How to Manage Your iPhone Photos #4 In 5 simple steps

Now it’s time to get down to the “how to keep my iPhone photos under control” part of this series. What you will learn here is an ongoing system for saving and sharing photos and keeping your iPhone’s photo clutter minimized.

If you followed my steps in Part 3, the worst is over.

These are the guidelines that will help you manage your iPhone photos from now on.

First, set a reminder on your iPhone

  • Open Reminders on your iPhone
  • Touch the ‘+’ in the top right and then Reminder.
  • In the title field, enter “Manage Photos.”
  • Turn ON “Remind me on a day.”
  • Beside “Alarm,” select a future day of the week and time (i.e. Sunday, 8:00 PM)
  • Beside Repeat, select how often you will need to clean up your photos. Every week or 2 weeks will keep you from being overwhelmed.
  • Touch Done.

5 Steps when your Reminder goes off

  1. Delete the bad shots from the Camera Roll.
  2. Add any favorite photos to your shared Favorites album (if you did not create this, the instructions are in Part 3).
  3. Create and add photos to other shared albums. (This is also explained in Part 3.)
  4. Connect your iPhone to your computer to download the photos and videos you want to keep.
  5. You don’t have to delete every photo and video on your iPhone, but keep no more than 200 pictures and a few videos on an ongoing basis. Remember, always delete from Camera Roll, unless the computer deleted them for you.

Once you’ve completed these steps, open Reminders and touch the circle beside “Manage Photos.” You will be alerted again, depending on your reminder’s settings.

Backup your photos saved on your computer

This is where I get up on my soapbox and plead with you to pleeeeease use some kind of backup system for the pictures and videos that you have stored on your computer.

These are some options:

  • Automatically or manually copy them onto flashdrives or external hard drives. Theoretically, these should not be kept in the same building as your computer.
  • Automatically or manually upload them to a cloud storage service like Dropbox or Google Photos. Dropbox is not free after 2GB. Google Photos is free for now but does not store full-resolution copies.
  • Automatically have all of your photos, videos and other files backed up to a cloud backup service with unlimited storage. Crashplan is my favorite, and here is an older post I wrote about it. It costs approximately $50/year.

Reduce or eliminate paying for iCloud storage

If you had iCloud Photo Library turned ON before you started this iPhone photo management method and you have been paying Apple for extra iCloud storage, you may want to downgrade or eliminate your storage plan because:

  • You have saved your best iPhone photos on your Mac or PC.
  • You can use Photo Stream to synchronize your recent photos between your devices.
  • You have implemented a backup system for the photos and videos on your Mac or PC (as discussed above).

Below is a screenshot from Apple’s support page Get Help with Your iCloud Photo Library. Follow Apple’s instructions to Disable and Delete iCloud Photo Library.

Apple Support Remove Content from iCloud screenshot

If you have a Mac and it was also connected to your iCloud Photo Library, I recommend that you follow the above instructions for downloading the originals to Photos on your Mac. You may have already done this without realizing it and there won’t be any new photos downloaded.

There’s still another step to downgrade your iCloud Storage plan. Apple explains how with iCloud Storage Upgrades and Downgrades.

You still have 5GB free iCloud storage – use it!

If you have not been backing up your iPhone automatically to iCloud, it’s time to start! iCloud backups will protect your photos in between downloads to your computer, in addition to other data and settings.

If you are unfamiliar about how to turn it on, follow Apple’s easy instructions How to Back up Your Devices Using iCloud or iTunes.

I hope you’ve enjoyed learning my system for keeping iPhone photos under control. If you have any questions or comments, feel to comment below or send me an email through the Contact link.

How to Manage Your iPhone Photos #3 Getting your iPhone photos cleaned up and cleared out

In the first installment of this series, I proposed seven reasons for learning how to manage your iPhone photos. Then, in the second part, I explained the effects of your Photos Settings on your photo management goals.

In this article I will show you how to get your iPhone photos organized and cleared out in preparation for your ongoing photo management system.

With this photo management method, you can:

  • Stop paying for extra iCloud storage from Apple
  • Move your photos from your iPhone to your computer
  • Share groups of photos with friends and family
  • Create albums of your best photos using minimal iPhone storage space

Warning: This is a long post, but aren’t the above rewards worth it?

P.S. Warning: Make certain all of your devices are completely up-to-date with their software and apps before beginning.

