With so much buzz about a vast improvement in the cameras on the impending iPhone 13, it stands to reason that there is already talk of a possible local storage of 1TB for the phone. The videos recorded by the lenses of an iPhone 13 Pro Max can be monstrous in size, and it is never out of the question to offer new caps on this storage. Even if this means monitoring certain uses.

Now: the space available in iCloud is becoming scarce for the backup copies of these devices, even when stretched to their maximum. Copying a nearly full 1TB iPhone can make life very difficult for any Mac with 1TB of storage or less, and right now it’s normal for them to be sold with less storage. Sending the copy to iCloud more or less fixes it, but maybe we can talk about a hypothesis: that iOS is able to make local copies just like Time Machine.

We solve the problem of space … but not that of energy

I insist on the fact that this is a hypothesis. I’m not talking about rumors or leaks. Hypothesis, which means to let our imaginations fly on something that could alleviate this problem of iPhones whose backups can be extremely large. Technically, thanks to improvements in the latest versions of iOS, it is quite possible.

Imagine a nearly full 1TB iPhone and an owner who for some reason cannot back it up to iCloud or a Mac. Maybe he doesn’t even have a computer, which is very possible in 2021. No problem: this owner has a portable 4TB external hard drive.

You connect a hard drive to the iPhone and make the copy, but … is the battery going to last to complete it?

Using an adapter (it is better not to think of an iPhone with a USB-C port), the user drives the disk directly to the iPhone and opens the terminal settings. In the menu there is a new option: ‘Backup’. In it, we can choose the external drive that we have connected and start a local copy of all the content. We can also choose to encrypt this backup with a password (thus including the most sensitive data such as health) or to leave it unencrypted.

With this premise, we have several problems. An iPhone does not have enough power to support a large capacity external hard drive copying hundreds of GB (this would take a long time). You will need to have it in a wireless charging base or use an adapter in which you can also connect an additional Lightning cable to be able to charge it at the same time. Too inconvenient and we couldn’t use the phone while copying.

The alternatives always depend on other devices

Solutions or alternatives? There are some, but we are moving towards solutions that are not easily understood by the general user. The iPhone could use a drive connected directly to a local network and make copies over Wi-Fi, much like Time Capsule. But this is something too specific.

The most feasible thing is to allow an iPhone connected to a Mac to make backup copies not to a local system directory as it is now, but to a directory that we can choose from. We could therefore tell him to make this copy directly on an external drive, even if we again rely on a computer.

The moral that we can take for the moment with current technology is, as I said in his time, that a 1TB iPhone hides many possibilities but also many complications if we lose control of what we keep it. For this reason, I continue to advocate that we should look at this TB in our pockets with admiration, but also with caution. I’ve seen WhatsApp databases go wild, almost 100GB, which could make migrating from device to device a hell of a thing.