How iCloud Photo Library and the Photos App Work

Wednesday, December 21st, 2016  |  Author: 

Source: http://blog.macsales.com/39270-tech-tip-how-icloud-photo-library-and-the-photos-app-work
The holidays are hitting this month and that means time with family and friends as well as making memories with your iPhone or iPad camera. You might very well take enough photos or video to run out of space on your iOS device, so today we’ll discuss how the iCloud Photo Library and Photos app work hand in had to help you manage your photo storage.
The Difference Between The Camera and Photos Apps
Back when the iPhone first arrived on the scene, there was only one Apple photography app called “Camera”. With Camera, you not only took photos, but could organize them, do a little bit of editing, and show them to your friends in the “Camera Roll”. When syncing an iOS device to a Mac, the images were synced to the iPhoto app on the Mac which provided a new way to organize and edit photos. iPhoto finally made it to iOS devices in 2012, bringing with it some of the best photo editing features found in a native Apple app at the time.Apple likes to change things up so you don’t get too comfortable, and in February of 2015, the beta of Photos for iOS appeared. In April of 2015, Mac OS X 10.10.3 was released, formally doing away with iPhoto on both iOS and Mac OS X and replacing it with Photos (see the icon at the top right of this post).

By splitting the functions of taking photos and editing them into two separate apps, Apple was able to focus on adding new features to the Camera app like HDR, Live Photos, Slo-Mo, Time-Lapse, and the Portrait mode (found only on the iPhone 7 Plus), while adding resolution to the cameras and keeping capture speeds fast. There was quite a bit of consternation about the loss of some editing features that existed in iPhoto and didn’t make it to the Photos app, but at least on the macOS version the ability to use extensions adds a tremendous amount of editing power. Hopefully iOS 11 will include Photos extensions.

Basically, Apple took the best photo taking features on iOS device and rolled them into a much more complete Camera app. The Photos app provides access to tools for organizing your media by “Moments”, by place, by type of photo (for example, panoramas or selfies), and more options. On the Mac, the Photos app also has powerful tools for printing your images professionally.

iCloud Photo Library
iCloud Photo Library puts all of your photos in the “cloud”, available on any compatible device over any type of Internet connection. What this means is that on any device connected to your iCloud account, you have full access to your photos. iCloud Photo Library is not enabled by default; you’ll be asked if you wish to enable it when setting up a new device. Should you decide to enable it on your own, the process is very simple. On an iOS device, launch Settings, choose iCloud, and then tap “Photos” (see image below).

iCloud Photo Library is enabled in Settings on this iPhoneiCloud Photo Library is enabled in Settings on this iPhone

Once you’ve done this, your entire photo library is uploaded to iCloud and stored there. This has a couple of enticing benefits: first, your photos are backed up to the cloud whenever you’re connected to Wi-Fi.  Edit a photo, and the edited version appears in Photos on all devices. Delete a photo, and it’s deleted from all devices. The latter can be frustrating if you want to take a photo out of your iCloud Photo Library but want to keep it; we’ll discuss how to resolve that issue on Friday.

What’s the other big benefit of iCloud Photo Library? You can choose to store optimized versions of images and videos on your iPhone or iPad if you’re running low on storage. Your full-resolution originals are still out in the cloud, but you’ll get a version of the image that is optimized for the storage, screen size and resolution of a specific device. This really works — my Photos Library consists of 49, 648 items (both video and still photos) taking up 201.9GB on a 2TB iMac, yet I can view them on a 16GB iPad mini.

How do you turn on iCloud Photo Library on other devices? On the Mac, launch System Preferences, click the iCloud button, and then check the Photos box. Click “Options”, and you can choose to automatically upload and store the entire library in iCloud. Note that it can take quite a while for the photos and videos to make it out to iCloud depending on the speed of your internet connection.

