By Robyn Wright
It used to be that we could use one computer for everything. Then we added laptops. Next came smartphones, and then tablets too. All of these devices can simplify our lives, but if we can’t share information between them, it can actually make things more difficult. Using master accounts to connect our devices makes accessing and sharing our information, documents, photos, and data that much simpler.
The major players for these master accounts are Google, Microsoft, and Apple. Not so long ago these master accounts were only for use on compatible devices but now many of them can be used across different platforms. I find Google and Microsoft to be the most cross-platform friendly.
As you connect and share data on your master account, you run the risk of losing some privacy along the way. Finding a balance between simplifying your life and protecting your privacy is key. This is why I also advocate using strong passwords and changing them frequently.
A Google account is probably the most popular and flexible master account, as it can be used for so many things. If you are a Gmail user, then a Google master account clearly makes the most sense. Android devices use a Google account as the primary account for keeping everything in sync. If you use Chrome as your browser, then signing in with your Google account lets you share all your bookmarks across all of your devices. Google Docs, Google Drive (cloud storage), YouTube, Blogger, Google Photos, Google+, and the Play Store are just a few of the services that you can control via a single Google account.
This is the one I use the most, because I access Office 365 and OneDrive multiple times every day. Your Microsoft account also gives you access to Skype, Xbox Music, Xbox Games, Outlook email, and more. All your contacts will be synced across all your devices, and you can see all your Microsoft related purchases and services in one place. If you use a Windows based device, you will automatically be logged into your profile. Similar to Chrome, you can also see bookmarks in Internet Explorer across all of your devices.
If you are a Mac or an iPhone user, you almost certainly have an Apple ID already. This lets you manage and purchase music, apps, and mobile content via iTunes. You can also access your iCloud account, order photos, and book One to One personal training at Apple stores.
I suggest that everyone has a Google and Microsoft account, as there are so many connected services. The Apple ID is really only needed if you are using Apple-specific services and products.
Be sure to check your account page regularly – at least once a month – to see if there are any new options or services, to update your password, and to view activity to make sure your account is stable. Having one or all of these accounts will greatly simplify using multiple devices and make sure your data is available where and when you want it.
Robyn Wright is a social media specialist and blogs on her own blog, RobynsOnlineWorld.com, as well as several other sites. Robyn has a love for family, technology, food and lots of apps!