3 Manag­ing in-app data

A grab-bag of tips for apps that use iCloud for data sync and stor­age


1 Re­boot and restart

This is go­ing to sound like a re­cy­cled line from sit-com TheITCrowd, but ‘have you turned it off and on again?’ re­ally is a vi­able so­lu­tion for a lot of iCloud sync trou­bles – and that’s very much the case for in-app data. Some­times flick­ing Wi-Fi off and on will reload con­tent; some­times a de­vice force-restart is needed. The more things change…

2 Re­minders weird­ness

The Re­minders app is es­pe­cially handy for to-do lists that are shared be­tween mul­ti­ple users. Only, such lists don’t al­ways up­date. If you’ve been re­li­ably in­formed ‘sausages’ are on a shared shop­ping list, but you can’t see them, try adding a new item your­self to wake up Re­minders. Or, you know, restart your iPhone.

3 You’ve got mail

Every Ap­ple ID comes with its own re­lated email ad­dress, of the form yourap­pleid@icloud.com (@me.com and @mac.com op­tions may also ex­ist for long-time users). This syncs across de­vices al­lowed ac­cess to the ad­dress – but email mes­sages can eat into your iCloud stor­age. If you need to free up space, delete junk and sent mail.

4 Save the date

If you’re us­ing iCloud, your cal­en­dars will sync across de­vices. On Mac, up­dates some­times don’t al­ways work as ex­pected, though. We’ve seen new en­tries van­ish shortly af­ter they’re added, or mul­ti­ple-item cut and pastes not stick. The best tip is to keep an eye out af­ter mak­ing new en­tries – and not make too many cal­en­dar changes at once.

5 Take a note

Although Notes pri­mar­ily started life as the dig­i­tal equiv­a­lent of a scrap of pa­per, it’s since grown to be­come a ca­pa­ble app. You can now add sketches, check­lists, images and more. If you’re us­ing iCloud, you can also add col­lab­o­ra­tors. By which we mean oth­ers can be in­vited to work on a note. Kick this

off by click­ing/tap­ping the but­ton that’s a + next to a sil­hou­ette of a head.

6 Mes­sages in the cloud

When videos and photos are sent, Mes­sages can get pretty weighty. You can man­u­ally delete threads and images, but as of iOS 11, you’ll be able to ac­ti­vate Mes­sages On iCloud, au­to­mat­i­cally sav­ing at­tach­ments in iCloud and re­duc­ing their size on your iOS de­vices.

7 Lock and key

With iCloud Key­chain, Ap­ple se­curely holds your Sa­fari web­site lo­gins and pay­ment de­tails in iCloud, so you needn’t re­mem­ber them. This en­ables you to use com­plex pass­words, mak­ing it less likely some­one will break into your ac­counts. Some­times, though, it’ll refuse to sync. If so, turn off iCloud Key­chain on all de­vices, then ac­ti­vate it on the one with the most up-to-date key­chain items, and then on the re­main­ing de­vices.

8 Play­ing the game

Games on iOS are a bit of an odd one as far as iCloud is con­cerned. Every game can the­o­ret­i­cally sync progress us­ing iCloud, but rel­a­tively few do. Some also utilise iCloud, but only to re­store progress to a sin­gle de­vice.

Some­times, you won’t know any of this is hap­pen­ing un­til you in­stall a game on a new de­vice and find you don’t have to start from scratch. In Set­tings > Gen­eral > Stor­age & iCloud Us­age, tap Man­age Stor­age to see a list of apps sav­ing data to iCloud, which will in­clude games.

9 App of­fload­ing

As men­tioned, it’d be great if more iOS games synced progress be­tween de­vices. Part of the rea­son for that is many of them are mas­sive. But if you delete a game, you also delete all of the progress you’ve made, if the game doesn’t sup­port iCloud saves, re­store, or sync. Un­til iOS 11, that is, be­cause Ap­ple’s lat­est op­er­at­ing sys­tem en­ables you to off­load un­used apps.

This fea­ture is ac­ti­vated sys­tem-wide or on a per-app ba­sis in Set­tings (Gen­eral > iPhone/iPad Stor­age). In the case of racer Gear.Club, the app weighs in at 2.43GB, but the Doc­u­ments & Data space re­quire­ment is only a few MB. On iOS 11, you can free up space, delete the app, re­in­stall later, and re­sume your game.

10On Sa­fari

Ap­ple’s web browser, Sa­fari, hugely ben­e­fits from iCloud. Book­marks au­to­mat­i­cally sync be­tween de­vices, which can have big us­abil­ity ben­e­fits when you haven’t got all your de­vices to hand. On Mac, go to View > Show Fa­vorites Bar, and drag your most used sites to it. Th­ese then ap­pear as big, tap­pable icons in iOS when­ever you open a new tab.

iCloud also comes in use­ful if you’ve left a bunch of tabs open on one de­vice that’s no longer handy, but you now want to check out one of those sites. Click or tap the tab overview but­ton (which looks like two over­lap­ping squares), and you’ll see your cur­rently open tabs. Scroll down and you’ll then see the tabs open on other de­vices signed into the same Ap­ple ID, and that are also us­ing iCloud for Sa­fari. Sim­ply click or tap one of them to open it on the de­vice that you’re cur­rently us­ing.



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