To get access to your iCloud Photo Library on a 4th-generation Apple TV, go to Settings > Accounts > iCloud > iCloud Photo Library. And if you want to access the library from a Windows PC, the process is a bit more complex but can still be done:

1) Download the most recent version of iCloud for Windows (download link)

2) Open iCloud for Windows

3) Next to Photos, click Options

4) Click Done, then click Apply

5) If iCloud Photo Library is already enabled on your Apple devices, the photos will begin to sync with the PC. If you need to add photos to iCloud Photo Library from the Windows PC, just open a File Explorer window, click iCloud Photos (found under Favorites), click Upload Photos, then choose the photos and videos to be uploaded and select Open.

Caveats
Apple supplies everyone who signs up for an iCloud account with 5GB of free storage. That’s not a lot, and chances are good that you’ll need more storage quickly if you have a lot of photos or videos in your iCloud Photo Library. In the U.S., extra space in iCloud runs $0.99 monthly for 50GB, $2.99 monthly for 200GB, $9.99 monthly for 1TB and $19.99 monthly for 2TB.

ios10-ipadair2-full-icloud-storage-hero

You’ll know if you have reached your limit if you see a warning message like that seen above. You have the choice of either going to the next highest storage tier (sadly, there’s no tier above 2TB yet…) or moving some of your images and videos off of iCloud and onto your Mac or PC. To do this on a Mac, just launch Photos, then drag images and videos you want to take out of iCloud Photo Library to a folder on your Mac to copy them. Once you’re done, those photos can be deleted from Photos and iCloud Photo Library.

Conclusion
For many iOS and macOS users, iCloud Photo Library and the Photos app on the respective devices provide a good mix of backup and accessibility of media on any device. On Friday, we’ll follow up with an article about alternatives to iCloud Photo Library.

How to Migrate to a New Mac

by Joe Kissel
tidbits.com

When you get a new Mac — whether it’s brand new or just new to you — one of your first questions is bound to be how you move all your data from your old Mac (or PC, if you’re switching platforms) to the new one. Those of us who have moved from one Mac to another repeatedly may not give it much thought, but if you haven’t done it before, or at least recently, the prospect of dealing with loads of documents, folders, accounts, preferences, and so on can seem daunting.

In fact, there are several ways to migrate your data, and which way you choose depends on your circumstances. There are four main paths you might consider. In order from easiest to most challenging, those paths are:

  • Sync from the Cloud: If you keep pretty much all your data in the cloud, all you need to do is log in to the appropriate accounts on your new Mac. Those accounts would cover documents in iCloud Drive, Dropbox, Google Drive, or whatever; email in an IMAP or Exchange account; contacts and calendars stored in CardDAV and CalDAV accounts; photos synced with iCloud Photo Library or comparable; music via streaming or synced using iTunes Match; and so on. Data that’s cached locally will sync automatically, and anything you normally leave in the cloud will remain there, just as accessible as it was on your old Mac. Migration is essentially a non-issue, except for any random files you stored only on your old Mac’s drive — and you can copy those over to the new Mac manually.
  • Use a Clone to Migrate: If you have or are willing to make a bootable duplicate, or clone, of your old Mac onto an external hard drive using a utility such as Carbon Copy Cloner or SuperDuper, you can then connect the duplicate to your new Mac and boot from it. (Hold down Option on startup and select the duplicate — see “macOS Hidden Treasures: 15 Startup Key Combinations,” 1 September 2016). Now use the same backup utility to clone the duplicate onto the startup volume of your new Mac. Finally, reboot your new Mac from its internal drive. That’s it — your new Mac has all the same apps, files, and other data as your old one.

    This is the approach I nearly always take, because it’s simple, it’s relatively fast, and it puts all my data exactly where I expect it to be. But, there are a couple of caveats. First, migrating via a clone assumes that the new Mac can run the same operating system that’s on your clone. But if your old Mac was running, say, Mavericks and you get a new Mac that requires Sierra or later, this procedure will leave you with a Mac that doesn’t boot. You can usually avoid this problem by upgrading your old Mac to the very latest system software before cloning it. And second, don’t use this approach if you’ve already created files on the new Mac because it will overwrite everything on that Mac’s drive.

