Workflow for two computers

NavySEAL6

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Dec 13, 2006
596
73
Currently I own a 2010 MacBook Pro. Soon I will be looking to get an iMac(possibly next product cycle). Normally, I would buy the iMac and then sell the MBP to recoup some of the cost. However, I do like the idea of having a desktop and a laptop but I'm not sure how it would work out.

I've noticed many people in these forums have two computers so I'm wondering how you use each and how you keep them in sync? Any advice is appreciated
 

mslide

macrumors 6502a
Sep 17, 2007
708
2
I use iCloud to sync bookmarks, an email service that supports imap (e.g. google), evernote for notes and whatnot, dropbox for documents and other smallish things, 1Password+dropbox for password management, iTunes match for music. Large things are stored on a home server. That takes care of almost everything for me.
 

tengtengvn

macrumors member
Apr 14, 2013
80
0
Between multiple PCs and Macs at work and at home.
Dropbox | Firefox Sync | FreeNAS 3TB | 750GB USB 3.0 HDD | Everything else are on Google Apps.
 

talmy

macrumors 601
Oct 26, 2009
4,705
266
Oregon
Calendar/Contacts and most files are on the server (mini with Snow Leopard Server). 1Password+Dropbox for passwords, iCloud for Reminders, Chronosync for current projects (I don't use my MBP at home, so I synchronize before I leave and when I return). I don't synchronize bookmarks or mail.
 

blesscheese

macrumors 6502a
Apr 3, 2010
694
170
Central CA
I've noticed many people in these forums have two computers so I'm wondering how you use each and how you keep them in sync? Any advice is appreciated
I guess the short answer that I don't, but I do keep trying!

I'm on Snow Leopard on all my computers, so iCloud isn't available to me.

When I do use it, Chronosync is invaluable. Networking Mac's at home is ridiculously easy, and there really is no reason to have to resort to using a flash-drive to transfer info.

I also have a NAS that helps...next big purchase is going to be a Synology DiskStation which consistently gets rave reviews at Macintouch, and would definitely help me stay more coordinated.
 

mgipe

macrumors demi-god
Oct 6, 2009
671
143
CA
I struggled with syncing 2+ computers for years. This year I bit the bullet and simplified to one machine. I got the meanest, fastest retina MBP I could get, and a Thunderbolt Display to serve as a docking station.

Fast, light, and easy on the eyes when working somewhere other than at my desk. Fast and lots of screen real estate when I'm parked at my office. No sync worries. Best of both worlds.
 

jg321

macrumors 6502
Aug 29, 2012
292
6
UK
I struggled with syncing 2+ computers for years. This year I bit the bullet and simplified to one machine. I got the meanest, fastest retina MBP I could get, and a Thunderbolt Display to serve as a docking station.

Fast, light, and easy on the eyes when working somewhere other than at my desk. Fast and lots of screen real estate when I'm parked at my office. No sync worries. Best of both worlds.
Everything in one place gets my vote too I think, although I keep changing my mind on this one! Luckily haven't purchased anything yet!
 

Mr Kram

macrumors 68020
Oct 1, 2008
2,370
1,169
my air is mostly for leisure so i mainly use icloud to sync contacts, calendars and bookmarks. i may transfer a few documents to work on when i travel, but i don't really sync them.
 

benwiggy

macrumors 68020
Jun 15, 2012
2,186
15
I use Chronosync to sync the Documents folders between my laptop and desktop Macs. iCloud is only any good for calendars and address books, IMO.
 

blesscheese

macrumors 6502a
Apr 3, 2010
694
170
Central CA
I use Chronosync to sync the Documents folders between my laptop and desktop Macs. iCloud is only any good for calendars and address books, IMO.
I should have elaborated above...

I use Chronsync to sync my Documents folder between my Air and my Mini.

I also use it to sync my Documents and Download folders to my NAS, so these serve as a backup and another way to get stuff to my Mini.

