Sometimes I’m the blue bubble and sometimes I’m the green bubble

iOS SMS vs iMessage

As an iOS user, I understand quite acutely how people can tell if I’m using my real phone number or my Google Voice number. The difference comes into play most obviously when I’m texting friends or co-workers. Currently I have 3 different phone numbers that I use at any given moment. 2 of them will provide the blue bubbles since my personal and work phones are both iPhone 7’s. However, I do use my Google Voice number quite a bit as well. When I was with my former employer, I tried going to one phone but I realized that I didn’t want people at work calling me at all hours of the night using my personal number. If I don’t recognize the number I generally don’t answer it on my personal phone and let them leave a message. As a work around I started to give out my Google Voice number which I use with Google Hangouts. That meant that sometimes I was the dreaded green bubble when texting people that had iPhones which turned out to be quite a few co-workers.

For most things, I still try and not give out my real cell number, I don’t like getting robo calls or spam calls on it (even though I still get spam and robo calls on it). I like to give out my Google Voice number. The Hangouts app doesn’t make management of phone numbers that I can block easy, I need to manage it using the website but its a good alternative to giving out my real number. The Hangouts app lets me send text messages and make phone calls as long as I have a data connection so that masks the number that I’m calling from. It’s not as good as a burner number but I can at least see when someone is calling me on my Google Voice number.

Where I think people start getting confused is if I’ve used a blue bubble and a green bubble when texting them. There are a few people that I’ve done that to but then I get confused when they respond to me and I have to react to it. Where it gets really complicated is if I start using other messaging apps with people and then I have to start answering them on WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Slack, or some other messenger that I have installed or have used in the past with that person. One of the things that I’ve found amusing are some articles and YouTube videos on how people have said “I don’t want to message you because you don’t have a blue bubble” or some study they did at a company where most people chose an iPhone because they didn’t want to be the “green bubble” when texting co-workers. I’ll admit that its nice to see the blue bubble when texting but its not a deal breaker for me. As long as I can communicate, thats enough for me.

There is an added benefit I think of using my Google Voice number, I can use any web browser, log into Hangouts, and send text messages to people. Technically you can do the same thing on WhatsApp but my current job doesn’t allow that so instead of reaching for my phone, I just use my computer sometimes. What would be cool is if Apple let you use iMessage with just an iCloud account and be able to send messages through the web and sync it all up on your iPhone, iPad, and Mac (whatever flavor you have). I doubt they will do that since it won’t lock you into the ecosystem of buying all of their devices but I think it would make communication that much easier for those of us that have to use a PC for work and don’t have a choice in using a Mac. I personally have been trying to find a way to use a Mac for work and I think I almost have found a way to do it but the thing about email is what is preventing me from pulling the trigger.

So there you have it, some days I’ll be the blue bubble, and other days I’ll be the green one. It just depends on who you are and if I want you in my inner circle of knowing what my real phone number is.i

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You suck iTunes!

Now that that is out of the way, I’ll tell you why.  iTunes is used for a ton of shit  by Apple, by far the only thing I really want to use it for is to backup and restore iDevices that I own.  The process itself is too time consuming, it literally takes hours for me to do a backup of my iPhone and it shouldn’t be that way.  Tonight I’m trying to do a restore and it just keeps on telling me that my back is corrupt or not compatible.  I mean seriously, wtf!  Thats all the info I get?  No other error code like a Windows Blue Screen of Death or something?

I’m going from an iPhone 7 to an iPhone 8 and from 128GB to 256GB.  There is more than enough space on this sucker to hold all the previous data I had and most of the time thats the problem.  I’ve tried all the tried and true solutions as well, I’ve restarted the computer, restarted the phone, restored the phone as a new iPhone, I’m even chatting with Apple Support as I write this blog post to see if there is something they can help me with to get my data back.  Truth be told, all my data is somewhere in the cloud but its setting all that shit up again that pisses me off the most.

I literally have almost 200 apps on the phone and they’re all configured a certain way.  There is also all the health data thats been collected from my iPhone 6 and 7 that I need to recover, and all the settings (although most of that can come through differently but its still a pain in my ass.  The restore process itself could be way better too.  There is still too much intervention needed by the user in order to get the phone up and running again.  I know there are things like Touch ID, Apple Wallet, Location and Privacy BS that need to be asked but that can be asked AFTER the phone is up and running in my opinion.  Just get the thing going and then have something else for a more detailed setup wizard after a restore.  The restore should skip these steps and remember what was already on the phone rather than asking these questions again and again.

