What is the Cloud I hear you ask!

The simple answer is a computer somewhere else, that you access via the internet.

There are three main uses of the cloud for home users. File storage, file sharing and backing up data. Here, we will take a glance at what each of these functions can do for you.

Cloud storage operates like a remote hard drive or server, used to share and access your files across devices. Utilising services such as iCloud, Dropbox or Google Drive, it can be just as easy as saving files straight to your computer. Most of us already employ the cloud for storage without thinking about it for our emails, with web based accounts like iCloud, Gmail and Office 365 providing space, we can access our messages on the go. 

Here at Mac Aid, we utilise Dropbox, as so that every staff member can access what they need through the finder (or in Windows Explorer on PC) at any time in the office or when working remotely. This keeps the system simple and easy to use even for the non techs in the building! 

All of these services can house any file type, even allowing music and videos to be played straight from the service’s website or app. Storing your files on the cloud gives you the convenience of retrieving your data on any device, from anywhere you have internet.

Going hand in hand with a few of the file storing services, is file sharing. File sharing makes it easy for multiple people to work on one document, often at the same time, from different locations. iCloud (Pages, Numbers, Keynote) and Google (Docs and Sheets) are the prime examples of this providing solutions for text and spreadsheet documents that can be created and edited by several people simultaneously. This means that you can share both work documents and personal lists alike – real time shopping lists or business or home account spreadsheets that can be modified on the go.

Photo sharing has also become much simpler with the likes of iCloud Photo, Google Photo and Flickr. iCloud Photo enables photos being directly saved to the drive when you take them, where they can be sorted manually or by face recognition, and easily shared from there.

While online storage of documents, photos and videos is useful and frees up space on your device by housing your files on the cloud, it’s not the same as doing a back up. A backup is a copy of your files that isn’t available to edit, which stays in its original state. Because of that it can be a very important snapshot of the files you had at the time of that backup. Cloud backups are designed to protect your data and ensure continuous backup and easy restoration of files in the event of malware, damage or theft.

Backup services like iCloud, IDrive, Backblaze and Carbonite, work in the background, backing up files and data, scanning for changes along the way. Cloud backup stores multiple versions, so if you accidentally overwrite a file, you can still recover earlier backups. Trusted backup providers refuse to compromise customer data privacy or allow anyone else to do so. There is one caveat with iCloud, that set up of the backup for files needs to be carefully considered, as data loss can occur if not.

Cloud backup should be accompanied by local hard drive backups to provide extra peace of mind.

Apple released their long rumoured iPhone 12 at another of their virtual video events from Apple Headquarters this week.

All 4 iPhone 12 models feature 5G, a new A14 Bionic processor, a new industrial design with flat edges and thinner bezels, Super Retina XDR OLED displays, upgraded “Ceramic Shield” front glass, and a new 12-megapixel wide camera with wider aperture promising improved low light performance. So they were pretty much exactly as rumours had described in recent months.

MagSafe is back!

While all iPhone 12 models still have a lightning connector (with a cable supplied in the box, but no earbuds), they also introduce a new iteration of “MagSafe” for enhanced wireless charging using magnets and for attaching chargers, cases and accessories. Apple says the iPhone 12 can charge wirelessly at up to 15 watt speeds. There’s an Apple Watch-like MagSafe iPhone charger, iPhone 12 cases and a new magnetic wallet accessory that snaps on the back of the phone.

iPhone 12 Mini

Among the lineup, is a new iPhone 12 Mini with a 5.4 inch screen, bringing the full-screen/Face-ID iPhone experience to a smaller form factor for the first time. Expectations had been that this rumoured iPhone Mini might have been an entry level cheaper device, it turns out to be a fully fledged smaller version of the iPhone 12, including 5G, and OLED screen, MagSafe and the A14 Bionic processor. So those of us who have long been wanting Apple to release a premium smaller iPhone are in luck.

iPhone 12 Pro

There are also iPhone 12 Pro and Pro Max models, with a stainless steel body, rather than aluminium. Both feature reimagined pro camera systems including an expansive Ultra Wide camera, a Telephoto camera with an even longer focal length on iPhone 12 Pro Max, and new wide angle cameras to capture beautiful professional-quality images and video in bright and low-light environments. iPhone 12 Pro models also introduce a new LiDAR Scanner for immersive augmented reality (AR) experiences.

New colours

iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Mini will be available in white, black, blue, green and red and iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone Pro Max in graphite, silver, gold and pacific blue.

