Facts about iWork for iCloud

6 07 2014

Since October 2013, shortly after Apple’s Keynote event, iWork for iCloud is available as a beta version going along with a redesign of it’s components Keynote, Numbers, and Pages. The iOS 7 adapted productivity tool is now free for new purchased devices.

20140326-091416.jpg

iWork for iCloud now allows working on documents across all kind of devices even on devices of other vendors. This works with every any browser like Safari, Google Chrome, or Microsoft Internet Explorer after signing in to iCloud with your Apple ID on iCloud com.

Use copies …

It’s always good to have a copy.

20140326-100131.jpg

Resolve conflicts …

If you use iWork on more than one iOS device and activated syncing via iCloud conflicts might occur if one of the devices you are working on is temporarily disconnected from the internet. In this case the document is saved locally on your device but cannot be updated in iCloud.

There seems to be a problem with iWork documents if one of the iOS devices wasn’t connected to the internet when editing a document.
But don’t panic. There is a way to fix it in a jiffy.

Just keep both versions of the document and decide later which one you finally want to keep.

This method of resolving conflicts is much more sophisticated than resolving conflicts which might occur in other apps like e.g. ByWord, a simple markdown text editor where you only can keep one version.

20140326-085254.jpg

And Apple wouldn’t be Apple if there would’t be more:

Edited documents are saved to iCloud along with a *history of the edits* you made. So when you open the document on another iOS device, you can undo individual edits, just as if you made them on that device.

If an iOS device is not connected to the internet a local copy of an iWork document is used to allow editing.
If you finish your work and the internet connection is still not available you will see an up-pointing arrow on this document in the documents overview. It means that the document is waiting for an upload to iCloud. The arrow disappears if your device connects to the internet again via WiFi or a cellular connection.

File sizes …

I myself use iWork for iOS extensively.
File sizes always matter if it comes to your iCloud data plan (5 GB for free), your data plan you fixed with your mobile provider, and the memory of your device.

So here are some average values for the ZIP files of iWork documents …

App Content File size
Keynote 100 slides 100 MB
Numbers 2 tables 1.1 MB
Pages 10 pages 3.5 MB

Notes

Keynote
The ZIP file of the mentioned Keynote presentation consists of 489 single files, primarily images.
Numbers
The ZIP file of the mentioned Numbers spreadsheet consists of 11 files with 4 tables and 2 images.
Pages
The ZIP file of the mentioned Pages document consists of 21 files with 10 pages, a table, and 5 full-page images.

Go to Settings – General – Usage and you get a list with you installed apps and the amount of memory they use on you device. If you extensively use the presentation tool Keynote keep an eye on the used storage, Keynote is a cormorant space eater if you extensively make use of images.

Exporting iWork documents …

If you use ‘Send a copy’ or ‘Open in another app’ for an iWork document you have to choose a format (e.g. for Numbers, PDF, Excel, or CSV within the app Numbers).

20140326-085430.jpg

If you choose the native iWork format for Keynote, Numbers, or Pages the app then generates a ZIP file. It contains the document, images used in the document, and a further ZIP file index.zip which contains properties of all objects you created in the document.

This is quote different from former versions of iWork which produced a single file with the extensions .keynote, .numbers, and .pages. The reason is the new collaboration feature of iWork for iCloud. It needs to save all objects separately to check whether they have been changed or not.

And it’s quite different from Microsoft Office documents which can only be edited by a single person.

This file can be easily opened on all devices running on iOS or OSX.
If you want to open Apple’s proprietary file format from within a cloud client app like Microsoft’s OneDrive client just choose ‘Open in Another App’ and then select the appropriate iWork app.

Syncing ….

iWork sync documents via WiFi or Cellular connections.
Go to Settings – iCloud – Documents+Data and at the end of the list you will find the option ‘Use Cellular Data’ to turn syncing via Cellular networks on or off. If you have a small sized data plan or work on large file sizes it’s recommended to set this option to OFF.

Optimizations …

I already explained that each iWork file is split into a set of files which allows improved collaboration features as well as performance improvements.

See what happens if you open an iWork app which files have been edited on other devices.

20140326-085537.jpg

In a first step you only can see the file names and after downloading the preview images iWork looks up file sizes so that only small files are immediately downloaded and others are downloaded not until you want to look into the content or edit it.

iCloud security …

iCloud secures your data by encrypting it when it is sent over the Internet, storing it in an encrypted format when kept on server (review the table below for detail), and using secure tokens for authentication. This means that your data is protected from unauthorized access both while it is being transmitted to your devices and when it is stored in the cloud. iCloud uses a minimum of 128-bit AES encryption—the same level of security employed by major financial institutions—and never provides encryption keys to any third parties.

iWork documents are part of the ‘iCloud – Documents + Data’ section in ‘Settings’ for your device. Documents are encrypted at a minimum of 128-Bit AES in transit (when sent over the internet) and at rest (when stored on Apple’s servers).

When you access iCloud services using Apple’s built-in apps, authentication is handled using a secure token. Using secure tokens eliminates the need to store your iCloud password on devices and computers. Even if you choose to use a third-party application to access your iCloud data, your username and password are sent over an encrypted SSL connection.

Summary …

I’d like to think Apple products are perfect and (not surprisingly) they obviously are (with some resyrictions). A powerful new approach to collaborative working. Apple’s ecosystem got a forward-thinking improvement.

Related links …

iWork to AirPort

iCloud, a paradigm shift

iWork and Sharing

Thanks for visiting iNotes4You.





iOS 8 Beta

9 06 2014

When introducing iCloud services on June 6, 2011, the roadmap for Apple’s vision about device connectivity was already quite clear.

  • Seamlessly connect all devices.
  • Use standardized data structures to support syncing between computers and mobile devices.
  • Assimilate the UIs of computers and mobile devices to seamlessly work on either of them.

Connectivity only makes sense if people use more than one device.

This is the case in businesses, families, and it’s also valid for many single users purchasing both kinds of mobile devices, smartphones and tablets.

iCloud is the global hub of Apple’s powerful services.

