Topics

iPad/iCloud question

Pixey
 

Jim,
After I retire at the end of March, I am anticipating a lot more use of my iPad and wanting to back up things to the cloud more than I currently do. I am trying to get a handle on understanding how iCloud storage works. I recently bought an inventorying app for my book/media collections that appears to use my iCloud allocation for the data (unlike ThreadBook).

I can go into settings and see where some of my apps are already backing up to iCloud or I have somehow already saved some documents to it because apparently Numbers was already set to backup to the iCloud. My question is that there does not appear to be possible to actually delete individual files from the iCloud. When I look at Manage iCloud storage and look at which files an app has saved, under Delete Documents and Data it says “This will delete all app data from iCloud and all connected devices. This can’t be undone.”

Obviously I don’t want to necessarily delete all the files associated with an app, but just ones that are no longer important. How does one keep the iCloud clean of unnecessary clutter of ephemeral or old no longer relevant files in order to make the most effective use of the data allocation?

Thanks,
Pixey

Jim Stutsman
 

That's a really good question. Every app, including ThreadBook, has its own chunk of iCloud space. However the space used by ThreadBook is a special allotment that is available to all devices using the same Apple ID, even if they have never logged in to iCloud. It is limited to 1MB, so it uses very little of the 5GB you get for free. I chose to use this because not all users of iPads are aware of iCloud or how it works. Because of the very limited size of this space, most apps use the conventional iCloud storage that requires you to log in. There are three different types of storage available to each app. The PUBLIC storage is where the app developer usually stores things that are common to all installed apps. This would be things like images for game levels, templates, and in the case of ThreadBook, updates to the Library installed on each device. Because this space is public, it does not count against your storage. It's generally free to the developer, although there is a formula that Apple uses to charge for it depending on the amount of storage used, the number of app installations, and the amount of bandwidth used. PRIVATE storage is where the documents live that you create, like text documents, spreadsheets, etc. This space does count against your allotted storage. The third type of iCloud storage is SHARED. This is where things go that app users want to share with other users. It might be things like photos, calendars, or other items of interest to a particular group. This also does not count against your allotted iCloud storage.

Initially apps could only open files in their own iCloud space, whether PUBLIC or PRIVATE. That fits the model that most people have of how computer storage works. Many times in helping my beloved with document issues, I would say where did you save it and I would get the answer "Word". Because the document was created by Word, it was assumed that's where it would be, and I would respond with "Word is a program, not a place." However in the first generation of iCloud, each app was also a place. This created frustration if you wanted to open a document, such as a plain text file, with a different app than the one that created it. Apple modified iOS so that a file could be copied from one app's space to another. This capability is still there today, as we saw in previous posts about opening embroidery files in AcuEdit. They then opened things up even more by allowing an app to open a file in another app's space if you have permission. This allows, for example, for multiple people to edit the same document. It's a little tricky to program for, and is not generally used outside of the Apple "business" apps like Pages, Numbers, and Keynote. In a recent iteration of iOS they introduced the "Files" app, which essentially lets you browse all of your iCloud files like you would on a desktop or laptop computer. Like Windows, when you open a file it will open in the app the is assigned to open such files. Also like Windows, having one and only one app to open a file of a given type creates problems. With that app you also get iCloud Drive, which is basically a storage bucket that you can reach from your iPhone, iPad, Mac, or Windows PC. This makes for convenient backup, but it's not at all clear how you can manage it. As you discovered, "Manage Cloud Storage" is an all-or-nothing proposition and not at all what the name would imply.

The most recent iOS version, 13, seems to be proof that 13 is an unlucky number due to the large number of bugs and frantic updates it has had. However it does have one feature that makes it easy to manage files. Whether you are looking at document in an app (Note - a document could be a spreadsheet, a text document, image, or whatever the app is built to make), or a document in the Files app "Browse" function, tapping and holding the document will produce a menu of options. This includes Copy, Duplicate, Move, *AND* Delete. Be very careful with the delete option, as it does not ask you to confirm. It just deletes, immediately. If you navigate back to the first page of the Browse function you will find a folder of "Recently Deleted" files. Tap and hold on a document there to Delete Now (forever!) or Recover. You can also tap the "Info" button to get more details about the file.

