Dropbox to synch iCal / Address Book / Bookmarks?

Discussion in 'Mac OS X Server, Xserve, and Networking' started by Macca, Feb 22, 2011.

  1. macrumors newbie

    Thought I'd ask the question here in the server forum as it seemed most appropriate and I figured I would find the knowledgable people here.

    I have Dropbox installed on our Macs at home and it works very well for keeping stuff in synch and allowing people to work from different machines.

    What I would really like to to is to put the data files for iCal, Address Book and Safari Bookmarks into Dropbox and then point the respective applications to there on each machine so that the data is automatically synched. So I have four questions:

    1. Is this possible?
    2. Which are the relevant data files for each application?
    3. Would two (or more) computers be able to access the files at the same time?
    4. Do I need to do anything with iTunes to keep my iPod synched properly if I do this?

    Thanks in advance for any help with this.
  2. macrumors 6502a

    Yup, dropbox uses a webdav interface, so you should be able to do this:


    and have it work.
  3. macrumors 6502

    1. Yes, but you'll need a little (just a little) of Terminal know-how. See below.

    2. For Address Book: Move the directory /Users/username/Library/Application Support/AddressBook into your DropBox folder, then recreate AddressBook (in the App Support folder) as a symlink to where you moved it in your DB folder. Obviously don't have Address Book open while you perform this switch. Once you've done that, you can then just delete or move your AddressBook folder on other computers and make the above symlink and they should all sync to the same data.

    For iCal, it's basically exactly the same procedure, except the relevant data folder is /Users/username/Library/Calendars (not in Application Support). Perform the same switch as above with that folder to sync all your iCal data.

    For bookmarks, I can't comment because I don't use Safari. If it's possible, it's probably a very similar procedure above. I do know that it's NOT really doable with Firefox, because Firefox stores its bookmarks in a big monolithic database file with other stuff (like history) that can easily get messed up if multiple computers are accessing it.

    3. I'm only a single user (using this setup across several machines), so I'm never accessing the data files simultaneously. I'm pretty sure Address Book should be pretty much a-ok for concurrent access, since it's mostly a read-only affair and updates are unlikely to modify the same data at once. For iCal, I wouldn't be so confident -- even on my own setup (where I always quit iCal before switching machines), I occasionally get little quirks, like where deleted data gets recreated when I switch machines. I wouldn't recommend accessing iCal in this manner with more than one user at a time. Again, can't comment on Safari.

    4. iTunes should be totally oblivious to this, since Mac OS X sees your data files exactly where it expects (they're just symlinks to some other location). Shouldn't cause any problems at all.

    Let me know if you have any other questions.
  4. macrumors newbie

    Just use Fruux instead.


  5. macrumors regular

    I've been doing this for about 6 months but I've stopped opening iCal up on my 2nd computer as I keep getting duplicate entries and it takes forever to open on both computers (rebuilding cache I think). Since I've stopped opening it on my 2nd one it works better, but I still have duplicates popping up every now and again.

    Anyone else having problems with that? (Symbiotic links)

  6. macrumors 68040


    I read through that and I couldn't figure out how to use it with Dropbox.

    I've tried publishing my calender to a free iCal server (http://www.ical-mac.com if you're interested) which is quite nice for letting my partner access my iCal, but I would really like something that let her edit my iCal and vice versa.

    I thought Dropbox would be a nice way of doing this, but it seems not. There are various guides to dropping ical files into dropbox, but they all warn that both computers can't have ical open at the same time, or something like that, which obviously is no good. Many people have reported problems like kriista above.

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