IOS 5 devices and the need FOR a computer…?

5 Feb

 I wanted to do this post a few weeks ago when it happened but I am just getting around to it.  So one of Apples’ major marketing points for their new operating system IOS5, is that with it you no longer need the use of a PC or MAC.  With the introduction of IOS5, Apple brought about the ability to activate your new devices currently running IOS5 with out the use of a computer. (You do however need access to a Wi-Fi network)  This in theory is a great idea.  Notice I said “In theory”…will revisit that in a few.  

The setup process for a new device running IOS5 is an almost effortless and flawless process if you have a reliable wireless connection.  (I should note that if you are upgrading to IOS5 on your device, it’s not possible to do so without a computer.) One of the new features is the ability to back your device up to iCloud, which is a new service Apple started with IOS5.  iCloud will store all of your purchases made from the iTunes store.  So let’s say you bought iMovie and GarageBand on one device and you bought another device, with iCloud you can then, using the same Apple ID download those apps to the new device.  When you initial activate iCloud, Apple gives you 5GB of storage space free.  You can buy additional tiers of 10, 20, and 50 gigabytes.  Purchases made in iTunes don’t count against your 5GB but your backups do.  So if you are an app-happy person, just be sure that you have enough space in your iCloud account for your backups.  I have given you a somewhat brief overview of IOS5 and it is not my intention to discuss it in full here but if you click here it will point you in the right direction to finding out more of IOS5.

When I started this post I didn’t expect it to be this long but friends will say once I get on a “GEEK-TANGENT,” I am unstoppable. I just thought I would sort of set you guys up for the latter half of this post.  So earlier I mentioned how some of the features in the new IOS5 were good in theory.  The reason I said they were good in theory was because it depended on what kind of user you were.  Like while you don’t need a PC, you can get caught needing to restore your device to factory settings and without a computer if you accidentally hit setup as a new device instead of restore from iCloud back up on your device; you will in essence lose all of your data that didn’t store to iCloud.  Again technically you don’t need a PC but with a PC if you sync your device to it as well, you can then correct that mistake.  (A mistake by the way which I had to learn the hard way) Trust me having that secondary backup is a great thing to have.

I had previously backed up my iPad 2 to my computer (on 11/7) so I had a backup there but here it was beginning of January and only backup I had was the one in iCloud.  I have my iPad set up to back up everytime I connect it power source and it’s on WiFi.  I had to restore my iPad and I had to set it up as a new device.  It was then that I realized just how much of a Catch-22, if you will, iCloud is.  With iCloud you can access your mail, photos, and documents that you have saved to the cloud.  Some data you can see on your device, such as game saves but then everything else you have no real access to.  If you have a PC, you can download a control panel for iCloud but it pretty much allows you to do the same stuff that you can do on your device and on the iCloud website.  Apple needs to have a way for you to access more of your data and backups.  It wasn’t until I lost so much data and info that I decided that from now on because I am fortunate enough to own a PC, I am going to make sure I have a current secondary backup.  Luckily I usually save images of my work to Dropbox or somewhere on my comp so I didn’t lose them.  But just losing all of the app data and books was a wake up call.

So if you are a new IOS5 user, just be aware that your data while it is stored in the cloud will disappear from “YOU” if you don’t restore from a backup or if you have a computer; don’t have a secondary backup.  I am sure at some point Apple we’ll make an app or have some way for you to access that hidden data with out having to dig through hidden file via jailbreak or some other means (Which is a process that is not for the faint of heart). All in all, IOS5 and iCloud is a good operating system/cloud service combo…it just needs a more cohesive functionality before it becomes a great one…


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