How to make sure you are protected against digital services shutdown

Take responsibility of your data starting from now.

The next couple of months are going to be very interesting.

But why?

Well, because in these next couple of months alone we will see the likes of Ultraviolet (an online movie unlocker service) and Google + (that social media network that no one ever used and hence became an experiment more than anything else) are pretty much closing up shop.

Their doors will remain closed forever and ever for any and all online consumers.

It has also come to our attention that the somewhat useful photo sharing online platform known by the name of Flickr had also started to shift some rules about all its paid-for as well as free accounts.

So what is the actual moral of the story here?

Well, just because something is digital does not mean it will last forever.

Digital services have a different kind of upkeep.

And maintenance costs.

When owners of a given website are unable to satisfy those costs, they usually shut the business down.

However, you do not have to suffer if your favorite app or online service is going away into oblivion never to return.

What we mean to say is that there are things that you can do right now in order to protect yourself against any and all of your favorite sites or app pulling down its shutters for good.

The three examples that we just talked about before only manage to cover what we have come to know from authentic news sources on the internet.

But even if you look at the history of these things, you would see some big-name players in industries such as,

  • social networks
  • image hosts
  • RSS readers
  • Video apps
  • audio portals
  • And streaming sites

all biting the dust along with many others for various reasons.

Perhaps the lesson that you should learn from all of this is that even the biggest and the most trustworthy of names in the world of tech do not have immunity against things such as digital decay.

In fact, in many ways, the big tech companies have proven themselves to be the worst of offenders when it comes to decommissioning online services and apps.

We still remember how Apple just had to give up on Ping.

You already know how Facebook keeps on launching applications that keep on failing time and time again.

And when it comes to Google, the company has a proven and rather long track record of killing a good bunch of its services at regular intervals.

There is no doubt about the fact that many of us find ourselves in situations where we have built the digital foundations of our lives around one or a complete set of these apps which exist in shifting sands.

And while there is no sure fire way to predict which services, sites and apps would stay in the business in the next 10 years or even in the next 10 months, what we can give our readers is some solid advice that will help them to learn how to protect themselves against the very real threat of something and anything that they rely on everyday closing down without much notice.

What you need to do now is that you need to read these pointers and you need to keep them in your head.

If you do that good enough, you might just find a lot of success in minimizing the real damage that services cause to users who are their regulars.

Make use of a multiple number of platforms and/or services

No one is going to stop you if you upload all of your digital videos and photos not just to Google Photos but also to other storage facilities such as,

  • Flickr
  • iCloud
  • OneDrive
  • Dropbox.

There are lots of options and you should at least try to give them a shot.

In the case that you do and you find that one of them is shutting down in the near future, then you will still have all of your movies and pictures safely stored on a server that is not shutting down.

Moreover, the other benefit of using a multiple number of devices and/or services is that you will never have to spend time in order to download and then re-upload all of your stuff on the internet in the case some service goes down.

Now, with that said, we are aware of the costs and other limitations of going this route.

We do not want anyone to fork out too much money that may be used in doing something more important and productive than on cloud storage services.

You certainly do not want to end up paying for these services more than you can afford or want to.

The other thing with investing in a multiple number of services is that you might end up not using any of them.

And that is where you have to exercise some wisdom.


You need to only sign up for those options that are either free or cheap.

Even the most premium of cloud storage applications allow users to sign up for cheap tier 1 packages.

These packages of the same apps are more generous than a lot of us would like to think.

Hence, we feel that it is always worth it to explore such options just to act as your safety net if things do go south.

Take the example of photo storage.

All of the apps that provide the facility of photo storage serve as good examples for our case.

The thing you need to understand about these services is that these apps have no problems in just sitting on your smartphone device.

They can also upload all of your pictures and videos directly to the cloud.

They can do all of that without you ever having to make a single decision regarding their work.

Just look at Google Photos.

This service offers users pretty much an unlimited amount of online cloud storage and that too for free.

All that users have to agree to is to resize their videos and photos down to 1080p and 16 MP respectively.

On the other hand, there is Apple iCloud.

It charges users starting from just a total of $1 per month for a total of 50 GB of space.

Admittedly, if a given online consumer is already spending effort and time to curate his/her precious moments and memories on cloud services such as iCloud Photo Library then this individual probably has no desire to want to do the same for another cloud storage service like Google Photos and hence eat up more of his/her days.

However, we are confident that if we are talking about the long term future then any user might feel glad that he/she took the time out to make use of several different cloud storage services at a given point in time.

And remember, using a multiple number of services does not just make sense for your videos or photos.

They can act as a safeguard for anything and everything that you need to store.

Go and download all of your data

Again, not the most glamorous action you will ever want to take in your life.

But the thing is that just about each and every online digital service that we know of provides users with the facility of exporting their data.

There is a definite export data function for that.

And this is a function that you should make use of on a frequent basis to cover all possibilities of your favorite streaming service or otherwise, going away.

Currently, users should have no problems obtaining a copy of their data from the likes of Facebook and Google and even Apple.

As mentioned just now, there are lots of other apps and services and sites that offer users to download their data.

You may just some of them on a daily basis and that could have generated a ton of data.

Nonetheless, you need to download that data if you want to protect yourself against a service shutting down.

Again, life is rather short.

And you do not want to spend all that time downloading stuff from sites like Facebook and Google with all your selfies and Doc files each and every single day.

However, what we recommend here is for you to make a reminder or a note to do such a thing on a semi-regular basis.

More specifically, perhaps it is best if you do it every couple or more months.

In that way, if your favorite app does decide to close down then you won’t be in any kind of a rush when you do find that piece of news informing you of the shutdown.

Remember, not every app is like Google + that allows users months to prepare for a shutdown.