When you buy any Apple device you get 5GB of iCloud space for free. That's NOT 5GB per device, it's just 5GB period. This is pretty meager, especially if you let Apple store all your photos in iCloud, which they will do by default if you don't stop them. You can get 200GB of storage for $3 a month, and you can share that with other family members. The next jump is 2TB (2,000GB) for $10 a month. There are no other options. A number of other companies offer cloud storage, one example being Dropbox. However all of them will reach a point where you have to pay, and none of them are as smoothly integrated into iOS as iCloud.

Hopefully this clarifies things a bit, but please feel free to follow up with additional questions. Since creating ThreadBook I have, of necessity, had to learn a lot more about iCloud.

Pixey
 

Thanks Jim.  This is helpful in understanding particularly about the new ability to Browse and manage individual files.  The developer of the media library app did confirm it uses the 5G allocation if I do a backup but I did some math and I think that even if I use it to inventory all my books, videos, and CDs, it won’t use more than 2G max.  I don’t actually save my iPad photos to the cloud as most of them are temporary.  

As I do more, I may go ahead and up my iCloud storage...I did like that it offers more incremental pricing flexibility than Dropbox.

Pixey


On Dec 28, 2019, at 6:07 PM, Jim Stutsman via Groups.Io <onlinesewing@...> wrote:

That's a really good question. Every app, including ThreadBook, has its own chunk of iCloud space. However the space used by ThreadBook is a special allotment that is available to all devices using the same Apple ID, even if they have never logged in to iCloud. It is limited to 1MB, so it uses very little of the 5GB you get for free. I chose to use this because not all users of iPads are aware of iCloud or how it works. Because of the very limited size of this space, most apps use the conventional iCloud storage that requires you to log in. There are three different types of storage available to each app. The PUBLIC storage is where the app developer usually stores things that are common to all installed apps. This would be things like images for game levels, templates, and in the case of ThreadBook, updates to the Library installed on each device. Because this space is public, it does not count against your storage. It's generally free to the developer, although there is a formula that Apple uses to charge for it depending on the amount of storage used, the number of app installations, and the amount of bandwidth used. PRIVATE storage is where the documents live that you create, like text documents, spreadsheets, etc. This space does count against your allotted storage. The third type of iCloud storage is SHARED. This is where things go that app users want to share with other users. It might be things like photos, calendars, or other items of interest to a particular group. This also does not count against your allotted iCloud storage.

Initially apps could only open files in their own iCloud space, whether PUBLIC or PRIVATE. That fits the model that most people have of how computer storage works. Many times in helping my beloved with document issues, I would say where did you save it and I would get the answer "Word". Because the document was created by Word, it was assumed that's where it would be, and I would respond with "Word is a program, not a place." However in the first generation of iCloud, each app was also a place. This created frustration if you wanted to open a document, such as a plain text file, with a different app than the one that created it. Apple modified iOS so that a file could be copied from one app's space to another. This capability is still there today, as we saw in previous posts about opening embroidery files in AcuEdit. They then opened things up even more by allowing an app to open a file in another app's space if you have permission. This allows, for example, for multiple people to edit the same document. It's a little tricky to program for, and is not generally used outside of the Apple "business" apps like Pages, Numbers, and Keynote. In a recent iteration of iOS they introduced the "Files" app, which essentially lets you browse all of your iCloud files like you would on a desktop or laptop computer. Like Windows, when you open a file it will open in the app the is assigned to open such files. Also like Windows, having one and only one app to open a file of a given type creates problems. With that app you also get iCloud Drive, which is basically a storage bucket that you can reach from your iPhone, iPad, Mac, or Windows PC. This makes for convenient backup, but it's not at all clear how you can manage it. As you discovered, "Manage Cloud Storage" is an all-or-nothing proposition and not at all what the name would imply.

The most recent iOS version, 13, seems to be proof that 13 is an unlucky number due to the large number of bugs and frantic updates it has had. However it does have one feature that makes it easy to manage files. Whether you are looking at document in an app (Note - a document could be a spreadsheet, a text document, image, or whatever the app is built to make), or a document in the Files app "Browse" function, tapping and holding the document will produce a menu of options. This includes Copy, Duplicate, Move, *AND* Delete. Be very careful with the delete option, as it does not ask you to confirm. It just deletes, immediately. If you navigate back to the first page of the Browse function you will find a folder of "Recently Deleted" files. Tap and hold on a document there to Delete Now (forever!) or Recover. You can also tap the "Info" button to get more details about the file.

