Friday, February 12, 2016

iCloud Is Too Opaque

Manton Reece:

Last night, Federico Viticci tweeted that he lost a draft blog post he was working on because of an iCloud problem:

“Just lost 1.5k words I had prepared for tomorrow because I wanted to try iCloud sync instead of Dropbox this week.”


I hear that people love iCloud Photo Library and Notes, and that the quality of these apps and companion services has significantly improved. That’s great. (I also think that CloudKit is clearly the best thing Apple has built for syncing yet.)

But to me, it doesn’t matter if it’s reliable or fast, or even if it “always” works. It only matters if I trust it when something goes wrong. Conceptually I’m not sure iCloud will ever get there for me.

Update (2016-02-12): Paul Jones:

I migrated to a Dropbox and Adobe Lightroom based workflow because of performance, reliability, power, and predictability. Perhaps Photos is simpler and more convenient for most consumers, but it just is too risky and too opaque for me.

4 Comments RSS · Twitter

Most of peoples complaints about iCloud could be resolved if they just had a place in settings that allowed one to "make this the master and copy everything here to every other device." Having some sort of versioning for deleted items would resolve the rest.

The issue is primarily that there's no way to solve things. Apple could completely maintain its simplicity by having these out of the way settings.

I have never lost data using iCloud. My big complaint is speed. Photo Stream takes 2-3 days to update my MacBook with photos I take in iOS - now, when I need a photo, I mail it to myself, as I the good ol days. This week I had trouble sharing between PDF Scanner and 1password, both using iCloud; I switched them both to Dropbox sharing - it just worked!

I remember when Google Maps first came out - it didn't always work perfectly, but was still the best option at the time. Apple Maps also didn't work perfectly when it first rolled out, but it has improved over time. And again, MobileMe didn't work well when it first rolled out, and now iCloud has replaced it - and it is a much better product. Manton Reece brings up a very good point - it isn't the fact that a product isn't perfect that is the problem, it is the fact that it still isn't perceived as something that one can rely on. And this is where it hurts Apple the most. The company's focus on maintaining the brand name has affected its ability to produce quality products developed over a "reasonable" amount of time. It pushes software according to a timeline, and quality ends up being a casualty. At least it is still a secure OS.

"At least it is still a secure OS."

You should probably strike "secure" and replace it with "safe". There is not really any secure OS out there.

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