Is there a cheap way to renew my MobileMe membership?
I'm enamored of MobileMe, the data sharing and sync service from Apple, but $99/year seems pretty steep. Is there a cheaper way that I can renew my MobileMe membership and save a few dollars?
First off, yes, there is. But before I get to the answer, I have to say that my druthers is that instead of saving money on MobileMe, I really wish Apple would add more services and capabilities to the system so that it was a no-brainer $99 investment each year. When it first came out, there were apps included in the subscription price, but now it really seems like an email address and shared data space and not much else. Oh, and Find My Lost iPhone, which is pretty darn useful, admittedly.
Still, your question begs the bigger question of what could MobileMe be that would make it a more valuable and useful service? What do you think?
Now, when my MobileMe account was expiring, I got an invoice from Apple for a $99 renewal, but remembered that my original membership was only $79 from Amazon.com. So why spend the extra $20 when it's the same service?
Turns out that a big of poking around on Amazon.com (search for MobileMe then look at the "Used" deals: make sure you get the "Updated 2009" version of MobileMe) actually revealed a vendor that was selling a renewal for $70, an even better deal. I checked that it was the latest version and that they had a good seller rating, and bought it.
A few days later the box arrived with the all-important activation code inside, and after some exploration online, I figured out how to go through the MobileMe system to use that activation code to renew my membership. Here's how...
The first step is to go to me.com and log in to your MobileMe account. Along the top you'll notice the following icons:
As I've highlighted, you want to click on the "Settings" icon. Now you'll see this:
Confirm your password to enable you to access the admin area, then on the left side look for the "Billing Info" option:
Click on it and you'll see this Billing Information screen:
What you want to click on is the little "Apply Activation Key..." button on the lower left. It brings up a small window wherein you need to type in the activation key on the sticker in the MobileMe box:
Do so, make sure you pick "Apply to an existing account" then click on "Activate" and you should get here:
Do you want to confirm renewal? Of course you do! Click "Renew Account" and after a few seconds, you'll see this:
Congrats, done. You just renewed your MobileMe account for another year and saved a bunch of money along the way too.
Caveat: after I entered the activation key and pressed "Activate", the system immediately logged me out of MobileMe. I logged in again and went straight to the confirmation window, so I don't know if that's normal or some odd glitch I experienced. If you see the same thing, don't panic, just log back and see where you are.
Now, before we leave, I should point out that the way MobileMe shows your renewal date is bound to cause some heartburn because it looks like the renewal wasn't accepted. On mine, for example, it showed the same renewal date even after my new code was entered:
That kinda freaked me out, especially with a MobileMe activation key purchased from a third party, not Apple.
What you need to do is click on the "Options" key (highlighted above), which will reveal:
See that second line? It confirms that an Activation Key will be applied to the account on the renewal date and that all is well.
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