Some definitions

One more important, quick explanation. When you open Photos on your iPhone, there are three options across the bottom.

Albums are the photos and videos saved in your iPhone. The albums Camera Roll (or All Photos) and Videos takes up storage space in your phone.

Shared are iCloud Albums you have created or that have been shared with you. They are actually saved in Apple’s iCloud, for free, with a space-saving copy on your iPhone. The memory this uses on your iPhone is negligible.

Photos are all the photos and videos from Camera Roll and Photo Stream or All Photos (if iCloud Photo Sharing is on), organized by Years, Collections and Moments. It’s simply a reorganization of your photos and a different way to view them, not extra copies.

Getting your iPhone ready for the iPhone Photo Management System

        1. Check your iPhone settings
          • Go to Settings > Photos & Camera
          • iCloud Photo Sharing should be ON.
          • Do not worry about the other settings that you have ON or OFF right now.
          • Press the Home button to return to the Main screen.
        2. Create a Favorites album in Shared Albums
          Apple provides a Favorites Album in Albums that you may already be using. The problem with this album is that it requires you to keep those photos in your iPhone, taking up storage space.

          If you will save your favorite shots to a Shared Album, you can keep many more pictures there and use less space.

          • Open Photos and touch Shared at the bottom.
          • If you see  in the top left, touch it to return to the iCloud Photo Sharing screen.
          • Touch the  in the top left.
          • Type Favorites in the popup.

          • Touch Next.
          • Touch Create, without entering anything for “To:”
          • You now have an empty shared Favorites album.
        3. Add photos to your Shared Album “Favorites”
          • With Photos open, touch Albums at the bottom right.
          • If you see  in the top left, touch it to return to the main Albums screen.
          • If you have photos in the Favorites album on this screen, touch it to open.
            • Touch Select and then Select All.
            • Touch and then iCloud Photo Sharing.
            • In the popup touch Shared Album, Favorites and Post.
          • Touch  in the top left.
          • Touch Camera Roll (or All Photos).
          • Touch Select and touch other photos you want to add to your shared Favorites album.
          • Touch , repeating the steps to add to your Shared Album “Favorites.”
          • Finally, touch Shared at the bottom and confirm that your selected photos have been added to Favorites.
        4. Share groups of photos with others
          When my family gets together for a holiday or vacation, I create a shared album which they can all see and add pictures to. This also works for ongoing sharing of photos with a specific friend or group. To keep the photos private, all sharing contacts must have an iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch or Mac.

          • Follow the steps in #1 above with an appropriate name for your Shared Album (i.e., Christmas 2015)
          • Leave “To:” blank for now.
          • Follow the steps in #2 and add pictures from your Camera Roll (or All Photos) to your new Shared Album.
          • Touch Shared at the bottom and open your new album.
          • Touch People at the bottom and then Invite People… Depending on the information you have for your contacts, you may select to invite someone via email or their cell phone number. I find that inviting via email is seen more dependably by your invitees.
          • Touch as many contacts as you want to invite and then Add in the top right.  You can always add or remove sharing contacts at any time.***There are iCloud Photo Sharing and Photo Stream limits, but most people will not come close to reaching them. If you really want to know more, here are the numbers straight from Apple:
        5. Prepare Camera Roll (or All Photos) for saving on computer
          Once you have created shared albums for some of the existing photos on your iPhone, you need to look at the quality and number of photos you have in Camera Roll (or All Photos). Ideally, you only want to save the good photos on your computer. So, it makes sense to delete the ones you do not like first. However, if you have thousands of pictures in your iPhone, the overwhelming task of going through all the photos may hinder your photo management progress. If that describes you, skip the rest of this step, and you can decide what to delete later when they are on your computer.

          • With Photos open, touch Albums in the bottom right.
          • Touch Camera Roll (or All Photos).
          • Touch Select and touch each photo that you do not want to save on your computer and are ready to delete.
          • To quickly select lots of photos, simply drag your finger across any of the photos. As long as you keep dragging, each photo you touch will be selected.
          • When finished selecting, touch the trash can. If you have been using iCloud Photo Library, it will also delete them there.
          • If you delete by mistake, open the Recently Deleted album, touch Select, touch the picture(s) and touch Recover.
        6. Download iPhone photos to computer
          Before you connect your iPhone to your PC or Mac, you need to prevent iTunes from automatically syncing with your iPhone.