  • Migrate via Setup Assistant: When you turn on a brand new Mac for the first time, a program called Setup Assistant runs; it walks you through creating a user account and various other essential first-run steps. One of those steps offers to transfer your data from another Mac, a Time Machine backup, an external startup disk, or a Windows PC. If your new Mac requires a newer operating system than what’s on your old Mac, using Setup Assistant is your best option — and you can still use your old system’s clone as a source if you like. Setup Assistant also runs when you install macOS onto a blank volume, giving you the same options. So, if you’re performing a clean install of a new operating system, as opposed to an in-place upgrade, you can use this procedure to migrate your old data.
  • Use Migration Assistant: Finally, there’s another utility included with every Mac called Migration Assistant, which can be used to migrate accounts and data from another Mac (or a backup) at any time. Migration Assistant looks and acts almost exactly like the file transfer portion of Setup Assistant, which is no accident — they use the same underlying code. If you’ve already been using your new Mac for a while, this may be your best option, but, for reasons I’ll explain in a moment, it’s not ideal in every situation.

If one of the first two options (cloud sync or using a clone) meets your needs, you can stop reading now. The remainder of this article is for people who need to use Apple’s migration technology via Setup Assistant or Migration Assistant. But before I launch into the steps you’ll take, I want to give you some essential background on migration that may affect your decisions.

Read More >>

Drop POP (mail)

Editor’s Note: This article from smalldog.com echoes the advice that I gave in the May 2016 OMUG meeting.

By Don Mayer, don@smalldog.com

source: http://blog.smalldog.com/kibbles/kb983/

I am always amazed at the number of customers that still have AOL email accounts. What is even worse is that they are usually POP accounts and these customers are managing their email on multiple devices. I don’t mean to trash AOL too much, but if you are still using an AOL email account you should change. AOL just doesn’t work the way the rest of the world does, especially when it comes to handling attachments in email.

When you read an email message on your iPhone and delete it, do you have to trash it again when you check mail on your Mac or your iPad? Or is your email kept in sync so that if you delete a message on one system, it never even appears on the other?

If you fall into the first camp, your internet service provider probably has you stuck using an email technology called POP. Conversely, if you’re in the second camp, you’re probably using a different email technology called IMAP. Don’t worry what POP and IMAP stand for—they could be called Spot and Jane for all that it matters. What does matter is that if you’re using POP to read email on more than one device, you’re wasting time and effort and using old technology.

POP was designed in 1984 so that every email message would be downloaded from your mail server and immediately deleted from the server, so the only copy would exist on your Mac. But that made it impossible to check email from more than one computer, so POP’s designers made it possible for a message to be downloaded but not deleted, so it could be retrieved again by another computer. But the POP server has no way of knowing that the message was transferred multiple times, so each computer that gets it sees it as a fresh message, forcing you to delete or file it in each place.

In contrast, IMAP, which came along just a couple of years later in 1986, was designed to keep all your email on the mail server itself so multiple computers could access the same set of messages. And, most important, anything you do to a message—delete, file, or reply—in your email app on one computer also happens on the IMAP server, so if you check email from another computer, your email collection reflects all those previous actions.

Fast forward to today, where you might check email with your Mac at work, with your iPhone while at lunch, and on your iPad at home. If your internet service provider is using IMAP, anything you do on any of your devices is reflected on all the rest. As an extra bonus, you can search through all your email at any time, from any device, which is great when you realize you need the address for today’s meeting after you’re in the car.

But some ISPs still rely on POP, and for those of you who have had the same email account for many years, even if your ISP supports IMAP, they may not have switched you over. If your email is stuck in the POP past, call your ISP and bring your email into the 21st century. If they aren’t willing to help, remember that you can always use your free iCloud email account instead or sign up for a free account with Gmail or Yahoo.

For those who are shaking your heads because you don’t want some IMAP server in the cloud to hold the only copy of your precious email, rest assured that it doesn’t have to be that way. By default, Apple Mail downloads a copy of every message and keeps it locally on your Mac too, so even if something bad were to happen in the cloud, you’d still have your local copy and your backups of it.

