The Apple Storage Problem
What says on your iPhone is gone forever.
Quick, when I say Storage, what comes to mind?
A box under the bed with some precious photo albums?
Your zip drive sitting in a junk drawer?
Your DVD collection in color-coded folders?
When your files are gone, they are gone. Or are they?
Let’s take a step back in time to the iPod
Your data is gone forever; sorry, buy some iCloud storage.
The problem starts with Apple training.
While Apple strives to hire the best of people, they have one flaw.
They expect people to be experts in every category in their lives.
You should “know” IOS inside and out to work at Apple. For example, you should know how to handle restores of Iphones and quickly identify an unknown charge. In addition, you should be able to check in with customers and handle high-stress situations.
And while there are different “areas” in some stores, the general mindset working with/for/alongside Apple is that you should be talented in every skill set.
What do I mean by this? There is no official Apple procedure to handle a situation you cannot take. If a customer comes in, that is your customer. If a problem arises, you should know how to handle that issue. And while you can slightly lean on others for support in a retail store, this level of interaction breaks down when help is needed for Applecare, remote support for an IOS device, or retail/business decisions.
People working for or representing Apple are expected to be experts in their field. And indeed, many people are. For example, I know people who can recite every single IpadOS version. There are people in the stores who can categorize things by touch, not even requiring a glance to confirm they have the correct item (and be accurate 100% of the time)
These people are renowned in their circles, one of over 7,500 stores for one skill, but privately many of them also have something they are just as weak in
Alice, I can’t remember how to.. the scanner.. can you. Yeah, thanks.
AGGH, what are those asset labels called again?
AMY, WHERE DO YOU FIND THE BUTTON TO CREATE A NEW TICKET?!
These are all examples of things I’ve heard. Names changed.
People are not perfect. But in the glass walls of Apple, you are supposed to be, with expert memory on every item. If a customer is your customer, they are your customer, especially on the phones.
I can’t help but think back to “bonehead *Andy,” the person who started this adventure for me into the insight being given now. That person had no business taking phone calls for their department. They were “out of their scope.”
One Shirt One Team. Many meanings.
So what happens when you don’t know what to do?
You learn. You ask questions. You get better at the current skill to expand your skillset and do better next time you encounter that problem.
And here’s where we run into the problem that Apple does not let you.
Now to be clear, this may not be the policy everywhere. There may be internal procedures never seen or manager-level intermissions that never reached my eye. However, with that stated, it does seem that additional training is a “bad thing.”
Let me explain. First, I want to make it crystal clear that Apple does provide support for its support teams. There are interactive tutorials and training; there are hands-on classes. But this kind of stuff happens when a new product is released. You better believe that when someone calls in on the unreleased airpodsPro, everyone taking the calls has had extensive training on how to pair that product. When it comes to training on new materials and products, Apple shines.
But existing products? You are expected to hit the ground running already knowing everything — Fly birdie.
You see, Apple does not give any time for training outside support information needed for upcoming changes to inventory products or stores.
People can attend training with permissions (Apple login or employee tools). Still, most reps cannot access training on their own time without first requesting permission for security.
And permission is not given without reason. Additionally, getting access to training requires manually adding to an Apple Advisors user profile. It’s not as simple as logging in because Apple internal documents need to stay Apple internal.
And is training paid? HR would say yes. In reality, it’s a mixed bag.
When advisors access training materials, they want to learn something they are not highly skilled in; it’s entering a shadow door in Apple city. As soon as they cross it, they indicate to their manager and co-workers that they do not know how to do something. Their manager may even get emails based on what’s done.
Name one Advisor who has stated they don’t know how to accomplish a task, and I’ll show you one employee who is out the door. Most people who take these training do so in secret, either coordinating the time with HR or absorbing the time spent. It is much easier for many to eat the time than approach the subject.
There is no system to allow training on the floor for information one is not already well skilled. So when you are thrown into the calls for Apple when you are tasked with taking inventory, when YOU are the person who will help that customer. you better know your stuff or learn on the fly.
This is a problem that resolves itself in time. The things you never did know either never come up or are covered by your friend called time.
I have razor-sharp memory. Suppose I see something and want to know if it sticks in my mind. So while this is something that never affected me personally, I’ve seen it in others. Or maybe it’s easier to say I have the memory of Derek Zoolander and communicate in the form of Pathos, I can’t remember how to access DFU mode on an Iphone8, and a customer is standing there with a white screen.
They expect an answer, and I should know it. And if I don’t, it’s up to another co-worker to see the help me eyes for the Quick-press combination that leads to successful support of that customer.