If you remove all iCloud related features Apple devices are demoted to phones and data processing machines for which the old-fashioned tasks of syncing, transferring files, and backing up have to be done manually.

The WWDC 2014 …

With the WWDC 2014 (June 2, San Francisco, Moscone Center) further essential steps to a unique user experience were made and Apple set the milestones for the future usage of their electronic devices.

20140606-165017.jpg

The device you use doesn’t matter, it’s just the task which matters.

WWDC 2014 is the 25th event which began in 1990 with 1,300 developers. Tim Cook presented some stats showing us that there are over 9 million registered Apple developers in 2014 – that’s up 47 percent since 2013 – and the youngest developer at WWDC was just 13 years old.

Apple’s developer conference again unveiled the power of the company in offering vertically integrated and seamless to use devices and services as well as a perfect infrastructure for partners, the developers.

iOS is one of the two most dominant platforms for mobile devices with Android in the pole position if you just look on market shares.

Regarding a product line-up which includes computers AND mobiles it can be said that

iOS and OSX together are the leading software technologies for processor-based devices regardless of any stats.

Apple’s sophisticated ecosystem including all the powerful apps will be massively improved by the new features announced for iOS 8. This all can be called a disruptive concept for using processor-based technology and device connectivity via cloud services.

Seoul, start your photocopiers

But copying won’t help because there never was a vision running like a golden thread through all the activities and technological developments of Apple’s competitors. Neither Google nor Samsung can compete with Apple because most of their services are based on stand-alone developments which require deep-sea diving into countless help articles to successfully administrate them all.

As an Apple user just go to Settings and turn on iCloud.
That’s it.

Fandroids again may argue: It’s all copied.

Let me tell you the truth about just one example which could be brought forward from people just looking on the screen layout:

Desktop widgets (commonly just called widgets) are interactive virtual tools that provide single-purpose services such as showing the user the latest news, the current weather, the time, a calendar, a dictionary, a map program, a calculator, desktop notes, photo viewers, or even a language translator, among other things.

Everybody should know that these tools were already introduced decades ago on Apple’s Macintosh computers, are available in the notification center of iOS 7 and iOS 8 now provides APIs for third-party widgets.

iOS 8 features …

I summarized what Apple published on its websites shortly after the event in San Francisco.

20140606-165200.jpg

Feel free to download this map from my Box account.

The alternative file formats have been created with iThoughts for iOS (.ITMZ file format). Compatibility to other tools is limited. The DOCX file format is suggested for those who don’t use a mind mapping tool. The file contains the image as well as a detailed outline of all topics.

Application File format
Adobe Reader PDF
Apple iWork/Microsoft Office DOCX
iThoughts ITMZ
MindManager MMAP
XMind XMIND

See this magnified part of map and a preview of what you get when you download the DOCX file format.

Note

If you don’t use a mind mapping tool it’s recommended to download the DOCx file format which immediately can be opened with Apple’s Pages. The document contains the map as an image, textual information, and referred hyperlinks. Just tap on a link from within Pages to open the article.

iCloud …

iCloud already got a significant improvement in October 2013 when Apple introduced iWork for iCloud.

The new iCloud Drive will be a unified file system bridging iOS and OSX.

20140606-165941.jpg

At the time Apple gives you 5GB free storage and this will not be changed. It’s for storing documents, photos, device backups, and application data. 5 GB is a little on the paltry side if you extensively use iCloud e.g. on an iPhone and an iPad. I use an iPhone (23.8 GB used) and an iPad (30.9 GB used) and had to update my storage plan with additional 10 GB to save device backups on iCloud.
Cormorant space eaters on my devices are photos (2.5 GB), Keynote presentations (2.3 GB; mainly collages for my blog), mind maps (1.5 GB), and PDFs stored in iBooks (2.8 GB).

How much will it cost if more storage is needed?

For just $1 a month, you’ll get additional 20GB and for $4 per month you’ll get 200GB. As a point of comparison, that $48 a year is just slightly more than the $40 a year you currently pay for 20GB. Apple says it will have tiers all the way up to 1TB of storage.

iCloud’s new pricing plans compete with …

Provider GB $/year
Dropbox 2 free
100 100
200 200
OneDrive 7 free
100 50
200 100
Google Drive 15 free
100 24
1000 120
iDriveSync 5 free
150 49.50
500 149.50
Box 10 free
100 60
unlimited 180

And here is the ranking …

20140607-071519.jpg

What should be mentioned is that costs are just one criterion. Please note that iDriveSync is the only provider offering client-side encryption during transit (sending and receiving data) and at rest (saved data on servers of the provider).

Swift for yield hedging …

iOS is still the preferred platform for developers offering mobile apps. Apple’s App Store is a heavy weight champion when it comes to quality and quantity of apps for mobile devices.

To keep the quality and acquire even more creative young developers Apple is apparently offering a much faster and more effective means of building software applications with an “interactive playground,” significantly improving on its own Objective-C.
The new programming language Swift will use the same LLVM (Low Level Virtual Machine) compiler and runtime as Apple’s Objective-C implementation, and its simplified syntax gives it an easier learning curve. The reason behind introducing Swift was to make it easier for developers to create apps for Apple’s mobile platform. Apple Developers write codes line after line and then compile those results to see output, but using Swift language they can see results in real time instantly while writing their codes.

My suggestion for the developers of the official Google+ app:

Try out Swift.
Maybe it helps to bring some stability into an app crashing daily since months.

Some tidbits …

  • Per App Battery Usage
    Another feature that has been part of Android since its inception and extremely useful at that, will finally make its way to iOS 8. Apple did not mention this during their keynote but it will be part of the iOS when it is released. Users will be able to see which app is draining the battery and take relevant action.
  • AirPlay
    won’t need Wi-Fi in iOS 8, it can use a form of peer-to-peer networking. This means an Apple TV should be able to connect to your iPhone even when both devices aren’t on the same wireless network.

20140606-170401.jpg

  • AirDrop
    will now work between iOS devices and Macs, meaning you can exchange files on an ad hoc basis between the two, without the need for an Internet connection or even being on the same local network. Need to get a photo to your Mac from your iPhone or want to send a PDF from your Mac to your iPad? Just fire up AirDrop.