When you buy any Apple device you get 5GB of iCloud space for free. That's NOT 5GB per device, it's just 5GB period. This is pretty meager, especially if you let Apple store all your photos in iCloud, which they will do by default if you don't stop them. You can get 200GB of storage for $3 a month, and you can share that with other family members. The next jump is 2TB (2,000GB) for $10 a month. There are no other options. A number of other companies offer cloud storage, one example being Dropbox. However all of them will reach a point where you have to pay, and none of them are as smoothly integrated into iOS as iCloud.

Hopefully this clarifies things a bit, but please feel free to follow up with additional questions. Since creating ThreadBook I have, of necessity, had to learn a lot more about iCloud.

Kim Normandin
 

Wow!  I learned a lot from this email thread. Thank you so much.  


On Dec 28, 2019, at 7:07 PM, Jim Stutsman via Groups.Io <onlinesewing@...> wrote:

That's a really good question. Every app, including ThreadBook, has its own chunk of iCloud space. However the space used by ThreadBook is a special allotment that is available to all devices using the same Apple ID, even if they have never logged in to iCloud. It is limited to 1MB, so it uses very little of the 5GB you get for free. I chose to use this because not all users of iPads are aware of iCloud or how it works. Because of the very limited size of this space, most apps use the conventional iCloud storage that requires you to log in. There are three different types of storage available to each app. The PUBLIC storage is where the app developer usually stores things that are common to all installed apps. This would be things like images for game levels, templates, and in the case of ThreadBook, updates to the Library installed on each device. Because this space is public, it does not count against your storage. It's generally free to the developer, although there is a formula that Apple uses to charge for it depending on the amount of storage used, the number of app installations, and the amount of bandwidth used. PRIVATE storage is where the documents live that you create, like text documents, spreadsheets, etc. This space does count against your allotted storage. The third type of iCloud storage is SHARED. This is where things go that app users want to share with other users. It might be things like photos, calendars, or other items of interest to a particular group. This also does not count against your allotted iCloud storage.

Initially apps could only open files in their own iCloud space, whether PUBLIC or PRIVATE. That fits the model that most people have of how computer storage works. Many times in helping my beloved with document issues, I would say where did you save it and I would get the answer "Word". Because the document was created by Word, it was assumed that's where it would be, and I would respond with "Word is a program, not a place." However in the first generation of iCloud, each app was also a place. This created frustration if you wanted to open a document, such as a plain text file, with a different app than the one that created it. Apple modified iOS so that a file could be copied from one app's space to another. This capability is still there today, as we saw in previous posts about opening embroidery files in AcuEdit. They then opened things up even more by allowing an app to open a file in another app's space if you have permission. This allows, for example, for multiple people to edit the same document. It's a little tricky to program for, and is not generally used outside of the Apple "business" apps like Pages, Numbers, and Keynote. In a recent iteration of iOS they introduced the "Files" app, which essentially lets you browse all of your iCloud files like you would on a desktop or laptop computer. Like Windows, when you open a file it will open in the app the is assigned to open such files. Also like Windows, having one and only one app to open a file of a given type creates problems. With that app you also get iCloud Drive, which is basically a storage bucket that you can reach from your iPhone, iPad, Mac, or Windows PC. This makes for convenient backup, but it's not at all clear how you can manage it. As you discovered, "Manage Cloud Storage" is an all-or-nothing proposition and not at all what the name would imply.

The most recent iOS version, 13, seems to be proof that 13 is an unlucky number due to the large number of bugs and frantic updates it has had. However it does have one feature that makes it easy to manage files. Whether you are looking at document in an app (Note - a document could be a spreadsheet, a text document, image, or whatever the app is built to make), or a document in the Files app "Browse" function, tapping and holding the document will produce a menu of options. This includes Copy, Duplicate, Move, *AND* Delete. Be very careful with the delete option, as it does not ask you to confirm. It just deletes, immediately. If you navigate back to the first page of the Browse function you will find a folder of "Recently Deleted" files. Tap and hold on a document there to Delete Now (forever!) or Recover. You can also tap the "Info" button to get more details about the file.

