iCloud vs. Local Backup

Apple has spent billions of dollars to purchase iCloud servers, which are used as a cloud backup solution for Apple product owners. Devices like Mac computers, iPods and iPhones are all incorporated into iCloud, meaning that you can backup most of your important information, such as Contacts, Calendars, and even iTunes to iCloud, in most cases, for free.

So, does the iCloud service mean that your data is backed up and safe? For the most part, absolutely. Does this mean that if you use iCloud, you don’t need to backup your devices locally? It depends…

Apple still sells devices like Time Capsule, which are specific devices that specialize in local backup. You can also connect an external hard drive to an Airport Extreme, or even directly to your Mac via USB cable in order to use Time Machine for local backups.


iCloud Pros

  • iCloud is essentially free for Apple product owners, with the exception of the iTunes Match service.
  • iCloud is tailor made for Apple products. It allows for easy setup of all Apple devices, and easy setup between multiple Apple devices that you may own.
  • Backing up data to iCloud may be higher grade than a local backup, as Apple has spent a lot of money on quality, backup servers for the iCloud service.
  • iCloud is accessible anywhere that there is an internet connection, where local backup is normally not.
  • iCloud works with multiple Apple products, seamlessly. iPhone’s, iPods, and other non Mac Apple devices may be difficult to backup locally, although Apple’s latest wireless sync is a good solution.

Apple icloud

Local Backup Pros

  • All data is stored locally where you can control the backups. With iCloud, data is stored the way Apple wants to store it, by Apple.
  • With local backups, you can store everything, every file type, etc… With iCloud, you are limited to what you can backup. For example, Contacts, Calendars, Address Book, iTunes, etc…
  • Local backups can be more customizable and offer several more possibilities and scaling. For example, you could build your own NAS (network attached storage setup).
  • A centralized, local backup can be setup to be both Mac and PC compatible, which is ideal for Mac + PC environments. With iCloud, it’s Apple only.

Those are just a few of the pros and cons of iCloud vs. a Local Backup setup. With the introduction of iCloud, my Time Capsule gets used less and less. However, I do occasionally backup all of my files to Time Capsule.

Although one of iCloud’s main purposes is to serve as a backup solution for Apple devices, my opinion is that backing up your data locally is also a good idea. So, iCloud + Time Capsule is a good solution. Has anyone found themselves not using their Time Capsules or other backup solutions after the release of iCloud? Leave a comment.

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