            • On a PC:
              • Open iTunes
              • In the top menu, click on Edit and then Preferences (if you don’t see the menu, follow these instructions from Apple:
              • Click on Devices.
              • Check the box beside “Prevent iPods, iPhones and iPads from syncing automatically.”
              • Click OK and close iTunes.
            • On a Mac:
              • Open iTunes
              • In the top menu, click on iTunes and then Preferences…
              • Click on Devices
              • Check the box beside “Prevent iPods, iPhones and iPads from syncing automatically.”
              • Click OK and close iTunes.

          Now, follow Apple’s excellent instructions for importing your photos
 and select either Import to your Mac or Import to your PC for the instructions.

        7. Delete photos from Camera Roll (or All Photos)
          Following the instructions in the link above, on a Mac, you will have the option to let Photos automatically delete your pictures from your iPhone after they are imported. If you did not check the box to do that or you have a PC, then you will need to delete the photos on your iPhone as described in item 5 above.
        8. Change Settings on your iPhone
          • Go to Settings > Photos & Camera.
          • If ON, turn OFF iCloud Photo Library and then touch Remove from iPhone (twice).
          • My Photo Stream should be ON.
          • The other settings are a matter of personal preference.

Doesn’t it feel great to have your iPhone photos cleaned up and cleared out?

Although your Camera Roll (or All Photos) will be empty, your shared albums that you created are still there to see and enjoy.

Don’t miss my last article which will teach you how to keep your photos under control going forward!

How to Manage Your iPhone Photos #2 iPhone photo settings you need to understand

In my last article, I suggested seven reasons for learning to manage the photos on your iPhone.

From simply saving time in the long run to leaving a cherished legacy to your loved ones, mastering your photographic chaos will pay you back in spades.

In this, Part 2, of the iPhone photo management series, I will explain the iPhone settings that affect your photo management: iCloud Photo Library, My Photo Stream, iCloud Photo Sharing and Summarize Photos.

iCloud Photo Library is called a cloud storage service, but it’s really a cloud synchronization service and should not be used for keeping a permanent backup of your photos. When iCloud Photo Library is turned on, all of your photos and videos from your iPhone, iPad, and even computer (if set up for it) are synchronized and can be seen on all of your devices.

There are two problems with iCloud Photo Library if you use it:

  1. You will quickly run out of your first 5GB of free iCloud storage from Apple and have to pay monthly for more storage space.
  2. It is not a backup for your photos. It is a synchronization service. Do not fall victim into thinking that iCloud Photo Library keeps a copy of all of your photos forever. If you delete a photo from your iPhone or iPad, it will delete it in iCloud Photo Library also.

My Photo Stream acts like iCloud Photo Library in that it automatically synchronizes photos taken with your iPhone or iPad so they can be seen on all of your devices. So what’s the difference?

  1. It only synchronizes your most recent photos and not the videos. According to Apple, it will keep up to 1000 photos for 30 days. In my experience, it keeps photos until you reach the 1000 photo limit and then removes the oldest ones as newer ones are added.
  2. It does not synchronize your videos.
  3. It does not have the capability to synchronize photos that are saved in your computer, which iCloud Photo Library can do.
  4. It only works over WiFi.
  5. It does not count against your free 5GB of iCloud storage.

Functionally, iCloud Photo Library and My Photo Stream are so similar, that I am surprised that Apple still offers My Photo Stream. As long as it’s available though, My Photo Stream is my preferred photo synchronization service.

iCloud Photo Sharing is another free photo synchronization tool from Apple that is under-used by most people. Instead of synchronizing photos among your own devices, it lets you synchronize specific pictures and short videos to the iPhones and iPads of your friends. You create what is called a Shared Album and then invite your friends and family to view the album on their own Apple devices. Other benefits are:

  1. Your invited friends and family can add photos to the shared albums for all of you to see.
  2. You can create a shared album and not share it with anyone. It’s a way to keep special groups of photos in your iPhone without taking up as much space as they do in Camera Roll (or All Photos).

Summarize Photos is an option to reduce the number of photos displayed in Years, Collections and Moments. If you keep a lot of photos from lots of years on your iPhone, it may be helpful to have Summarize Photos ON. However, since my intent is to help you reduce the number of pictures on your iPhone, Summarize Photos can be OFF. 

In Part 3 of this series, I will provide detailed instructions on how to organize, share and download your photos.

