info : get iCloud on the officially unsupported OSX Snow Leopard

Question :

I have a perfectly running ‘early’ Intel-Mac, that only has a Core Duo processor, not a Core 2 Duo (or newer), so I can’t upgrade to OSX 10.7 “Lion”. I’m ‘happily stuck’ with OSX 10.6 “Snow Leopard”. But… as MobileMe services are permanently stopping within a week, and I don’t have the budget to buy a new Mac I can’t upgrade to iCloud : What can I do ?

Answer :

————- UPDATE ————-

YES ! MacOSX 10.6 Snow Leopard can sync to iCloud

detailed instructions on how to set it up can be found in my other post here :

fixed : get iCloud on the officially unsupported OSX Snow Leopard – sync works !

————- ORIGINAL ANSWER ————-

For people like you, Apple was rumored to implement iCloud compatibility in OSX 10.6.9 about a year ago… but to this date, OSX 10.6.8 is still the newest version of OSX 10.6 “Snow Leopard”…

Based on my good experience with getting iCloud syncing running on the officially unsupported iPhone 3G, one would expect to be able to get a similar solution running on OSX 10.6 “Snow Leopard” also…

…that turns out to be a little more complicated though… OSX 10.6 “Snow Leopard” was the first version of OSX that had CalDAV and CardDAV syncing built in (both needed for iCloud syncing), but the implementation is not as smooth as in OSX 10.7 “Lion”… [ note : OSX 10.5 “Leopard” could only import CalDAV and CardDAV data, there was no syncing ]

But I’ve done som research and I think I’m very, very close to the solution now… [ the only problem is I don’t own a Core Duo Mac myself anymore, so I’m a little crippled regarding testing… ] Some people report being successful using the method outlined below, others – like me – are close, but don’t have things running yet…

Try this method, and please report back on your findings, so we can work out a solution that works for everybody :

–1– find your iCloud Server-number and your 9-digit iCloud Account-code :

How to find your iCloud server and 9-digit iCloud user code :

– on your Mac, go to http://www.icloud.com
– login using your AppleID e-mail address and AppleID password
– click on Calendar
– the online calendar layout now opens
– now go to Window (in the upper menu bar) –> Activity
– in Activity window that opens you’ll find the text “iCloud Calendar” in bold letters, just below it, you’ll find 3 lines that look like this :

http://icloud.com
https://p0X-contacts.icloud.com/123456789/wcs/xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
https://p0X-contactws.icloud.com/co/mecard/?dsid=123456789&id=yyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy

– remember that p0X-prefix and the 123456789-code ! you are going to need those in the following steps !

(the p0X-prefix is your iCloud Server-number, and the 123456789-code is your 9-digit iCloud Account-code)

–2– Repair Disk Permissions

– open Programs –> Utilities –> Disk Utility

– select your internal hard drive’s main partition (the one you have MacOSX running on) form the list on the left

– select the ‘First Aid’-tab

– click on “Repair Disk Permissions”

…and wait for it to finish

–3– turn on iCloud Calendar syncing :

– open iCal on your Mac

– go to iCal –> Preferences

– in the window that opens, click on the ‘Accounts’-tab

– click on the ‘+’-button

– in the ‘Add Account’-window that opens, select “Account Type: CalDAV”

– at ‘E-mail address:’ type your AppleID-account’s login eMail address

– at ‘Password:’ type your AppleID password

– at ‘Server address:’ type “p0X-caldav.icloud.com”

(in which the p0X-prefix should correspond with the p0X-prefix you’ve found in step 1)

– then click the ‘Create’-button

– the iCloud CalDAV account you’ve just created will now be listed on the left

– in the ‘Account info’-tab, at ‘Description:’ type “iCloud Calendar sync”

– at ‘Calendar synchronization:’ select “Every minute” (or any other option, but do not select “Push”) [ I’m not certain on this one… but it’s my best guess for now… ]

– leave the rest as it is set automatically

– then select the ‘Server settings’-tab, make sure that ‘Use SSL’ is checked

– leave the ‘Port:’ setting empty (it will display “Automatic” in grey) ; if that doesn’t work you might try setting it to “443”

– put a check mark in front of “Use SSL”

– do NOT put a check mark in front of “Use Kerberos” [ I’m not certain on this one… but it’s my best guess for now… ]

– note : the 9-digit number from the Server Path is your 9-digit iCloud Account code ! 

