Using iCloud instead of storage

Discussion in 'macOS' started by Jdhommert, May 13, 2017.

  1. Jdhommert macrumors member

    Sep 8, 2016
    I'm a longtime iphone user and looking to buy a MacBook Pro soon. I basically have never used OSx except in the store for a couple minutes here and there. I have a 256gb iphone and i'm slowly headed towards running out of storage on it, as I have about every pic I've ever taken stored on my phone as well as 35gb of podcasts etc. So I was already kind of thinking about paying 10 bucks a month to get 1tb of icloud storage, so I was wondering how effective it would be to pay for iCloud and buy a lesser storage amount on the phone.....but I got to thinking.

    How effective would it be to use the cloud for a lot of stuff on a Macbook? SSD upgrades cost a LOT of money. I have a 500gb on my current laptop and its kind of iffy with space. Thats often because my iphone backup folders can grow to 150gb or so, which is insane. I have had to delete and replace them a lot. Now I use an external drive for my iphone backups. It's taking up 121gb of space on my external now, which I'm ok with. I store almost all of my movies on my server, but I download straight to my laptop so files sit there a while sometime. Some music, not a lot, a decent amount of pics I guess. Going with iCloud I'd get rid of my huge backup taking space, not have to use an external, could save 100 bucks or more a year on my iphone purchase due to not needing as much storage, and maybe a few hundred on my macbook purchase....

    So I'm just wondering does anyone do this? When you download something, can you download straight to your icloud drive? I'm assuming its super easy to transfer stuff back and forth, and I'm guessing it's really easy to use/access/play files that are in your icloud? Obviously you want all your programs etc on your hard drive, but I'm wondering if I can get away with a 256 or 512, rather than a 1tb like I was probably going to go with. Didn't ever want to run out of storage on my super expensive computer.

    Is this a good idea?
  2. Weaselboy Moderator


    Staff Member

    Jan 23, 2005

    You can use iCloud storage like you described and it has some options to automatically manage space on the local drive. What scares me a little about that though is you really have all your eggs in one basket with iCloud and no local backups with that setup.
  3. Stefan johansson macrumors 65816

    Stefan johansson

    Apr 13, 2017
    iCloud works perfect for me,I can access all files I store in there on all my connected devices (MBPr,iPad Air 2,iPhone 6) ,but however,for just long time storage in a safe place,I prefer external USB storage.
  4. Preclaro_tipo macrumors regular

    Dec 6, 2003
    West Lafayette, IN
    I use 200GB iCloud tier and all my photos from MacOS "Photos" app and my phone are synced through iCloud. I still use my 16GB iPhone and only run out of space on my phone when I take a series of videos, pictures without wifi...when I get back around wifi my phone will start uploading my photos and create more space. Another thing that starts consuming phone space is when you scroll back through old photos, this increases the local photos cache and being on wifi as often as you can helps.

    My financial reasoning was this, If I did NOT upgrade to the next highest GB iphone tier, which almost always is a $100 step, assuming a 2 year upgrade cycle that's a $1,500 savings ($100 x 15 upgrades) over the next 30 years of my life (30 years is my optimistic remaining life :D ) Instead I am spending $3/month for the 200 GB tier for the next 30 years which costs $1,080. (it was $4 a month when I started which is $1,440 over 30 years but the 200 GB dropped to $3 per month.) So $1,080 is better than $1,500 over the next 30 years and I also use my iCloud Drive to store frequently used files when I'm working across computers, or traveling, or whatever. Interestingly, I only use 50 GB of cloud which is every photo I want to keep since around the year 2000.

    YOUR math is 1 TB iCloud at $10 /month (US $) for the next say, 30 years, or $3,600 (360 months x $10). But you upgrade two iphone levels at $200 premium (plus tax :D ) for the 256GB and you do it every year, which is $6,000 over the next 30 years (30 years X $200/year). So just not upgrading iPhone tiers will benefit you quite a bit!

    But if you also use the iCloud drive for your files and don't pay the premium for the larger SSD then your savings will be even greater.

    Some other thoughts, you said you are switching to MacOS and you use about 500 GB on your laptop? I think you will find the space savings that are built into Sierra will help you reduce your current 500GB usage. MacOS Sierra has a tool to help you review old and space consuming files, it also compresses some files, and it can automatically store infrequently use files to your iCloud without micromanaging which files are moved to iCloud (if you enable this feature, it is off by default). I've deleted quite a few old things that I forgot about and could free up 7-10 GB without a second thought. I chose to delete some old iMovie projects too, and saved 200GB....I know I could have done this without Sierra but it was so easy to do with the new "Manage" hard disk features built into Sierra.

    Good luck.


    So I forgot to mention, I still have a 2TB USB external drive that is my Time Machine backup...this helps me get individual files or do a complete reinstall if I have a Hard Disk failure. I wouldn't go without a Time Machine backup.

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3 May 13, 2017