When you buy any Apple device you get 5GB of iCloud space for free. That's NOT 5GB per device, it's just 5GB period. This is pretty meager, especially if you let Apple store all your photos in iCloud, which they will do by default if you don't stop them. You can get 200GB of storage for $3 a month, and you can share that with other family members. The next jump is 2TB (2,000GB) for $10 a month. There are no other options. A number of other companies offer cloud storage, one example being Dropbox. However all of them will reach a point where you have to pay, and none of them are as smoothly integrated into iOS as iCloud.

Hopefully this clarifies things a bit, but please feel free to follow up with additional questions. Since creating ThreadBook I have, of necessity, had to learn a lot more about iCloud.

Pixey
 

By the way, I could definitely relate to your story of someone dear to you saving in “Word”.  Because of the nature of the academic and workplace environment where I built most of my computer experience, I was always aware of the difference between local machine and centrally backed up network/cloud storage for files and the structure of drives and folders.  However, on more than one occasion I have been called upon to help my mom or dad find a file that they saved “in Word” (or WordPerfect before it) but subsequently “lost”.

The other area that I am having to really build my knowledge about is the “backup” functions and transferring from old to new devices.  Thus far, the manner in which I used my home laptop and iPad was such that it would not be a huge deal if something crashed and I needed to do a simple file or iTunes library restore from a portable hard drive.  But that is going to change with retirement...so I know I need to look more into a more structured, ongoing backup process there as well.

One thing about my job that I will miss once I retire is a dedicated IT department that never minded the occasional off topic home computing question.

Pixey


On Dec 28, 2019, at 10:48 PM, Pixey via Groups.Io <pixeyam@...> wrote:

Thanks Jim.  This is helpful in understanding particularly about the new ability to Browse and manage individual files.  The developer of the media library app did confirm it uses the 5G allocation if I do a backup but I did some math and I think that even if I use it to inventory all my books, videos, and CDs, it won’t use more than 2G max.  I don’t actually save my iPad photos to the cloud as most of them are temporary.  

As I do more, I may go ahead and up my iCloud storage...I did like that it offers more incremental pricing flexibility than Dropbox.

Pixey


On Dec 28, 2019, at 6:07 PM, Jim Stutsman via Groups.Io <onlinesewing@...> wrote:

That's a really good question. Every app, including ThreadBook, has its own chunk of iCloud space. However the space used by ThreadBook is a special allotment that is available to all devices using the same Apple ID, even if they have never logged in to iCloud. It is limited to 1MB, so it uses very little of the 5GB you get for free. I chose to use this because not all users of iPads are aware of iCloud or how it works. Because of the very limited size of this space, most apps use the conventional iCloud storage that requires you to log in. There are three different types of storage available to each app. The PUBLIC storage is where the app developer usually stores things that are common to all installed apps. This would be things like images for game levels, templates, and in the case of ThreadBook, updates to the Library installed on each device. Because this space is public, it does not count against your storage. It's generally free to the developer, although there is a formula that Apple uses to charge for it depending on the amount of storage used, the number of app installations, and the amount of bandwidth used. PRIVATE storage is where the documents live that you create, like text documents, spreadsheets, etc. This space does count against your allotted storage. The third type of iCloud storage is SHARED. This is where things go that app users want to share with other users. It might be things like photos, calendars, or other items of interest to a particular group. This also does not count against your allotted iCloud storage.