– exit the iCal Preferences by clicking on the little red button in the upper left corner

–4– prepare Address Book and iCloud Contacts for syncing :

– open Address Book on your Mac

– IMPORTANT : now delete any profile pictures from ALL your contacts, as these will create unwanted duplicates when syncing [ that’s right… everything comes with a price… ] and remember to never use new profile pictures until you stop using MacOSX 10.6 ‘Snow Leopard’

– now drag the group (from the list on the left) called “All contacts” (might also be called “On My Mac”) to the desktop of your Mac to create a backup called “All contacts.vcf”

– go online to http://www.icloud.com

– login using your AppleID and password

– then select “Contacts”

– then select all contacts by selecting just one and then pressing the [CMD] + [A] keys on your keyboard at the same time

– then click on the ‘gearing wheel’-icon (a.k.a. ‘sprocket’-icon) in the lower left corner and choose “Delete” from the popup list

– in the ‘Are You sure?’-window that opens, click on “Delete”

– now your iCloud contacts list will be completely empty

– click on the ‘gearing wheel’-icon (a.k.a. ‘sprocket’-icon) in the lower left corner and choose “Import vCard…”

– in the pulldown window that opens, got to your Desktop folder to select the “All contacts.vcf” file you have previously created, and click “Select”

– then wait for all contacts to import…

– when it all imported, select the iCloud button in the upper left corner to return to the main iCloud page and click ‘Log out” in the upper right corner

– then on your Mac, go to Address Book

– select on of your contacts and then press the [CMD] + [A] keys on your keyboard at the same time to select them all

– then press the ‘backspace’-key (a.k.a. ‘backwards delete’) on your keyboard and click on “Delete” to confirm deletion of all your contact

– now your contacts list will be completely empty

REMEMBER : do not add any profile pictures ever again to any of your contacts !

–5– turn on iCloud Contacts syncing :

– then on your Mac, go to Address Book –> Preferences

– in the window that opens, click on the ‘Accounts’-tab

– click on the ‘+’-button

– in the ‘Add Account’-window that opens, select “Account Type: CardDAV”

– at ‘User Name:’ type your AppleID-account’s login eMail address

– at ‘Password:’ type your AppleID-account’s password

– at ‘Server address:’ type “p0X-contacts.icloud.com” (with p0X according to your previously found iCloud server prefix)

– click “Create”

– despite the warning that the account settings couldn’t be fetched, click on “Create” again

– then quit Address Book immediately, by pressing the small red button in the upper left corner, and clicking on Address Book –> Quit Address Book from the menu bar

[ Note : quitting Address Book is a very important step in the setup process ! ]

– now in the Finder go to Users –> [your user home folder] –> Library –> Application Support –> Address Book –> Sources –> [folder with an enormous alphanumeric name] –> Configuration.plist

– right-click ( a.k.a. [CTRL]+[mouse click] ) on this Configuration.plist file and select “Open using…” –> “Textedit” from the popup list

– then in Textedit, find the following line :

<string>http://:0(null)</string&gt;

– change it to this :

<string>http://:p0X-contacts.icloud.com/123456789/carddavhome/addressbook</string&gt;

(with p0X according to your previously found iCloud server prefix, and 123456789 according to your 9-digit number from the iCal-CalDAV Server Path)

– then two lines below you will find the following line :

<string>yourname@me.com</string>

(in which “your name@me.com” is the eMail address that you use as your AppleID iCloud login)

– change it to this :

<string>yourname%40me.com:password</string>

(with the “@”-sign being replaced by “%40” and “password” being your AppleID iCloud password)

– then select File –> Save and exit Textedit

– now open Configuration.plist again in Textedit to see if the changes were properly saved, and if so, exit Textedit

– then open Address Book and go to Address Book –> Preferences

– select the ‘Accounts’-tab

– select CardDAV from the list on the left

– select the ‘Account info’-tab

– at ‘Description:’ type “iCloud Contacts syncing”

– at ‘User Name:’ type “your name%40me.com:password” (exactly the way you’ve typed it in the Configuration.plist file previously)

– at ‘Password:’ type ” ” (just a single space)

– then select the ‘Server settings’-tab

– at ‘Server address:’ type “p0X-contacts.icloud.com”

(with p0X according to your previously found iCloud server prefix)

– at ‘Server path:’ you won’t be able to change anything, but it should be a “/”, then your 9-digit code, followed by “/carddavhome/addressbook” or “/principal/” or “/carddavhome/” [ I’m not certain on this one… but it’s my best guess for now… ]

– at ‘Port:’ type “443”

– and add a check mark next to “Use SSL” (try “don’t use SSL” also…) [ I’m not certain on this one… but it’s my best guess for now… ]

