My iPhone and iPad are backed up on iCloud. Apple discontinued to iTunes backup system on the Mac and Windows PCs because the company is confident that iCloud is a better solution. Maybe so, maybe not. But it works.
A few days ago I read about Google’s policy regarding Android backups in Google Drive. If you don’t use Drive to backup your Android smartphone for a month, Google deletes the backups. Say what? With enough bad press that policy could change but it posed a disaster for some Android smartphone users. What about iCloud?
Don’t color me an expert on Android and Google Drive backup routines, but deleting data arbitrarily seems a bit over the top. Yeah, we’re talking Google here; the company that scrapped their BlackBerry-like stupidphone when iPhone was introduced, then turned around and stole the iPhone’s interface and functionality. That’s another story.
The Android backup story might be more common than you think, especially considering the few billion Android smartphones in the wild. Basically, the guy had a Nexus 6P Android phone he didn’t like. He gave it back and bought an iPhone. He’s ready for Google’s Pixel 2, due soon, but found out Google had deleted his previous smartphone’s Backup folder, without an email warning. The poor guy also had the 100GB storage option in Google Drive but it didn’t matter.
What about iCloud? Well, Apple has worked diligently in the past couple of years to improve the service, sufficiently so that I keep nearly everything backed up to iCloud.
Wait! There’s more! And it’s bad news from Apple.
Important: If you don’t back up your iOS device to iCloud for 180 days or more, Apple reserves the right to delete your device’s iCloud backups.
Uh oh. Is nothing sacred? Digging into the fine print in Terms and Conditions yields this:
This will delete “device settings, device characteristics, photos and videos, documents, messages (iMessage, SMS, and MMS), ringtones, app data (including Health app data), location settings (such as location-based reminders that you have set up), and Home screen and app organization”.
While it may be unlikely that I will be absent from backing up my iPhone for a six month period, it isn’t exactly comforting to know that Apple has a kill switch built-in to what I backup on iCloud.
These days I like iCloud. It’s not as fast at synchronizing files between devices as Dropbox, but it’s less expensive for storage, and works far better than in the past. Plus, restoring an iPhone or iPad from a backup is so good it’s as if God is beaming down features to Apple from Steve Jobs (assumes Steve went to where many people expect to go, even those that don’t deserve it).
It is not comforting to know that Apple has a kill switch waiting in the background which could, according to a calendar date or an accident, delete my iOS backups.