How to Use iCloud+, with Additional Security and Privacy Features, and More

As Apple has released iOS15 and iPadOS 15 this week, the service they announced in June, iCloud+, is also now available. iCloud+ provides three useful features that enhance security and privacy, plus one more feature that many people will find useful.

Here’s how iCloud+ works.

Read the rest of the article on The Mac Security Blog.

How to Use iCloud Private Relay

With the next versions of macOS, iOS, and iPadOS, due to be released in the fall, Apple is introducing iCloud Private Relay, a new privacy feature designed to mask your devices’ IP addresses. This feature will be available as part of iCloud+, which is the new name for iCloud accounts where uses pay for additional storage.

Here’s how iCloud Private Relay works.

Read the rest of the article on The Mac Security Blog.

Apple’s Most Lucrative iPhone Feature Is Storage – Bloomberg

Apple is tackling a global smartphone industry slowdown by raising iPhone prices, offering new digital services, and wringing more profit from parts that are becoming more commoditized. Selling more storage with iPhones is a powerful example of the latter strategy.

[…]

Ponying up for extra storage could lead iPhone users to spend more in other ways, too. People who’ve become accustomed to having what seems like a bottomless pit in their phones are likelier to cram the devices with more music, apps, movies, and subscriptions, boosting Apple’s services revenue. And Apple is charging anyone who wants an iCloud plan to back up their entire 512GB phone an extra $9.99 a month for 2 terabytes (2,000GB) of remote storage.

It’s really ridiculous that Apple doesn’t increase the basic amount of iCloud storage you get, especially for those who have multiple devices.

Source: Apple’s Most Lucrative iPhone Feature Is Storage – Bloomberg

200 GB iCloud Storage for Students; What About the Rest of Us?

In Apple’s educational event yesterday, the company said that students would get 200 GB iCloud storage for free. I own – let’s see… – seven iOS devices and Macs, and I only get 5 GB.

Only students whose accounts are set up via schools will get this expanded storage, but it really is a kick in the teeth to all those users who have multiple devices and have to pay for extra storage just to back them up. Apple constantly touts how great the cloud is, but what would it cost them to increase the free tier to, say, 50 GB? And how much easier would it be for users? Lots of people don’t back up their devices rather than deal with the hassle of paying for extra storage. (I know, it’s only a buck a month, but still, this is friction for many people.)

And 200 GB is a lot of data. The only way students will use that much is if they may scads of videos. You couldn’t fill up 200 GB with photos very easily; that would be about 40,000 raw images at 50 MB each, or nearly one million images shot with an iPhone in HEIC format.

I’ve written about this countless times. That 5 GB was huge when it was first introduced back in 2011, but we stored much less data in the cloud back then, and bandwidth was such that retrieving it – at least on mobile devices – was expensive. But now that people have years of photos, and many people have multiple devices – say, a Mac, an iPhone, and an iPad – it just makes Apple look stingy.

Bad Apple #1: iCloud Photo Library Re-uploading – TidBITS

However, there’s a nasty side effect of turning iCloud off and back on: iCloud Photo Library needs to re-upload all your photos. It does this in order to compare the library’s contents to the synchronization “truth” at iCloud. Fair enough, except that this process can take days, depending on the size of your Photos library and the speed of your Internet connection. Bad Apple! We don’t see that sort of poor performance with Dropbox or Google Drive, and this behavior is both unnecessary and driving people away from iCloud Photo Library.

I’ve had iCloud issues, and, when Apple support suggested I turn off iCloud and turn it on again, I refused. Because the last time I did that, I had to upload some 30 GB of photos, and it took a week. My photo library is now around 45 GB, and I have a 1 Mbps upload.

Adam suggests that not all the data is uploaded, but I watched it cripple my internet access for a week, since I could only allow it to upload overnight.

This doesn’t happen with iTunes Match or iCloud Music Library; they need to fix this.

Source: Bad Apple #1: iCloud Photo Library Re-uploading – TidBITS

Master the Cloud with Take Control of iCloud, Sixth Edition

TCoiCloud 6 0 coverIf you use a Mac or an iOS device, you probably use iCloud. It manages your photos and music, it syncs your contacts and calendars, and you can use it to store files, maintain secure passwords, send and receive email, and much more.

iCloud is a simple idea in theory–access to all your data on all your devices, via the cloud–that can become complicated when put into practice. Instead of wasting time fiddling with iCloud, when there are many other more important things to be done with the information it contains, learn how to minimize frustrations with Take Control of iCloud, Sixth Edition.

Whether you want a quick tip or a deep dive into the inner workings of iCloud, you’ll find what you need in this best-selling book by Mac expert Joe Kissell. Start by learning what iCloud can do, how it differs from other cloud services, and how best to set it up on Macs, iOS devices, Apple TVs, and Windows-based PCs.

This book covers:

  • Photo features: iCloud Photo Library, My Photo Stream, and iCloud Photo Sharing
  • Family Sharing
  • iTunes Match and iCloud Music Library
  • iCloud Drive
  • Mail and Mail Drop
  • Contacts, Calendars, Reminders, and Notes
  • iCloud Keychain
  • the iCloud Website
  • Location features: Find My iPhone, Find My Mac, and Find My Friends
  • Two-factor authentication
  • Activation Lock
  • Back to My Mac
  • Backing up and restoring data

In this new edition, Joe also looks at what has changed in iCloud with the release of macOS 10.13 High Sierra and iOS 11, including new abilities to share storage space with family members using iCloud Family Sharing, sync your People album across devices with iCloud Photo Library, and sync data from additional Apple apps like Health and Siri. Joe explains the new Files app (which replaces the iCloud Drive app on iOS), and important changes to two-factor authentication rules and Activation Lock.

