A Life in the Cloud

Growing up, we would lay on trampolines and rolling hills, and stare into the skies with our friends and siblings, and try to guess what the clouds look like. Now, millennials’ lives are still in the clouds, however, now our digital life revolves around our data stored in the Cloud. Questions and concerns arise about safety, and people are terrified of their ‘personal’ pictures and sensitive data leaking on the internet thanks to scandalous hackers.  However, the Cloud promises complete mobility, and data safety for a lifetime.  Is the risk worth it? Most definitely.

Apple and Android (heavier on the Apple side), are going more and more towards cloud storage for users of their operating systems.  Apple’s next mobile OS, iOS 11, ups the ante and moves as much to the cloud as it can, with even the storied Messages app being cloud based now.  Delete a message on your iPhone, and the same message is deleted instantly on your iPad and Mac.  Siri, Apple’s almost-autonomous digital assistant, is now Cloud-based, and as Siri learns your likes and dislikes, how you speak and your personal comings and goings, it will translate that knowledge to all of your devices.  Apple’s Cloud data can now be shared amongst families, with a 2TB option only $9.99 a month now.

The Cloud allows for quick recovery of data, one of its biggest key values. If you lose your iPhone or smash it in a drunken rage, the Apple fan can simply walk into an Apple store, purchase a new device, connect to the store’s wifi, and within minutes your core data is back on your phone, with your apps and photos to follow over the next several hours.  It is frustrating when someone complains they lose their phone, and when they get their new phone, have to ask for everyone’s phone numbers again.  “New phone – who dis?” Being afraid of the Cloud is not healthy nor reasonable, and the Cloud prevents the user from losing data, and more importantly, photos, they’ve accrued for years.

Mobile photography has surpassed handheld cameras in quantity of devices and pictures taken daily by millions, and two years ago, Apple followed in Google’s footsteps, and enabled Cloud management and storage of photos.  iCloud photos has tons of benefits; take a picture on one device and it is on all of your devices instantly.  Mark your ‘private’ photos as hidden, and they are hidden on all of your devices.  More importantly, store the photos in the Cloud, and save TONS of storage space on your devices.  You can choose to keep all photos locally as well, but there is no need.  But the fear is real of photos on the Cloud, as we see once or twice a month with a celebrity’s nude photos “leaking” from iCloud onto the internet.  Fear strikes the masses.

However, this is simply not the case.  iCloud is not hackable.  Period.  Hackers aren’t breaking into anything to steal a user’s personal photos, they are acquiring the password of the user and simply logging in.  There are ways to prevent this.  Enable two-factor authentication on your device, and it makes this problem almost impossible.  If your phone is stolen and registered with your iCloud account, immediately go to Find My Phone and wipe your phone and lock it.  Many users don’t do this because they think it might be a pain to restore it; it isn’t.  But most importantly, don’t give your password out…EVER.  Google, Microsoft, Apple, etc., would never ask for your password in an email.  If you get an email telling you your account is locked or frozen, throw it away and don’t ever click on a link in an email asking you to login.  Hackers can’t get your iCloud password unless you give it to them.   It is that simple.

Over the next decade or sooner, our OS’s will become completely cloud-based.  Your storage on your device will simply be for an app executable and photos/videos, with app data streaming from the Cloud.  Rarely do we even have the need anymore to have movies and/or music synched to our devices, and that need will lessen even more over the next few years as internet penetration improves globally.  Thinner devices with less necessary storage will become the standard.  Your personal cloud is just that, personal, and navigating a global landscape will become much easier very quickly.

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