Earlier this week I extolled the merits of iCloud. It’s most significant benefit? Saving you from backing up your phone manually and providing a safety net if something happens to your phone. But, as is the point with most of my posts, very few details were given. After all, this blog is focused on letting you, the novice tech user, know just what is going on in the world of Apple and technology, and how it affects your life. So
the staff here at ApplEvangelist I have decided to create a weekly column that sheds some light on one or more of the details associated with an earlier post. Welcome the How To Thursday!
Today’s topic may not seem relevant to you now, but after you inevitably purchase your next Apple device you’ll be happy you wasted your time today!
When you first create your iCloud account on a new device, Apple gives you 5GB of storage for free. This is plenty of room for the back up of any Apple device. It gets more complicated, however, if you have multiple devices associated with the same iCloud account or you recently had a device replaced. Don’t get discouraged! Having multiple devices on the same iCloud account can make your life so much easier. But occasionally you’ll need to drop in and take a look at your backups. What am I talking about? Let me walk you through it.
First, open the Settings app on your mobile device and find the icon for iCloud. Tapping on iCloud will take you to the first screen above where you’ll find Storage and Backup by scrolling to the very bottom. From this screen you can see just what the current status of your free 5GBs is. As you can see from the second photo above, I am currently using 2.2GB of storage. To see just what is taking up that much space, I tap on Manage Storage. The Manage Storage screen tells you just what backups are currently stored in iCloud. Both my iPad and iPhone share an iCloud account, making it easy to receive texts on my iPad through iMessage, and have up to date calendars and documents on both my devices. These two backups also take up quite a bit of room but not enough to send me over my 5GB limit.
If you have had a device replaced or upgraded to a new device, you may see multiple entries for one device. If this is the case, simply tap on the unnecessary back up, scroll to the bottom, and tap delete. Make sure you don’t tap on the current backup (designated with “This iPhone”).
If you don’t have multiple backups saved but are still having a storage shortage, you’ll have to dig a little deeper. By tapping on any current backup, you can see a breakout of exactly what data is being saved and from which apps. iCloud doesn’t backup entire apps or songs; those are pulled from your purchase history with Apple. The specific data created by those apps, however, is. Looking at the fourth photo above, you can see that there is a toggle for On or Off next to any App that creates or stores specific data on your device. Often times apps save data that you don’t need. Peruse your list of apps and their data and decide what you don’t need. Switch the toggle to Off and iCloud will no longer back that information up, making your entire backup file smaller. This does not mean it’s gone immediately. However, if you lose or damage your device, you won’t be able to retrieve the info again. In many cases the data is unimportant. Choose carefully.
Keep a close eye on your Camera apps. Photos are large and take up lots of space. With iCloud, Apple has created PhotoStream to help you keep your photos synced to your main computer. This allows you to sync every picture you take with your iPhone to your Mac or PC wirelessly. By enabling this feature, you can delete the photos from your phone more regularly and decrease the size of your iCloud backup. If you would like more info on PhotoStream, leave a comment below or on Facebook and Twitter.
Do you have any other questions about iCloud or backing up your device? Leave a comment below or on the link at your favorite social network. And don’t forget to share this blog with everyone you know!