First thing in the morning I went for a longish (3.5mi) walk, ending as appropriate for Saturday, at the local farmers market for a chocolate hazelnut swirl.
At 10:30 I had a date with Grace to work on her issue of Apple wanting her to pay for more storage space on iCloud. Her iPhone has about 900 pictures on it, which date back to her first iPhone in 2014, and which fill up the 5GB storage you get free with iCloud.
This is a sweet racket that Apple is running. iCloud is a genuinely useful service. Any picture you take (plus various other things you might store on the phone, like passwords) is instantly and silently backed up to Apple’s servers, and is immediately available on your iPad, MacBook, whatever (and lots of people around here have both an iPhone and an iPad, or a MacBook, or an iMac too). It even works on a Windows PC if you install iCloud for Windows. Or on the web from anywhere, at iCloud.com.
So wherever you go, there is your stuff. And it’s free as long as you keep it down below 4.5GB. But when you get close to the 5GB free limit, you start getting emails and notifications. They make it attractive to level up to the 50GB limit, a mere $12/year. Most people see that as a small price to pay, to avoid the alternative. The alternative? Start deleting pictures and videos until you are below 4.5GB. Who the heck wants that tedious job? A buck a month to avoid having to tidy up and organize my last 5 years’ pictures? Here, Apple, take my money, please! Like I said, a sweet racket. (*)
Grace feels like she doesn’t take many pics any more and she spleens against paying Apple. So I (having done my research) got her to sign in to iCloud.com on her PC and we worked out how she can walk through her pics from oldest toward newest, and click the little garbage can to delete ones she doesn’t need. I thought about trying to show her how to control-click to select multiple pics, but we were already straining her tech abilities. So I left her to delete pics one by one. I assured her that if she could delete just 50, she’d probably stop getting dunning emails. Hope I was right.
After lunch I went to Stanford for a baseball game. They only just now began allowing a limited number of fans into Sunken Diamond and I was looking forward to this.
I was disappointed. The Stanford opening pitcher was immediately in trouble. Arizona batted mostly around. The first inning ended after 50 minutes with Arizona up 3-0. Meanwhile, the sun was full on the seat I’d been assigned, and I was thirsty and the concessions were not open (damn you, Covid). I stood up in the shade through 2 innings and then called it a day.
I decided to get the car washed, and did. When I got back to CH I tuned into the game on the stream. It was then two hours into the game, they were in the fourth inning, and the score was 13-2 Arizona. Soooo glad I didn’t stay at the park.
(*) You might ask, can’t you just shut off the backup feature, not backup new pictures but keep the old ones in the cloud? Ha ha ha, No. This is where it becomes clearly a racket. If you go into settings and try to turn off the Photos component of iCloud? It asks you, are you sure you want to delete all your pictures? And if you insist, it will delete all your pictures. They disappear from your phone, your iPad, your Macbook…
Surely that isn’t necessary, why would they do that? Because, fuck you is why.
OK, you say, I will download my pictures to somewhere safe, a thumb drive or external drive. Yes? Maybe. On your Mac (laptop or iMac), open the Photos app. Select all photos. Choose File> Export. Select a folder on some drive. Wait patiently while Photos copies the images from the secret place it keeps them, to your destination folder or drive. Now you can go to iCloud settings and turn off Photos backup, accept that it will delete all the pics, fine. Success, yes?
Well, somewhat. Except now those pictures are no longer on any device except the one where you exported them. Not on the iPhone or iPad. They are no longer in the Apple ecosystem. You have to manage your pictures using some other software than Photos (Adobe Lightroom? ACDSee?). And you can develop a way to share them using an independent service like SmugMug or Google Images. And from now on, whenever you take pictures with the iPhone or iPad, if you want to back them up or share them, you have to remember to manually transfer them to your main picture device. And the ones you want to share you have to manually transfer to your sharing site. No friendly iCloud to instantly and silently back them up and share them.
Apple whispers, is it not worth $12/year to avoid all that?