For me a perfect world in terms of productivity at the office as well as at home would reside exclusively around Apple products. Macs became my computer of choice early on in my life based on their ease of use. This fineness for Apple products also extended to iPhones and eventually iPads. Unfortunately, though, I don’t have a choice when it comes to my tech at the office. I have worked for the government for close to twenty years now, and we are even less likely to have new and/or progressive tech at our disposal. Luckily, with the addition of iCloud Drive a couple of years ago, I’m not as restricted as I once was. With a simple internet connection I have access to my other iCloud synched devices via my browser window.
There are many options for consumers when it comes to cloud solutions for data storage these days. Most are affordable, and easy to use. However, like with many “services”, sometimes there are too many options available that can make the process of settling on a solution stressful and frustrating.
For some time now, we’ve been able to access our documents that were synced between all of our Apple devices over iCloud Drive. These documents included, but were not limited to, native Apple apps like Pages, Numbers & Keynote, as well as third party apps like iA Writer and PDF Expert. Now with macOS Sierra, currently only available in beta, you have access to your iCloud Desktop and Documents. This way, all of your iCloud sync files you save to specific directories will also be available.
With macOS Sierra you have access to the one area that we typically store files–especially those that we may be currently working on and would need the most. Sierra will keep all of the files that appear on your desktop synched across all your Macs, and by extension, your iPhone and iPad as well. This happens seamlessly in the background every time you save your file or image and leave it on the desktop. Files can be in folders, subfolders or out in the open–it doesn’t matter. This also extends to your documents folder which also falls under the iCloud tab in your Finder side-bar. You will have the same seamless synching, making your documents accessible form iCloud Drive, iCloud.com, and even on the iCloud app on Windows computers.
While testing Lightroom, I’ve decided to set my iCloud Photo Library to Optimize Storage. That way, it won’t take up very much space on my devices because it will dynamically decide which photos to keep at full resolution, while still retaining the benefits of automatically syncing photos between my iPhone and iPad in the background.
Optimize Storage, if done right, is actually what I’d like most from a cloud photo service. I want the benefit of having my pictures within easy reach, but I don’t want to necessarily store everything at full resolution locally. What would make the most sense to me would be to have thumbnails of my images that are sized exactly to the device screen, which means 2732×2048 for the 12.9” iPad Pro and 1920×1080 for my iPhone 6S Plus.
This is the way I understand Photos on OS X and Lightroom to work. They don’t just display a small thumbnail and a medium thumbnail, they generate these extra files in advance to speed up the experience of browsing through a large library of photos. I know that iOS generates the tiny thumbnails that are seen in the Years, Collections, and Moments views, but I’d love to see Optimize Storage also generate fullscreen previews for every single photo in my library. This would let me view any photo in my library regardless of online status, but it wouldn’t take nearly the same amount of space as an actual 6000×4000 (24 Megapixel) shot.
Earlier this week, Apple sent out invitations for their Let Us Loop You In Keynote on March 21 @ 1 pm EST. It’s no secret that we finally expect to see a new, updated version of the iPad Air. However, rumors have suggested that the new iPad will now be called the iPad Pro, like its big brother, instead of following the previous iPad Air naming convention. The new iPad is expected to contain many of the features that we saw introduced on the larger iPad Pro. These include a Smart Connector for connecting accessories, a four-speaker”stereo” design, a possible LED flash on the rear camera, and the much sought after display support for an Apple Pencil.
If you’ve been itching to upgrade your current iPad, and you want to sell it to have some extra cash toward a new one, there are a few items you need to take care of to prepare your device for sale. Most importantly, you will need to remove any personal data and return the iPad to its factory settings so that there is no trace of your information left behind.
Yesterday I wrote abut how to upgrade or downgrade the amount of iCloud storage you need for your iPad. While I suspect that this is the default cloud service used by the majority of iPad owners–it certainly isn’t the only cloud service available to store your data in the cloud. One of our readers who read my post from yesterday brought up a good point
Why not suggest to open a Hotmail or GMail account and get a free 15 Gig of storage? –DAN
This got me thinking. Dan is absolutely right. There are definitely other viable options out there worth mentioning. So, after little research, I thought I’d gather some of the more popular cloud storage options for iPad owners. For the sake of this exercise, here are a few basic ground rules I’m applying in my comparison.
- Only real-time offers available _right now_ are considered
- No special offers or promotions considered for buying your iPad at any particular retail outlet.
- No extra incentives to “earn” additional storage (e.g. referring friends, tweeting or sharing on Facebook for additional “free” storage)
- Personal accounts only–no business or shared accounts
- New iPad owners only–no bonus deals for having been grand-fathered in to legacy deals.