Apple’s move …

Let’s dispense with the preliminaries. The WWDC 2014 confirmed a move in Apple’s strategy of controlling what’s going on if a device is in use.

I found this excellent article published by the well-known Apple evangelist Jonny Evans on Computerworld.com.

It’s not about ‘Made in Cupertino’ any more:
the new Apple is all about PARTNERSHIP.

… here’s a few ways in which today’s Apple conceded it doesn’t want to control every aspect of your experience – it just wants to ensure it secures the environment to make sure it’s platforms are platforms you can use:

  • CarPlay
  • Third party app support in iCloud Drive
  • Massively improved integration between iOS and OS X
  • Support for third party Widgets for Notification Center
  • Support for non-Apple apps in iCloud
  • DuckDuckGo support in Safari (OK, that just accentuates how much more secure Apple is than its troublesome mobile foe)
  • Third-party keyboard support
  • Health app, which works with third party devices
  • Support for third party devices for the smart home (HomeKit)
  • added by me
    API to access functionalities of Touch ID ( Apple’s implementation of a fingerprint scanner)

All of these moves are explicit moves that mean Apple is answering critics who call it “too controlling” by permitting users a hitherto unprecedented environment in which they can work with the devices they choose. It’s also a shot in the arm for developers, who can now work to develop their own solutions and have these underpinned by the secure power of Apple’s ecosystem.

Note
Jonny Evans is an independent journalist/blogger who first got online in 1993 and began writing about Apple in 1999. He’s author of Computerworld’s AppleHolic blog and writes on numerous tech topics here in the US and UK. Jonny has no shares in any technology company, enjoys new and disruptive technology and likes music almost as much as he likes his large and shiny dog.

20140606-203037.jpg

Stay tuned and join Jonny’s Appleholics Kool Aid Corner on Google+.

Summary …

Since WWDC 2014 Apple is turning over a new leaf when it comes to developer relationships. MacWorld’s headline ‘A love letter from Apple to developers’ hits the nail right on the head. It’s seems to be a win-win-win situation for Apple, developers, and customers. The WWDC 2014, iOS 8, and OSX were the biggest steps forward since the opening of the App Store on July 10, 2008. The gap to competing platforms – operating systems and stores – approximates to the depth of the Mariana Trench.

Related links …

iCloud, a paradigm shift

Apple’s Ecosystem

App Development + Marketing

WWDC 2014 Apple puts its fighting boots on

About my preferred mind mapping tool …

iThoughts, …

Thanks for visiting iNotes4You.





iWork and Sharing

28 05 2014

Apple’s iWork applications (Pages, Numbers, Keynote) save files automatically on iCloud and sync them across all your devices. With iWork on iCloud you can also access documents via browsers (Safari, Chrome, IE) without using an Apple device.

If you save a spreadsheet on iCloud, you can share a link to it with others. Recipients can open and edit the spreadsheet in a supported browser on a Mac or a Windows computer, and see all the changes others have made. Collaborators don’t need an iCIoud account to view and edit documents.

20140226-084103.jpg

iCIoud keeps your spreadsheet up-to-date across all your iOS devices, your Mac, and the web, so you and your collaborators always have access to the latest version.

Sharing a link …

If the document is open, tap ‘Share’ (top right), then tap ‘Share via iCloud’. Select an option for sharing. The full link appears in the body of an email, a SMS, or a Twitter or Facebook message or just copy the link to the clipboard to use it elsewhere.

20140226-082703.jpg

Any further edits you make to the document after you shared it are visible to the recipients of the link. The link remains the same. The only thing you have to do is to notify the recipients if a newer version is available.

Using a password …

An iWork document has only one password. If you already added a password, that password applies when you share a link. If you haven’t added a password, you can add one, then share.

  • With the spreadsheet open, tap on Tools, then tap Set Password.
  • Enter the password in the Password field, then enter it again in the Verify field.
  • Enter a hint to remind you of the password if you forget it.
  • Tap Done.
  • Tap on Tools, tap Share and Print, then tap Share Link via iCIoud.
  • Tap the method you want to use to send.
    The tull link appears in the body of the email, tweet, or post.</em

20140226-084222.jpg

Any further edits you make to the spreadsh after you share it are visible to the recipient of the link. Be sure to notify collaborators of the password so they can open it, even if you shared the spreadsheet before adding a password.
If your spreadsheet is already being shared, you can still add a password to it. Be sure to notify collaborators of the password so they can open the spreadsheet.

Resend a document …

You can share a spreadsheet link as many times as you wish.
With the spreadsheet open, tap Tools, tap Share and Print, then tap View Share Settings. Tap Send Link, then choose Mail, Messages, Twitter, or Facebook. Enter the requested information (for example, an email address or Twitter account).

Turn off iCloud sharing …

With the spreadsheet open, tap Tools, tap Share and Print, then tap View Share Settings. Tap Stop Sharing at the bottom of the pane.

20140226-084402.jpg

File formats …

If the recipient receives a link to a document the can choose the proprietary file format of iWork, that of Microsoft Office, or the Adobe PDF format for a download.

20140226-084451.jpg

PDFs can easily opened in Apple’s iBooks which offers the best reading experience.

The running iWork in iCloud …

iWork, Apple’s office suite for OS X and iOS, allows working on documents across all devices.

20140226-084552.jpg

Here is an example:

  • 1 On an iPhone I entered the text ‘Edited on the iPhone’ in a presentation managed by Apple’s app Keynote.
  • 2 Some seconds later a message pops up in iCloud opened on a Windows PC with Google Chrome. After accepting with ‘OK’ the document is accessible in the updated version.
    Note
    Don’t get confused with image 2. It was taken with my iPad while remotely connected to a Windows PC in the office.
  • 3 After entering the text ‘Edited on a PC’ in the browser-based version of iWork it appears on the iPhone after some seconds without any message.

20140226-093528.jpg

The image above shows the UI when working with a browser.
Learning difficulties: None.

Using an additional cloud storage …

In contrast to many other apps for file management iWork doesn’t support predefined cloud storages like Dropbox, Google Drive, or OneDrive. If you want to save iWork documents to other cloud accounts than iWork you have to use a WebDAV connection.

