Thursday, September 24, 2015

Trouble in iPhone land

My wife had been having trouble with her iPhone. Several Apple apps would crash immediately after launching. That included Safari and the camera. Additionally the phone was also running hot. Since the phone was a 128GB phone the 5GB free iCloud storage was simply not enough. Finally, plugging the phone into a MacBook did not force a backup.

The three questions that an Apple Genius is going to ask you [a] have you backed it up [b] have you [factory] reset it [c] have you updated the iOS? In my case the backup was not working but I had not spent too much time trying. Also, if the problem is a configuration that has been backed up then the backup may be rendered useless making the process take longer. It's all about risk/reward.

And so I proceeded to factory reset the phone. *sigh* As a result I lost 4 months of pictures. Arguably if I had been able to get the pictures onto iPhoto I would have saved myself a lot of grief. But that's a bit more complicated.

One of the complaints I have had about the latest Apple computers is that there is simply not enough local storage to support the volumes of pictures that most people take.  For example the new MacBook 2 simply doe not have enough storage. Second, even if you have enough storage it's going to takes many days to recover. A few months ago we had a drive failure on our primary macbook. In response I replaced the drive with a 2TB laptop drive from MacSales and restored all of our data. Restoring the 57,000 pictures took nearly 2 weeks thanks to BackBlaze. But it worked.

Apple's iCloud (photo support) seems to have caught up to Google. The phone and computer have thumbnails and the original images are stored on Apple's cloud servers. Also, their prices seem a little more competitive at $10/mo for 1TB. Now it seems that the 128GB phone was an unnecessary expense. With the iCloud support the way it is I did not need that much storage.

All things considered... this is the default behavior for Google and I did not have to do anything special or know anything extra. This was just how it worked.

In the final analysis here is what we have going on the MacBook:
  • Back Blaze - backs everything up but if you delete it from the mac it will eventually be deleted from the storage
  • Picasa - uploads all the photos to Google+ in a private folder but not a full resolution; better to have the memory than not
  • Apple - iPhoto syncs with iCloud optimizing local storage and keeping the original images in the cloud. Deleting a local image or video will eventually delete it on the server.
On the iPhone:
  • Google+ - when connected to WiFi will automatically upload the pictures to Google+ too. I'm not certain what resolution the images will be. It could be the thumbnail or the same reduced image as described above
  • Apple - the photo app is optimized to upload the images to iCloud and sync accordingly. Local storage is optimized such that only thumbnails and reduced images are stored. This can actually be a pain in the ass but that's what the industry is doing.
Do not delete your pictures from the iPhone as it will have a cascading effect on the storage.

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