Several days ago, I got an email from Apple, letting me know that my iCloud account was nearly out of storage space. I've stuck with the free 5Gb account all along, and until now it's met my needs. But with an iPhone 5 and an original iPad backing up to the same account, along with my semi-heavy use of iCloud file storage for iWork, iA Writer, and other apps, I'd maxed it out.
I didn't particularly want to shell out for a paid iCloud account, even though that's something I may need to do in the future. For now, I just wanted to clear up some space so I can keep my apps syncing - and ideally, I wanted to do it in a way that won't change how I use iCloud normally (i.e. to sync documents in apps, and let me have the peace of mind that my iPhone is backed up).
Turns out, there's a very simple trick. You can simply turn off the backup for individual apps from your iOS device’s backup settings to free up space. Don't do it for apps that don't have their data backed up any other way, but for apps like, say, Instapaper or Pocket that have all your data backed up in their own cloud already, there's no real reason you need it backed up again in iCloud.
So, just open Settings, select iCloud, then select the Storage and Backup button near the bottom. Tap Manage Storage to see all of your backups and app data. Now, select the device that you're using right now under Backups, and turn off the backup for apps that don't have to get backed up in iCloud. This is somewhere you're going to need to use your own discretion, but basically, if the app’s data is in another cloud storage already (Instapaper, Evernote, Kindle, and even apps that sync via other services like OmniFocus and 1Password, or anything you use with Dropbox), you can turn off their iCloud backup without fear.
One other thing: you can free up a lot of space both on your device and in your backups (if you're like me) by syncing your pictures and videos to your computer, then deleting them (or at least most of them) from your device. Or, remember to copy them out of Photo Stream, then delete them from your device. I'm terrible about not syncing my pictures, even though my phone’s sitting beside my Mac half the day.
So there. Now you should have enough space in iCloud to let your apps keep syncing, and you'll still have the stuff that's not stored elsewhere backed up in iCloud as it should be.
- - - - -
- - - - -
A couple years back, I picked up something in a bundle that became my favorite little design tool: the Pictos Font. It's an icon font — a font with icons instead of each letter, like Webdings but nicer — and one of the nicest in my opinion. It's organized nicely — icons are usually on the first letter in that object's name — and the icons are simple yet elegant.
You've likely seen the Pictos icons if you've paid attention to my articles at AppStorm, where I'll often reach for a Pictos icon when I need a basic elemental icon for an article logo. They're only a T away in Photoshop, and are infinitely resizable and tweakable. If you want some flat design, all it takes is good colors and a nicely aligned icon from the font, and you're good.
Icon fonts are far from new, but they're most popular in web dev circles for a nice way to add icons to your UI. But that's not all they're useful for: you could use them to spice up a report, add icons to your print designs, and more. Resizing and coloring them is simple, with the same font settings you're used to. And there's some that go beyond replacing a single letter with an icon: FF Chartwell lets you turn numbers into auto-generated graphs with, yes, just a font, and Symbolset that uses OpenType features to turn words (say "heart) into icons.
There's tons out there, and you should pick some up to help in your designs, whether you're a budding designer or a pro. I love Pictos, but it's far from the only one out there. There's the free Any Old Icon font built from zany, community contributed icons by my colleagues at Envato, for starts. Then, CSS Tricks has a huge roundup of the best icon fonts, some free, some paid. If you need more icons, check out the ambitious Noun Project for loose icons not in fonts (though some are in fonts as well).
And enjoy designing with type. Pure type.
Wherein I write about Yahoo!'s acquisition of Tumblr, and why you shouldn't go grab pitchforks so fast when the internet slights you.
I love web apps. Hardly anything inspires me to write a detailed review like an exciting new web app. I got started writing online back when I only had a Windows PC, and web apps were the most exciting thing there with the all-but-inexistent indie app market on PCs. So I found the best of them, curated them at the now-defunct GreatWebApps blog, then got my first editorial job at Web.AppStorm.
And yet, I'm a hypocrite. I use plenty of web apps — mainly as services to feed into native apps. When I'm writing, my words might be synced in iCloud or Dropbox, but they're usually written in a native app. Same for almost everything else. I use web apps to publish my site, track stats, collaborate with team members, and everything else that obviously has to be networked. Everything else might be synced with the cloud, but I reach for native apps for work and fun whenever I possibly can. And I suspect the same is the case for almost most others.
Foster at Mysterous Trousers just wrote a detailed article about the numerous little things that stack up to make us conditioned to not rely on web apps for our normal work. They make a very good point:
"Someone could build the most amazing web app ever and they’d be battling our history with hundreds of other web apps that have let us down."
Go read the full article for all the reasons they came up with for why people are scared of relying on web apps, which are all too true. It puts in words what I've been thinking about web apps — even those I love — for quite some time.
Ever wanted to run an ad specifically on Techinch.com to make sure our readers hear about your app or service? Here's your chance. Right now, we run only one ad from InfluAds on Techinch.com, and we're proud of the minimalist quality of their ads. It keeps Techinch's hosting paid for without the ugliness of Google Adsense, and if you pay attention, you'll likely find stuff you actually like from the advertisers (case in point: right now, we've got ads from the beautiful hosted CMS Squarespace, the cute Instagram-powered magnets Instantgram, and more).
And now, if you want to make sure your app is featured with an equally stylish ad on Techinch.com, you can. Just head over to our Techinch InfluAds Page, where you can get your ad on Techinch — exclusively — for $85/month, or in our RSS feed for $25/month. Or, you can purchase a brand-new sponsorship page for $100/month. The rates are rather low, so now's a great time to get in.
Looking forward to having your app featured on Techinch.com!
- - - - -