Switch week : Moving mail from iCloud to Gmail.

We continue switch week on Knightwise.com where we help you to move your data from Apple’s closed ecosystem into something more ‘open’ and cross-platform-friendly. Today we look at iCloud. Apple’s free cloud service for mail, calendar and contacts. But what if you decide you want to quit that Apple ecosystem, or want to migrate your mail to a different account. We show you how.

You don’t need to quit your iCloud account.

First of all : You don’t HAVE to quit your iCloud account. As explained by guest blogger Kevin, there are plenty of applications on Android to access your iCloud contacts, mail and calendar data from a non-Apple phone our tablet. Read his blogpost here.

But what if you want to move out ? 

But if you do want to move out of your iCloud account into something like Gmail (or any other service) its not that hard. Apple sticks to some amazingly open standards like iMap for access to their email server from any client. It is exactly that what we are going to use to get your emails out of iCloud. Here is what you need.

  • Download your favorite cross-platform friendly mail client THUNDERBIRD.
  • Connect to your iCloud by adding a new mail account and selecting the IMAP mail protocol with the following settings.
      • (For the INCOMING server)
      • Server name: imap.mail.me.com
      • SSL Required: Yes
      • If you receive errors when using SSL, try using TLS instead.
      • Port: 993
      • Username: The name part of your iCloud email address (for example, emilyparker, not emilyparker@icloud.com)
      • Password: Your iCloud password
      • (For the OUTGOING/SMTP server)
      • Server name: smtp.mail.me.com
      • SSL Required: Yes
      • If you receive errors when using SSL, try using TLS instead.
      • Port: 587
      • SMTP Authentication Required: Yes
      • Username: Your full iCloud email address (for example, emilyparker@icloud.com, not emilyparker)
      • Password: Your iCloud password

This will give you the ability to download all your email messages into your Thunderbird client. You can “drag and drop” your precious emails into offline folders if you want to archive them on your local machine. But what if you want to push them back up to the cloud to Gmail ?  Easy peasy. First make sure you have a Gmail account and set that up on your Thunderbird email client.

  • Set up your Gmail account on Thunderbird.
  • This is actually quite easy in the latest versions of Thunderbird. Just add an existing email account and enter your Gmail address. Thunderbird is going to figure out the rest.

Now ‘Drag and drop’.

In Thunderbird you now have 2 email accounts set up. What you need to do now is surprisingly simple. Select one (or multiple) emails from your iCloud inbox and drag them over to your Gmail inbox. Its as easy as that. All the metadata (when the email was sent, who the sender was etc etc) is preserved and you now have those mails available in Gmail. (In your Thunderbird client AND on the web)


Closing up.

You can choose to keep your iCloud account and drag emails back and forth, or you can empty the “iCloud-Tank” and move out. In both cases , the open iMAP standard and Thunderbird will serve you well.

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Get the audio from a Youtube video with one command.

By now most (if not all of you) have dabbled a little bit with Linux. Although it might look geeky and complicated at first glance, once you dip your toes into the great lake of open source it becomes a very refreshing computing experience. How do I mean ? Well : I challenge you to the following : Take a Windows Machine OR a Mac and, within 2 minutes FIND and INSTALL a free application that allows you to download a Youtube video and extract the audio to MP3. If you started off your search in Google (or in the Mac App store for that matter) you are starting to realize it is not that easy. There is a ton of ‘supposed’ freeware out there that, after installing it gives you either an app that does not completely work (unless you pay for it) or is just too complicated.  Do you (as a true slider) have a Linux machine handy ? (perhaps a virtual machine or a server ) Then lets fire up the command line and give you a one line command to make that technology work for you.

Introducing “Youtube-dl”

Youtube-dl is a command line application that lets you download Youtube video’s and if you want to, extracts the audio from said video’s. The command is simple. On Ubuntu you can install it by hitting : 

sudo apt-get install youtube-dl

After the installation is complete you need to update the app to the latest version. Also .. a couple of  one liners.

sudo youtube-dl -U

You will get an error that you need to update via the GIT repositories once more. Easy peasy (copy and paste people)

sudo wget http://youtube-dl.org/downloads/2013.05.01/youtube-dl -O /usr/bin/youtube-dl
sudo chmod a+x /usr/bin/youtube-dl

Lets start Downloading.

Now surf to the Youtube video of your choice and copy the url to your clipboard.

Go back to the terminal and type : 

youtube-dl <paste your url here>

Presto ! You will have the youtube video all for you ! What if you want the audio ? 

youtube-dl --extract-audio <paste your url here>

Cross platform compatibility

Youtube-dl is also compatible with Macs and there is an .exe for our Windows friends. But because the command line is so easy I just leave a terminal open to my linux machine (on ANY machine i’m working on) and just copy and paste whatever cat video I would like to keep for prosperity.  And youtube-dl does also support tons of other video sites like Vimeo and more ! 

Links : the Youtube-DL page.  and their howto for Windows and OSX users.

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