So all up the iPhone 12s seem a worthwhile upgrade, particularly for those who have been waiting for a 5G iPhone, a smaller model or updated cameras. Pre-orders for iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro open on 16 October, iPhone 12 mini and iPhone Pro Max open on 7 November.

As Apple enthusiasts know, you can use your Apple devices to do awesome things. And when you use them together, what you can achieve is magnified, leaving you able to do so much more. Many people don’t realise just what is possible when you use the Continuity feature – which is a seamless way to move between your different devices and use them together. You can take calls on your iPhone without even picking it up, by using your Mac. You can also send text messages from your Mac. You can log in to your Mac using your Apple watch, rather than typing a password. You can copy images, text or video from one device to another easily and quickly. It’s possible to start work on a document on one device and then pick up where you left off on another. There are so many possibilities available to you when you use Continuity – but here are a few that we think will be useful.


Handoff is where you begin working from one device, and then switch to another device nearby and seamlessly pick up where you left off.

Applications that will work with Handoff include Mail, Maps, Safari, Reminders, Calendar, Contacts, Pages, Numbers, Keynote and some third-party apps. Handoff can be activated on any Mac, iPhone, iPad, iPod touch or Apple Watch.

To use Handoff, complete these steps for each device:

  1. Sign into iCloud with the same Apple ID
  2. Turn Bluetooth on
  3. Turn Wi-Fi on
  4. Turn Handoff on by:
    1. Mac: Go to Apple menu > System Preferences > General > Allow Handoff between this Mac and your iCloud devices
    2. iPhone, iPad and iPod touch: Go to Settings > General > Handoff, then turn on
  5. On one device, open one of the above listed apps
  6. When switching to:
    1. Mac: Click on the icon in the Dock
    2. iPhone, iPad or iPod touch: Unlock device; Open the multitasking screen (same method when switching between apps); Tap on the app banner at the bottom

Universal Clipboard

When you have multiple devices, Universal Clipboard is great for copying content such as text, images and videos on one Apple device and then pasting this same content on another Apple device, with unprecedented ease and speed. You can also use this feature to copy entire files from one Mac to another Mac; however just make sure that they both are on macOS High Sierra.

To use Universal Clipboard, complete these steps for each device:

  1. Sign into iCloud with the same Apple ID
  2. Turn on Bluetooth
  3. Turn on Wi-Fi
  4. Turn on Handoff
  5. On the first device, copy the desired content as you would normally. It will then be automatically added to the clipboard of your next device. It will remain there for a brief period of time or until it is replaced by other copied content.
  6. On the second device, paste the content as you normally would.

Instant Hotspot

The next time you want to go online and don’t have Wi-Fi, try Instant Hotspot, where your Mac or other device can remotely activate your iPhone’s personal hotspot when they are near each other, and provide internet access.

On your iPhone or iPad (Wi-Fi + Cellular), go to Settings > Personal Hotspot.

To use Instant Hotspot, follow these steps on other devices:

  1. Sign into iCloud with the same Apple ID
  2. Turn on Bluetooth
  3. Turn on Wi-Fi
  4. To connect to your Personal Hotspot:
    1. On Mac: Use the Wi-Fi symbol in the top menu bar, and click on the name of the device, providing the Personal Hotspot
    2. On iPad, iPod touch or any other iPhone, go to Settings > Wi-Fi, then choose the name of the device, providing the Personal Hotspot

While all these features outlined above have different requirements and work in different ways, they are quite easy to set up and use once you know how, so give them a try. You’ll appreciate the added functionality your devices can provide.

For system requirements for Continuity go to https://support.apple.com/en-au/HT204689#hotspot.

Apple prides itself on being on the cutting edge of technology, and as such its products are constantly being updated and improved. And although Apple products are usually very long-lasting, no Mac, gadget or device will last forever – and as technology improves, you probably wouldn’t want them to. At some point your device will become obsolete.

Machines over seven years old are classed as Vintage. This means that parts particular to that model will no longer be available and you will likely be unable to update to future OS versions. This could mean that some applications may no longer be compatible with these models.

Apple declares products as vintage five years after the product is last manufactured. Although this means that Apple will no longer repair them, it doesn’t necessarily mean that we won’t either.

As of 1st April 2018, the following list of machines are moving into the Vintage classification:

  • MacBook Pro from late 2011 and prior (17-inch and smaller)
  • iMac from Mid 2011 and prior

If you have one of these devices and have concerns about whether you’ll still be able to use or repair it, go to the following website for help: https://support.apple.com/en-au/HT201624.

Mac Aid’s six-car fleet of signed vehicles has recently undergone a renewal and are now looking great. Keep an eye out for our newly branded cars!