Some apps with far fewer resources can give you as few as three days to actually get all of the stuff in your house in good order.

Google is different.

It actually allows users to pull their data from pretty much anything.

The other thing that we want to mention here is that not all data are equal.

In other words, you will find that it is much easier to duplicate some types of data than others.

More specifically, you do not have to work too hard in order to first set up an email client on your desktop computer machine in order to pull in all of your messages and then store them on your machine.

While doing that you can also sync them to the cloud.


It is an entirely different thing that a good number of storage services and platforms allow users to keep their local hard drive and cloud locker in sync at any given time.

Now, if you notice that the app you are in so love with does not offer an easy and obvious download feature, then you need to look around a bit in order to find a good workaround that actually works.

Our research shows that this is where the IFTTT proves itself as an excellent solution.

The IFTTT service stands for If This Then That.

If you know how to set it up properly, you can copy all of your photos from Instagram to Dropbox without much trouble.

And once that is done, you can easily get them to your computer machine.

After that, it should not be hard for you to connect a wide variety of sites and apps with your data.

In this way, you will easily have all of your digital files and folders in a multiple number of places at any given time.

And all the time.

You need to start forming a habit of making use of universal apps

We feel that the internet has finally achieved a level of importance in our lives that we can’t just trust any new app with our stuff anymore.

That is why, whenever there is a possibility, you need to favor apps and perhaps even some of your gadgets, which are transparent and open with information on how they use and share user data.

Apps and services that are closed off will soon become extinct.

To take an example, let’s take the example of Google mail or Gmail.

You can easily plug in your Gmail account into a host of various other services and apps.

In such a setup, even if one of your apps decides to call it a day (forever) you can still rest assured that all of your messages are not only safe but also sound on servers that Google runs with its billions.

All the data will get transferred to someplace else.

We have already mentioned the fact before that big technology firms are not really or even necessarily more competent than unknown or smaller companies if we are talking exclusively about shutting down apps and sites.

With that said, we still feel that it is more than a good idea to make sure that you keep all of your online essential bits of content and data such as

  • calendars
  • contacts
  • emails

safely stored on those services that you feel will last for a good amount of time into the future.

Of course, there will always be times when you will want to try out a brand new and cool calendar app for your digital life.

In such cases, we suggest that you do so by making use of the data that you have already managed to log with the likes of

There is really no point in starting from scratch again with a new service on your computer machine.

What we also want you to do is to think a little about what would happen to all of your data if the service or company that develops all of your apps or electronic gadgets suddenly decides to close down for good.

To take an example, let’s talk about fitness data.


There are those wearables and some of their associated apps which have the ability to pipe each and everything right into Apple Health and Google Fit.

Of course, there are also those that simply cannot do that.

We would also like to remind you that this is not possible each and every single time and across each and every aspect of the whole of your digital life.

However, that still does not mean that you do not need to watch out for it.

We will mention here again that various third party applications including the IFTTT have everything that you need help.

So don’t be shy to use them as you like.

Such apps and services can easily keep moving your data between different services and apps rather than having your data stuck in a single place.

As a result of that, even if an app decides to close down that it is still making use of your data, then you have already made arrangements to store your data on various other services and apps.

We hope you do not need more convincing on the fact that users who have prepared in the way that we have mentioned above will have a lot less to worry over once things do take a turn for the worst.

Make sure you know your exits

The last point that we want to mention here is something that touches several other points that we have discussed so far.

However, we feel that it is worth it to work out exactly how you will move forward once an app goes down.

An exit strategy, if you like.

You need to have one for all of your apps and services and sites.

Especially those on which you rely on each and every single day of your life.

In the practical sense, however, what we need you to do here is to think about how easy or hard it would be for you to get out of a new service if it closes down.

You need to do before you sign up for a new app or service.

At the very least, you need to think about it before you invest too heavily in a brand new app or service.

Perhaps this is a good time to mention smart home gear and apps.

In such example,s we want you to question whether the gadget that you want to pick up has an interface that fits neatly with something that you have already invested heavily into like Google Storage or Dropbox storage OR does the gadget try to create one of its own independent silos?

Think about it for a while.

And while you are at it, we would also like you to think about the way in which you can get your data from a given platform and then shove it on to another platform.

Our tips don’t just come into play when a service is going away for good.

These tips are something you should think about even if you are not planning to mix things and switch all of your data from its current place to a different place.

The case of an app or a service shutting down is just one scenario.

We have no doubt that these tips will come in handy even as archives that you can easily refer back to when you want to.

To take another example, there is WhatsApp.

WhatsApp has no problems in allowing users to back up all of their conversations with the help of their email accounts.

Now, even though no one is expecting WhatsApp to close down in the near future given the number of active users that it has going for it on a monthly basis, you need to familiarize yourself with the idea that no one knows that is going to happen in the future.

Plus, even if nothing bad happened to your favorite app or service, it always helps to know the kind of options that you have available in hand.

The other thing that we have not talked about in this guide is that different users might make use of vastly different day-to-day services and apps.

And these different apps and services vary even further in terms of what kind of things they do to the user’s data and how they work with it.

However, what we have come to know is that any given app that takes a sizeable chunk of the user’s digital life/data usually provides a way for the user to export all of that stuff if it is imminent that the service is going to shut down.

We now live in an age where the vast majority of your messages along with your images, audio files, and videos along with everything else is on the internet.

You cannot take any chances when it comes to the safety and longevity of those things.

And if you are willing to spend a couple of minutes here and there every other day, planning about your data and the apps that you use, you will not regret it later.


Zohair A. Zohair is currently a content crafter at Security Gladiators and has been involved in the technology industry for more than a decade. He is an engineer by training and, naturally, likes to help people solve their tech related problems. When he is not writing, he can usually be found practicing his free-kicks in the ground beside his house.
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