Three Guys and a Podcast

Three Guys and a Podcast: Apple News & Analysis

December 17, 2013 at 10:08am Pacific Time
by: Karl Johnson
Categories: iCloud, iOS Applications, OS X, Review

Icloud-logoApple cleaned up iCloud’s many syncing bugs with iOS 7 and OS X version 10.9. Not all of them are gone, but enough to make it reliable. Now that iCloud is a stable solution, developers have been adding iCloud features to their software. As iCloud continues to grow in popularity, users will be asking for more features.

There are lot of features that Apple could add to iCloud. What are the most important ones? Which features will have the most impact on the users? Here are three features that would have the most impact.

  1. iCloud Time Machine: If a files gets deleted accidentally, it is deleted from iCloud for good. This can happen by user error or an application bug. Either way, it can be a disaster for the user and is the biggest problem for iCloud. Users can backup their iCloud files in the library folder to an extra hard drive either with Time Machine for the Mac or any number of third party backup applications, but this is still not the best solution, especially for iOS users. A Time Machine service for iCloud would be the ideal way to handle iOS backups. There are several ways to limit the amount of storage space used, so Apple building server farms the size of Texas wouldn't be an issue. Time Machine for iCloud could incorporate file versions so users can revert to older versions of their files. Dropbox has a great solution for this service and it has saved user's files countless times.
  2. Multiple Application Files: iCloud is a nice service to sync files across devices and comes built in to every Apple product. The second biggest problem for iCloud is that those files are only accessible by one application. Many file types like jpg, png, pdf, and txt can be opened from multiple applications. Sharing files across multiple applications is common for most users. Yes, files can be sent between applications, but this is not a good solution. It would be better if these files were accessible directly from multiple applications. This is another area where Dropbox has an advantage.
  3. iCloud Finder: Right now, the only way to see what you have in iCloud is to look in the mobile documents folders inside the hidden library folder on the Mac. One may be surprised how much is in there. Lots of applications save files to iCloud now. Apple needs to deliver a superior way for OS X to access files on iCloud than just in the hidden folder or inside of the application directly. An iCloud Finder is needed to give users better access to their files on iCloud.

iCloud had a rough beginning, but Apple has worked hard to improve its reliability, which has paid dividends. The next step is for Apple to keep working hard to improve its features and make it better that other cloud syncing services currently available. iCloud Time Machine and Finder are the areas of needed improvement.

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  1. Greg Maynes ~ December 17, 2013 09:46

    Address book should be like the Calendar Application. You should be able to subscribe to various address books. This would allow each user to have a personal address book while still being able to access a business address book. Right now, if multiple machines are to have a the same address book, they have to be linked to the same iCloud account. This is problematic when using things like iMessage or syncing Notes etc. #
  2. Ben Veronis ~ December 17, 2013 13:03

    Apple should purchase DropBox or create a similar service. People are "object oriented", they understand physical files, and want to be able to know where they actually are, and to organize them in a way that suits them. If the intent is to that iCloud will keep track of the user's files, then it has to be 100% automatic, 100% all across the board for 100% of the apps and include 100% of the files. Otherwise, it is a mess and you have no idea where things are or if they are backed up or not. #
  3. RNKLN ~ December 17, 2013 23:35

    Tagging of course is a mechanism which helps to make iCloud files visible in the Finder. Having said that, i believe it is not enough, since it requires you to tag everything. Not everybody's ready for tagging. For me, the priority is going to be with the first two of your desired features, though. #
  4. SapB ~ December 18, 2013 18:27

    For those wishing to look through their iCloud files in a finder-like window... Look a PlainCloud. It is a great donation-ware app for your mac Desktop that allows you to copy, move and delete files all within the Finder. It is great for backing up your important iCloud files! It can be found here: #

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