How to sync your iPhone Contacts, Calendars, Reminders and Bookmarks with your Mac without using iCloud.

A gentleman in Caernarfon asked us to re-install his MacBook with OSX 10.6 Snow Leopard. Afterwards, he mentioned that he had never managed to get his iPhone to sync with the Mac so he could . This was due to the iCloud settings on the iPhone. Unfortunately, iCloud isn’t bundled with 10.6, so when the iPhone was connected, the settings for Mail, Contacts and Calendar in iTunes were greyed out, with a message to the effect that iCloud was looking after syncing. What he wanted was to sync these things whenever the phone was connected via its USB cable.

The solution is to turn off iCloud syncing on the iPhone. Connect your iPhone to the Mac via USB and iTunes should open automatically. Once it has registered the phone, select it in iTunes so you have the  ‘Info’ screen showing. Then go into ‘Settings’ on the phone and select iCloud:


iPhone iCloud Settings

iPhone iCloud Settings

Turn off each of the items you want to sync via USB cable. It will ask you if you want to keep or delete the items – I recommend you keep them just in case. Once you have done so, go back to iTunes and the previously greyed out items will become selectable:


iPhone Sync Settings

iPhone Sync Settings

Tick the boxes, click sync and your Contacts, Calendars, Reminders and Bookmarks will be available on your Mac. If you want to sync your email, open up the Mail application and set up your account. Once done, the account will appear in the Mail sync settings box. Click it and re-run sync.

Now, whenever you connect your iPhone, iTunes should start and automatically sync all the items you’ve selected.





  1. jp

    I’m looking for a solution to sync my Reminders and Notes between my 2011 13″ MacBook Pro running Mountain Lion and my 2012 iPod Touch 5 running iOS 6 via direct USB link or local wifi network (not via iCloud storage).

    I recently upgraded from Snow Leopard to ML, because though I ticked the choices in iTunes 11 to sync Reminders and Notes, these apps didn’t exist on my Mac and therefore wouldn’t sync. Apple told me I needed ML to sync, and they assured me I wouldn’t need iCloud.

    Upon upgrading, the tick-boxes for Reminders and Notes have disappeared from iTunes. Apple tech support now apologizes for the misinformation; they only allow syncing of Reminders and Notes via iCloud I’m told.

    Have you any ideas of how to fix or workaround this? Thank you.

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