Tag Archive for ‘iCloud’

Apple Merges Gift Card Offerings ➝

There will no longer be a differentiation between Apple Store gift cards and gift cards that are used for iTunes, App Store, and iCloud purchases. Going forward, all Apple gift cards can be used to purchase items through any of their marketplaces.

➝ Source: apple.com

Unencrypted iCloud Backups ➝

Joseph Menn, reporting for Reuters:

Apple Inc dropped plans to let iPhone users fully encrypt backups of their devices in the company’s iCloud service after the FBI complained that the move would harm investigations, six sources familiar with the matter told Reuters.

The reasoning behind why Apple dropped plans to encrypt iCloud backups might be questionable. But the reality is that iCloud backups are not encrypted. It’s pretty pathetic that a company that has pitched itself as a privacy-focused option continues to have such a major hole in the system.

If you care about your privacy, it might be a good idea to consider backing up your iOS devices locally with iTunes or Finder instead of through iCloud. This will let you have a bit more control over your data and give you the option to actually encrypt backups.

And to be clear, you don’t have to connect your device with a cable each time you perform a backup. An often forgotten feature of iOS is the ability to sync/backup with iTunes or Finder over WiFi.

➝ Source: reuters.com

‘iCloud Clusterfuck’ ➝

Craig Hockenberry:

The months since WWDC in June have been a terrible experience for both customers and developers alike and the literal center of the chaos was Apple’s iCloud syncing service.

For us, it all started with customers reporting lost Linea sketches in their iCloud Drive. Initial investigations led to a common factor: all of the people affected had installed the iOS 13 beta release.

And when I say lost, I mean really lost. Entire folders were either gone or corrupted. Apple’s mechanism to recover deleted files was of no help. The customers with weird folder duplicates were the “lucky” ones.

I installed iOS 13 on my iPhone relatively early on in the beta cycle. I ran into issues with Shortcuts and promptly downgraded back to iOS 12 a few days later. Since then, I’ve stayed far away from the idea of running the beta on any of my devices.

Here’s the thing, the data I keep in iCloud is just too darn important for me to take a chance with. Especially with beta releases like we saw with iOS 13.

Luckily, there is an eventual happy ending to this story, though:

Now it appears that the entire stack is getting rolled back and there won’t be new iCloud features in iOS 13 (at least initially.) I honestly think that’s the wisest course of action at this point. My only wish is that Apple would make an official statement.

If it’s broken, fix it before it ships. And that’s exactly what Apple appears to be doing.

I really like Craig’s suggestion for the future, too — iCloud simply can’t be a beta again. But I actually think having the ability to backup and restore all of your iCloud data is a more attainable first step that would mitigate a lot of fear from situations like this in the future. Essentially, Apple could prevent beta releases of iOS from touching iCloud data unless the service first confirms that the user has completed a download of an iCloud backup file. Then, if anything goes wrong, the user can at least restore from that point.

➝ Source: furbo.org

On iCloud Backups

Ever since the feature has existed, I’ve always backed up my iOS devices through iTunes. In the early days of the iPhone, it was the only option. But even in the later years, I’ve continued the practice. That changed a few days ago when Apple shipped iOS 11.4 and enabled the ability to store your messages in iCloud.

It sounds silly in hindsight, but I never liked the idea of paying Apple a monthly fee for additional iCloud storage. Especially if I only needed the extra room to backup my iPhone and iPad. I’ve always had plenty of important data on my Macs and maintaining backups for those machines with Time Machine and SuperDuper! was easy enough.

It seemed like keeping regular backups for my iOS devices through iTunes was a sensible solution. But I was wrong.

In order for a backup solution to be effective, it must be automatic and effortless. Neither of these are true of iTunes backups. And that goes double for someone that has almost entirely transitioned to an iOS-only lifestyle. A few years ago, when I would spend two or three hours each day in front of my MacBook Air, I could at least make an argument. But today, when I only use my Mac for two or three hours each week, I don’t think so.

I tried to mitigate the problem by setting reoccurring reminders in apps like Things, but it was a foolish endeavor. The backup process was too much of a hassle and I would put it off for days. And eventually weeks. Sure, some of my data was stored as iCloud documents or through third-party syncing services. But if something went wrong with my iPad or iPhone, it would have taken me weeks to get back to normal. And I almost certainly would have lost something.