When Apple introduced iCloud Family Sharing with iOS 8 they finally provided us with a method to monitor purchases made with our Apple ID from other devices _before_ they are actually purchased. These “other” devices were typically used by our children. With Family Sharing we can manipulate purchase settings so that we are true gate-keepers of any service that needs our our Apple ID for authentication.
Personally, I love using Family Sharing with my oldest son who is now 12. I appreciate that he can still have his own Apple ID and make his own choices on which apps, songs and books he would like to download to his iPhone. But in the end, I still get to make the final approval. That perfect mix of independence for my son, and peace of mind for my wife and I, seems to be working well for now.
One unforeseen benefit from having purchases made by different people in the same Family Sharing plan is that these purchases can be sorted by Family members. To download only purchases made from a specific member if your Family Plan first launch the App Store app on your iPad.
I’ve got an iPad Air 2 and an iPhone 5S with me on this vacation, and I’ve also signed up for a one-week travel pass that provides “unlimited” data (800MB per day). I wanted the data in order to keep in touch with family back home, but it was also supposed to be a way to get files synced between my iPhone and iPad. I’d go out for the day, take photos and notes on my iPhone, and then write up journals in the evening on the iPad. The problem I encountered, however, is that iCloud absolutely sucks when you’ve got spotty connections.
All the trouble I took to set up iCloud Photo Library is paying off. I transferred 12,000 photos over to my iPad in order to have my complete photo library available on all of my devices, but one of my main concerns was how much space this would ultimately take up on my 64 GB iPhone 5S and Air 2.
When I completed the transfer of photos last week, the Photos app was reporting that it used 24 GB of space. One week later, and with a few hundred more photos and videos added from my trip to the Ripley’s Aquarium, and my Air 2 is now showing that the Photos app is using about 21 GB of space. It’s now obvious that the “Optimize iPad Storage” option in the iCloud Photo Library settings is actually working, and I anticipate that even that number will go down over the next few weeks. It seems like most of the photos on the device are being stored in full resolution, while some of them are simply optimized thumbnails that trigger downloads when I tap on them.
I haven’t been the biggest fan of iCloud. I have never felt like I fully trust it, and have chosen to use Dropbox instead of or in addition to iCloud when dealing with settings for apps data sync and similar subjects. Until yesterday that is; now my view of iCloud has changed quite a bit.
Yesterday I decided to put iCloud Backup & Restore to the test on my iPad, and I am hugely impressed with the results. I had been planning to install the iOS 6 GM on my iPad for several days and finally got round to it yesterday. I knew that I could not update to this developer build so I would have to do a restore to get it installed.
I’ve been using iCloud backup for some time now, but I was worried about the sheer quantity of apps and apps data on my iPad when it comes time to do a restore. Even after a major apps trimming session I was still at 207 apps and right around 25GB used by them.
Apple’s new iCloud service – due to release this Fall – will offer a number of exciting new features for iOS and Mac users. One of its cool features is already live and working well on the iPad and iOS 4.3: you can now see your purchase history in all iOS store apps, review your purchased items, and re-download any of those that are not currently installed.
This new feature is visible in the App Store, iTunes, and iBooks apps. It shows up as a new tab in the main navigation bar in each of these apps. It shows all your past purchases and shows an iCloud icon with a downward arrow on any of them that are not currently on the device. You just tap once on that icon to download them to the device. Apps that have new updates available will also show the iCloud download icon.
In the App Store, you can toggle with one tap to see purchases made on iPad or iPhone – and for each of these there are tabs for viewing All or ‘Not On This iPad’ to show those not currently installed.
Another iCloud feature that appears to be working already on my iPad is iTunes in the Cloud Push. The way this works is that when you download new music from iTunes on any device it is stored in iCloud and then automatically pushed out to all your Mac and iOS devices. I tried this out this morning. I purchased about a dozen new songs on my MacBook Pro and almost instantly those songs showed up on my iPad 2 in the Purchased section, ready to download. The downloads are relatively quick with a low volume of tracks selected to download so far.
For some reason, I imagined these downloads of newly purchased songs would occur automatically in the background, mostly due to the ‘push’ term I guess. It would be great if that was at least an option, maybe one where you receive an alert asking if you wish to download new purchased music now.
These first bits of iCloud are looking good and working well for me. When iCloud is full rolled out in the Fall it’s going to offer a lot of strong features for a free service. Between iCloud and iOS 5 it’s going to be an exciting last quarter of the year.