Chronosync works fantastic, and is easy to use. Best of all, once you purchase it, upgrades are *free* for the rest of the life of the program...no more paying to update it every 2 years.
 

NorCalLights

macrumors 6502a
Apr 24, 2006
591
75
Everything I need sync'd is in Dropbox. 1Password syncs my passwords.

If I needed to sync huge files (like an Aperture library), I'd have to get a little more creative... perhaps Chronosync. But everything I need for work fits in the 100GB Dropbox with room to spare.

I love that if I need to work on something when I get back to my office, I don't have to grab my laptop out of my bag and set it up. My desktop is always there waiting for me.
 

blesscheese

macrumors 6502a
Apr 3, 2010
694
170
Central CA
Everything I need sync'd is in Dropbox. 1Password syncs my passwords.

If I needed to sync huge files (like an Aperture library), I'd have to get a little more creative... perhaps Chronosync. But everything I need for work fits in the 100GB Dropbox with room to spare.

I love that if I need to work on something when I get back to my office, I don't have to grab my laptop out of my bag and set it up. My desktop is always there waiting for me.
I work with some confidential client information, and so I minimize any exposure to outside access. Otherwise, I would likely do exactly what you describe.
 

MacRazySwe

macrumors 6502a
Aug 7, 2007
828
512
I use an iMac and a MacBook Air.

The MacBook Air is my everyday computer in school. I use it for note-taking in classes, schoolwork, plenty of MS Office/iWork-stuff. I absolutely love the MBA, very underrated machine. The SSD has changed my computing experience, and the battery-life is phenomenal. The only thing I miss is a better screen.

At home, I use the iMac occasionally. When I'm working with heavier assignments, I usually prefer the iMac due to the screen size. Except for that, I mostly use it for leisure. The 500GB HD (I have the 2011 model) is used for media storage, watching movies and for syncing cameras and my iPhone, as well as for basic image editing and a bit of Google SketchUp. Occasionally I also use Garageband and iMovie.

I use Gmail synced to the Mail-app on both computers and my iPhone. iCal is synced between both computers and my iPhone through iCloud. I have stopped using iTunes and moved over to Spotify since a couple of years ago, so I have the music on both computers and my iPhone. Most importantly, all of my schoolwork is stored using Dropbox, and instantly syncs between all devices as well.

..Oh, and contacts and bookmarks also sync through iCloud.

For me, this is the perfect combination.
 

flynz4

macrumors 68040
Aug 9, 2009
3,125
35
Portland, OR
First and foremost... I think you need to know where "home" is for your data... ideally all on a single device. For me that is my iMac. I am never confused about this.

Then... I use a few different tools to sync data to/from my MBA. In general, I like everything to sync back to my iMac in real time (or realistically... as often as I connect my MBA to the internet).

The tools that I use include:

  • Dropbox for most data that I would care to have while moble
  • iCloud for bookmarks, contacts, calendars, Notes, etc
  • IMAP for mail
  • Music Match
  • MAS for applications

My "mental model" is that if by chance, I was to distroy my MBA while traveling... I could walk into the nearest Apple Store... buy a new MBA, and sync it to my cloud services... resulting in 100% of my pre-existing MBA environment to be restored.

There are a few exceptions.

Photos: I use Aperture's ability to easily move and merge projects... typically creating new projects on my MBA while in the field, and merging them back into my main iMac Aperture library when I return home after a trip. I keep 100% of my SD cards stored separate from my MBA... and I also run Crashplan+ on my MBA... so there are at least 3 copies of my photos while traveling. I could choose to keep my MBA's Aperture library in Dropbox, but I choose not to because I do not want to risk the slim chance of another synced device corrupting my Aperture library. It is just too valuable to me.

Applications not available on the MAS: Nearly 100% of my applications are MAS or otherwise downloadable online. I have a dwindling few remaining apps that require a DVD. For those... I'm screwed while traveling... but none are critical. I have a strong preference to buy on the MAS for ease of recovery and updating.

/Jim