How to Manage your iPhone Photos #1 Seven reasons why you should

When I was little girl, having my picture taken was an agonizingly long affair. First my dad had to go get his camera, take it out of its special case, attach the flash, put a new bulb in the flash attachment, position me just so, and then measure the light with his light meter. Then he would fiddle around with all the lens settings until finally, one shot could be taken!

To my dismay, he would start all over with a new bulb, light readings, winding the film, etc.

It’s a miracle that he had the patience to take a couple of thousand photos during my youth. Compare that to the thousands of photos many people take in less than a year’s time today.

Here’s a staggering number for you. In 2015, worldwide, we uploaded and shared over 1.5 TRILLION photos through various sites like Facebook and Instagram. And that’s just the pictures that were uploaded and shared!

When my father would receive his developed slides (his preference over prints), he didn’t throw them in a pile on top of his desk or dump them in a drawer. He culled the bad shots and carefully numbered and cataloged the good ones into special slide boxes.

Those preciously organized pictures were his gift and legacy to me and his grandchildren.

In our haste to capture so many moments of our lives with our cell phone cameras, I’d like to suggest that there are some important reasons for learning how to manage the photos that are rapidly filling up your phones.

  1. It is time-consuming and difficult to find a particular picture when you want to show someone.
  2. You’d like to share all of your photos from a recent trip with other family members, but it’s impossible to email or text them all, little by little.
  3. You keep getting the “Not Enough Storage” message that your iPhone cannot be backed up. This leads to…
  4. Apple selling you additional iCloud storage so that you won’t get that message and maybe your photos will be backed up.
  5. Depending on the storage capacity of your phone, you could eventually run out of space.
  6. One day, you will forget the important facts about certain photos that you wanted to remember.
  7. When you are gone, your photos will be forgotten or deleted. Who is going to take the time to go through your digital mountain of unorganized pictures?

Depending on the extent of your photo clutter, the initial process to get your iPhone pictures “in shape” will take some time. But with clear explanations and step-by-step instructions, you can go from snapshot mayhem to photo supremacy.

If you are ready to create a discipline for managing and organizing your iPhone photos, I invite you to join me in this four-part series

Pocket that!

Bad habits are hard to break, especially digital bad habits. We don’t even realize we are creating these habits until we are overwhelmed by our inability to find anything on our computers and mobile devices.

In fact, most of us treat the information on our computer like a stranger unloading our dishwasher and putting all the glasses, dishes, pots and cutlery in the closest cabinet or drawer, with everything mixed up higgledy piggledy.

Thankfully, organizing files on a computer imitates the old-fashioned act of naming paper folders to hold documents in filing cabinets. It’s not difficult; it just takes discipline.

Conversely, the habit of keeping catalogs, magazines with dog-eared pages, and sections of old newspapers to be read “soon” has never seemed to lend itself to a practical filing system. And, therefore, trying to organize the digital equivalent of our stacks of periodical clutter is often done by creating bookmarks. A practice I have found unsatisfactory for short-term saving and, more importantly, finding at a later date.

I was notorious for keeping dozens of tabs open across my web browser. Maybe you do this too. You find an online store or article and don’t have the time to fully explore or read it, so you keep the tab open. As you add more tabs, your browser becomes so slow that it freezes or crashes and you wonder why. Or, you try to find a particular tab that you just know you left open – unsuccessfully.

A few months ago, I stumbled across a pretty fantastic solution, and it’s called Pocket. Pocket is an app that lets you save specific website pages and articles that you want to view later. And it’s synchronized across all of your devices. You can “pocket” a site from your computer and pull it up later from your smartphone or tablet.

While Pocket does not have a filing system per se, you can add tags to each page you are saving to help you find them later. For instance, if I was gathering information for an upcoming trip to New York, I would add the tag “New York” to every webpage that I wanted to save as a reference for planning my trip. When I am doing research for an article and saving references in Pocket, I tag each saved site with the topic of my research.

To find a saved site in Pocket, I select the correct tag first and then can find the specific saved site more quickly. It’s not unlike choosing a folder and then the correct document within the folder.

Whether you use a PC or Mac computer, Android or Apple mobile devices, getting started with Pocket is free, quick and easy. Here’s how to get it.