If that Advisor doesn’t know the answer, they will find it. And that might be through watching another, reading a manual, or even asking for support before a store opens. But it’s not going to be by approaching Apple and asking for an item to be unlocked so they can learn how to do their job.
For that to happen, the stigma inside Apple would need to change. Learning the information required should not be seen as a bad thing. There should be no hrrrmms. From a manager, and no forms are necessary from HR. People are not in the matrix, and information cannot be downloaded. (yeah, I’m talking to you *Chrissytopher Columbus )
And then there’s a simple fact not all in the manager’s role can teach.
So with the above information that “Old info = bad.”
One piece of the puzzle to the resolution explained we come to the problem of
iCloud is Storage for your Apple account.
More specifically, iCloud is old information about Storage for your Apple account.
And that, my friends, is the root of the problem.
iCloud Storage is a buffer service for switching phones.
It allows you to transfer contacts, notes,
Your Apple ID (your account) gives you 5GB of Storage for free.
If you run out, you can buy more.
Free: 5GB of storage.
$0.99/month: 50GB of storage.
$2.99/month: 200GB of storage.
$9.99/month: 2TB of storage
iCloud+ plan with 50 GB, 200 GB, or 2 TB of storage.
Here’s what counts toward your iCloud storage space:
- Anything you store in iCloud Drive
- App stored in iCloud
- Contacts, calendar, mail, notes, and reminders data stored in iCloud
- Photos and videos stored in iCloud Photo Library
- iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch backups
- Any tracks you upload to your iCloud Music Library
- Desktop and Documents sync for macOS
In short, if you use your phone a lot, you are apt to run out of storage space without managing it. (especially if you take videos!!)
Now let’s talk about your Apple ID.
Your Apple ID or your account gives you 5GB of Storage for free.
What does this really mean? It means that you using your device have a buffer amount of 5Gb storage space for those devices. Your phone backups live from device to device.
If you run out of Storage, you may want to get more. Icloud Storage is a sales tool. So for some people, it is very valuable to have iCloud Storage.
But what IS Storage? At the start, I asked this question. Now we’re starting to see why
Apple has two backup options, iCloud and iTunes. iCloud backups generally do not backup content (see section 3 re: Your iCloud Backup includes information about the content you buy, but not the content itself.) from apps, including Books, but they do backup your purchase history. If any of these files were purchased through Apple, you could likely recover them by re-downloading them. Files you manually store or re-direct from your Mac or iOS device in iCloud are not considered to be using iCloud backup. They are stored in iCloud Drive, but they do not recover automatically as part of Apple’s restore process.
Doing a backup via iTunes completes a snapshot of the device in the moment, including current content. If you set up a backup cycle, iTunes uses a feature called incremental backups to ensure future snapshots only capture data that’s been changed or added since the previous backup. For the future, using both in conjunction with one another is key to ensuring your data is backed up. Apple’s iCloud service is useful in some regards, but on mobile devices, its only asset is syncing purchase history and device settings.
If a customer loses files and thinks they are on iCloud, they are playing a risky game. Most likely, those files are not there.
Icloud Storage is not Storage like the Storage in a box.
It is buffer storage used to sync files across devices or aid in the setup of a new device.
The best information for Icloud is the (FINALLY!) updated site at https://support.apple.com/icloud
Unless you have copies of lost files elsewhere, it’s likely that these lost files are gone. You could attempt to pay for data recovery services, but modern flash storage used in these devices and modern computers are incredibly difficult to recover data from because of the nature of storage devices used.
iTunes backups are highly recommended and often only learned about after data loss.
Information about iCloud Storage is muddled with fears of not wanting to stick out needing support from the advisors’ side, and multiple streams of information from iCloud, Icloud+, and Apple One make the problem bigger.
Apple storage COULD be the storage system people think it is. At its core, Apple storage is a solid system. However, in its current iteration, it is not intended to be a long-term (cold) storage system. It is a buffer zone used to move documents between devices, and It is the reason you can open the same file on both your iPhone and Ipad.
People using Apple Storage to store documents are in for a nasty surprise one day when the fires they “stored” are not available, and the current chain of command is riddled with people who do not understand how iCloud Storage really works.
People who experience this problem of missing data will turn to support elsewhere who know from time and trial that Icloud isn’t really for Storage. However, the true information is lost in time with no solid answer, dating to the announcement of the iPod.
You shouldn’t use one backup service. You should have had 3 backups! Your files are gone; better luck next time! There is no support for those poor souls who lost their files, and only you should have from the tech-minded.
Apple may likely misread the room. So they will probably issue emergency learning for everyone to be briefed on knowledge for how Icloud Storage works.
But the root cause runs deeper, with the issue stemming from people tossed into support roles without not only the training for new happenings but the training they need.