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nquinn

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jun 25, 2020
696
552
About to buy mom a macbook air, and debating between a 256gb or 512gb model. She takes a lot of photos, but also isn't great at backing things up.

If we go with iCloud storage + optimize storage on her devices, do you think Apple's solution works well for that?

i.e.

- iPhone: 64gb
- Macbook Air M1: 256gb
- iCloud 200gb plan ($3/month), will increase to 2tb plan across family eventually

And let's say she has 100-200gb of photos now and that will keep growing.

Since she basically doesn't install ANYTHING else on her laptop, the 512gb feels like overkill for just storage. If Apple didn't charge so much for these upgrades it would be a no-brainer, but this is just a parent PC.
 

Wando64

macrumors 68000
Jul 11, 2013
1,777
2,207
I was sceptical to begin with, but now I have activated it on all my devices, including a 512GB MBP, apart from the Mac Mini server which I use to keep local Time Machine backups.
It works perfectly for me. Basically you don't even know it is happening.
 

xboxbml

macrumors 6502
Sep 15, 2015
377
126
See sig.. I always get the biggest I can when I buy new stuff. On 128gb 6s+ I have set to optimize. On MBA, I have full size dowloaded and all movies and music local as well. That's why I got the 2tb drive. My iCloud photos library is 130gb. I want EVERYTHING on the MBA, so that when I travel with it, I don't have to rely on sketchy wifi or Apple having issues. I also backup the photos library on a local USB drive in case Apple has an iCloud issue and whacks it.
 
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ght56

macrumors 6502a
Aug 31, 2020
839
810
Provided you have a good internet connection, it works so seamlessly that you really cannot tell it's there. It's reliable, secure, and it works incredibly well. I use 'optimize' on my iPhone 11 Pro and a MacBook (and soon to be a Mac Mini), but not on two MacBook Pros. Both of the MacBook Pros therefore download all files I store on iCloud onto the local SSDs. Backups made from either of those MacBook Pros then include all files stored on iCloud.

For a parent PC, I think the base model with 256 GB is more than sufficient for this usage case.
 

manuel.s90

macrumors member
Mar 20, 2020
36
27
I've been using it for years without any issues. I take a lot of 4k videos with my iPhone but still easily get around with a 64 GB iPhone and a 256 GB MacBook Air. Obviously, if you travel frequently and need to work with your photos/videos, it might not be the best option.
 

Ruggy

macrumors 6502a
Jan 11, 2017
832
524
Simple answer: Yes.
200gb of photos is an awful lot though
May I suggest you get her to spend time just picking out the very best of them and delete the rest?
There are bound to be thousands that are almost identical or are really terrible.
Video is different that does take up a lot of space.
I've been a keen amateur photographer for nearly all my life and one of the best pieces of advice I was every given was to only keep your very best images.
Who wants to wade through tens of thousands of awful or ok images? You will have trouble even finding the good ones and in this case you'll even be paying for their storage.
Even if you only keep 200 a year- and I know that sounds a tiny amount these days- then after 20 years you'll have 4000 excellent photographs which someone one day might actually want to go through and keep.
Best
Ian
 

Zazoh

macrumors 65816
Jan 4, 2009
1,471
1,054
San Antonio, Texas
Simple answer: Yes.
200gb of photos is an awful lot though
May I suggest you get her to spend time just picking out the very best of them and delete the rest?
There are bound to be thousands that are almost identical or are really terrible.
Video is different that does take up a lot of space.
I've been a keen amateur photographer for nearly all my life and one of the best pieces of advice I was every given was to only keep your very best images.
Who wants to wade through tens of thousands of awful or ok images? You will have trouble even finding the good ones and in this case you'll even be paying for their storage.
Even if you only keep 200 a year- and I know that sounds a tiny amount these days- then after 20 years you'll have 4000 excellent photographs which someone one day might actually want to go through and keep.
Best
Ian
I do exactly this. A few times a year I cull thru and only keep those I’d share.
 
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satinsilverem2

macrumors 6502a
Nov 12, 2013
888
360
Richmond, VA
I was skeptical at first but slowly enabled it on all my devices. It works perfectly 99 percent of the time. The only thing I wish I could do is temporarily turn syncing off for instance when im using a hotspot or at a place with not very good wifi.
 

judethat

macrumors 6502a
Nov 16, 2007
516
265
i just backed up all my stuff to iCloud including photos 399GB, now leaves only 88gb on my MacBook with 399 left to use. i will probably get the 256gb this time around.
 
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agregson

macrumors regular
Nov 18, 2020
120
75
Works great for me. 500GB on iMac. I had two Synology NAS. Sold them and all in iCloud now. With 1Gbps Internet it is flawless. Even mounts a DMG seamlessly with minimal delay. iCloud seems able to serve up as fast as Synology on my LAN could. Reminds me of the VAX and 360 back at Uni in late 80s with the on-demand tiered storage - albeit a lot larger and faster! I can recommend it. Jump in and forget about it. Just why we all go for Apple.
 
