Where My Data Lives 

I spent some time this week going through the various subscriptions I pay for and seeing if there any adjustments I need to make heading into 2017.

As these things often do, that quickly turned into a full-scale evaluation of the primary services I use every day to store and access data.

Here’s where I currently have information stored:

2017 services

iCloud:

  • iCloud Photo Library
  • iOS backups
  • Keychain (mostly for syncing Wi-Fi credentials)
  • Family calendars
  • Notes
  • Safari bookmarks

Google:

  • Chrome bookmarks
  • Personal email, contacts, calendars, photo backups, shared documents
  • 512 Pixels email and shared documents
  • Relay FM email, contacts, calendars, shared documents

Dropbox:

  • Most working files
  • Shared files and folders

Others:

  • 1Password for passwords and secure notes
  • Backblaze
  • Home NAS
    • Archived work
    • Logic & Final Cut Pro projects
    • Mac backups
  • Todoist for tasks

My personal Gmail account is free, but I pay for almost everything else on that list, including additional iCloud storage space, Google Apps for two companies, Dropbox Pro, 1Password for Teams and Todoist Premium.

Platform vendors would like their customers to keep all of their data on their service. In reality, both Google and Apple offer just about everything a person needs in terms of cloud services.

That said, Google and Apple are good at different things. Dropbox beats them both as far as storage, and 1Password is in a different league than things like iCloud Keychain. I could live just in iCloud, or just with Google’s services, but blending them means using the best of what’s out there.

When it comes to that blending, I really have to give Apple credit. Both macOS and iOS do a great job when it comes to using non-iCloud services.1 Apple rightfully holds some things back — like device backups — but using Google for my email, contacts and calendars with my device’s built-in apps is pretty damn seamless.2

I can use Dropbox as a document provider, using it as my de-facto file system on my iPhone, as I do on my Macs. If I used streaming music, iOS and macOS don’t care too much if I use Apple Music or Spotify.

I’m not sure how much of this will change in 2017. I really like almost everything about my current arrangement, but I’m a nerd, so I’m sure I’ll burn it all down sooner or later.


  1. Good luck using iCloud data on Android without a weird third-party tool. 
  2. I haven’t even had Mail.app eat any email in a long time!