iCloud Photos

IF you are using iCloud Photo Sharing (storing your photos in iCloud to make them available on multiple devices), then pay attention to the following.

There are issues with using iCloud photo sharing, the main one being that uploading images to iCloud can be very slow no matter your ISP speed is. The slow speed is caused by Apple’s server. Apple throttles the speed down to try to accommodate the millions of users uploading many millions of images all at the same time. The end result is that changes made on one device may not show up on another device even in the same week.

Related to that, to know what is actually in iCloud.com, you need to open a browser and log in to icloud.com using the “same” Apple ID that you are using on your devices (for example, I have a main Apple ID and several aliases. I need to log in using the main ID). And it also helps to be logged in with that same ID on all your devices. So, when looking at your images in iCloud.com, you may see duplicates, or missing images, or images there that aren’t on one or more of your devices. There are several factors involved with this discrepancy. Wait a couple of days for the discrepancy to clear up. It is about a duplicate image (in iCloud.com or one of your devices), it may be a real duplicate caused by the synchronization process. The recommendation is to log in to icloud.com and delete the image to the right as that one is most likely not the original. If the duplicate is on one of your devices, again just delete the one on the right.

There is no way on your iOS device (using Photos in iOS) or in icloud.com to see the size information of an image. All you can go by is the date, and that will most likely be the modified date and not the creation date. So choosing to delete a duplicate in icloud.com or on iOS is a crap shoot - but choosing the one on the right is most likely the best bet.

Finally, if the total number of images and videos is different on all your devices (like it is on mine), then wait - and wait - and wait - until the numbers match up, which they eventually should. And it may take many days for the match to happen. During that time, you may be adding/deleting/editing images on one or more devices, and that will certainly keep the numbers mismatched at any point in time.

Hence, if things don’t seem to make sense regarding the number of images and what image is on one device and not another, be patient and have faith that eventually some, if not all, discrepancies will clear up.

John R. Carter, Sr.


Messages on iCloud

If you've updated your iPhone or iPad to iOS 11.4 you've got a new feature: Messages on iCloud. What does that mean, you might very well ask? Well, it's a bit complicated, and David Pogue explains it all in this link:


I must admit -- this is something I'm not too excited about, but it may be helpful for people who use text messages and iMessage a lot.

Jim Hamm

iCloud Drive and iCloud

What is the difference between iCloud Drive and iCloud, you might ask? I, too, had this question, and this article helped me understand both much better. If you decide to read this, the first article covers iCloud Drive, and if you keep scrolling the second article covers iCloud.

One nice feature is you can access both from any device. Presently I'm on my computer running a Linux OS but I just logged into my iCloud account from the browser and in iCloud there appears an iCloud Drive icon. After clicking the icon it opens and shows me what's stored in my iDrive. 

Here is yet another article discussing the difference between the two functions that you may also find helpful.

Jim Hamm

Might Want to Delete Old iCloud Backups

       "If you'd want to delete old iCloud backups to free up more storage space on your iPhone or iPad, take a read on this article," Jim Hamm informs us.  
        "Looking at my iPhone 6 I saw that 462 MB of data was stored there from my old iPhone 5. I didn't really need that backup anymore, so I could have freed up this storage space if I'd needed/wanted to. 
        Jim Hamm goes on to say, "Also, as you scroll down the list of apps you have on your device you can stop any of them from being included in future iCloud updates, should you want to. Since I have plenty of storage space available I let them all continue to be included in future updates. But this is good to remember if, in the future, I start running tight on iCloud storage space."

iCloud, iCloud Drive, and . . .

        "If you've upgraded to iOS 8 or Yosemite, perhaps, like me, you're trying to understand about -- and the differences between -- iCloud, iCloud Drive, Dropbox, and other 'cloud' storage options," Jim Hamm begins.  And he's got some good stuff to share.  Read on . . . 
        "Here are some articles that may help you understand the differences.To start off, take a read on this article. Then, take a read here on iCloud Drive. And finally, here's yet another article that asks whether now is a good time to use iCloud Drive? A question like this always makes me a bit nervous."  
        And you do picture Jim's grin at this point. So there's more . . . 
        "For me, it's easier to think of iCloud as another external hard drive (a storage repository), except the drive is in the 'cloud.' Then, I think of iCloud Drive as a way to access iCloud from any (almost) app, and to sync them. I do back up to iCloud, but haven't used it except to transfer my files, documents and apps to a new iPhone 6 from an older iPhone. It worked well for that. 
        "But on a daily basis I use Dropbox,  which is cross-platform, and always handy when I need it. So far, I've never actually logged into my iCloud account to see what's in there, or what it looks like. I don't seem to have a need to do so. As to iCloud Drive? Well, in theory I'm using it -- I've initiated it -- but haven't noticed any real results yet from using it. Perhaps with time."  
        So, thinking of his readers, Jim concludes, "Hopefully the above articles will be of some benefit in understanding these storage options."

Take Control of iCloud

        Everybody’s asking, “What is iCloud?”  Well, John Carter to the rescue.  See what he's got to say:  "The people at Take Control have answered this several times, and now they are doing it again with version 3.0 of Take Control of iCloud, which brings us up to date with all the latest features for Yosemite and iOS 8. This PDF or ePUB (you choose) book is available now on their website here at a 30% discount."

Re: iCloud Drive

        Here John Carter jumps in to the discussion, "A major disadvantage of iCloud is that it does not allow sharing between users in the way that Dropbox does. However, iCloud has other features that aren’t available in Dropbox. So it becomes prudent to know what iCloud is for and to take advantage of those features in addition to using Dropbox for what it does best.