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Amplelink

macrumors 6502a
Oct 8, 2012
852
300
Works great for me. 500GB on iMac. I had two Synology NAS. Sold them and all in iCloud now. With 1Gbps Internet it is flawless. Even mounts a DMG seamlessly with minimal delay. iCloud seems able to serve up as fast as Synology on my LAN could. Reminds me of the VAX and 360 back at Uni in late 80s with the on-demand tiered storage - albeit a lot larger and faster! I can recommend it. Jump in and forget about it. Just why we all go for Apple.

What do you do for backup though? Surely you’re not trusting that iCloud is infallible?
 

xboxbml

macrumors 6502
Sep 15, 2015
377
126
Works great for me. 500GB on iMac. I had two Synology NAS. Sold them and all in iCloud now. With 1Gbps Internet it is flawless. Even mounts a DMG seamlessly with minimal delay. iCloud seems able to serve up as fast as Synology on my LAN could. Reminds me of the VAX and 360 back at Uni in late 80s with the on-demand tiered storage - albeit a lot larger and faster! I can recommend it. Jump in and forget about it. Just why we all go for Apple.
Wow...lol... DEC VAX...lol.. It's been a while since I've heard those words..lol!
 
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agregson

macrumors regular
Nov 18, 2020
120
75
Wow...lol... DEC VAX...lol.. It's been a while since I've heard those words..lol!
Lol! It is been a while since I used it in anger - around 87 onwards for a few years. For a number of years it was my main interface to various systems - email, file transfer, programming (as it was known back then), gopher/wais and so on. Made heavy use of VMS - loved the OS really. Much like now we never really had to consider the hardware or how things worked on central systems (aka "mainframes"). I still have my MicroVax, an old VAX II I was donated and my DECStation 3100 (along with my NeXT Cube that replaced the 3100 around 1990).
 

agregson

macrumors regular
Nov 18, 2020
120
75
What do you do for backup though? Surely you’re not trusting that iCloud is infallible?
Indeed not but does work well. I back up iCloud Drive to external disk and use several other cloud services to hold backups of data and files - MS 365 is decent value for 1TB and Google Drive is not bad for 2TB. Tend not to use their native apps and just use Transmit and/or CloudMounter. Mail is archived from Apple, my own IMAP and Google. Photos copied from iMac to Google Photos and external disk. All seems to work well enough.
 

bwb

macrumors regular
May 25, 2004
164
57
I was sceptical to begin with, but now I have activated it on all my devices, including a 512GB MBP, apart from the Mac Mini server which I use to keep local Time Machine backups.
It works perfectly for me. Basically you don't even know it is happening.

What Mac Mini specs do you use for that? I have an iMac that I'm currently doing the same with, but hoping one of the M1 will replace it.. but biggest limiter is it has a 2TB fusion specifically to keep originals + TM/CCC/Backblaze. I could get a large external for a new M1 Mac Mini, but not sure if that's the ideal approach.
 

bwb

macrumors regular
May 25, 2004
164
57
Indeed not but does work well. I back up iCloud Drive to external disk and use several other cloud services to hold backups of data and files - MS 365 is decent value for 1TB and Google Drive is not bad for 2TB. Tend not to use their native apps and just use Transmit and/or CloudMounter. Mail is archived from Apple, my own IMAP and Google. Photos copied from iMac to Google Photos and external disk. All seems to work well enough.
What's your approach to backing up iCloud Drive?
 

Brian33

macrumors 65816
Apr 30, 2008
1,113
164
USA (Virginia)
all in iCloud now.

I back up iCloud Drive to external disk and
Do you have "Optimize Mac Storage" turned on? If so, it seems to me there's no guarantee that all iCloud files exist on the Mac, and thus they wouldn't get backed up by your (very thorough) backup strategy. Or do I misunderstand how iCloud/Optimize work together?

It would be great if there were an API so Time Machine (and other backup products) could download temporary copies of files that exist only in iCloud but as far as I know it doesn't work that way...
 

nquinn

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jun 25, 2020
696
552
What's your approach to backing up iCloud Drive?
Also curious to hear since iCloud doesn't exactly have API's for most backup services to access like backblaze b2/aws/wasabi/etc.

Especially wouldn't want to run full backup downloads on hundreds of gigs, so if incremental backups to another source aren't possible this just seems like a PITA.
 

bwb

macrumors regular
May 25, 2004
164
57
Also curious to hear since iCloud doesn't exactly have API's for most backup services to access like backblaze b2/aws/wasabi/etc.

Especially wouldn't want to run full backup downloads on hundreds of gigs, so if incremental backups to another source aren't possible this just seems like a PITA.

Yeah.. I really wish I could just pull down iCloud separately to a NAS so I don't have to provision out an always-on Mac with large $$$ internal storage (or deal with running off of an external drive) just to have bare minimum of backups.
 

posguy99

macrumors 68020
Nov 3, 2004
2,101
1,250
And let's say she has 100-200gb of photos now and that will keep growing.
How do you intend to back up the photos? iCloud Photo Library is not a backup, is not billed as a backup, and Apple tells you to back the photos up.
 

nquinn

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jun 25, 2020
696
552
How do you intend to back up the photos? iCloud Photo Library is not a backup, is not billed as a backup, and Apple tells you to back the photos up.
Looking for that solution now. Open to ideas.
 
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