I hope that the backup that I chose to restore from is complete, if it isn’t and I deleted the wrong backup I’m going to be really pissed tonight.  I was able to finally get the restore going on the phone, I had to update to the public beta and then presto it finally started going.  Thats so weird that the operating systems kinda have to match to do a restore.  I think Apple really needs to re-think iTunes and how to make this entire process better.  It still reeks of the original iTunes that I used back in the 90’s with my iPod.  The graphics has changed to go with the whole design language that Apple uses but the overall nuts and bolts haven’t really changed all that much and the interface still sucks.

There should be something dedicated just for iOS backup and restore and like I’ve stated in past blog posts, iCloud backups should be free if you have a device and the amount of data the device holds should be what you get for free for every device and not just the account.  The largest account that you can pay for presently is 2TB for $9.99 a month.  Truthfully thats too rich for my blood but Apple won’t let you backup anywhere else except for your MacBook through iTunes or through  iCloud.  Oh and that iCloud backup doesn’t have all your apps and shit, just your data.  How freaking horrible is that?

OK rant over, this thing is going to have to run overnight and then I’ll have to get up early and do another 2 hours worth of configuration most likely before I go to church.

Turning off iCloud Photo Library

After finally getting fed up seeing a “Your iCloud Storage is Full” message on my Mac, iPhone, and iPad occasionally I’ve decided to turn off the photos and video backup offered by Apple.  I’ve probably ranted about this before on Facebook or something but this time I’ve gotten peeved enough about it to actually risk losing all my pics in the iCloud library.  Im not all that worried though, I’ve backed up everything to Google Photos.  I think I won’t have everything at full resolution but I don’t look at my pics all that often anyway. I might miss the slow motion videos but those can be recreated.

What would be awesome is if Apple would give iCloud account users storage that equals their current device size and for each device that is signed in.  That would give me over 300GB of space so I can actually back up my device to the cloud instead of my laptop.  I’ve resorted to backing up my iDevices to an external drive which kind of goes against my whole home mobile strategy by having to tether my laptop to an external drive but I needed the space.  I don’t think Apple anticipated that over the long term, backups would et up tons of drive space on computers.  Although this may be a clever ploy for the consumer to buy more storage from them which I refuse to do.

He kicker now is that I have to constantly remember to run Google Photos and my IFTTT recipes so my pictures on my iPhone is all backed up.  I’ll have to figure out something else for my DSLR and my water proof camera.  So long iCloud Photo Library, when I get more free space maybe I’ll come back.

I despise the “iCloud Full” error

I’ll freely admit that I’m a pretty heavy user of all things iOS with all the iPads, my iPhone and my legacy iPhones still being used in my home.  My iPhone 6 is awesome and I use it to constantly take pictures and video of things around me when I travel and when I’m at home but the kicker is that it eats up a lot of data and I’ve reached the max capacity for my free 5GB account.  I’ve done everything that I can to reduce the amount of storage that any other app I have uses on iCloud but there is nothing that I can do to reduce the amount of space I use on iCloud without removing pictures.

I’m a digital pack rat and I save everything that I take a picture of.  I’ve started using Google Photos which affords me unlimited storage for my pictures online at high resolution but probably not at the max resolution like iCloud.  That’s actually perfectly fine with me since I as able to upload and save all my photos that I kept on my computer and on my other devices.  I wouldn’t mind using up all of my iCloud storage so much if I didn’t get a pop up message everytime I started my MacBook Pro that my iCloud storage was full and I needed to make room.  This is a very annoying thing that occurs and there’s no way to just dismiss the message permanently.  It takes me to my settings and asks for adjustments and I just end up shutting it off.  That’s just small I know but still quite annoying.

I had this impression that I would be able to store all my photos and videos in iCloud without burning through my iCloud storage but after looking at the Apple website it doesn’t seem to be the case.  I’m technically fine if I’m out of storage and it auto deletes my oldest stuff since I have a back up but at least let me permanently get rid of the pop up message so it doesn’t interrupt my workflow when I want to just use my laptop.

Maybe this is something that they are going to fix I’m iOS 9, I don’t know since it isn’t out yet and I’m currently using the public beta on my iPad alone so all the features aren’t rolled out es that are on the cloud.  I suppose I’ll have to wait until everything is officially released in October.  In the mean time maybe El Capitan for Mac gets rid of this annoyance.