On your computer

  1. Go to and create an account. If you have a Gmail account, choose “Sign Up with Google,” otherwise choose “Sign Up with email.”
  2. Install Pocket in your browser (Chrome, Firefox, Safari or Opera) using these instructions. If you use Internet Explorer, use these instructions.
  3. Install Pocket on your computer. For Mac computers, use these instructions. For Windows computers, use these instructions.

On your smart phones and tablets

  1. On iPhones and iPads, go to the app store and search for the Pocket app. This is the correct symbol Pocket icon for the app. Download it and log in with the account you set up on your computer.
  2. For Android devices, download Pocket from the Google Play or Amazon Appstore.

Using Pocket

For detailed and advanced directions for using Pocket, I recommend that you browse through Pocket’s Help Center. The topics are well-organized and the instructions are easy to follow.

My quickstart instructions for Mac, Chrome and iPhone

How to save to Pocket with Chrome on a Mac:

  • When you are on a webpage that you want to save for later, click on this symbol Pocket extension iconthat will be near the top right, just past the address bar.
  • Wait for this popup to appear in the top right.
    Pocket page saved popup
  • I recommend that you type a category or topic in the “Add Tags” field and click on Save. This will make it much easier to find later.

How to save to Pocket on an iPhone:

  • From Safari, touch the Share-button button at the bottom of the screen. From Chrome, touch the Chrome vertical dots in the top right and then the Share-button button.
  • Touch the Pocket app icon. You will see this popup that it has been saved.
    iPhone pocket saved popup
  • To add a category or topic, touch the tag symbol. Enter or select your “tag” and then touch Save.

How to read your saved pages on a Mac:

  • Open the Pocket application from your Applications folder or the Launchpad.
  • To search for saved items with a particular tag, touch the tag symbol at the bottom of your list and select a tag.

How to read your saved pages on an iPhone:

  • Open the Pocket app.
  • Touch Pocket menu iconin the top left.
  • Select a tag.

Once you get in the habit of using Pocket, you will feel so smart!

4 iOS 9 Features Worth Trying

Now that iOS 9 for the iPhone and iPad has been out for a month or more and has even had a few updates, I’d like to share my four favorite features and encourage you to start using them. They are listed in reverse order because I saved the best for last!

4. Wi-Fi Assist Mode

We’ve all been “taught” to get our iPhones onto Wi-Fi whenever possible to avoid using our cell phone data plan. It’s a great practice, except when your W-Fi signal is weak and the cell phone data signal is strong. Until iOS 9, your iPhone would stubbornly struggle to connect to an app or website over Wi-Fi, oblivious to the stronger and faster cellular data connection it had.

If you prefer speed and don’t mind using your data plan, there is a new setting that will automatically switch from using Wi-Fi to cellular data when your Wi-Fi connection gets spotty. To turn it on or off, touch Settings > Cellular and scroll all the way to the bottom and touch the toggle switch.

3. Multiple Photos Selection

Most people let their photos accumulate on their iPhones until they get the “Not Enough Storage … This iPhone cannot be backed up” message and panic. Until iOS 9, deleting photos from the Camera Roll or All Photos (if you have iCloud Photo Library turned on) was a painstakingly slow, one-by-one tap on each photo. Now, from the Photos app, after you touch Select, you can drag your finger across multiple pictures to choose them quickly.

2. The New Notes

For years I’ve been synchronizing my iPhone Notes through Gmail. (It’s a setting on an iPhone under Mail, Contacts, Calendars for most email providers and iCloud – not just Gmail.)

The reason I synched through Gmail rather than iCloud was that iCloud required you to create an email address to sync Notes. For most of us, having yet another email address was not needed or wanted.

Now, Apple has upgraded Notes to include basic formatting, drawing, inserting photos and even organizing Notes into folders. The catch is that it only works if you synchronize your Notes through iCloud, but you no longer have to create an email address!

If you use Notes frequently, you will especially appreciate the ability to create folders to organize and then find them.

1. Siri

Siri is so remarkably improved that she deserves this whole article to herself (or himself, depending on your settings). It really wasn’t that long ago when you tried to tell Siri to “Call John Smith” and she responded by calling your mother. And of course you replied with a few, choice words for Siri!

With iOS 9, Siri understands almost everything you say and can do so much more.

The ability to activate Siri with the command “Hey, Siri” has been around for awhile, but only when your iPhone was plugged into a power source. If you happen to own the new iPhone 6s or 6s Plus, you can ask Siri questions anywhere that your iPhone can hear you, without being plugged in.