You might point out that iTunes offers the ability to sync over Wi-Fi. And you’d be correct. But in my experience, that feature is spotty at best and fails far too frequently to be considered a reliable solution. Maybe I’m in the minority with this. If it works for you, go for it. But physically connecting my devices with a cable, even seldomly, was better for me than relying on Wi-Fi backups for weeks only to find out that iTunes crashed on day two.

But this past Tuesday, Apple shipped Messages in iCloud and I was finally pushed over the edge. It’s funny how I was willing to put off something this important for so long and all it took was the minuscule nudge of a relatively insignificant feature. Messages in iCloud seemed so sweet, though. It keeps all of your conversations in sync between your devices and can optimize the app’s storage to give your iOS device a bit of breathing room.

Perhaps most importantly, Messages in iCloud was a nifty new feature that I wanted to use. But i had several gigabytes worth of messages data — in order to use it, I was going to need more than 5GB of iCloud storage. And that’s all it took. I opted for the 200GB plan and immediately shared the storage with my wife. Both our iPhones and my iPad are now setup to backup to iCloud and I’ve deleted all of those ineffective reminders in Things.

If not for Apple shipping this feature, I almost certainly would have continued down the path of storing my iOS backups through iTunes and it probably would have bit me in the butt eventually. One of my devices would have wound up broken, lost, or stolen and my most recent backup would have been weeks or months old. That’s an awful scenario on its own, regardless of how quickly I can get up and running again with all of my data. But at least I can rest easy now, knowing that my most recent backup is no more than a day or two old.

Thinking About Shared iCloud Photo Libraries ➝

Stephen Hackett:

This solution is what I would prefer. In it, my wife and I would continue to have our own libraries, tied to our own iCloud accounts, just like we do today.

However, we would be able to add each other as viewers to our libraries. Once access has been granted, her library would show up in the top-level of Photos.app as do things like People, Places, Videos, etc. I could tap her library to see all of her content, including albums, collections, etc. If I were to see something I wanted to add to my library, I could select it and tap “Add to My Library.” Doing so would prompt iCloud to add a full-resolution copy of that file to my personal library.

The one thing keeping my wife and I from using iCloud Photo Libraries is the lack of a feature like this. Right now, we use Google Photos with a shared Google account on both of our iPhones. This gives us a single, unified library to browse and offsite backups for our photos. If Apple shipped a library sharing feature, though, we’d switch in a heartbeat.

5GB Is the New 16GB ➝

Stephen Hackett:

I’m no data center expert, but bumping everyone to even 10 GB would be a huge increase in disk space needed at Apple’s data centers. I don’t know what that sort of change would cost, but I can imagine it’d be huge based on Apple’s sheer number of customers. Whatever slice of profit off of iPhone hardware goes to paying for iCloud storage would certainly take a hit.

I’m sure this is why a change hasn’t been made.

However, I think it’s something the company should consider biting the bullet on. I hope that something is underway to increase the space Apple provides for free.

The problem, for Apple, is that they aren’t a company built on server infrastructure. They’re incredible at building hardware and writing software, but implementing giant data centers isn’t a part of their DNA like it is for Google.

The offer of unlimited photo storage is a brilliant way for Google to play to their strengths. They can’t compete with Apple from a hardware materials standpoint — at least, not yet — so they’ve decided to change the conversation. Now, everyone’s talking about the service associated with the Pixel instead of the Pixel itself.

Given the current narrative, I think it would be wise for Apple to offer more storage in the free tier. This would certainly decrease the number of unpleasant interactions iPhone owners have with their devices and it would lessen the competitive edge that Google has on this front.

I don’t think we’ll see “unlimited photo storage” from Apple anytime soon, though. My immediate hunch is 25GB for free. But at this point, that might not be enough.

Apple Should Give Customers Free iCloud Space to Match Their Devices ➝

Susie Ochs, writing for Macworld:

In the fall of 2014, Apple cut the prices on iCloud storage to fall more in line with competitors like Amazon and Google. But the best thing Apple could do is recognize that we’re already paying a lot to play in its garden, and throw in free iCloud storage that matches the capacities of our Macs, iPads, and iPhones.

Susie suggest that Apple should offer this extra storage for two years after the purchase of a new device. I doubt it’s going to happen for free, but what if this extra storage was another perk that came with AppleCare+?

How to Fix Repeat iCloud Sign-In Requests on iPhone and iPad ➝

My fiancée and I recently started experiencing this issue on our iPhones. I tried this solution and it appears to have worked like a charm.