Apple doesn’t support iCloud on Windows XP, however….
Apple’s iCloud Control Panel for Windows clearly states its minimum requirements are Microsoft Windows Vista SP2 or Windows 7 (and for good reason I think, see below…). If you try to install it on Windows XP you get a message saying it won’t work on that version. Some people are stuck on XP for various reasons. For me, my work place is very slow or reluctant to upgrade, sadly. I see on various posts about iCloud and Windows XP the (pointless) discussion going on about – well you should simply upgrade Windows!
You can of course still sync your iDevice direct with your Win XP PC; and with iOS5 you no longer need to plug it in so can be done over your Wi-Fi connection in the background. And of course you can access your iCloud email etc via http://icloud.com.
There are a couple of other ways you can integrate iCloud with Windows XP that I’ve discovered, one is simple synced access to your mail and one is a simple hack of the iCloud Control Panel for Windows:
Run your me.com email via IMAP on Outlook
You can easily set up your iCloud / me.com email address as an IMAP email account in Outlook (and other email programs). This gives access to your Mail folders and Notes, and any changes are synced across your devices.
Settings to use for this in Outlook are:
Add a new Internet mail account, and “Manually configure your server and settings””
Username, if your email is email@example.com, it will be abcde.
Password is obviously your iCloud password
Account Type: IMAP
Incoming Server: imap.mail.me.com
Outgoing Server: smtp.mail.me.com
If these servers don’t work for you, can also try:
Incoming Server: p99-imap.mail.me.com
Outgoing Server: p99-smtp.mail.me.com
Incoming Server: p03-imap.mail.me.com
Outgoing Server: p03-smtp.mail.me.com
It may be these different servers are suited to different countries – I don’t know
Go to “More Settings”
On the Advanced tab:
Incoming Server (IMAP). set Port to “993“, …encryption connection select SSL
Outgoing Server (SMTP), set Port to “587” …encryption connection select TSL or Auto
On “Outgoing Server” tab
Check box “My outgoing server (SMTP) requires authentication” leave “Use same settings as…”
To view & sync special iCloud IMAP folders:
To access the iCloud special folders: Sent, Archive, Drafts, Junk or Trash in Outlook 2010 (which initially creates its own version of these folders): Right click the Mailbox, select “IMAP Folders” and then “subscribe” to the folders you want to see.
Following this you can modify Outlook to use the iCloud folders for Sent and Trash instead of newly created default: Go to Email Accounts, Change, More settings and make the changes in the “Sent Items” and “Deleted Items” tabs. Noting that Outlook it sees Trash as “Deleted Messages” and Sent as “Sent Messages” – but they are the same folders.
This is an essential thing to do if you don’t want two different “Sent Items” (Outlook) and “Sent Messages” (iCloud) folders.
How to hack iCloud Control Panel for Windows to run in Windows XP
There’s a simple hack I found here to get the iCloud Control Panel for Windows to work on XP. I have this running fine on Windows XP and Outlook 2010 (for the moment anyway). This gives me synced access to Contacts, Calendars, Reminders and Bookmarks. It also can be used to set up your me.com mail as above:
[Update April 2012] Here’s the files you need:
Following files are modified iCloud installation files, (Update Sept 212 - noting these files are original iCloud Control Panel Version 1.1. Apple’s current download is Version 2.0):
- iCloud.msi (Modified iCloud version 1.1 installation file)
- iCloud64.msi (Modified iCloud version 1.1 installation file for 64 bit systems)
- iCloud-exe_extracted.zip (The full extracted version of iCloud.exe version 1.1, with all other msi files, including the two modified files above)
- iCloudSetup.exe (Original unmodified file from Apple, October 2011 – Version 1.1)
If you want to do it yourself, know what was done to these files, or just know how it works, read on:
The iCloud setup hack for Windows XP:
- Download iCloud Control Panel for Windows. (Update: Apple version has been updated to Version 2.0 since this post – links to copies of the original version 1.1 /files are above)
- Open iCloudSetup.exe file with WinRar or 7-Zip and extract.
- Navigate to and open the iCloud.msi or iCloud64.msi (for 64bit systems) with Orca.
- In the left table select LaunchCondition. Then change in the right table “VersionNT>; = 600” to “VersionNT>; = 200” and Save.
- Run modified iCloud.msi and install. (Modified copy of this file; and 64 bit version)
- Run iCloud Control Panel, located in the Windows Control Panel, and set up as you want.
And you’re done.
PS: Why doesn’t Apple support Windows XP?
Well, in my opinion, why should they? Even though iCloud works on Windows XP with this easy hack, which is to simply fool the installer that it is compatible with XP, I can fully understand why they don’t want it to be officially compatible. Yes, they could just change the installer at the source and make it compatible – probably not hard… But, think of the numerous issues and support queries that everyone running XP could come up with related to iCloud running smoothly – whether they be the fault of the iCloud software or (more likely) an issue with Windows XP itself, or very specific installation/configuration of XP and the machine it’s on, or just the user’s misunderstanding. Then imagine the resources to reply and deal with those queries if it was officially supported. I would certainly rather Apple leave behind legacy systems (as they often do) and focus on new and future products, wouldn’t you? As Steve Job’s said, death is life’s greatest invention, out with the old to make way for the new…