Holding the home button down to activate Siri still works with all iPhone models 4s and later. For those of you who find that Siri can be a little impatient as you are asking a question, you can take as long as you want by holding down the home button the entire time you are speaking.

Here is a list of some of the ways you can begin using Siri to save time and make your iPhone more useful:

  • “Show my photos from Washington last June.” No more scrolling and scrolling through your photos!
  • “Get the Scannable app.” No more slow searching to find any app in the app store!
  • “When is the next game for the Tar Heels?”
  • “Remind me to turn on the oven when I get home.”
  • “What movies are playing near me tonight?”
  • “What is the best pizza restaurant in Chicago?”
  • “Find a table for four tonight in Washington, DC.”
  • “What is 20% of $63.75?” Or, something complicated like: “What is the square root of 325?”

Remember, go to Settings > General > Siri to turn it on, to allow “Hey Siri,” and to train Siri to your voice.

In addition, you can train Siri on other name pronunciations at any time or on contact relationships like “Learn to pronounce Shania Twain” or “John Smith is my husband.”

I highly recommend that you experiment and take a look at the list Apple has created at

My favorite “To Do List” App for the iPhone

My husband has been asking me for over a year to research “To Do List” apps for the iPhone, and I’ve put it off as long as I could. You see, I knew that there were lots of apps in that category. Three thousand three hundred eleven to be exact!

The Review

Since I couldn’t possibly tackle that list, I decided to compare the three most mentioned apps in the technology articles I read daily: Trello, Wunderlist and ToDoist. In addition, I’ll include the benefits of just using the Reminders app that comes with each iPhone.

Trello, Wunderlist and ToDoist have free and paid versions. All three, plus the Reminders app, keep your “To Do” lists synchronized between all your devices, can be accessed online from any computer and allow you to share your lists with others.

In it’s most basic form, a “To Do” app should function like pen and paper. You make a list of tasks and check them off as they are completed. But it’s the extra features that can keep you organized and productive that makes it worth using an electronic “To Do List” manager.

In researching each of these apps, I looked for functionality in three areas: 1) ease of creating, deleting and organizing tasks and lists, 2) ease of creating reminders for tasks, and 3) bonus features such as attaching additional information to a task, syncing with a calendar or using Siri to create tasks.


Reminders is the most basic of the “To Do List” apps I compared, yet it’s quite enough for many people. With Reminders, you can create multiple lists and easily add tasks with due dates and times. Adding tasks to a list with Siri works very well, and you can have notifications based on date and time or location. For example, if you need to stop by the dry cleaners on your way home from work, you can be notified by Reminders when you leave work. Reminders falls short in its very basic design and the inability to create lists of lists (what I call sublists).


When I first tried Trello, I loved it because it was so visually appealing. In Trello, lists are called “Cards” and organized in “Boards” because that’s what they look like. It’s easy to drag and drop tasks from one “Card” to another, but it takes too many steps to remove a task once it’s completed. If you are highly visual, using Trello would be like having a big white board with post-it notes of lists.


Wunderlist falls somewhere between Reminders and Trello. It’s more visually appealing than Reminders yet less flashy than Trello. Wunderlist allows sublists, which Reminders does not, and it accepts file attachments in its free version, as does Trello. If you want to see your “To Do” tasks in your calendar, it is very easy to set up.


When I first began testing ToDoist, I was expecting a lot because it is so popular. It is powerful, but only if you upgrade from its free version for $29/year. Otherwise, it’s a more basic “To Do List” manager than Reminders. Upgraded ToDoist is an excellent option for business users who need task management for a team of employees, but overkill for the rest of us.

As with many productivity apps, the best choice for you depends upon how you intend to use a “To Do List” app. 

To Do List Apps Review

AppAllows Lists within ListsLocation Based RemindersCan Sync with CalendarCan Attach File to a TaskEase of Use with Siri
ToDoistYesPaid VersionPaid VersionPaid VersionLimited
RemindersNoYesNot without using a background program.NoExcellent

The Verdict

Best “To Do List” app for calendar syncing and file attachments – Wunderlist

Best “To Do List” app for managing employees and projects – ToDoist paid version

Best “To Do List” app for use with Siri & location based reminders & my personal favorite – Reminders

Here’s a little video I created to show you examples of how I use the Reminders app:

Comparing the Top Cloud Storage Services

In a perfect world, there would be one cloud storage service that worked equally well for Apple, Android and Windows devices. It would have the capacity to save all of your photos, videos and documents in the cloud and show up-to-date copies of every cloud-stored item on your computer, smartphone and tablet. A feature commonly called synchronized, or synced.