My post
WebDAV Basics
explains this protocol for communicating with remote servers.

Not all cloud providers support a WebDAV connection.
Since years I personally use Box and iDriveSync as additional cloud storages.
iDriveSync offers a secure solution since Feb 2013 because it works with client-side encryption, that means, only you have the key to encrypt and decrypt files. Your documents are encrypted already in transit and later on at rest on iDriveSync’s cloud servers. Box is working on a comparable solution.

Here are the WebDAV addresses of both competitors:

They can be used to save iWork documents via WebDAV.

20140226-084928.jpg

The steps …

  • 1 Tap on the action control (top left) in an iWork app.
  • 2 Select ‘Send a copy’.
  • 3 Select a document.
  • 4 Select ‘WebDAV’.
  • 5 Enter the URL given by your cloud provider (e.g. https://dav.box.com/dav).
  • 6 Enter you credentials.

iWork displays the folder structure. Select a folder for saving your document.

Restrictions …
iWork only supports the saving of documents. You cannot manage your files and folders.
So you need a file management app, either the native app of your cloud provider or a tool like FileBrowser with which you can access different accounts and move files between folders and accounts.

Notes …
1 If you share a link to a document saved on iCloud, recipients *cannot use mobile browsers* to edit the document on iCloud. He only can download it, work on it and send it back via mail. To avoid conflicts with your original document on iCloud it’s useful to save and share it on a different cloud storage.

This complicated workflow should be improved by offering a way to let recipients collaborate on iCloud documents even if they are on mobile devices.

2 If you create important documents you can use the ‘Copy’ function to always have a backup of each document on iCloud. This reduces your available space and it might be necessary to upgrade your iCloud plan. Saving a copy on a different cloud storage via WebDAV takes far less space on iCloud.

3 If you prefer to use Microsoft’s XLSX file format recipients also can access documents when using other mobile platforms.

Summary …

Again Apple provided useful features embedded in a simple but perfect UI.

Related links …

About WebDAV

About clouds

About iDriveSync

About file management

Thanks for paying attention.





iCloud, a paradigm shift

16 05 2014

Data has never really been where you thought it was. It was sprinkled across the blocks of a spinning disk and managed by a file allocation table which could retrieve it instantly as if it was all in one place. But it never was, like data traveling across the internet doesn’t always use the same path or is stored in a unique part of a cloud account.

20140512-124503.jpg

Note
Without a file system, information placed in a storage area would be one large body of data with no way to tell where one piece of information stops and the next begins. By separating the data into individual pieces, and giving each piece a name, the information is easily separated and identified.
Taking its name from the way paper-based information systems are named, each piece of data is called a file. The structure and logic rules used to manage the groups of information and their names is called a file system.

Using Apple’s Finder or Microsoft’s Windows Explorer gives us an outlined overview of what’s stored on our hard disk. A first step to access files more comfortable was the assignment of apps to file types, e.g. double-clicking a PDF opens the Adobe Reader but the app doesn’t help is to find out where other PDF’s are stored on a hard disk.

After 35 years of using computers I got tired to take care of folders and subfolders, file versions, backups, and scanning the storage for viruses.

Manual file handling is an anachronism.
We have apps to do it for us.

20140209-155214.jpg

That seems to be the philosophy of Apple when introducing iCloud services on June 6, 2011.

Press Info: Apple Introduces iCloud

In October 2013 Apple added iWork for iCloud to support web-based collaboration on documents regardless of the user’s Apple ID, the device, and the place from where he wants to work on them.

The idea …

To explain what the concept of Apple is let’s take a look on the internet.

The Internet is a global system of interconnected computer networks that use the standard Internet protocol suite (TCP/IP) to serve several billion users worldwide. It is a network of networks that consists of millions of private, public, academic, business, and government networks, of local to global scope, that are linked by a broad array of electronic, wireless, and optical networking technologies. The Internet carries an extensive range of information resources and services, such as the inter-linked hypertext documents of the World Wide Web (WWW), the infrastructure to support email, and peer-to-peer networks.

The funding of a new U.S. backbone by the National Science Foundation in the 1980s, as well as private funding for other commercial backbones, led to worldwide participation in the development of new networking technologies, and the merger of many networks. Though the Internet has been widely used by academia since the 1980s, the commercialization of what was by the 1990s an international network resulted in its popularization and incorporation into virtually every aspect of modern human life.

The Internet has no centralized governance in either technological implementation or policies for access and usage; each constituent network sets its own policies. Only the overreaching definitions of the two principal name spaces in the Internet, the Internet Protocol address space and the Domain Name System, are directed by a maintainer organization, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). The technical underpinning and standardization of the core protocols (IPv4 and IPv6) is an activity of the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), a non-profit organization of loosely affiliated international participants that anyone may associate with by contributing technical expertise.
(Wikipedia)

20140209-160614.jpg

So the idea of Apple when launching the iCloud services is not new.
It was the rapid development of the internet which provoked the idea to a private counterpart, the iCloud services with some added and powerful features.

  • Optimized automated backup of the content of iOS devices
    • Apps are not stored in the cloud because they can be restored from the purchase list of your Apple account.
    • if your device is locked and connected to a WiFi network backups are automatically initiated.
  • Syncing across your devices
    • Contacts
    • Reminders
    • iWork Documents
    • Purchased apps
    • etc
  • Collaboration on iWork documents across different Apple IDs

Here is the full feature list of iCloud capabilities:

20140209-155329.jpg

Feel free to download this map from my Box account.

The alternative file formats have been created with iThoughts HD for iPad (.ITMZ file format). Compatibility to other tools is limited.

Application File format
Adobe Reader PDF
Apple iWork/Microsoft Office DOCX
iThoughts ITMZ
MindManager MMAP
XMind XMIND

Apple’s way …

Apple is well-known for reducing features to it’s needs and for seamless usage of it’s devices.

When you turn on a new iOS device or after you’ve completed the update to the latest version of iOS, follow the instructions in the setup assistant to activate your device and set up iCloud.

