Cloud Storage Frustration


Today’s Question: In response to your answer about photos stored in iCloud rather than on the iPhone, it seems to me that Apple is intentionally making it difficult to get photos out of the cloud. Is that your sense as well?

Tim’s Quick Answer: Yes, I absolutely believe that most companies offering cloud-based storage solutions intentionally make it difficult to remove data from that online storage. In most cases this seems to be aimed at ensuring users will need to start paying for more cloud-based storage space more quickly.

More Detail: I have become increasingly convinced (and frustrated) that companies offering cloud-based storage solutions take steps to ensure you use up greater storage capacity, so you’ll need to pay a higher recurring subscription fee for the storage.

This often takes the form of making it difficult to remove files from cloud-based storage, such as by making it difficult to easily and safely download the content so it can be stored locally instead of in the cloud. It can also take the form of defaulting to the use of cloud-based storage rather than local storage, or prompting you to store more files in the cloud.

If cloud-based storage makes sense for you, then it can be very helpful. For example, some photographers prefer the cloud-based storage employed by the cloud-focused version of Lightroom. Other photographers, such as myself and many others, prefer to manage the storage of our photos locally, preferring Lightroom Classic or Adobe Bridge to manage that local storage, for example.

There is certainly a convenience aspect to storing photos and other data in the cloud, such as to make those files more easily accessible from virtually anywhere. And to be fair, in many cases the subscription fees for additional cloud-based storage are often reasonable. However, I do with that companies offering cloud-based storage solutions were more transparent about the options available, and made it easier to migrate away from cloud-based storage for those that decide to make this change.