In addition, this perfect cloud storage service would allow you to easily share photos, videos and documents with friends, family or coworkers. You could even craft and edit documents (collaborate) with others – from mundane guest lists to committee reports.

And of course, all of this would be available for free.

Instead, there are so many cloud storage choices, that it would be impossible to even try to compare them all here. According to a recent Cnet article, the most popular cloud storage plans are Microsoft OneDrive, Dropbox, Google Drive, Box, Amazon Cloud Drive and Copy. I would add Apple iCloud Drive to that list.

To refine my comparison of this group of top cloud storage services, I won’t include Microsoft OneDrive, Box and Copy. They were developed for and are primarily used by businesses for employee file sharing.

Of the four remaining in our original list, Google Drive and Apple iCloud Drive are the most like my hypothetical perfect cloud storage service.

Google Drive is included with every Google account. You are given 15 GB of free storage and more can be purchased. Google Drive works well on Apple, Android and Windows, syncs photos, videos and documents automatically to all your devices and is the easiest cloud service to use for emailing attachments with Gmail. Its real power lies in its ease of file sharing and collaboration.

Apple iCloud Drive is the new file storage product included in the Apple iCloud umbrella of services. Formerly, iCloud could only sync and save Apple documents created with Apple software. Now, you can store any kind of file and access those files from Apple, Android or Windows devices. When you create an Apple account, you are given 5 GB of free iCloud storage to be used for any of the Apple iCloud services: iCloud Drive, iOS backups and the new iCloud Photo Library. It’s inevitable that most photo-heavy Apple users will run out of this free storage and then a decision must be made. Should you purchase more iCloud storage? If you do purchase more storage, Apple iCloud Drive is a good option for all the files you want to store in the cloud. Not just your photos. Unfortunately, file sharing and collaboration are not available yet.

In comparison, DropBox is a simply designed service that also lets you store any kind of file, but it falls short of the feature-rich Google Drive and photo management simplicity of Apple iCloud Drive. Amazon Cloud Drive is basically an off-site storage service without the file syncing capabilities of the other services reviewed here. Its key advantage is inexpensive backup storage for photos and videos.

Google Drive15 GBYesYesYes
Apple iCloud Drive5 GBYesNoNo
DropBox2 GB up to 16 GBYesPaid plansYes
Amazon Cloud DriveUnlimited Photos & 5 GB for Prime SubscribersNoNoYes

I am often asked which cloud storage service is the best or, is it possible to use just one? The bad news is that there is no simple answer that will fit everyone. It depends on your reasons for using cloud storage and your willingness to sacrifice simplicity for savings.

  • Do you only want to save copies of all your photos and videos in the cloud or do you want your photos saved and synced across all your devices?
  • Do you need accessibility to certain documents from any device or location?
  • Do you need to share large files with others?
  • Do you want to collaborate on a document or spreadsheet with others?
  • Are you an all-Apple user or mixed between Apple and Windows?

I created the table below to help you decide.

Simplest for Apple UsersApple iCloud DriveApple iCloud DriveGoogle DriveGoogle Drive
Simplest for OthersGoogle DriveGoogle Drive or DropBoxGoogle Drive or DropBoxGoogle Drive
Least Expensive for AnyoneGoogle DriveGoogle DriveGoogle DriveGoogle Drive

If you are an Apple user, you will spend about twice as much for cloud storage with Apple iCloud Drive as with Google Drive, but we’re only talking about a $10/month difference at the 1 TB level.

Apple iCloud Drive20 GB/200 GB/500 GB/1 TB$.99/$3.99/$9.99/$19.99 per month
Google Drive100 GB/1 TB$1.99/$10 per month

After a lot of trial and error and analysis, these are my recommendations for cloud storage services:

  • If you use two or more Apple devices and you like to take photos on your iPhone/iPad and keep lots of those photos, then Apple iCloud Drive is the simplest solution for your photo management. If you need to share or collaborate on files, use Google Drive for those.
  • If you only use one Apple device, it’s probably worth the minor inconvenience to set up Google Drive for storing and syncing your photos as well as sharing and syncing all other types of files.
  • If you are all Windows and Android devices, Google Drive is the best.