Initially apps could only open files in their own iCloud space, whether PUBLIC or PRIVATE. That fits the model that most people have of how computer storage works. Many times in helping my beloved with document issues, I would say where did you save it and I would get the answer "Word". Because the document was created by Word, it was assumed that's where it would be, and I would respond with "Word is a program, not a place." However in the first generation of iCloud, each app was also a place. This created frustration if you wanted to open a document, such as a plain text file, with a different app than the one that created it. Apple modified iOS so that a file could be copied from one app's space to another. This capability is still there today, as we saw in previous posts about opening embroidery files in AcuEdit. They then opened things up even more by allowing an app to open a file in another app's space if you have permission. This allows, for example, for multiple people to edit the same document. It's a little tricky to program for, and is not generally used outside of the Apple "business" apps like Pages, Numbers, and Keynote. In a recent iteration of iOS they introduced the "Files" app, which essentially lets you browse all of your iCloud files like you would on a desktop or laptop computer. Like Windows, when you open a file it will open in the app the is assigned to open such files. Also like Windows, having one and only one app to open a file of a given type creates problems. With that app you also get iCloud Drive, which is basically a storage bucket that you can reach from your iPhone, iPad, Mac, or Windows PC. This makes for convenient backup, but it's not at all clear how you can manage it. As you discovered, "Manage Cloud Storage" is an all-or-nothing proposition and not at all what the name would imply.

The most recent iOS version, 13, seems to be proof that 13 is an unlucky number due to the large number of bugs and frantic updates it has had. However it does have one feature that makes it easy to manage files. Whether you are looking at document in an app (Note - a document could be a spreadsheet, a text document, image, or whatever the app is built to make), or a document in the Files app "Browse" function, tapping and holding the document will produce a menu of options. This includes Copy, Duplicate, Move, *AND* Delete. Be very careful with the delete option, as it does not ask you to confirm. It just deletes, immediately. If you navigate back to the first page of the Browse function you will find a folder of "Recently Deleted" files. Tap and hold on a document there to Delete Now (forever!) or Recover. You can also tap the "Info" button to get more details about the file.

When you buy any Apple device you get 5GB of iCloud space for free. That's NOT 5GB per device, it's just 5GB period. This is pretty meager, especially if you let Apple store all your photos in iCloud, which they will do by default if you don't stop them. You can get 200GB of storage for $3 a month, and you can share that with other family members. The next jump is 2TB (2,000GB) for $10 a month. There are no other options. A number of other companies offer cloud storage, one example being Dropbox. However all of them will reach a point where you have to pay, and none of them are as smoothly integrated into iOS as iCloud.

Hopefully this clarifies things a bit, but please feel free to follow up with additional questions. Since creating ThreadBook I have, of necessity, had to learn a lot more about iCloud.

Jim Stutsman
 

iPhone and iPad backup can be configured to be automatic, but it's not a complete mirror-image backup. Apps are not backed up, as they can be reloaded from the store during a restoration. App data is backed up as long as it has been saved in the right way by the app. Temporary files don't get backed up, but those shouldn't need to be. Data that's stored in iCloud also is not backed up, although you may have copies of it locally in your device. For example, if you open a spreadsheet from iCloud it actually gets copied to your device. As you make changes, they are propagated back to iCloud, as well as to the local copy. In this case it's kind of like backing up "on the fly". You can also backup your device to a local computer using iTunes, although in macOS Catalina that function has been moved to the Finder. iTunes is now Music, and the transition has made a complete mess of my music collection. Fortunately I have all of that backed up on a hard drive, but I have not been moved to go through album by album to remove duplicates and put back missing pieces. In this case having my music in iCloud has backfired on me.

When I get a new device I always back up the old one to my Mac through a cable connection. If you make an encrypted backup it also backs up passwords, which is really helpful. I have over 1,000 of them and even though they are all safely stored in the 1Password app, I really like having FaceID enter them automatically. Other than that, I just let each device backup to iCloud as it is charged. Data that is already in iCloud is managed by Apple with regard to backups, so I don't worry about that. Where they seem to have dropped the ball is with Apple apps like Music and Photos. Every time they improve those apps, they wind up breaking something. Sadly I think the current focus is on keeping the stock price high, rather than software quality. Missing Steve!

Cat - N
 

Pixey, as one of those "dedicated IT department" staff, what happened when I 'retired' was former "users" calling me at home...since my company made my cell phone number "public" within the company by putting it in the phone directory...against policy, of course...LOL  The calls have finally dropped of, as people who received that phone directory by email left the company.  I continued to help "home" users, even to the point of using console or Teamviewer sessions to fix their home machines, but drew a hard line at any company computer issue.

- Cat (FL)

"...One thing about my job that I will miss once I retire is a dedicated IT department that never minded the occasional off topic home computing question."

Pixey