Using all the benefits of iCloud is as easy as switching on the light.

If you skipped the setup process, tap the Settings icon on the Home screen, select iCloud, then enter your Apple ID.

From now on iCloud does the work for you including advanced security with features like Activation Lock and Find My iPhone if you lose your device or it’s stolen.

It’s that simple. No further action is ever needed to sync all your devices or to backup content. Your Apple ID is the key to move into a perfectly designed ecosystem.

Special features …

Beside the well-known syncing features for contacts, reminders, iWork documents etc. Apple offers some more powerful features.

20140209-155812.jpg

  • iCloud Keychain
    keeps your Safari website usernames and passwords, credit card information, and Wi-Fi network information up to date across all of your approved devices that are using iOS 7.0.3 or later or OS X Mavericks v10.9 or later.

    iCloud Keychain can also keep the accounts you use in Mail, Contacts, Calendar, and Messages up to date across all of your Macs. If you’re signed in to Facebook, Twitter, Linked In, or any other accounts in Internet Accounts on OS X Mavericks, iCloud can push those accounts to your Macs as well.

    Setup

    Go to Settings – iCloud and turn Keychain on.
    Follow the onscreen instructions to complete setup.

    Security Code

    When you set up iCloud Keychain, you’re asked to create an iCloud Security Code. It can be a 4-digit code similar to the passcode lock for your device, or you can have a more complex code automatically generated for you. The iCloud Security Code is used to authorize additional devices to use your iCloud Keychain. It’s also used to verify your identify so that you can perform other iCloud Keychain actions, such as recovering your iCloud Keychain if you lose all your devices.

    Additional devices

    Follow the iCloud Keychain setup steps above for each device that you want to add. When you enable iCloud Keychain on an additional device, your other devices that use iCloud Keychain receive a notification requesting approval for the additional device. After you approve the additional device, your iCloud Keychain automatically begins updating on that device.

    Incorrect Security Code

    If you enter your iCloud Security Code incorrectly too many times, you won’t be able to use that iCloud Keychain. You can contact Apple Support, who can help verify your identity so that you can try again to enter your iCloud Security Code. After a number of incorrect attempts, your iCloud Keychain is removed from Apple’s servers and you will need to set up iCloud Keychain again.

    Local Keychain

    When setting up iCloud Keychain, you can skip the step for creating an iCloud Security Code. Your keychain data is then stored only locally on the device, and updates only across your approved devices.

  • Optimized Backup
    iCloud backup is a differential backup (only changed items are backed up after the first backup was initiated). Apps and other purchases are not backed up because they can be restored using the purchase history of your Apple ID. This saves time and space.
  • iWork in the cloud
    Pages, Numbers, and Keynote are the best way to be productive on a Mac or iOS device. Apple brought that productivity to the web in October 2013 for Mac and PC. The apps make it easy to work together with people everywhere. And since it’s all powered by iCloud, your documents are always up to date on each of your devices.

    iWork for iCloud works with Safari 6.0.3 or later, Chrome 27.0.1 or later, and Internet Explorer 9.0.8 or later.

20140209-155431.jpg

The future …

iCloud will connect all your services with each other. Dropbox, Box, Google Drive, SkyDrive and other clouds just operate as remote storage servers. Files are transferred to the cloud and taken off if needed. Some apps like ByWord (a simple text editor for iOS devices) automatically save content on DropBox servers which then can be accessed in a wide variety of ways.
All these approaches are isolated applications.

Apple is in a unique position. The company develops soft- and hardware which is the basis for building an interconnecting service and not only a file sharing application. This makes it a bit more confusing to think about because there is no precedent or metaphor to compare it with.

More and more developers implement iCloud storage and synchronization (e.g. the password keeper 1Password, the database application Tap Forms, etc.). They seamlessly connect to iCloud and users must not care about saving or syncing. Create an iWork document on one device, edit it on another device, and collaborate with people not using an Apple device but one of the supported browsers.

What I’m driving at is how there seems to be a difference between managing files on a remote located cloud through some dedicated App or having files available to specific Apps and not worrying about whether they are remotely located in a cloud.

Managing files manually seems to be a bit more work than necessary. If I am with a client and we change a document together, I could return to my office to see those changes without having to ask the client to upload the newest version. So I feel it is probably a choice we make about how we want to handle our data. Do we want Files? Or do we want access to our data? If the file needs an app to open it, then why not just have the app retrieve it from iCloud?

Everything we see from Apple regarding cloud services seems to be pointing toward empowering the apps themselves to handle their data in the cloud and to have hooks into iCloud which deal with this seamlessly. We all used to deal with filing our data on hard drives and organizing it into categories, labeling it, and adding tags. Lately it has gotten easier to manage documents without having to think about where they are located. We may have to evolve a new way of using computers where the desktop metaphor gets replaced with a data access model shared by all apps.

It may get to the point where we no longer need to be aware of exactly what location the data is in.

We should not be constrained by the metaphors which once allowed us to simplify our understanding. If the new paradigm is to have our data available no matter where we are on the net then we will have to let go of our older notions of it being “stored” in the cloud somewhere far off.

Summary …

iCoud is a giant step forward to seamless managing and syncing of information across all your devices. But it’s also the way into an extreme dependency. Access to data is dependent on the availability of an Internet connection and bug-free software applications on web servers as well as on connected devices.

Credits …

Thanks to Dave Trautmann, President at EncycloMedia Ltd., for publishing his forward-looking statements on Google+ and giving me the idea to write about this topic.

Related links …

iCloud Setup

iCloud Keychain

The cloudy iCloud

The Apple ID

Thanks for flying with iNotes4You.





AiO Remote by Hewlett Packard

24 03 2014

Printing documents seems to be old-fashioned in the modern era of digital communication. But occasionally printouts of documents are necessary. I for example use it for if I have to look on two or more documents to compare the contents which is pretty uncomfortable on an iPad because of the One-Window-Technique.

AirPrint

Apple is known for simple and user-friendly solutions.
In cooperation with Hewlett Packard the company developed the AirPrint technology.

