A less-obvious iCloud benefit: correct time

A small but very nice improvement in my Mac experience, thanks to iOS 5 and iCloud, has just made itself apparent. The time is now precisely synced on all my devices!

It was my calendar alerts that made this evident. Previously, although alarms were synced between my iPod Touch and my iMac, they used to go off at slightly different times on each device. I knew my iMac was “live synced” to a time server that kept it accurate. And early on, I’d wondered if I needed to find some setting that would ensure the same on my iPod Touch. I imagined it would update the time when I plugged it in and synced – until I realized that this was not the case. You set the time on your iTouch and it immediately starts an inexorable drift out of sync with both the correct time and any other devices.

Enter iCloud. I noticed my alarms firing off on my iMac and my Touch within a second – something that’s never happened before. And sure enough, the time on my Touch is lined up with my Mac (at least, it’s only a one-second difference). Diving into my iTouch’s Date and Time preferences, I see that “Set Automatically” is now an option and is turned on.

So, it would appear that the cloud-syncing aspect of iOS 5 has made true time synchronization possible.

Of course, this is only relevant to the iPod Touch – the iPhone has always been able to set the time automatically. But now all iOS devices can be in sync – nice to have that at last.

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