How much data do you store locally?


Mobile devices are funny things. On the one hand, they’re basically computers, capable of large and complex computations in the blink of an eye. On the other hand, they’re very ephemeral in a way – not really designed to last beyond two years. This creates an interest phenomenon in the mobile space. After all, if a phone isn’t designed to last more than a couple of years, then how can it be considered reliable for local data storage? But on the other hand, computers are where we keep our stuff, so how do we come to grips with this dichotomy.

Cloud StoragePC packrat

I am what I like to call a “PC packrat”. I never delete anything on my computer. My email inboxes are a disaster because I rarely delete emails. I used to categorize them nicely, but once you stop for some time – vacation or just get busy – and that inbox odometer rolls over to good old “+999” well, you lose a lot of motivation. But I still keep everything nonetheless. This includes my computers and my phones. True story, I have a folder in my computer labelled “old acer” in which there is another folder called “old 386” which contains WordPerfect files dating back to pre-Windows 95.

But, that’s because this is my desktop PC, which itself is running Windows Vista because I’ve had it since before Windows 7. What I’m getting at here is that computers are meant to hold stuff. But when it comes to mobile, I haven’t been reliant on that kind of storage for some time. In the beginning, I used to back up all my files to…where? That’s right, my PC. I have folders in my computer called “Pre Plus files” which mostly contains photos. You see, even back then, I never really counted on my phone to hold anything that I would consider permanent, except those photos.

phone-storageIt’s just not enough

This was mostly due to the fact that phones really can’t hold that much data – at least not compared to a desktop PC. 16, 32, or even 64 GB just isn’t all that much compared to the 500 GB I have on my Macbook. So for me, mobile devices are a major departure from what I was used to in a computing device. Enter the cloud, which neatly bridges the gap between my mobile and desktop computing devices. In fact, even on my Macbook now, I have two areas where I store files – Google Drive for day job stuff and OneDrive for personal/Pocketnow stuff.

The cloud has virtually taken up all file storage duties in my life which brings me a nice balance between being a PC packrat, and still being able to switch phones like coffee filters. You might remember a PSA I published just before the end of last year detailing how to move everything on your phone into the cloud. As you can see, I live by that example. Of course, I still have that 10-year old computer I need to move into the cloud, but as far as my mobile life is concerned, I keep almost nothing in local storage.

Is it just me?

But then there is a lot of local storage to be used and I started wondering if I was the only one who relies on the cloud so heavily. After all, the cloud doesn’t necessarily work for everyone for one reason or another. Sometimes a company is slow to adopt emerging technology and may not allow cloud storage for mobile files. Or perhaps, the free offerings on the various clouds aren’t enough to hold all of your data. So I wanted to ask you the reader, how reliant you were on storage space in your mobile devices.

How do you get by with local storage? Is that just a place to put apps? Are you like Michael Fisher’s parents who have to delete photos in order to take more pictures, essentially swapping one memory for another? Do you keep a lot of documents that you need while traveling for work when WiFi might not be readily available? All of these are solid use-cases for keeping files on the cloud, so I was just wondering how our readers were minding their storage space. Sound off below in the comments and let us know where you are in the cloud vs. local continuum.

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About The Author
Adam Doud
Adam joined the tech world after watching Jon Rubenstein demo the most epic phone ever at CES 2009. He is webOS enthusiast, Windows Phone fan, and Android skeptic. He loves the outdoors, is an avid Geocacher, Cubs/Blackhawks fan, and family man living in Sweet Home Chicago, where he STILL hosts monthly webOS meetups (Don’t call it a comeback!). He can be found tweeting all things tech as @DeadTechnology, or chi-town sports at @oneminutecubs. Read more about Adam Doud!