Tag Archives: cloud storage

Cloud Storage: Learn About Your Accounts

cloudsWhat is “Cloud Storage?” You’ve probably heard of DropBox, OneDrive, Google Drive, and iCloud. These are all systems for Cloud Storage of your files, any kind of computer files. There are also cloud storage systems like Flickr and Google Photos that are specifically designed for storing your photo files.

Cloud storage means using the Internet (aka the “web”, aka the “cloud”) to store your files rather than a computer’s hard drive. Sometimes it means using the Internet AND your computer’s hard drive – they synchronize with each other so that the cloud copy and the computer copy stay the same. Make revisions on one, and the system revises the other. The beauty of that type of system is that, when you don’t have an Internet connection, you still have your files on your computer; and when you don’t have your computer, you can get to your files on the Internet. Systems like DropBox take care of keeping the files in sync automatically.

Do you know your Account ID?

So, let’s say you don’t have your computer – you’re at a friend’s house, or a colleague’s office – and you need one of your files. How do you get it?

  1. You need to know which system is storing it: DropBox, OneDrive, Google Drive, iCloud, etc. Go to that system’s website, e.g. DropBox.com
  2. You need to know your account information. These systems store files for millions of people, they know which files are yours by your account information. An account is usually identified by an email address and a password.

Think of Cloud Storage Accounts like Bank Accounts

It’s like keeping your money in a bank. To get your money, you need to know which bank it’s in. You also need to know your account number. If you walk into a Wells Fargo bank and give them the account number from Bank of America, you’re not going to get your money!

Now, imagine that you know your bank is Chase, and you walk into a Chase bank. In the lobby there are colorful balloons, and a sign that says you could win a free trip to Fiji with an account and a $200 minimum balance. You say why not?! You fill out the form and hand over $200 – not realizing that you have just opened a second account. You start writing checks with the new checkbook you got and wonder why they soon start bouncing when you know you have thousands of dollars at Chase Bank. Yes, but that money is in a different account!

I’ll bet you’re saying, I would never do that! Ah … but this ‘multiple accounts’ issue happens all the time in the world of technology and Cloud storage accounts – probably because it’s all invisible. You don’t get a checkbook with the bank’s name and the account number written on it.

It’s up to you to remember what service you signed up for, what email address you provided as your account identifier, and what files you are storing there.

Google Accounts = One Account, All of Google

Let’s say you’ve been keeping your photos online in a Google account (starting with Picasa Web Albums, now Google Photos) for years. Your username (email address) and password are stored on your computer so you never need to remember it. You just know that when you want to see your pictures, you click on a certain button. But I know that the key is your Google Account email address and password. Now, it’s time for you to buy a new phone. You get an Android phone and the conversation with the salesperson goes something like this:

Salesperson, “To finish setting up your phone, we need to enter your Google account username and password.”
You, “I don’t know my Google account username and password.”
Salesperson, “No problem, we’ll just make a new one for you – it’s free.”
You, “OK.”

Next time you want to look at your pictures, they’re not there! Why? Because it’s all part of one Google Account, your email, calendar, Google Drive files and your photos. They’re all stored on Google’s servers under an account. If you’re signed in to the wrong account, you won’t see the files you expect.

Microsoft Account Controls OneDrive

The same is true for your Microsoft account. If you buy a new Windows 10 computer you will be prompted for your Microsoft account when you set it up. Many people don’t know they have a Microsoft account so they follow the prompts to create a new one. When they try to view their files on OneDrive, they’re in for a shock when the OneDrive folder is empty! That’s because OneDrive is a Microsoft cloud storage service where your files are stored under your account!

Keeping your Accounts Straight

I think it is unfortunate that these systems allow you to set up an account with any email address. That means you can set up a Microsoft account by giving them a Gmail (Google mail) email address. Personally, I find that confusing. I’ve made sure to set up my Microsoft account using a Microsoft email address – that means @outlook.com or previously @hotmail.com. My Apple iCloud account uses an @icloud.com email address. Actually, I wish that online accounts followed the same procedures as banks and issue you an account ID number. Then, you could change your email as often as you like – your account ID would not change.

With systems like DropBox that do not offer their own email system, I have my default personal email @gmail.com or my work email @GeeksOnTour.com. Be especially careful using a work email address on any system where you may want to continue having access to those files even after you no longer work there. I have a friend who is an entrepreneur and she decided she didn’t like the website name she had chosen. Let’s say that she had a business with a web address of ITrainCats.com. She used that for her email address as well, Beverly@ITrainCats.com. When she decided to change to ITrainDogs.com she also changed her email address, not realizing it, she lost access to several cloud storage services which were using her old email address as her account ID.

Keep it Straight! Write it Down!