Life is too short to waste time dealing with the same email messages on multiple devices. Computers and smartphones are supposed to make things easier, not harder, so if you’re not already using IMAP for email, do yourself a favor and switch Now!

HGST hard disks still super reliable, Seagates have greatly improved

While the Seagate 1.5TB disks had problems, its new drives look much more reliable.

by Peter Bright – Feb 16, 2016 10:48 pm UTC

source: HGST hard disks still super reliable, Seagates have greatly improved | Ars Technica

Cloud backup provider Backblaze has published more of its hard drive reliability data, giving a look at the company’s experiences with its 56,224 hard disks in 2015.

In 2014, HGST was the standout performer, with all its models showing extremely good reliability. Some Seagate models, on the other hand, showed alarming unreliability and extremely high failure rates.

For 2015, HGST maintained its strong performance. Across all the HGST models that Backblaze used (one 2TB, two 3TB, three 4TB, and one 8TB), failure rates were low across the board. The HGST drives are some of the oldest in Backblaze’s collection, with the 2TB units being almost five years old on average. Over the last two and a half years, only 1.55 percent of them have failed.

Seagate showed much stronger performance, too. Two of the models that performed so badly in 2014 are 1.5TB drives. One of those models has since been retired, for a lifetime cumulative failure rate of 23.86 percent. The other model, now averaging about five years old, still has a high failure rate of 10.16 percent. The third problematic Seagate model, a 3TB drive, has also been retired after showing a cumulative failure rate of 28.34 percent.

With these troublesome disks removed, the remaining Seagate disks, both 4TB and 6TB, fared much better. Although the failure rates are a bit higher than those of the HGST spindles, Backblaze has standardized on 4TB Seagate disks thanks to a combination of price and availability.

The weakest performance was from Western Digital. The standout here, for all the wrong reasons, is the company’s 2TB units. Though Backblaze doesn’t have many of these units (only 131), limiting the value of the data, the company found that almost 10 percent of the disks failed, even though their average age is just shy of nine months.

This data is striking because WD owns HGST, operating it as a subsidiary. So one company is building both the most and the least reliable new disks. The difference isn’t readily attributable to different manufacturing, either; HGST’s 3.5-inch disk manufacturing capability was sold to Toshiba. Backblaze has only a limited number of Toshiba drives, and thus far they’re performing at about the same level as the Seagates.

Enlarge / Drive failure rates by manufacturer.

Backblaze

Currently, Backblaze’s storage is mainly made up of 3 and 4TB disks, but the company has started using the new 6 and 8TB models. At 6TB, Seagate has done very well, whereas WD has shown much worse reliability. Though the density of the 6TB disks is appealing, the company is currently sticking with 4TB as its main size. The price per gigabyte of the 6TB disks is about a third more than that of the 4TB disks, and power consumption is some 60 percent greater. As such, while the 6TB units make sense if you’re strictly space constrained, the 4TB disks represent the better option for applications that are either power or cash constrained.

The latest innovation in hard disks is the use of helium-filled drives, with both HGST and Seagate having entrants in the field, and Backblaze has started experimenting with 8TB helium-filled HGST drives. These drives have some promise due to their greater density and lower power consumption, but their cost per gigabyte is currently almost 80 percent higher than that of the 4TB disks. As such, the company has filled only one of its storage pods with 45 of the drives, packing 360TB into a 4U system. Some drive failures have been experienced in this system, but the data set is too small to make any inferences from this data.

As ever, Backblaze’s hard disk reliability data comes with a footnote of sorts. The company uses non-enterprise drives in a high density, (relatively) high vibration environment, with a 100 percent duty cycle. While Backblaze is now offering general purpose cloud storage that’s comparable to Amazon’s S3 or Microsoft’s Azure storage, its main application is still backups, and this focus strongly influences access patterns. We aren’t talking about hugely I/O intensive workloads, meaning that Backblaze’s data may not be a good guide when compared to other usage patterns.

