What is the “Cloud?”

Photo by: Samuel Zeller @samuelzeller

Cloud computing is an information technology (IT) paradigm that enables ubiquitous access to shared pools of configurable system resources…..No! Wait! Just stop.  Take a deep breath.  Ahhhhh.

Okay, here is what you need to know. When we refer to the “Cloud” and are talking about your smartphone, we are talking about is a system of computers tied together storing your data.  These computers are not in your home, on your computer, laptop or smartphone. These computers are set up somewhere in the universe (but are most likely here on Earth) where organizations like Google, Microsoft and Apple store and back up your data.  

So why the “Cloud?”

Have you ever dropped your smartphone in the toilet?  Have you dropped your smartphone and the screen smashed to bits and you can’t use it anymore? You need the “Cloud.” The “Cloud” is an easy way to back up your data automatically….once you have it set up.  You want to have back-ups of your phone so you don’t lose all of your data. This means, all of those wonderful photos you’ve taken with your smartphone. Not to mention all of your settings and apps.

Here is my favorite way to back up your stuff.  I love Google.

If you use Gmail and/or any of Google’s services, you’re in luck.  Regardless of which smart phone you have, iPhone or Android, Google has got your back!

gmail, outlook, yahoo
Cloud Based Email Apps

Google is the King (or Queen?) of Cloud services. I suggest that you download and use the Google apps on your phone.  Link them to your Google account and your emails, contacts will be synced. The benefit of this Is you can also edit your contacts or write emails on your computer and it will “push” to your phone.  Likewise, when you add a contact on your phone, it will “push” to your online Google account!  The same goes if you have a Hotmail/Live account (called Outlook) through Microsoft.  If you download their app and use that for your emails and contacts, everything will be synced back and forth and stored in the Cloud.  Same deal for Yahoo.


Native Email Apps Android and iPhone
Native Email Apps Android and iPhone

Be careful here, if you use the native mail app (meaning the app that came installed on your phone), you may not be syncing correctly to your Gmail account.  The native mail app will be linked to which ever service your phone has. For example, on an iPhone, the Mail app will sync to the iCloud; if you have it set up.  This is handy if you don’t have a Gmail, Microsoft Hotmail/Live or Yahoo account.  But if you do use your native Mail app, you must be using iCloud or you risk losing your data.



There are many different options to back up your Android phone Apple iPhone to a cloud service. The good news is, it’s probably already set up on your phone and you don’t even know it.  However, I will cover one or two of the simplest methods in the coming weeks, but here is a quick list of some options and links to pages on how to use them:

For Android Phones: 

How to…anything Android: https://www.androidauthority.com/how-to

How to back up your Android: https://www.computerworld.com/article/3215095/android/how-to-backup-android-phones-complete-guide.html

For iPhones 

Apple offers a system called “iCloud” that is built into your phone. I strongly recommend that you set up iCloud to back up your most important information. You can also use your Google, Microsoft or Yahoo accounts to back up emails, contacts & calendars. However, these do not back up your photos. (note to me: double check this)

And, as always with iPhones, you can attend a free workshop at your local Apple Store with help on setting up iCloud and many other iPhone tricks.
Click here to see what’s happening at your local store.  Hint: Look for “iPhone Basics.”

Next week, I’ll be discussing a few questions people have asked me about their Android smartphones.

And as always, you can schedule an appointment with me or attend one of my free tech-shops (coming in February 2018).

Book an Appointment

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