As mentioned before : this is is said to work for some, but not for all !
Some testing still needs to be done, mainly on these points :
– Calendar Synchronisation : which setting is needed here is not clear, it might be that “Push” will not work
– it is not clear whether “Kerberos” should be used or not in the Calendar settings
– various partial solutions I’ve read do not agree on the path to use for iCloud contacts, but it is probably one of these three :
p0X-contacts.icloud.com/[your 9-digit code]/principal/
p0X-contacts.icloud.com/[your 9-digit code]/carddavhome/
p0X-contacts.icloud.com/[your 9-digit code]/carddavhome/addressbook/
(and in all of them, it might even work better to omit the last slash-sign…)
– one would expect that SSL should be used on both Calendar and Contacts syncing, but that’s not clear either, it might be needed for only one of them, or maybe even for neither…
And there’s one other thing that might be problematic also (maybe because OSX 10.6 “Snow Leopard” was originally only designed to do MobileMe-syncing) :
– things might not work for any iCloud-login name that is not a …@me.com-eMail address
So… please report back here on your findings !
Thank you !

Special thanks to Egg Freckles and Wimbledon Sound, for directing me towards using the iCloud settings for the iPhone 3G for iCloud integration to Snow Leopard

their partial solutions were originally posted here :

http://eggfreckles.net/notes/bringing-icloud-to-snow-leopard/

http://www.wimbledonsound.com/icloud-snow-leopard-calendar-and-address-book-sync-fix/

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17 thoughts on “info : get iCloud on the officially unsupported OSX Snow Leopard

  1. Pingback: info : iCloud support for PowerPC Macs ? « MacManus.nl

  2. Thanks for putting this information together! This has been driving me nuts.

    I successfully used p0X-contacts.icloud.com:443/[your 9-digit code]/principal

    (Note the inclusion of the port number 443)

    From the Console Error Log:
    p0X-contacts.icloud.com:443/[your 9-digit code]/carddavhome/addressbook gave Server HTTP Error 404
    p0X-contacts.icloud.com:443/[your 9-digit code]/carddavhome gave “Unable to query user’s address book home”

    I’m using Address Book ver 5.0.3 running OS X 10.6.8 Snow Leopard on a 2.66Ghz Quad-Core Intel Xeon machine

    • @Joseph Sturkey :

      Thank you for the extremely valuable feedback !

      I’m gonna try out your solution myself (in a few days – I don’t have a “Snow Leopard” Mac at hand today), and if your solution works for me too,
      I’m gonna add it to my original post.

      😉
      Thanks & enjoy !

  3. Although I have had some success in getting my OS X 10.6.8 Snow Leopard MacPro to download contacts from iCloud into the MacPro Address Book, and subsequently sync changes made at either location to the other location, at the step at which I import All Contacts.vcf into iCloud via browser access to iCloud.com, contact Group information is not being properly processed. Although all of my contacts are imported and show up under “All Contacts,” my iCloud Groups are empty. Consequently, when iCloud contacts are synced to the MacPro Address Book, those groups are likewise empty.

    In inspecting the All Contacts.vcf file with a text editor, the Group assignments are present (as “Categories”). Also, from some Console error messages, it appears that Address Book is attempting to put individual contacts in to its Groups. For example, I encountered the error message: “Unable to find person with UID… to be a member of Group xxx” where xxx is the name of one of my Groups. Curiously, this error occurred only for a few of my groups. I couldn’t see any pattern to the groups for which Address Book reported problems.

    If someone can shed some light on this, it would be greatly appreciated.

    Also, regarding the procedure, and the requirement of deleting all profile pictures from the Address Book, I found some lurking in unexpected places, and found it helpful to inspect the All Contact.vcf file by searching for “PHOTOS” and deleting that information before importing that Vcard data into iCloud.

    And thanks again for you efforts!

    (If you would find more detailed information helpful, rather than cluttering up this comment area, feel free to contact me via my e-mail address.)

    • @Joseph Sturkey :

      Thanks for the feedback !
      That’s very useful info.

      I’ll have a go at it myself one of these days and I’ll report back my findings.

    • @Joseph Sturkey :

      Thank you for the great opt to include the port-number in the server URL !
      I’ve tried it, and it works… superb !

      Syncing works both ways now.
      It’s just that it takes a little longer than one might normally expect, to if you want to speed up the syncing a manual push would be advisory (so double-click on the “iCloud Contacts syncing”-groupname to sync immediately…)

      Thanks also for your latest tips.

