Smartphone users, now more than ever need new ways to store content. Technology such as higher resolution cameras and screens, as well as enhancements in audio quality mean that an increasing number of mobile users are consuming bigger audio and video files on their phones. Advanced 3D mobile games and heavyweight applications also take up a lot of space - sometimes gigabytes at a time. Cloud-storage services are one way of managing that data.
Cloud storage performs the same role as hard drive space on your home computer, so users can add and remove files, however it’s accessible from any PC, smartphone or tablet with internet access, because instead of being stored on your phone, files are stored in the cloud. Cloud services also let users stream music or video files and back-up programs (such as a text document updates or a game save). The technology may still be in the early stages, but you’re likely going to see a greater emphasis on cloud services as time goes on.
How to set up iCloud
Apple has one of the most well-known in-house cloud solutions in the form of iCloud, unveiled last year and launched alongside the iPhone 4S. Apple’s iCloud service has been designed from the ground up to manage content between iDevices, (whether that be an iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch) and even your Mac computer.
If you make use of iCloud’s full feature set, when you download an app on your iPhone, it’ll automatically download to your iPad, the same goes for music, movies and TV shows or just about anything purchased on iTunes. All your content is copied and shared between connected Apple devices automatically, so if you’re working on a document on your iPad on the train, you can pick up where you left off on your configured Mac, when you get home.
So all that’s left is to find out how to set up this handy service.
Firstly open the Settings app and scroll down to ‘iCloud’. The iCloud menu shows a host of toggles relating to various apps and services native to your iPhone. Simply toggle the services you wish to have stored on iCloud to the ‘On’ state. You won’t be able to back-up iCloud email unless you use an Apple @me.com email account.
For greater fine-grain control over all applications (not just the native ones in this initial list) open ‘Storage & Backup’ and choose ‘Manage Storage’, then select the device you want to manage the storage for, in this case the iPhone you’re using. Scroll down and you’ll see a list of six or so apps, again with toggles, press ‘Show all apps’ and you’ll then be able to see which applications (first or third-party) are set to sync to iCloud, you can then also toggle these selectively to decide whether or not you want them to remain synced with iCloud.
By default, users get 5GB free iCloud storage, which is filled with user settings, apps, files, music, videos, photos and so on. Once this limit is reached, new content won’t be able to be backed up to iCloud. You can pay for extra storage on iCloud which is billed on a yearly basis. An extra 10GB costs £14.00 a year, an extra 20GB £28.00 a year or an extra 50GB £70.00 a year.
iCloud on Android?
iCloud and its features are exclusive to iOS devices and Apple products, but a quick check on some key settings on an Android handset can enable similar features.
Head to the Settings application in your app drawer and look for the ‘Backup & Reset’ option in the menu. Here you’ll be able to enable options like ‘Back up my data’, ‘Backup account’ and ‘Automatic Restore’ all of which ensure that should your device be wiped or app corrupt, a version of these elements is backed up in the cloud.
Google accounts also come with a lot of remotely based services. Gmail, Google Calendar and Google Contacts all sit online making them easy to pull onto multiple devices simply by logging in with your Google account under the ‘Accounts’ section of the Settings app, they also automatically update across every associated device as well, including other smartphone and tablets.
Google offers its own in-house alternative to iCloud - Google Drive - which has 5GB storage. What Android offers users above Apple’s iCloud is the ability to write, edit, share and even collaborate with other users on one document, stored in the cloud. This can be accessed on any device with a browser or even via an Apple app.
Photos from your smartphone can be stored using or to Google+, which deposits photos in an online private album, unless you configure it otherwise. To enable this feature, simply open the Google+ app, tap the option button in the top left and select Settings, from here choose to switch ‘Instant Upload’ on.
Google offers offers customers a lot of free storage: Gmail has 10GB, Picasa 1GB, Google Drive 5GB, and Google+ is unlimited.
Without rooting (hacking) your Android device, it’s still difficult to synchronize game saves and apps, but there a vast number of other third-party solutions tailoring themselves to your needs such as TitaniumBackup often requiring rooting. As is often the case with Android, it’s a case of exploring Google Play and seeing what you can find
Do you use iCloud or one of the Android equivalents, how easy did you find the set-up and how well does it work for you? Tell us in the comments below.
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