If you have multiple macs (and an iPhone), mobile.me is a must have, of course, but it only syncs so much... basically:

  • Address book
  • Calendar
  • Mail (but I'm using IMAP anyways)
  • Safari bookmarks
  • System preferences

mobile.me does not auto-sync:

  • All kinds of documents
  • Application settings & preferences
  • iPhoto library
  • iTunes library
  • VMware virtual machines
  • Firefox bookmarks

For merging all kinds of bookmarks I use Foxmarks. However for the rest, I'm pretty much down to manual sync every time I leave for a trip where I have to move all mods over to the laptop and then back to the desktop when I get back. When synchronizing the entire home folder there are actually a lot of files that need to be left out or you'll just break apps on the other computer (erase serial numbers, etc.). So it requires a lot of manual supervision.

It feels like an entire wasted day every time. (At least I'm doing some packing/unpacking during large file copies, but still...)

Most sync tools are too stupid to handle exceptions nicely. The only way synching home folders could actually work over time in my opinion would be for the sync toll to start by asking you for each subfolder what should be done: Ignore, Sync, Sync with curent contents, Sync with future contents. Then at each subsequent sync, any new found folder should trigger the question again, unless it was already included in a "Sync with future subfolders" parent.

Some folder would also require a "Sync as a whole" function, where contents from both sides should never end up mixed as a result of a merge (I am thinking about iPhoto here).

Still looking for something smart enough...

Beyond the software issue I think I need to buy a Firewire 800 cable in order to transfer files faster direcly from one mac to another. Believe it or not but file transfers over Gigabit Ethernet remain pathetically slow... like 14 MB/s which is roughly only 0.14 Gigabits/second.

Comments from long ago:

Comment from: sili

I know that this is quite a little outdated. Anyway, I hope you were able to find a good way for syncing your stuff. If not, you could read a short how-to I wrote about my way to deal with syncing my Macs. http://sili.ch/en/article/8/howto_sync_all_your_macs_data/

Hope it helps someone :)

2009-11-14 19-51

Comment from: Jack

I’ve just got a second MacBook Pro, so looking for ways to sync stuff and came across your page from Google.

The programs in sili’s link are very useful. Especially “teleport”, it’s just amazing!

Gonna try fruux now.

Let us know if you’ve found anything else good. I’d like to sync my archive folder I’ve created in my Mail.app.

iPhoto, I don’t really know how to tackle this one, as I think the cloud may not be the way to go as some of your photos you’d want to keep private.

2010-05-17 19-09