AirPrint is a feature which is implemented in Apple products starting with OS X Lion and iOS 4.2 in November 2010, for printing using a wireless LAN, either directly to any AirPrint compatible printers (such as HP’s entire ePrint range, Brother, Canon, Dell, Epson, Gestetner, Hewlett-Packard, Infotec , Lanier, Lenovo, Lexmark, Ricoh, Samsung, Savin, Xerox and more) or to non-compatible printers through a MS Windows, Apple Mac OS X, or GNU/Linux PC. AirPrint does not require printer-specific drivers.

The current list of AirPrint compatible printers (at the time more than 1000) can be found on

Apple Support HT 4356

Manufacturers supporting AirPrint with their printer products are

Brother, Canon, Dell, EPSON, Fuji Xerox, Gestetner,
Hewlett Packard with 95 Printers
Infotec, Kyocera, Lanier, Lenovo, Lexmark, NRG, NTT, Oki Data, Olivetti, RICOH, Samsung, Savin, Sharp, TA Triumph-Adler/UTAX, Toshiba, Xerox, Zink

A number of software solutions allow for non AirPrint printers to be used with iOS devices. For such printers, AirPrint support can be achieved by configuring such support on an intermediary system already having such printers configured for local printing, shared on the same network. Since AirPrint is driverless, such a configuration compensates for the lack of native AirPrint support by using the drivers on the intermediary system instead.

Note
The simplest solution for all platforms is to create a new Bonjour Service that tricks iOS clients into believing they’re talking to an AirPrint device.
Presto by Collobos Software Inc. is an example for such a desktop application which allows printing from iOS devices to every printer connected to the same network.

Bonjour is Apple’s implementation of Zero-configuration networking (Zeroconf), a group of technologies that includes service discovery, address assignment, and hostname resolution. Bonjour locates devices such as printers, other computers, and the services that those devices offer on a local network using multicast Domain Name System (mDNS) service records. Bonjour comes built-in with Apple’s OS X and iOS operating systems. Bonjour can also be installed onto computers running Microsoft Windows.

AirPrint in details …

My home configuration consists of an Apple Airport Extreme Router and an HP Photosmart 6510 which is AirPrint capable. That means the printer has just to be connected to the power supply. In a further step the connection to the WiFi network is established via the iPhone-like control panel by entering the networks password.

After connecting the printer to the WiFi network it appears in the print menu of every printing-capable app. No installation of drivers, no cables, no additional software which usually comes from an installation CD and is nothing more than ad of the manufacturer.

AiO Remote app by HP …

There are two ways to connect an iOS device to a HP printer:

  • 1 HP wireless direct allows you to connect your iPad directly to your printer wirelessly, without a wireless router. The printer must be equipped with HP wireless direct, and HP wireless direct must be turned on to connect to any iOS device.
  • 2 When connecting to the printer over a WiFi network, you are connecting to the printer using a wireless router. The printer might be wirelessly to the router or with an Ethernet cable. A connection is established after entering the WiFi password.
  • The features …

    • 1 Take a photo and automatically transform it into a PDF.
    • 2 Scan pages placed on the device by using the control buttons on the printer’s display or controls displayed in the app. Save scanned documents in the app specific folder on your iOS device or in the cloud (Google Drive, Dropbox, Box, Evernote, Photostream, or many other cloud storages like iDriveSync via WebDAV).
    • 3 Copy documents using the control buttons on the printer’s display or the controls shown in the app.
    • 4 Show printer details like settings, comnections, supply levels, and print reports like network configuration, wireless test report, or print quality report.
    • 5 Automatic upload of new documents to iCloud and syncing documents across all your iOS devices.
    • 6 As already mentioned AiO Remote can be connected to different cloud storages. So it’s also possible to download documents from there. They can be printed, saved locally, sent by mail, or transferred to other cloud storages.
      Unfortunately Apple’s iWork file formats are not supported.
    • 7 Optional usage of the HP ePrint Service which allows to send print jobs to an E-Mail address registered on the HP ePrint website. If the registration process is finished your printer gets an E-Mail address from HP. Print jobs can be sent to this address and the printout is done if the printer is turned on. So you can print documents from anywhere by sending an E-Mail to your printers E-Mail address. All these print jobs can be managed using the HP ePrint app or the HP ePrint website.
      The HP ePrint service can also be used to print documents on nearby HP ePrint centers e.g. hotels. Nearby centers are shown within the app if Apple’s location services are turned on.

    Document management …

    I summarized some features of the configuration by taking screenshots.

    1 AiO Remote home screen if the printer is turned on

    20131219-093914.jpg

    2 Multipage scanning with a special feature, rearranging pages with Drag+Drop

    20131219-094056.jpg

    3 Saving the scanned document to a cloud storage or mailing it

    20131219-094156.jpg

    Non-AirPrint capable printers …

    When people are evaluating mobile printing solutions, one of the options is to buy a new printer. If you already use a non-AirPrint capable printer it cannot receive print jobs from your iOS device. Presto (former name FingerPrint) by Collobos Software Inc. addresses this problem. The application finds your classical printers automatically and makes them available to your iOS devices if both, printer and iPhone or iPad, are in the same WiFi network.

    How to …
    Consider a network with an attached printer and an iOS-Device in the same network. Install Presto on a Mac or a PC connected to this network. For your iOS-Device no further action is needed that means no special app has to be installed.
    Presto finds all network attached printers automatically and they can be selected on the iOS-Device with the SELECT PRINTER dialog within every app which supports printing.

    See this video for a short description of Presto by Collobos.

    Summary …

    AiO Remote is a continuously updated app from a reliable developer with outstanding features. UI and UX are perfect and the iCloud integration lets you take photos of documents with your iPhone which already arrived when you come home and use your iPad for further actions.

    Related links …

    HP Mobile Printing

    HP ePrint Center

    Thanks for stopping by.





iCloud Backup fails

28 01 2013

The last backup could not be completed.

This message may occur if you back up your iOS-Device on iCloud.
It’s unrewarding like many other error messages shown on any devices.

I get this message every time I delete the last iCloud backup for my iPad or iPhone going to Settings – iCloud – Storage + Backup – Manage Storage – (device name) – Backup options: Delete Backup
It never occurred on any later incremental backup regardless of whether it was started manually or automatically.

