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iCloud+ the perfect storage solution

iCloud

If you work on Macs and iOS devices, are you taking advantage of this backup and storage solution with iCloud yet?

How it all began

Going back years, and I mean years, pretty much the only decent cloud, storage and backup solution was Dropbox. It was pretty much a game changer from its very inception. More often than not these days, however, my go to backup service is now iCloud+.

I am pretty confident, that most of you taking the time to read this blog use some kind of cloud-based storage service. Many of you are probably iOS and macOS users as well, which makes the use of Apple’s very own iCloud so much sense. Of course, using a backup service is, at it’s core, a way of simply backing up photos, documents, and videos. Nowadays, though, iCloud has grown up to be quite the beast, and offers so much more.

The best?

Is it the best? If you are running a Mac, possibly. It makes it so easy and seamless to use iCloud, as it is part of every Mac and iOs device you’ll ever buy. No downloading, no installing, no searching the App Store, it is just there on your Mac, iPhones, and iPads. Sign in with your Apple ID and you are good to go.

Value

Granted, compared to other services out there, what you get for free is not so good. With Apple’s iCloud, you’ll only be given 5 GB. Google, at this point, offer 15 GB free. There is a valid argument that the 5 GB is not even enough to backup a device when swapping over. To counter that, Apple will ‘lend’ you data to ensure you can swap devices for up to two weeks, allowing you to backup and restore. On the paid tiers, with iCloud+ there are three levels from which you can choose. 50 GB (79p/month), 200 GB (£2.99/month) or the plan I have, the 2 TB full fat version which runs me in £6.99 per month.

iCloud+

Once you decide to make the jump in to the paid tiers of iCloud, you’ll be among the legions now using iCloud+. This service come with iOS 15 and is available to all iCloud subscribers, and the plans can be shared among up to six members of your Family Sharing group too (although this only for the 200 GB and 2 TB levels). To find this, head to System Preferences > Family Sharing. When shared out, you can share Apple Books and App Store purchases. If you eventually opt for Apple One (more of which later), there are even more apps and services you can share.

Storage and beyond

Apple’s main mantra these days is privacy.

Apart from all the basics you’d expect from a backup service, with iCloud+ you’ll also have access to three, key, new features too, namely Private Relay, Hide My Email and HomeKit Secure which I’ll cover in just a moment.

There are also two other priceless gems among the goodies on offer, and those are Account Recovery & Legacy Contact. The former will let you name one trusted contact to receive a security code in the event you ever are in the unfortunate position of having to recover a lost account. And the other is Legacy Contact, which means upon your passing, a loved one can access your iCloud account.

Back to Private Relay, and as the name suggests, it is all about privacy and in particular, your browsing history when using Safari. Apple went to great lengths to create this environment. Whilst browsing on Safari, the data will be first encrypted, after which it is sent out through two intercept sites which serve to hide not only your location, but your IP address and browsing activity too. Gotta love Apple for this one.

Hide My Email is a feature I find myself using an increasing amount. This enables you to create aliases for use on websites and various online form filling. The beauty of this feature is that, you will receive the emails as normal. Your actual email & data is not online, and you are left safe from unscrupulous phishing. You can also personalise your iCloud email address with a custom domain name as well. Belts and braces, if you will. Think of it as a light VPN.

HomeKit is for those that have HomeKit certified security cameras. With iCloud+ you can store all your camera footage in iCloud, which, as you’d expect, is encrypted. Better still, it won’t count toward your storage limits. The number of physical cameras you can add to your iCloud+ account is dependant upon your plan. With 50 GB, you can only have one home security camera. With 200 GB, you’ll be allowed up to five and with the 2 TB plan, you’ll hit the jackpot, and be allowed an unlimited amount.

Apple One. What’s that all about?

I mentioned Apple One earlier. Think of it as an Apple special offer! It rather temptingly bundles together services and apps, but at a considerable discount. It comes in three distinct plans, and they are;

Individual : includes Apple Arcade, Apple Music, Apple TV+, and 50 GB iCloud storage for one user.

Family : includes Apple Arcade, Apple Music, Apple TV+, and 200 GB iCloud storage. Can be shared with up to six family members (yourself and five others).

Premier : includes Apple Arcade, Apple Fitness+, Apple Music, Apple News+, Apple TV+, and 2 TB of iCloud storage. Can be shared with up to six family members.

Tempted?

Honestly, if you have not yet delved in to what is available to you with the baked in, Apple friendly backup service, do yourself a favour, and at least take a look. Yes, the free 5 GB is, a little, well, stingy now, but oddly for Apple, the upgrade plans are not that costly. The peace of mind I have with the 2 TB plan and knowing how quickly accessible all of my data is, regardless of what Mac or iOS device I am on, is priceless. And with Universal Control about to become a reality, the transfer of these files between devices, is about to become even easier. I think you’ll be amazed and iCloud’s simplicity and integration. Granted, it is another foot planted deep within the Apple ecosystem, but I am totally fine with that for the benefits it offers.

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Originally published at https://www.talkingtechandaudio.com/blog on February 22, 2022.

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