DISCLAIMER: I understand just enough about computers in general, and Macintosh computers in particular, to be dangerous. The following account is based on that lack of knowledge. I am certain it contains misunderstandings and technical errors.
That said, about a year ago I decided it would be a good idea to back up all my scans and contact pages on the iMac to the iCloud. It seemed easy, just put the folders on the Desktop and set iCloud to back up the Desktop and Documents. If only I knew…
One reason I chose the iCloud for my photography files was that I could access the files with either the family iMac, on another floor, at the other end of the building, or with my MacBook in our downstairs apartment.
My current computer problems began when I needed to free up some space on the iMac hard drive and, thinking I had copies of the files in the iCloud, I deleted them from the iMac. Later that same day I went looking for them with the MacBook and they were gone!
I eventually figured out that setting the iCloud to back up the Desktop and Documents is not the same thing as copying them to the iCloud drive. When I deleted the files from the iMac, from which they were being backed up, the computer assumed I didn’t want them any more and deleted them from the iCloud too. No problem I thought. I have the iMac backed up with Carbonite.
I found the Desktop and Documents files in the Carbonite backup folder and started the restore process running. It started OK but then it slowed down and just kept running and running. It took me several days to realize that Carbonite was putting the restored files in a folder on the Desktop and then, finding new files in its Desktop folder, it tried to restore them in a recursive process. The iMac eventually crashed and the files in the Recovered Files folder were a mess.
I spent a week sorting out the good files, duplicate files, and broken files. They are now in an external hard disk drive that I can connect to either the iMac or the MacBook, and backed up on the iMac desktop. The good part of this picture is that the files are safe. The bad part is that every time I add a new file or modify an existing file I have to manually change the backup to match. Clearly this is not a viable long term solution.
I would like to use just one of the computers. Unfortunately the iMac with its good speed and storage capacity is in an inconvenient location, and there is no room for it in our small apartment, and the highly portable MacBook has neither the speed nor the storage capacity for the job. When our son went to Best Buy for an Apple TV I tagged along and played a bit with a new MacBook Air on display. I didn’t like the feel of the new keyboard. I’m sure I could get used to it, but the price of the version with 16 GB of RAM and 500 GB of SSD kept me from doing anything silly.
This morning, just for fun, I installed the IOS version of Affinity Photo on my wife’s iPad Air 2, the oldest and slowest iPad supported by AP. The OSX version of AP is my current favorite photo processing application. I was pleasantly surprised by how quickly a photo from the iCloud drive loaded on the iPad and how easily I could use the few tools I played with.
Lots to think about…