One of the most important elements of a useable device is its integration with a cloud environment for storage. iPhone and Android devices both have integration with their parent company that allows for remote storage, email, stored contacts, migration of data and apps, and many other things. However, the downside is that these companies then have all of your data. You are not in control of your data and therefore lack privacy. It’s eye opening to realize how beholden you are to these companies until you try and cut the cord. Can you see the endless sheeple moaning and crying about not having the latest features or apps that they didn’t know existing five minutes ago?
“Nextcloud puts your data at your fingertips, under your control. Store your documents, calendar, contacts and photos on a server at home, at one of our providers or in a data center you trust.”
NextCloud is a server application that allows you to store your data online and then access that data via a browser or phone application. You manage where the NextCloud server and data are located; either in your home, in a data center, or through a provider. At the time of this writing, we recommend using one of the many providers as it is FREE and simple to setup. One of these days we may offer NextCloud as a provider as well, let us know if this is a service you would like offered.
Setting up a free NextCloud account with a provider is simple. NextCloud.com has a “Simple sign up” page that lists a number of providers that offer free service. Enter your email address and select your preferred provider. Unless you want a provider in another country, it is recommended that you select a provider in your country.
Once you have entered your email address, agreed to the Terms of Service, and selected a provider your account will be setup. After the account is created you will be redirected to a new page to enter a password. Make sure to choose a secure password and verify your account. To verify your account open your email account and locate the email sent from the NextCloud provider. It will usually say something like, “Verify your cloudamo.com account” in the email header. Open the email message and click on the “Click here to verify your email address” button.
Now that you have the NextCloud account setup make sure to save your password somewhere safe. You will be redirected to your account. Feel free to look around. You can make changes to your account and data here as well as in the NextCloud app. You can download the NextCloud app via F-Droid. If you haven’t installed F-Droid yet check out the article on installing F-Droid.
One of the first things that I had to do once I setup my secure phone was figure out how to sync my contacts. Most of my contacts were stored in my Google Mail account. I wanted to find a similar solution where I could store my contacts on the cloud and sync them with my phone. Google and Android make this a simple task. Doing without Google and Android is more difficult but not impossible and there are some good options for accomplishing this. I’ll present my solution this isn’t the only solution.
I use DAVx⁵ and a NextCloud hosting company, called cloudamo.com, to accomplish storage and sync my contacts. DAVx⁵’s purpose is to synchronize your DAVx⁵ account on the Android device with your CalDAV/CardDAV server. The contact data is stored on cloudamo.com in the cloud and synced to my phone via DAVx⁵. On a side note, not only can you store your contacts in your cloudamo.com account but also photos, passwords, and other random information. I just keep finding more stuff to put there… It’s great!
Once I have contact data in CSV format then I imported the contacts into cloudamo.com. Here is a great video that goes through the details of how to import contacts into NextCloud.
Step 2: Import Contacts into NextCloud
Once the setup is completed then the contact on your phone will automatically sync with the cloudamo.com account. Any changes to either will pass through to contacts on both the phone and cloudamo.com. You can make contact additions or updates on either your phone or the cloudamo.com portal. I find it convenient to have access to my data on both my phone and the cloudamo.com portal.
Step 3: Verify Contact Sync
Try adding a new contact on your phone and see if it shows up on your NextCloud account. Login to https://cloudamo.com/login and go to Contacts. Wait for a few minutes to allow the new contact to sync then go to Contacts to search for the new contact.
Let me get on my soap box for a minute. I can’t understand why Google hasn’t addressed the issue with iMessage Tapbacks. What are iMessage Tapbacks? Here is a short explanation that once you’ve read will bring much clarity.
“Tapbacks were created, one assumes, to make texting more convenient. It’s true that they’re nearly effortless to employ: Simply press on a message until you’re presented with the Tapback options — a heart, a thumbs up, a thumbs down, a HAHA, a double exclamation point, and a question mark — and pick the one you want.” https://www.imore.com/how-use-emoji-and-tapbacks-imessage
As an Android use Tapbacks are extremely irritating especially when communicating in a group chat. iPhone users see a nice little emoji under the message. Android users see a duplicate message with some text in front such as, “Liked Johnny just graduated kindergarden”. As much as I celebrate Johnny’s graduation I hate getting 50 messages with “Liked Johnny just graduated kindergarden”.
What if I told you there is a magic application that will provide a solution for this to Android users and could provide additional protection for both Android and iPhone users. Signal is a messaging app that can take the place of the standard SMS/MMS app. It has a nice user interface, can handle the Tapback emojis and will provide additional security when both the sender and receiver have Signal. When both sender and receiver have Signal the messages go through the Signal network securely instead of sending the SMS/MMS unsecured.
Use the direct link to download and install the app from the Signal website; you’ll find the link further down the page under Danger Zone.