At the time you cannot find any support document on Apple’s support website explicitly mentioning this error message.

Apple iCloud: Troubleshooting creating backups

Apple never publishes support documents about not fully investigated issues.

For the protection of our customers, Apple does not disclose, discuss, or confirm security issues until a full investigation has occurred and any necessary patches or releases are available.

So it is not fully investigated and there are many potential reasons for failing backups.
If the involved hard- and software works normally and there is enough free space in iCloud it’s usually a problem of accessing one or more files on the device or on Apple’s servers.

As iCloud backup is an incremental backup access problems are rather likely especially for temporary files created by iOS apps. This problem is well-known also on Windows PCs (Office leaves a temporary beginning with ~).

An incremental backup is one that provides a backup of files that have changed or are new since the last incremental backup; it is one that backs up only the data that changed since the last backup. When a full recovery is needed the restoration process would need the last full backup plus all the incremental backups until the point-in-time of the restoration. Incremental backups consume minimum storage space and are quicker to perform than differential backups.

A test from Jan, 2013 …

The test environment

  • Backup of data of all apps configured
  • iPad and iPhone both connected to power supply
  • Backup size: iPhone 1.9 GB / iPad 2.7 GB
  • Backup started simultaneously on both devices

The results …

20121231-111043.jpg

On both devices the error message was displayed.
After repeating ‘Back Up Now’ the error was still displayed on both devices.
After rebooting both devices and repeating both backups one after another both backups were completed successfully.

Note
While backing up iPhone showed a reminder, got 2 new mails and one phone call.
Nevertheless the backup was completed successfully.

Solutions from forums around the world …

  • Do not include data stored in the Camera Roll
    Settings – iCloud – Storage + Backup – Manage Storage – (device name) – Backup options – switch the slider to off
  • Restore the device from an iTunes backup and start the iCloud backup
  • Exclude data of ALL apps and back up
    Add data of apps back one by one and back up manually to find out the offending app
    Note
    This process may last until Apple presents its new device!

Best practice …

Do not believe all these statements in the forums.
They are all not really verified and based on special prerequisites and therefore not necessarily valid.

I start a manual backup every month since the release of iOS 5 after deleting the backup via Settings – iCloud – Storage + Backup – Manage Storage – (device name) – Backup options: Delete Backup. The following procedure works since more than one year.

Reboot the device and start a backup manually while the device is connected to the power supply and locked. If the backup fails repeat it. If it fails one more time repeat it.
Don’t worry. Retaking a backup will only last some minutes unless there is already stored data of former attempts.

Note
When you back up the device shows an estimated time to finish.
You should know that these minutes are measured in DAMs (Dynamical Apple Minutes).
An Apple Minute may last an old fashioned minute or two or just 30 seconds.

Attachments …

Reducing space of backups

  • Settings – iCloud – Storage + Backup – Manage Storage – (device name) – Backup options: Exclude data of apps you do not need any longer.
  • Settings – iCloud – Storage + Backup – Manage Storage – (device name) – Backup options: Delete Backup
    Current backup sizes: iPhone 1.6 GB/iPad 3.2 GB
    Backup sizes after deletion: iPhone 1.2 GB/iPad 2.5 GB
    Deleting the complete backup for my 2 devices saved 1.1 GB

Rebooting an iOS-Device

Press Sleep/Wake button and Home button simultaneously.
Keep holding the buttons until the Apple logo appears.
Release the buttons.





The cloudy iCloud

8 01 2013

Some years ago, the word cloud mostly related to the clouds in the sky, now it immediately makes me think of Data Clouds. Although a recent study totally contradicts this saying that most people think it is run on actual clouds in the sky. Most businesses manage their data in the cloud, because it’s an easy way to collaborate and all the information is accessible anywhere and anytime from any platform. Private users use cloud services like Dropbox, Google Drive, Box and SkyDrive to easily share or backup pictures, music and documents. Although these solutions are easy and often reliable, how much of your private data do you really want to entrust to big corporations?

When it comes to privacy, there is a very fine line of knowing what these companies are doing with your data and whose hands are actually on it. Security breaches have been very common and they aren’t going anywhere. Sometimes it’s not the question of will someone steal your data, it’s when will they steal your data.

iCloud is one of the largest improvements ever made to increase usability and productivity of electronic devices.

But …

Are my backups and synced data secure on iCloud?

What this blog contains …

  • The simple answer
  • Some details about iCloud-Security
  • The good news
  • The worse news
  • The Apple ID
  • Summary
  • An example how it should be
  • Attachments
    Encryption techniques
    Recommendations
    Managing data with iWork

20121216-162309.jpg

The simple answer …

The simple answer is that your data is at least as safe as it is when stored on any remote server, if not more so. All data is transferred to computers and mobile devices using secure sockets layer via WebDAV, IMAP or HTTP. All data (except E-Mail and Notes) are stored and encrypted on Apple’s servers. Secure authentication tokens are created on mobile devices to retrieve information without constantly transmitting a password.

Some details about iCloud-Security …

(quoted from Apple’s Terms and Conditions for iCloud)

Access to Your Account and Content
Apple reserves the right to take steps Apple believes are reasonably necessary or appropriate to enforce and/or verify compliance with any part of this Agreement. You acknowledge and agree that Apple may, without liability to you, access, use, preserve and/or disclose your Account information and Content to law enforcement authorities, government officials, and/or a third party, as Apple believes is reasonably necessary or appropriate, if legally required to do so or if we have a good faith belief that such access, use, disclosure, or preservation is reasonably necessary to: (a) comply with legal process or request; (b) enforce this Agreement, including investigation of any potential violation thereof; (c) detect, prevent or otherwise address security, fraud or technical issues; or (d) protect the rights, property or safety of Apple, its users, a third party, or the public as required or permitted by law.

This means that Apple employees have the technical ability to read your data.