      It is strange however that your iCloud groups are not syncing… in my case that worked straight away…
      Maybe you should just set iCloud up again in Address Book… I had to do a few attempts to get things working properly myself…

      Anyway – please have a look at the updated procedure here :
      https://macmanusnl.wordpress.com/2012/07/23/fixed-get-icloud-on-the-officially-unsupported-osx-snow-leopard-sync-works/

      • I have found that, in Step 5 of your procedure, when the Configuration.plist file is modified, if the “servername” parameter begins with https vs http, and port 443 is specified, then as soon as the .plist file is saved, Address Book will immediately start downloading from the iCloud server. That is, it is not necessary to open the Address Book preferences and specify or re-type any parameters. Even the single character in the Password box is correct. [Although, as you suggested, users might find it desirable under the “Account Information” tab to change the “Description” from the default “CalDav (or, I believe that the desired name can be specified during the plist editing using the “name” key).]

        The server name configuration that I used successfully is:

        https://p0x-contacts.icloud.com:443/123456789/principal

        However, I continue to have problems with preservation of Contact Groups. In researching this issue, it appears that others are as well. For example, in a review of the application “Export Address Book,” (unfortunately not dated) at http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/export-address-book/id402323447?mt=12 a user observed that iCloud apparently cannot preserve Groups when importing contacts. [The reviewed application might prove useful to some of us; it apparently imports Address Book data and can convert it to various spreadsheet formats. However, it apparently can’t export to Address Book.]

        Also, I found that if an Address book is restored from an .abbu archive, Groups will be recovered and correctly re-populated. However, if an Address Book is restored from a .vcf file, all contacts will be recovered, but they will not be placed into groups. So it appears to me that there is an inherent limitation in the ability of Address Book and iCloud to process .vcf files. [The Group information is in the .vcf file (as Categories); so it isn’t a limitation of the .vcf format; apparently Address Book and iCloud don’t process the Category/Group fields.]

        Because of this, I modified your procedure in Step 4 to import my full set of Contacts into Address Book rather than by importing into iCloud. In this manner I was able to preserve my Contact Groups. Then, still within Address Book, for each of my Groups, I copied from my “On My Mac” set to my CalDav set. I could watch the iCloud set being updated almost immediately.

        The reason for my change is that iCloud.com seems to have very limited options of importing contacts… only “Import vCard” – and only a single .vcf file can be chosen.

        There is more flexibility in importing via Address Book. If the import is initiated via File/Import, as is the case with iCloud, only one .vcf file can be selected. However, if it is desired to import a single vcf or multiple vcf files in to a specific group (versus “All Contacts), in Address Book select the desired group. Then, from Finder, it is possible to select multiple .vcf files, the right-click and select “Open With” then Choose the Address Book App. This will initiate an Address Book import.

        [Here I encountered some confusing, and I think erroneous processing when Address Book thinks it detects importation of a contact that represents a duplicate.]

        [If you want more details on this, let me know; although I’m still trying to make sense of it all.]

        However, another problem I have encountered is that in subsequent synchronizing, Address Book will take 100% of the CPU and also put dozens of duplicate entries into its CalDav set. [Also, I have seen the Mail application go to 100% CPU usage as it is trying to get metadata from the “Sources” folder created by the CalDav proceure.] However, fortunately, these duplicates (so far) don’t seem to feed back into Address Book’s “On My Mac” set, or iCloud (and consequently my iPhone and iPad!). I’m still trying to slug my way through the nearly impenetrable thicket of Console error messages to get some insight into why this is happening.

        If this high CPU usage occurs, and the duplicates start multiplying, I found that it is possible to disable the sync process via the Configuration.plist by changing the “disabled” key from 0 to 1.

        So, I feel that some progress has been made, but significant problems seem to remain, at least in my implementation.

      • @Joseph Sturkey :

        Thank you for your extensive feedback.

        Using the setup procedure I have indicated, I have successfully setup iCloud syncing in both directions.
        Apart from syncing sometimes being a little slow, it works perfectly.
        I have used this HTTPS (not just HTTP) server-URL in the Configuration.plist :

        https://p0X-contacts.icloud.com:443/123456789/principal

        I have not encountered problems with Groups (yet) ; they were imported correctly and keep being synced correctly.