The study is still useful, though, not just because Backblaze actually names names and identifies the different models of drive that it uses rather than anonymizing them completely or grouping them by manufacturer. It doesn’t seem too churlish to suggest that self-builders and home users should probably take a good hard look at the HGST drives as their track record is so strong. They don’t match Backblaze’s preference, but for home users, the cost seems insignificant, and the ability to easily source hundreds of drives at a time is irrelevant.

4 Signs It’s Time To Replace Your Mac

Note: this is a repost from MakeUseOf.

By Bryan Wolfe February 3, 2016

It’s no secret that Apple hardware lasts a long time. Eventually, however, the time comes when your Mac may outlast its usefulness, becoming obsolete.

It’s generally pretty obvious when it’s time to replace your computer, but just in case you’re unsure here four signs that it might be time for a trip to the Apple Store.

Your Applications Are Getting Slower

We say: Software applications tend to get bigger and more demanding with time. Eventually, your Mac won’t be able to keep up with those demands. In the short-term, you can slide back to an earlier software version to help with performance. Unfortunately, even this option becomes prohibitive at some point — especially if you want new features and functonality.

There are a few things you can do to speed up your Mac. For one, you can free up space on your hard drive by removing unwanted files. There are plenty of ways to do this, from emptying your trash can to removing entire libraries.

users-and-groups

The number of Startup applications on your Mac can also slow it down.  You can take a look at your login items and remove those that aren’t needed. You can find these in System Preferences > Users & Groups, and then by clicking on your username. Next, click on Login Items and the name of an application you don’t need to launch during startup. Finally, click the “-” symbol located below the list to the left, thereby removing the application.

To make your Mac run faster, you can also see which applications are running in the background using Activity Monitor. Some of these applications can take up a lot of processing power. To access Activity Monitor, open up your Applications folder and then your Utilities folder. From here, open Activity Monitor and take a look at the list of apps and processes that are running on your Mac in real-time.

From here, click on the Memory tab at the top and then the Memory filter at the top of the list. Under this view, programs are sorted by the amount available RAM they are using. To stop an application, click on it and then select the gray “x” icon located at the top-left corner of the window. When in doubt, don’t stop an application or process.

You can also reinstall OS X for a squeaky-clean Mac. Eventually you will get tired of juggling your Mac’s processes, and that’s when you might want to consider an upgrade.

Your Computer Won’t Run The Latest OS X

We say: Apple wants us to be using the latest version of OS X on our Macs, providing it for free. When a Mac can’t run the latest version, it’s only a matter of time before a new purchase becomes a necessity.

About This Mac

Apple releases a new version of OS X each fall. The current version, OS X 10.11 El Capitan, is compatible with most Macs manufactured since 2007, including:

  • MacBook (Early 2015)
  • MacBook (Late 2008 Aluminum, or Early 2009 or newer)
  • MacBook Pro (Mid/Late 2007 or newer)
  • MacBook Air (Late 2008 or newer)
  • Mac mini (Early 2009 or newer)
  • iMac (Mid 2007 or newer)
  • Mac Pro (Early 2008 or newer)
  • Xserve (Early 2009)

If your Mac isn’t on this list, the time has come to consider making a new purchase. The reason for this is two-fold. First, along with not being able to run El Capitan, your Mac has probably been downgraded by Apple to “vintage” or “obsolete” status. Vintage products are those manufactured more than five and less than seven years ago.

Apple discontinues hardware service for vintage products, which means they won’t be able to get your Mac fixed for cheap if things go wrong. You may be able to get work done from non-Apple service points though.

Obsolete products are those discontinued for being more than seven years old. At this point, service providers can no longer order parts.

Components Don’t Work, Are Too Expensive

We say: Parts for Macs are expensive. Luckily, they typically last a long time. When a part needs replacing, you need to decide whether it’s worth the cost. Much of the time a better solution may be purchasing a new Mac.