There may be procedural, technical, or policy controls to make this unlikely, but the capability is there. That means that if Apple’s cloud ever gets compromised by a sophisticated attacker, the attacker could potentially access all your data. In other words, any data breach or accident on Apple’s part could potentially expose your data. This may not be too likely but even respected companies like Google have been breached. A breach or other exposure of the iCloud servers is not unthinkable.

E-Mails and Notes are not stored in encrypted form, while on Apple’s servers. This might be dangerous as E-Mails often contains sensitive information (e.g., account passwords, reset links, etc.).

When Government comes knocking Apple will not be transparent about requests for access to your data and not telling users when their data has been disclosed to the government.

The risks are not limited to government requests.
If you get sued, or end up in a contentious divorce, the opposing party’s lawyers could subpoena your data from Apple, and Apple would be required to disclose it to them, if they are relevant to the case. But who knows it before investigating the contents?

The good news …

Data is encrypted using SSL while it is transferred (in transit) between your computer and the iCloud servers. Also, data is encrypted while it is stored on the iCloud servers (at rest).

The worse news …

iCloud uses server-side encryption, not client-side encryption. When sending data to the cloud, it gets encrypted on your machine with SSL, then decrypted at the iCloud servers, then re-encrypted using an encryption key that only Apple knows for storage.

The Apple ID …

The security of your data on iCloud is only as good as the passphrase on your Apple ID.
Therefore, if you want your data to be secure, you need to choose a long and strong passphrase. Unfortunately, there are some aspects of the current systems that tend to nudge users towards choosing short, weak passphrases.

    The OS refuses to store this passphrase in the keychain, requiring you to type it in frequently. If you use an iOS-Device, you will frequently need to type in your Apple ID passphrase (e.g., every time you install or update an app). Because entering a long and strong passphrase is a major pain on an iPhone, many users may end up choosing a short, poor passphrase just for convenience sake — which unfortunately leaves their iCloud data poorly secured. So, the current design may tend to encourage many users to use a weak password, leaving their data at risk.

Summary …

iCloud’s security practices are largely in line with mainstream practice in this area. iCloud appears to have a reasonable and professionally designed security architecture. While there are some security risks, for most people, iCloud’s security is likely to be good enough, and the convenience benefits of iCloud will likely outweigh any risks for most folks.

However, storing your data in the cloud does increase the risk. For some particularly sensitive users (health records, financial institutions, lawyers, etc.) it might be prudent to avoid storing the most sensitive data in the cloud.

An example how it should be …

The solution are apps which already store their data encrypted on your device and use the highest level of iOS Protection classes that is ‘Accessible only when Unlocked’ (disadvantage: syncing won’t start happening immediately when your phone is turned on) and ‘Non-migratable’ (disadvantage: if you migrate all of your device settings and data to a different device you will have to re-enter the password).
These data will be, let me say DOUBLE-ENCRYPTED, when transferred to iCloud and stored there. They cannot be accessed with server-side keys only.
An example is 1Password (AgileBits) for managing passwords, bank accounts and beyond.

20121217-160953.jpg

Interested people even with less technical understanding should read these articles about security design basics …

AgileBits Cloud Storage Security

Lost iPhone and Safe Passwords

Attachments …

Encryption techniques …

Full-strength, randomly generated, user-managed key
This is the most secure setting. Access to the full server data gives the attacker no useful information. Unfortunately, it is also the most difficult to use. Enabling a new device requires coordination with an existing device. If users lose all of their devices, e.g. if they only have one device and it breaks, there’s no way to recover.

Password-derived key
The data is encrypted with a key derived from the user’s password. This is not as secure as the previous setting, since most user passwords are not nearly as strong as full-strength crypto keys. However, as my colleague Brian Warner is exploring, it may be possible to still make it quite expensive to break into a single user’s dataset, and prohibitively expensive to go fishing for data across many user accounts. Usability is significantly increased: a user can set up a new device simply by typing in their password. However, the crypto conundrum remains: lose your password, lose your data.

Server-side security (applied to Apple’s iCloud)
Users don’t manage keys, and servers technically have access to the user data. A number of techniques can be used to meaningfully restrict the chance of a leak (e.g. disk encryption or other type of encryption where the server holds the key somewhere.) Security against insider attackers is not nearly as high as with the two previous solutions. This is, of course, how almost every service on the Internet works today. It is the only model that maps to user intuition, where a user can forget their password, lose their devices, and still recover. Apple holds the (encryption) key!

Turn off apps which should not sync their data using iCloud or which should not include their data into iCloud backups. To do this go to

Settings – iCloud – Storage + Backup – Manage Storage – Your device

and deactivate all apps which data you do not want to be handled by iCloud services.
Do something similar with data of Apple’s pre-installed apps
(Mail, Calendars, Contacts, Reminders, Safari, Notes, Photo stream).
But if you do so you will loose all the benefits coming with iCloud.

Recommendations …

Consider three vulnerabilities …

  • Access in accordance with Terms and Conditions of the cloud provider
  • Stealing of the device
  • Hacking of your device
  • Hacking of the cloud storage

To keep your data secure there is no simple workaround.
But you can do your best with theses settings and keeping your sensitive data away from apps not supporting encryption.

  • Use a strong password for you Apple ID even if it is not convenient
  • Use an Unlock Code for your device
  • Use the Auto-Lock option for time-based automatic locking
  • Use unlock codes for lockable apps managing sensitive data
  • Do not use cloud storages for saving data managed by apps not supporting encryption already on your device

If your thoughts are still in turbulence …
Keep your devices under lock in Fort Knox, switch them off and lock the door with your one and only key. Don’t loose the key!

Managing data with iWork …

The most powerful setting is using the iCloud service for syncing iWork-Documents across your devices. It’s simple and automatic and predestined for frequent usage of different devices.

But keep in mind that these documents should not contain sensitive data as they are NOT DOUBLE-ENCRYPTED like those of the app 1Password mentioned above.

As an alternative manage sensitive data e.g. in NUMBERS and exclude this application from iCloud syncing and iCloud backup. To back up the data use iTunes with a strong backup password.

Note
Another solution would be to store iWork documents highly encrypted via WebDAV on a cloud storage which does not use server-side encryption. At the time Apple does not support this feature.

20121216-211438.jpg








Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 186 other followers