I knew the day was coming. This weekend I did it. I’ve gone all in on iCloud. Yes, as is the case with about a billion other Apple customers, I’ve used iCloud for years (back to when it was called MobileMe), but begrudgingly; mostly because Apple doesn’t do cloud services as well as Google does iOS applications.
Now I’m all in. Everything. Music. Movies. Documents. Desktop. Mac, iPhone, and iPad. So far, so good.
Why the delay? Why not one or two years ago? Dropbox works better than iCloud. Google’s Drive and Microsoft’s OneDrive had better pricing for cloud storage than Apple.
As has been the case for many Apple customers, iCloud first became a repository for the basics. Calendar, Contacts, Reminders, Notes, Keychain, Bookmarks, and a dozen or two third party applications (many of which also provided Dropbox access; but Dropbox provides only 2GB of free storage).
The first tipping point was how well iCloud has worked over the past year or so. Like Siri, iCloud has improved. Fewer hiccups, faster sync. So, over a period of a few months I added more files to iCloud.
The second tipping point is price. Apple made iCloud more competitive. The 5GB free option remains and might be sufficient to cover Calendar, Notes, Reminders, Contacts, and Keychains, but not many files. But $50GB is a mere 99-cent. 200GB is $2.99. 2TB is $9.99. That’s right. 2TB. As in terabytes. That amount is sufficient to handle all my storage; from Photos to iMovie to Documents and Desktop. Everything fits– barely– at 1TB, but now everything fits.
Yes, it took a few days of the weekend to get each of my Macs synchronized. Most internet access bandwidth is faster at downloading than uploading, but once each device was synced up, it all kinda sorta mostly works. A photo captured on my iPhone shows up a few minutes later on both Macs and iPad. Calendars, Notes, Reminders, Keychain, Bookmarks, and most third party apps have synchronized well over the past year or two.
To recap, the tipping points were, 1) improvements to the sync process, 2) lower price points on iCloud storage so that all files can be synced between devices.
Full disclosure: I keep some files and folders on Google’s Drive, Microsoft’s OneDrive, Box, Dropbox, and possibly one or two other cloud storage services, but more because I want to compare experiences.
With price and reliability Apple has made iCloud an acceptable alternative to local storage. Wait. What? No local storage? Not quite. Each of my Mac’s gets backed up– especially critical files in Documents, but also Desktop, Pictures, Movies, and Music– to external storage devices. That means, for example, that Documents are stored on each Mac, plus iPhone and iPad, plus iCloud, plus external Mac storage. And each iPhone and iPad is backed up to at least one Mac.
And, yes, many of those critical files are backed up elsewhere, too– Amazon S3, OneDrive, Drive, et al– so a cascading catastrophic event does not make everything disappear all at once.
So far, so good.