Apple is locking its OS 9-using .Mac subscribers out of an important .Mac member benefit, as it focuses development on OS X.

A note posted on the .Mac support site November 5 warns: "On December 2, 2003, we will have completed our move to WebDAV as the supported protocol for iDisk access. If you're using Mac OS X, this amounts to a non-event; WebDAV is built into Mac OS X so it's what you're automatically using to interact with your iDisk now."

Mac users who continue to use OS 9 will be affected, however, the company warns: "If you're using Mac OS 9 and AFP (Apple File Protocol) you'll need to download and install software that enables WebDAV for your operating system in order to maintain full access to your iDisk."

Until subscribers have found alternate software for the task, subscribers will only be able to read and download files stored on their iDisk, but will not be able to upload files.

The company recommends: "Open-source software called Goliath performs this service and specifically supports iDisk in its File menu".

Time is limited for Mac users with .Mac subscriptions (currently £79 per annum) – Apple says: "On January 20th, 2004, iDisk will only be available via WebDAV, so we encourage you to make the change from AFP to WebDAV now.

"Thank you for moving forward with us," Apple's message ends.