Apple user seeks cloud file storage & image hosting from single service
April 29, 2020 4:23 PM   Subscribe

I have 1 macOS laptop and 4 iOS devices. I want to read/write files from all devices to common drive. I also want to host images for my Dreamwidth blog. Currently paying for Dropbox but they no longer support rendering images in HTML. It’s possible to publish photos on iCloud as "public websites," but I don’t see where to get the photo’s link. macOS' and iOS' insistence on managing iCloud files in its own way confuses me a lot. Willing to pay for reliable, easy-to-use system.
posted by Jesse the K to Computers & Internet (4 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: I think the first key question is whether you really want public photos & your cloud files to be in the same place. Are all your files going to be public, or is it mixed public/private? Do you need something that resizes and processes your photos, or do you want them verbatim? And for cloud syncing files between devices, it's going to be really hard to get something that works as smoothly as iCloud.

If it was just photos, I'd say use Flickr and copy links to the raw images (you can get them via the 'all sizes' menu, at least on the web), as folks have done successfully for decades. That's the easiest-to-use approach with a generous free tier.

Otherwise, there's Transmit, a very nice macOS desktop app, that lets you upload & download from industrial-strength file services like Amazon S3, which are faster, flexible, and cheaper than Dropbox, albeit a little more work to set up. Unfortunately the iOS version of Transmit was discontinued, because not enough people bought it.

But - using Flickr for images and tolerating the quirks of iCloud is the path that probably gives you the most improvement for the least effort.
posted by tmcw at 4:43 PM on April 29, 2020 [1 favorite]

> but I don’t see where to get the photo’s link
At least on iOS I just did this: open the photo → click share button → click "Copy iCloud Link" → it may take a few moments but the link was copied to clipboard and it opened in desktop browsers (on iOS it opened my iOS app). (I could not find a way to do this on the Mac Photos app)

> macOS' and iOS' insistence on managing iCloud files in its own way
It's a mess and a real travesty. Something humanity must never forgive Jobs, Ive, and now Cook (and the likes) for. Anyway that's a different story.

Try Microsoft's One Drive. I had tried it years ago for hours and it did allow photo sharing back then just like Amazon Drive did (it has a Photos app now apparently). Also, from what I remember you can use Google Drive. You can share photos from within Google Drive and of course if you install Google Photos app too the sharing is better and seamless. Here you have same service/provider, but two apps.
(PS: I don't use any Google Product and I don't recommend it to anyone with even slightest of privacy concerns)

Then there are other stable services like Box and Sync (.com). Check them out.
Open Source: Self hosted solutions like NextCloud/ownCloud, Seafile (these two have been around) - you can host on your own but there are hosts/providers as well. They might allow photo sharing as well.

As tmcw also suggested, it is highly recommend keeping the file sync/backup and file/photo sharing aspects separate. Helps with the not all eggs in one basket thingie as well :)
posted by amar at 6:51 PM on April 29, 2020

Keybase is a free, open source, cross platform (iOS, OS X, Windows, Android, Linux) end-to-end encryption management platform. As well as competent personal and team chat facilities, it comes with 250GB of free online storage per account. It's been under continuous development since 2014 iirc, and it currently works very well.

Unlike Dropbox and iCloud and OneDrive and whatnot, the Keybase file system does not function as a sync mediator between folders on endpoint devices; conceptually it's a purely cloud filesystem, so you can store your 250GB in it without using up anything even close to that much space on your endpoint device to back it. Downside of that is that it won't function at all without an active Internet connection, and if you want backups you need to manage those by hand. Personally I prefer taking on that responsibility, but ymmv.

The first device you install Keybase on will let you create a new Keybase account to use with it. Subsequent devices can be given access to an existing account by any device that already has access. You can and should also add a "paper key" device to your account at some point, to guard against the possibility of simultaneous failures in all your electronic ones. Any device that retains access to your Keybase account can revoke that access for any other device, so you can protect your privacy against device loss or theft.

The Keybase file system defines a global filesystem tree. The top-level folder is generally referred to as /keybase and that's also the local pathname it will have on MacOS or Linux if you install it and accept all the defaults. The Windows version creates a K: drive that does the same job.

Under /keybase are three subfolders: /keybase/private, /keybase/public and /keybase/team. Under each of these, your own Keybase account can make subfolders with its own name, so I have /keybase/private/flabdablet, /keybase/public/flabdablet and some team folders with names that are none of anybody else's business.

Neither the Keybase servers nor anybody else without access to my devices is able to read anything I save inside /keybase/private/flabdablet or even find out what's there; only my own devices, logged onto Keybase with my own Keybase account, hold the decryption keys for that stuff. Stuff I put inside /keybase/public/flabdablet gets signed by my Keybase account and becomes world-readable.

Anything I save in /keybase/public/flabdablet also becomes automatically Web-accessible under and that connection should be enough to cover your blog image hosting needs.
posted by flabdablet at 2:34 AM on April 30, 2020 [5 favorites]

Keybase has just been acquired by Zoom, and what happens to the free 250GB they're currently offering in the medium to long term is therefore not clear. Hacker News is currently full of people moaning about the way the acquisition was sprung on the userbase by surprise.
posted by flabdablet at 3:53 AM on May 10, 2020

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