How to get Calendar & Address Book with iCloud on Snow Leopard

iCloud is designed to work with Lion or iOS 5 or better. It’s not supposed to work with iCal or Address Book on Snow Leopard, but it does. Here’s how:

iCal

  1. Open iCal in Snow Leopard
  2. Select Preferences from the iCal menu
  3. Go to the Accounts tab
  4. At the bottom left, click the + sign to add a new account
  5. Select the CalDav option under the Account type
  6. Enter your iCloud (.me) name including the .me  eg.someone@me.com
  7. Enter your iCloud password
  8. Hold down option and click Continue (was Create)
  9. The server address will be pxx-caldav.icloud.com. (See the next step to determine your xx number
  10. Here’s where it can be a challenge: You need to determine the unique number which is your iCloud account number. The way I did it was to log in to iCloud on the web. Then, click on your name or picture to get your account settings page. If you don’t have a picture there, you may need to upload one. Once your picture is there, right click on it (in Safari) and choose Inspect Element. (If you don’t see the Inspect Element choice, you’ll need to go into Safari Preferences, go to the Advanced tab and make sure there is a check mark for “Show Develop Menu in Menu Bar”.) Search for contacts.icloud.com. You’ll find something like <img src=”https://pxx-contacts.icloud.com:443/nnnnnnnn/wcs/…>. The number in the nnnnnnnn position is your unique number. It may be seven, eight or nine characters. Your pxx number is right at the beginning after the https://.
  11. The server path will be /nnnnnnnn/principal/
  12. Make sure the port is 443 and SSL is selected.
  13. That’s it. You may have to restart iCal to get the Calendars working.

Address Book

Getting Address Book to work is a bit trickier.

  1. Open Address Book in Snow Leopard
  2. Select Preferences from the Address Book menu
  3. Go to the Accounts tab
  4. At the bottom left, click the + sign to add a new account
  5. Select the CardDav option under the Account type
  6. Enter your iCloud (.me) name with the domain: yourname@me.com (substitute your own account name for yourname (you will change this later)
  7. Enter your iCloud password
  8. The server address at this point can be anything eg. myserver.com
  9. Click Create. It will fail. Click Create again.
  10. Quit Address Book
  11. Now you will need to edit the Configuration.plist found in /Users/yourusername/Library/Application Support/AddressBook/Sources/some-128-bit Unique#/
  12. You can double click it to open. Depending on what applications you have installed will dictate what application opens it. If you have Property List Editor installed, you’ll want to open the Configuration.plist in something like TextWrangler or even TextEdit.
  13. Look for <key>servername</key>
  14. The next line needs to be changed. It will look something like: <string>https://pxx-contacts.icloud.com:443/nnnnnnnnn/principal</string> when you are done. Change the xx to whatever server you found for the Calendar and the nnnnnnnnn will again be your Unique ID for iCloud.
  15. Re-open Address Book and change your iCloud name to be yourname%40me.com:yourpassword. yourpassword needs to be your real iCloud password. Yes, your password will be visible to anyone who opens your preferences in Address Book. This is a BIG negative. But, it has to be done for this to work.
  16. Re-enter your password in the Password field if it’s not there.
  17. Close the Preferences window. Address Book should now sync with iCloud perfectly. (PS: You cannot have any profile pictures in your Address Book. If you do, you WILL get duplicates.

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(Addendum: I’ve recently moved to Mountain Lion. There is no question, for me, it is heads & tails better than Lion. For $19.99, I think a switch is warranted which gives perfect integration with iCloud without any of the hack problems/convolutions.)

(Addendum 2: One of the biggest issues with this hack is with Address Book. If you have profile pictures in your Address Book, you WILL get duplicates. You must have NO profile pics as long as you are using the hack with Snow Leopard to sync Address Book.)

(Addendum 3: I think Snow Leopard was the most stable OS Apple ever released. That said, if you’ve read this blog post, please consider leaving a comment as to why you’re still using it, four revs later. Not saying this is bad; just curious as to motives. Thanks.)

You can find other tips by going to the blog homepage. You can find iHelp’s main offerings, here.

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