noted above, that Push was from the cloud, ie. MobleMe and iPhone and that syncing was still to be used from your Mac or PC. I have no doubt that push will become available in the future for all devices. For now, just enjoy the new functionality and let Apple know your preference for 100% push in the future.

---
--
John

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Increase frequency of Mac to MobilMe/iPhone synch
Authored by: hamm on Jul 15, '08 09:11:00PM

visionaut,

Looks like apple was successful with their deviousness. They changed what they had written on the MobileMe website just recently. Check out this link to see:

http://att.macrumors.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=124482&d=1216022123



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Increase frequency of Mac to MobilMe/iPhone synch
Authored by: nematodirus on Jul 14, '08 12:27:05PM

Sorry, but this doesn't seem to work for me.

Checking dotmacsync.log in Console shows that the Sync interval remains at 15 minutes regardless of the interval set using this hint. Any idea what I might be doing wrong ?



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Increase frequency of Mac to MobilMe/iPhone synch
Authored by: nematodirus on Jul 14, '08 12:53:09PM

OK, that's weird.....after about an hour, the iMac has started to Sync every 5 minutes as per the plist setting. Why should it take that long for the setting to "take" ?

Bottom line: this works. Although as others have commented, it is probably not good for the MobileMe servers to have everyone Syncing this frequently. Now I have proved to myself that it works, I may just switch back to 15 minutes.



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Increase frequency of Mac to MobilMe/iPhone synch
Authored by: jpiccolo on Jul 14, '08 12:55:49PM

It might not have loaded the new setting in until it ran the sync again. I had opened and closed the MobileMe prefs pane after making the change so that it would load the new setting. I think also performing a manual sync at that point would also obtain the same result.

---
Jonathan Piccolo
Apple-Certified Consultant
MacWizard, Inc.



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Typo in title
Authored by: mkoistinen on Jul 14, '08 01:46:34PM

Sorry to be pedantic, but for future searchability, it would be best to fix the name of MobileMe to be spelt correctly.



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Increase frequency of Mac to MobilMe/iPhone synch
Authored by: osxpounder on Jul 14, '08 02:03:10PM

I'm feeling conned by the Apple dotMac/Me service, overall, now that you mention it. It has seldom worked properly for me. It took many months to get my iCal calendars to sync, and Apple offers no help beyond a very long list of troubleshooting steps, some of which take a lot of effort, none of which helped. I was about to let it lapse when it started syncing, so I foolishly kept it.

Now it's not syncing again. One of my Macs even keeps insisting that I'm using the wrong password (I'm not; it's sitting right next to a Mac where I logged in successfully).

So, yeah, I'm feeling conned, esp. about the "not getting help with making its basic services work properly" part. I would only recommend it to users who want to risk the chance of it not working and wasting the $ fee. If you're OK with that risk, go ahead. If not, consider shopping elsewhere. I'm about fed up with it.



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Which part of "Sync is not equal to push" do you not get?
Authored by: rcfa on Jul 14, '08 02:14:14PM

Increasing the sync interval is not the same as using push. It puts a ridiculous load on the server, particularly if many people do the same.
Push requests send specific items of data after a change, syncing compares with more or less smart algorithms, two databases and tries to bring them to match, which requires significantly more resources and time to do.

Also, when the sync is over, it doesn't mean the server is done, often the chances are committed to the database after the sync connection is separated. Nevermind TCP connection time outs. So you are likely to have overlapping syncs both in terms of database operations and TCP connections.

Further, if you have multiple computers, the chance that they lock each other out increases, because only one computer can sync at any given time.

15 minutes in the past was often to close with four computers sharing the same info, because by the time computer one tried the next sync, computer 3 or 4 weren't done yet syncing the previous iteration.

The result were sync errors, and inconsistent data sets.

IMO, sync more than once per hour, when more than one, maybe two, computers are involved, is too often. 15 min works well with one computer, and the rest being push devices (web, iPhone, etc.)

The problem is, that we don't have push on the desktop yet, but increasing sync intervals is just asking for trouble.



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Which part of "Sync is not equal to push" do you not get?
Authored by: dan55304 on Jul 15, '08 06:54:03AM

Fortunately, the original poster referred to the hint as increasing sync frequency, not push frequency. That said, increasing full sync to every minute is nuts. Mine would be running all the time as it takes more than 1 minute to complete.



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Increase frequency of Mac to MobilMe/iPhone synch
Authored by: NeilM on Jul 15, '08 09:28:44AM

Just to clarify, by "increasing sync intervals is just asking for trouble," what is really meant is presumably "decreasing sync intervals is just asking for trouble."



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Increase frequency of Mac to MobilMe/iPhone synch
Authored by: mcutter on Jul 15, '08 10:01:39AM

It is a virtual certainty that setting the synch interval will cause severe problems on some networks--and I don't mean "it will clog up your network" (although it probably will, if you have hundreds of users), I mean "you risk rendering your Mac Mail client (and perhaps your connection to the internet) virtually useless".

Rather than trying to explain the technical reason why I'm concerned I suggest you try composing an email while online at a Starbucks with the synch interval set to a minute. If you see seriously erratic behaviour like sluggish response to the keyboard, edits failing to take, or inability to send mail... you have probably caused the problem by setting the synch interval crazy-low in your effort to simulate the "push" that many of us thought Apple had promised us in exchange for enduring the silly "MobileMe" name.

(And BTW, please view the WWDC before you quote the current verbiage on the MobileMe web pages--like many others, I came away from WWDC with the strong impression that we were getting push for our desktop apps.)



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Increase frequency of Mac to MobilMe/iPhone synch
Authored by: ZenJD on Jul 29, '08 12:52:16PM

PUSH is the key word. Watching WWDC is what got me to finally get an iPhone as it had everything I was looking for (except the 60GB capacity). The demonstrations was seeing a push both from and to exchange is great. MobileMe was supposed to do the same for .mac users.

Pushing is much more desirable than sync.



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Increase frequency of Mac to MobilMe/iPhone synch
Authored by: hamm on Jul 15, '08 09:12:55PM

Looks like apple successfully duped some of you. They changed what they had written on the MobileMe website just recently. Check out this link to see:

http://att.macrumors.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=124482&d=1216022123



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Increase frequency of Mac to MobilMe/iPhone synch
Authored by: Shimokitakid on Nov 19, '08 08:45:29PM

I can't find the file path explained in the original hint:

~/Library » Preferences » ByHost » com.apple.DotMacSync.your_MAC_address.plist.

I need to up the push frequency to test an IM solution I'm developing.

I'm using a jailbroken 1st gen iphone 2.1

Any ideas on where this cursed file resides?



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