You can certainly continue to use your MacBook when the battery dies by plugging it into a wall for power. However, this isn’t a great long-term solution, as a faulty battery could indicate that other system components are about to break. Although Apple offers a battery replacement program, this can be expensive.

shutterstock_250871059

In recent years, Apple has made it nearly impossible for end users to replace Mac parts, including batteries (which are now glued to the logic board), hard drives, and memory. In doing so, the prices for these components have steadily increased because of the added labor costs. Ultimately, the choice comes down to whether you’re willing to pay the price.

When faced with an eye-watering bill for a new logic board or laptop display, ask yourself: would I be better off putting that money toward a new Mac, that’s likely to have a greater life span in the longterm?

The Timing is Right

We say: Sometimes it’s worth waiting to make a new Mac purchase.

Most Macs receive an update on a yearly basis. When eying a purchase, it’s best to buy the most-current model available. It’s also a good idea not to buy a new Mac right before a new model is announced — for the same money you could have a faster machine, with better features and a potentially longer life span in terms of support.

The MacRumor Buyer’s Guide is an excellent resource for making sure you don’t fall foul of Apple’s update cycle. It provides some insight about when an update is likely arriving for each Mac model, based on historical trends and industry news.

MacBook_PF_OP30_Svr-PRINT

If your Mac is already dead and you can’t wait, it’s a good idea to always buy the latest model available. Saving some money on an earlier model may sound tempting, but it could cost you in the long-run. The older the model, the closer it becomes to being vintage or obsolete, regardless of when you purchased it.

That said, we acknowledge that not everyone can afford to buy the latest model. For those of you who find youself on a tight budget, there’s a few things you can do to buy a Mac on the cheap.

Enjoy the Process

Buying a new Mac can be an enjoyable and frustrating process, all rolled into one. Because Apple’s hardware is generally of a high quality, however, we don’t have to replace our Macs all that often.

 

Newsletter Tip: What are Your Must-Have Apps?

By Phil Davis

2016-01-05

I’ve been doing some cleanup on my extensive list of apps, most of which go unused most of the time. It is going to take a while to trim this list down to the ones that are really necessary and useful. It’s amazing how many apps in the list I couldn’t identify without looking them up on Google. I clearly need to be more selective.

It got me thinking also about which of these are really my “must-have” apps — the ones that I use daily and don’t want to do without.

I start by classifying my apps into three categories.

  1. Core Apps: These are the ones that I install first when I do a clean installation of a new OS, or buy a new computer (a very rare occurrence, unfortunately). It’s interesting to think about what you do on a daily basis and which apps you use.
  2. Essential Apps: These are apps that I use often for specific purposes, but are not needed on a daily basis. Even though I don’t need these every day, I still consider this as “essential” to my work.
  3. Useful Apps: These are the utilities, tools, and other apps that are rarely needed, but are vital when called upon.

Another way to classify your apps are by their function. Categories like create, organize, automate, develop, utilities, cloud services, backup, connectivity, security, and tech support.

For what it’s worth here is a list of my “must-have Core Apps.” They start with the usual suite of the programs that Apple provides as part of the OS release such as Mail, Calendar, Contacts, Preview, Safari, Photos, Pages, Numbers, and Keynote.

Then, I supplement these with my top 20 including some that you may not have heard of but are vital to my workflow. These include nvALT (my short-term brain), TextExpander, Marked, Reeder, SpamSieve, FoldingText, and Voila. Finally, I add Dropbox, 1Password, DevonThink Pro (my long-term brain), PDFPen Pro, Evernote, Postbox, Pocket, Alfred, TextWrangler, Carbon Copy Cloner, Dropzone, LibreOffice, and Chrome to the bundle.

So there you have it. Of course, there are many other apps that I use occasionally — utilities, troubleshooting tools, apps to create and manipulate images and videos — the list could get very long. But, the bulk of my time is spent with my must-have core. If you are interested I used the following while writing this article: nvALT, TextExpander, Marked, FoldingText, Safari, and DevonThink Pro.

So, what do you consider as your “must-have” apps? It never hurts to occasionally take an inventory of what is in your Applications folder and do some culling of the ones that you don’t need. Not only will this force you to think about how you work, but it can make it easier to stay on top of upgrades. This is particularly important prior to any major OS upgrades.