        "To get informed on what iCloud is for, get the eBook “Take Control of iCloud” by Joe Kissell (2nd Edition) here. (Click on “All Ebooks” in the left margin to find the title. A 30% MUG discount will be applied at checkout.)"
        John provides this further info:  "Here’s an outline of the major iCloud features:
   * Media syncing
   * My Photo Stream and iCloud Photo Sharing
   * Syncing documents and app data
    * Mail, Contacts, Calendar, browser data, Reminders, and Notes
    * iCloud Keychain
    * iCloud.com
    *  Find My Device and Find My Friends
    * iCloud backup
    * Apple TV
    * Back to my Mac
      And John summarizes,  "Some of those features require Mavericks, and some are available in Mountain Lion or Lion."

Is This Phishing?

        "Doesn't this look threatening?" questions David Passell.  He passes along a copy of an email which says it's from no-reply@icloud.app.com asking for him to update his account records.  He wonders if it's legitimate or not.  He says he doesn't buy anything on an Apple Account, at least he hasn't for a long time.  He emphasizes "I will not click on the update to my account Link.  If I were worried I would go straight to my Apple account with my id and PW."  
        Did anyone else get this kind of an email? 

No, Your Data Isn't Secure in the Cloud

          John Carter wants to share his viewpoint on security in the Cloud.  "You do understand that it's the government that is insisting on an open book for all personal information, yet they also insist on not telling us anything they don't want us to know about - like what really happened at Roswell and other places.

        "I really don't care how deep the government is looking into my personal affairs. In fact, I want them to be able to pry into the private life of any citizen planning on running for a public office at every level of government from our local supervisor and councilman to the President. 
        "The ONLY way to have access to my passwords across all devices without using the cloud is to carry a thumb drive —and it won't connect to my iPhone, iPod, or iPad. That makes no sense. 
        "So, using iCloud or Dropbox to store my passwords is my only sure way of being able to access them when I need them from any device. And with 128 bit encryption, that is secure enough to prevent Joe the Plumber (and even my high-tech buddies) from getting at them. I'm safe from the hackers, and that's all that really concerns me.
        "Now, if one of those hackers works for the government and is nefarious enough to steal encrypted data for personal gain, I can't stop that. No one can. It would take an act of Congress to prevent even the government from accessing encrypted files, and then only foreign governments would be able to access my personal files. Right back where I started from."  
        And thanks to John for adding to this discussion.  

Changes Coming in Mavericks

         Starting with a short note about the coming Mavericks John Carter simply pointed out, "Not an overhaul, says one reviewer, but just a tune-up.  Read the full article here."

        Then John emailed again and added more, "My comments below are not as a result of my being able to play with OS X Mavericks. I'm paraphrasing what other reviewers are saying.
        "Probably the most significant change in OS X Mavericks, in my opinion, is what they've done with Finder. They added tabs and tags. These will be the greatest tools that any user could use. Tagging files like you do with photos in iPhoto will be a boon in finding a needle in a haystack. But then, you first have to go through all your files and tag them - just like with iPhoto.
        "The second most important feature to me is iCloud Keychain. Storing all your login and private information in one place that can be instantly available on all Apple devices is like having 1Password, but without all the fancy features. However, this will mean that you should assign a separate Keychain master password, and it also means that you can have no login password on your desktop computer, a strong login password on your laptop and other mobile device, and still have all your password info secure behind a separate, strong password.
        "What I'm waiting to hear about are the changes to iTunes and iPhoto. Some of the changes that went into iTunes 10 made a few people really mad - because one very useful feature was removed (to be able to create a mix on the fly without having to create a new playlist). I like the new iPhoto, but the features in Aperture are so compelling that I hardly ever use iPhoto anymore. What iPhoto needs is a built-in library manager like what is available in Aperture."
        John has more to say!  "I'm hoping they don't mess around with Pages and Keynote much (the way Windows did with Word and PowerPoint by restructuring the toolbar), but it would be nice if Apple offers a much larger selection of templates - for free.
        "The new Maps isn't terrific, and its location sensing is not as accurate as Maps in iOS (which would be useful for a laptop, but not necessarily so for a desktop), but it does have some new feature that makes it fun to play with - still not as much fun as using Google Earth.
        "There's a lot of noise by uninformed people about why Apple derailed the cat names for OS X versions when they adopted Mavericks."  John concludes his email with a picture of a Saber Tooth Tiger and the final touch of humor, "All I can think of for a title is 'Windows, you're my next lunch!'"  

Cloud: Pro & Con

         Here's a risk that Jim Hamm describes, "Storing 'stuff' in the Cloud has its advantages, but also a real risk, too. Take a read on this article where Google just shut an individual off from his Cloud storage. He hadn't done anything wrong to violate any of Google's policies, but someone or something at Google thought he had."
        (Scroll down and consider the logic of those 95 comments already posted on that site.) 

        "Trying to contact someone at Google to find out why this happened is a lost cause. Fortunately, this guy had friends that worked at Google and they ultimately were able to help him. But thee and me? I think we'd be out of luck if Google shoved us off the Cloud. 

        "Which brings me to Gmail. For quite some time I've used Google's web-based Gmail for all my email storage. i no longer download anything to my computers or iPad -- I do everything online. What if Google suddenly shut me off from my Gmail account? All of my emails -- both read and unread -- are stored there, not on my computer. Not a pleasant thought to contemplate. I'd survive, but what a pain.
        Here's Jim's conclusion, "I would never store anything of value in the Cloud. I much prefer an external hard drive for my extra storage. Could something like this happen with a Microsoft or Apple Cloud storage?  I'd guess it's possible. Just something for you to think about when you use the Cloud."