        Some things that may be of interest to you :
        – the Contacts-database that I’m using only has groups created after the transition to iCloud (I had to recreate them due to an error I encountered earlier) ; though I think this should not matter, I can not completely rule it out as the cause for your problems…
        – did you know that it is possible to export your complete Address Book / Contacts-database (on your Mac) as just one single .vcf-file ? to do so you just have to open Address Book and drag&drop the “All Contacts” group from your “Group”-list onto your Desktop… (and from what I can remember you can easily import that .vcf-file back into an empty version of Address Book, and even the Groups will be transferred properly)
        – your observations regarding the difference between a Contacts-export as a .vcf-file and a .abbu-file ; I hadn’t heard of this before
        – did you know that I have directions on this site about importing & exporting the Address Book database from/to Excel :
        https://macmanusnl.wordpress.com/2010/09/22/export-contacts-database-from-addressbook-to-excel/
        https://macmanusnl.wordpress.com/2010/09/21/import-contacts-database-from-excel-into-addressbook/
        – the only duplication I have encountered during syncing was of the “Apple Inc.” contact-entry… which turned out to be due to the fact that the pre-installed “Apple Inc.” contact-entry came with a picture of the Apple-logo as it’s profile picture… after I deleted that profile picture, the problem was solved and everything has been syncing properly since…

        one extra thing that I found remarkable, which you’ve not mentioned :
        – after the setup of iCloud on MacOSX “Snow Leopard”, in Address Book, in the Group-list there will be 2 entries called “iCloud Contacts syncing” : one with a blue book-icon with an “i” on the cover, and one with the regular brown icon that has a “@” on the book cover… the blue one is not a regular group, it is a “search within iCloud Contacts syncing”… the brown one is a regular Address Book-database, with all the (sub)groups included, just as I would expect them to…

        I hope syncing will work for you too very soon !

  4. Pingback: fixed : get iCloud on the officially unsupported OSX Snow Leopard – sync works ! « MacManus.nl

  5. Thank you for your great instructions! Especially helpful was the idea to look into Safari’s Activity Window to find the 9-digit number for the iCloud Account Number for the server path, and also that it might be an 8-digit or 10-digit number- mine was an 8 digit one. I found this information nowhere else on the web. iCal on my Snow Leopard Mac is now synced to iCloud – and more importantly to my iPhone and iPad. Again, many thanks!

  6. Thanks for this advice!
    But in address book it isn’t accepting my code: p03contacts.icloud.com
    nor are my calendar items totally syncing up from ical on my computer to icloud. It is recognizing icloud but the items are not uploaded.
    Also I found a nine digit number but there were other numbers too. Should it be the “client id” number that I am to use? There were three long lines of numbers I could have chosen but chose the 9 digit number as indicated in the instructions.
    I see you have multiple solutions, but I am frankly not sure which one to follow. Any thoughts?
    FYI, I am running snow leopard on a macbook pro and am trying to link up to a mini i pad that runs ios 8.

      • HI,

        It is working on my calendar but not my contacts. What is strange about my 9-digit code is that it has a X.XXXXXXXXX, so I have been writing it that way. Do you think that is the obvious problem?
        I am not getting the blue icloud contacts listing, just the brown one and its not synching. I’ve done everything you have said to do. The other issue is that in the address preferences, “on my mac” keeps becoming the default rather than the CardDAV. Would that be the problem? I can’t seem to switch them.

      • @walkaboutbrooklyn :

        as mentioned before :
        there is no working solution in this post named “info : get iCloud on the officially unsupported OSX Snow Leopard”

        the solution is in the post named “fixed : get iCloud on the officially unsupported OSX Snow Leopard – sync works !”

        Hope this helps 😉

        …and NO, your 9-digit code is a code without any dots, it’s just alphanumeric digits…
        so… are you sure the code you have is the actual 9-digit code that you need ?

        if you follow the directions in the other “fixed…”-post, and still have questions, pose your question there please
        😉

      • So I did follow those instructions. What I have now are my contacts are fully loaded on icloud but I do not have a blue mail box for contacts in Address Book (and no contacts listed). Also I should add that I have a first code with 8 numerical digits, 1 letter, and then one number followed by &dsid=xxxxxxxxx digit code.
        Which one do I use?

      • @walkaboutbrooklyn :

        sorry to hear it doesn’t work for you yet…

        Are you sure you have also read these updates and have acted accordingly ?

        Note #1 – the 9-digit code can in some rare cases also be an 8-digit or a 10-digit code (if you are a member since the Mac.com-era, you will probably have an 8-digit code ; if you are from the Me.com-era, you will normally have a 9-digit code ; and if joined in the iCloud.com-era, you will generally have a 10-digit code…)

        Note #2 – if your iCloud password does not contain letters and numbers only, you will need to change it to do so first before you can get Contacts-syncing to work…

        for more info check here :
        https://macmanus.nl/2012/07/23/fixed-get-icloud-on-the-officially-unsupported-osx-snow-leopard-sync-works/

        Hope this helps
        Good Luck !
        😉

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