Get Take Control of iCloud, Sixth Edition and learn how to get the most out of iCloud.

Hey Apple, Fix This: iCloud Photo Library’s sync need fixing

I love iCloud Photo Library. It’s brain-dead simple to use (unlike iCloud Music Library), and it ensures that all my photos are in sync on all my devices. Lately, having bought a new camera, I’ve been taking a lot of pictures, and I’ve been wanting to view them and edit them on my iPad, with Enlight or Affinity Photo, a powerful photo editing app that was highlighted in Apple’s recent WWDC keynote. But syncing from my iMac, where I import photos, to my other devices can take a long time.

There are a few reasons for this. One is that my upload speed is slow. Since I shoot both RAW and JPEG, Photos has both files in its library for each picture, and together they take up about 25MB. So if I import a bunch of photos, there’s a lot of data to upload.

And Photos doesn’t let you control its upload, at least not easily.

Read the rest of the article on Macworld.

Apple Slashes iCloud Storage Price (at the High End).

Apple has cut the 2 TB top tier for iCloud storage from $19.99 to $9.99. Previously, there were four tiers: 50 GB for $0.99 per month, 200 GB for $2.99, 1 TB for $9.99, and 2 TB for $19.99. Now, there are only three tiers, with the top price cut in half:

Lower icloud storage price

This is great for those who do use a lot of iCloud storage, but it looks a bit unbalanced, with two low-capacity tiers, then the third tier jumping to ten times the second one.

I still hope that Apple increases the free iCloud storage tier, so users with multiple devices can back them up. Maybe this price change is a step in that direction, and with the release of iOS 11 and macOS High Sierra in the fall, we’ll see a change.

Apple’s new iCloud security requirements: How it affects you and the software you use – Macworld

If you use iCloud for email, calendar events, or contacts with any apps other than those made by Apple, and you haven’t upgraded the security on your account to use two-factor authentication (2FA), syncing and other interaction will fail starting June 15. That’s when Apple imposes a new security requirement that requires unique passwords for all third-party software that works with iCloud accounts. That includes apps like BusyContacts, Fantastical, and Thunderbird, to name a few of hundreds, as well as online services that sync with iCloud or retrieve email.

I mentioned this in an article last week. Apple’s two-factor authentication is problematic, and as Glenn Fleishman points out at Macworld, it’s not that secure. In fact, it’s probably less secure, at least as far as third-party apps are considered.

Glenn mentions that John Chaffee of BusyMac, developer of BusyCal and BusyContacts, “has been trying to get attention for this problem for some time.” Chaffee says, “”My guess is that 99 percent of users have no clue about app-specific passwords and Apple does very little to help them figure it out. The vast majority of our tech support requests are from users who are unable to connect to iCloud and have no idea why.”

Indeed. Users of third-party apps will be flummoxed, and many will blindly go turn on two-factor authentication and encounter problems that will lock them out of their iCloud accounts, if they do anything slightly wrong. But beyond that, I think that many people will stop using third-party apps; I’m thinking of doing so. Even though I think that Apple’s Calendar is inferior to the many third-party calendar apps for macOS and iOS, I’m not prepared to again enter the two-factor labyrinth, that was such a disaster the first time I tried it.

And Apple points out that, this time, if you turn on two-factor authentication, you cannot turn it off. I think this is going to be a disaster for many users, and for developers of third-party apps that need access to iCloud data.

Source: Apple’s new iCloud security requirements: How it affects you and the software you use | Macworld

Apple Makes Step Toward Requiring Two-Factor Authentication for iCloud

Apple is taking steps toward requiring all iCloud users to activate two-factor authentication. In an email sent to iCloud users, Apple says:

Beginning on June 15, app-specific passwords will be required to access your iCloud data using third?party apps such as Microsoft Outlook, Mozilla Thunderbird, or other mail, contacts, and calendar services not provided by Apple.

If you are already signed in to a third?party app using your primary Apple ID password, you will be signed out automatically when this change takes effect. You will need to generate an app-specific password and sign in again.

To generate an app-specific password, turn on two-factor authentication for your Apple ID and then follow the instructions below:

  • Sign in to your Apple ID account page (https://appleid.apple.com)
  • Go to App-Specific Passwords under Security
  • Click Generate Password

This means that in order to use any third-party application that accesses iCloud data, you will have no choice but to activate two-factor authentication. This method of protecting your iCloud data is more secure, but it can be problematic, not working, and even locking users out of their accounts.

It’s only a matter of time before Apple requires two-factor authentication for all iCloud users, which is a mistake. It is very hard to recover from problems when this arises, and it’s important to note that many Mac and iOS users don’t have access to free phone support with Apple. You have free support for a few months when you buy a device, but, unless you purchase an AppleCare contract, that support ends fairly quickly. And if you have an iOS device more than two years old, or a Mac that is more than three years old, your AppleCare contract will have expired.

And if you do get locked out, it may not be easy to get access to your account. Apple says:

If you can’t sign in, reset your password, or receive verification codes, you can request account recovery to regain access to your account. Account recovery is an automatic process designed to get you back in to your account as quickly as possible while denying access to anyone who might be pretending to be you. It might take a few days–or longer–depending on what specific account information you can provide to verify your identity.

It’s likely that you may need access to your account very quickly, and saying that it may take “a few days–or longer” is frankly scary.

There really is no need for Apple to impose this, especially on iOS, where the device itself is authenticated with iCloud, and that authentication is passed on to third-party apps. Apple is adding an unnecessary layer of complication to its operating systems. If you use Apple’s apps for iCloud data you have nothing to worry about, but if you prefer other calendar or contact apps, then you’ll be required to jump through hoops.