Apple IDs and Sync’ing

imageFor Apple devices like iPhones, iPads, and Mac computers, your Apple ID (an email address) provides your identity. Your Apple ID is the key to seeing the contents of your online accounts with Apple – both iTunes/App Store and iCloud. Your Apple ID is kind of like your fingerprint in giving you access to your information. Synchronizing means using your Apple ID to identify your iCloud account, send data such as pictures and contacts from your phone to your iCloud account, then copy that data to any other devices identified by the same Apple ID. This makes your personal data show up on multiple devices. If it’s set up properly, it means you can add a contact using your phone – and that contact will be there when you look on your computer. Take a picture with your phone, and you can see it on your iPad in just a minute.

But, if you don’t use it right, watch out! Let me give you a few examples:

  1. Harold bought a new iPhone and he gave his old one to his daughter, Susan. He didn’t bother to wipe it clean first, and Susan didn’t change the Apple ID recorded in the phone’s settings. She just started using the phone as she normally would. She used the calendar to enter reminders for when she needed to refill her birth control prescription. This reminder shows up on her Dad’s phone, because it was using the same Apple ID to identify his calendar!
  2. Eric and his wife, Wanda, use the same Apple ID because they want to only pay once for Apps that both of them use. They should have used the Family settings instead. When Wanda takes pictures with her iPhone, they are sent to the iCloud Photo Stream for her Apple ID – which is the same as Eric’s Apple ID – and those pictures show up on Eric’s imagephone. Any pictures Eric takes also show up on Wanda’s phone. Their contacts and Notes will also be the same.
  3. The movie Sex Tape, tells the story of a young couple who decide to record a sex tape of themselves, using an iPad. It takes them a while to realize that their old iPads that they had given away as Christmas gifts to family and friends, were still using their Apple ID – so the sex tape was being synchronized to those old iPads. They were mortified that their parents, and their mailman, could now watch their sex tape on the iPads that they gave them.

Lessons to Learn

So, what are the lessons to be learned here? First, you should know your Apple ID – and the password associated with it. To find out what Apple ID is being used for any iPhone or iPad, go to your settings, then iCloud – you’ll see the email address (Apple ID) right under the words iCloud. Also check the iTunes & App Store settings and you’ll see an Apple ID listed there. Although you can use different emails for iCloud and iTunes, it is highly recommended that you use the same one.  You also need to know the password. If you tap on View Apple ID, you will be prompted for a password. If you don’t know that password, it is best to go to a computer and a web browser to go to www.AppleID.com. That is where you can try your passwords, and reset it if you’ve forgotten your password.

Second, your Apple ID is YOUR Apple ID, you should not let anyone else use it. It is like your fingerprint for your devices. These are very personal devices meant to handle your information, and synchronize that information to other devices that are yours.

Third, if you do have a family who wants to share Apps, you can set up the Family settings. Each member of the family, with their own unique Apple IDs, can be listed as members on one Family and one member of the Family can be designated as the “organizer” of the Family.

Fourth, if you give an old device away, you should wipe it clean first! Find instructions on on Apple’s website to Erase al content and settings on your iPhone, iPad.

#47 Lessons Learned. What Does This Button Do?


There are show notes below which document what was covered in the show and include timeline links, so you can watch just the part of the video that you want. If you are not a Geeks on Tour member, you can watch Episode 47 video on YouTube, but you won’t get the show notes.Become a member here. This episode covers:

  1. Quick Tips: A potpourri of tips today. Emergency info on your phone, Camera settings, Saving places on Google Maps, Facebook autoplay videos, iCloud Backup limits, and more

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#32 Dropbox Part 1. What Does This Button Do?

There are show notes below which document what was covered in the show and include timeline links, so you can watch just the part of the video that you want. If you are not a Geeks on Tour member, you can watch Episode 32 video on Youtube, but you won’t get the show notes. Become a member here. This episode covers:

  1. Quick Tips: Facebook Notification on Lock Screen
  2. Beginner’s Lesson: Dropbox pt.1: Cloud Storage and Device Independence
  3. App o Week: Google Sky

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#19 Google+ Photos for Android and iPad. What Does This Button Do?

For the best viewing, be sure to click the FullScreen button image in the lower right corner.


There are show notes below the video which document what was covered and include timeline links, so you can watch just what you want. If you are not a Geeks on Tour member, you can watch Episode 19 video on YouTube, but you won’t get the show notes. Become a member here. This episode covers:

  1. Overview of storing all your pictures from mobile devices in the cloud
  2. Guests Catherine Tracy, Robin Seaver, and Judi McDowell. All our guests are active in computer clubs teaching others about Picasa, Google+, smartphones, and tablets. It makes for a great discussion.
  3. Member videos created to cover this topic are 367. Google+ Photos part 1 Intro and iPad and 368. Google+ Photos part 2: Android
  4. This episode is longer, and more advanced than most of our “What Does This Button Do?” shows because we had 3 knowledgeable guests

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