The Problem: Apple Loves Their iCloud, and Will Shove It Down Your Throat
If you’re considering dropping $20 on the latest iterative update to Apple’s operating system OS X, let me show you the one thing I would have done immediately after installing 10.8 – if only I had known to do it.
Are you already using Apple’s iCloud service for everything you do? Have you already accepted it’s process of only letting you open files with the program you created them in? If so, skip this post. It’s not for you.
Before you go, though, I’ll argue that iCloud is not tested, and neither are Apple’s behind the scenes ways of saving files. At least two of my friends lost all of the text they had saved in the iPhone’s Notes app. Just for this, I’d suggest avoiding saving your – important, and likely valuable – documents in a way that trusts Apple’s iCloud servers too much. I can only assume the technology used for Notes isn’t too different for what they do with iCloud.
If you don’t save everything to Apple’s iCloud, instead preferring your own folders and Dropbox, this is for you. On your iOS device, you may have had your settings checked so that apps can save data to iCloud.
1- Click the Apple logo in the upper left hand corner. Click System Preferences.
2- Click iCloud.
3- Make sure Documents & Data is unchecked.
If you want to know more about what’s going on here, here are my thoughts on Apple’s disinterest in the file system.
Sandboxing is a term Apple has been pitching to their designers like a drug dealer pitching a new strain of marijuana to their clients. Sandboxing, if you want to ask before you trust, means that Apps are supposed to not share files with each other. Documents you use in Microsoft Word can’t be used with Text Edit. MP3s that you use in iTunes can’t be used with audio editing clients.
For many, this may not be a problem. But what if a piece of software becomes buggy, or they take away a feature you like. If you’re the kind of user who knows a range of ways that a single file could be opened, the idea of limiting all your files to one application seems weird. Apple’s success in iOS, where this is the default method of file storage, unless you use dropbox in an app, has led them to think that a file system is a detriment to the customer. That the folders we use to store and organize everything get in the way of our usage.
Where Apple saw something they thought needed fixing, many people have the way they work. Merlin Mann, the writer and podcaster, has been talking about the issues inherent here, and indirectly helped me anticipate the problems of All iCloud Everything.
I do that for Instacast, because there is no alternative to iCloud backup offered.