In addition to the meticulously beautiful design and high build quality, one of the decisive factors for which someone chooses Apple products is the tight integration, not only between the hardware and the software, but also between the devices. You can work on a document on your Mac and continue working on your iPad or buy an app on your iPhone and it will also be available for your other iOS devices.
An element that plays a fundamental role in this perfect integration between Apple devices iCloud . While the essential service to maximize the user experience within the Apple ecosystem, but not everyone understands iCloud enough to get the best out of it. Many users are unaware that they can use their iCloud accounts to do more than activate their devices.
What other benefits can you get from your iCloud account? Let's start our journey and find out.
What is iCloud
At the core, iCloud is a cloud storage and cloud computing service. was launched in October 2011 as a replacement for Apple's previous online service called MobileMe.
With an iCloud account, you will receive an email address @ icloud.com and 5 GB of free online storage. memory can be used to store documents, photos and music; make them available for other devices with the same account; or share them with other users. Other things you can do with iCloud do wireless backup of iOS devices and sync data from supported apps.
The account also allows users to manage their devices and track them, if the devices are lost or stolen. The Internet full of stories about people who have lost their devices (either because of their imprudence or theft) and have been able to recover them with the help of iCloud.
How to get the Apple ID and set up iCloud
Get an Apple ID
Before you can use iCloud, you need to get an Apple ID. Usually you will have one the first time you set up your Apple device. You can get an Apple ID from:
– any iOS device by logging in to Settings-> iTunes and App Store-> Create new Apple ID
– From a Mac going up System Preferences-> Internet Accounts-> iCloud-> Create Apple ID
– or directly from Apple ID website .
Once you are done, you can start setting up your iCloud account by following these steps:
Note : Before you start setting up your iCloud account, make sure your Apple devices have the latest version of the operating system.
To enable iCloud on a Mac, go to System Preferences-> iCloud . Then, enter your Apple ID and select the iCloud services you want to enable on the system.
There are other things you can do through the iCloud window. You can manage your storage space, decide which apps can use iCloud Drive to back up your data, enable / disable iCloud Photo Library, My Photo Stream and iCloud Photo Sharing. Using the button Manage family, you can add or delete family members who can make purchases using your Apple ID and manage your payment information.
iPhone and iPad
When you set up your iOS devices for the first time or after upgrading iOS, you will be asked to enable iCloud. If you skip the procedure for the first time, you can do it later by opening Settings-> iCloud and entering your Apple ID.
If you want to automatically download all the music, apps, books and updates purchased on other Apple devices, you can do it through Settings-> iTunes and App Store by activating the button next to the respective articles.
Thanks to the popularity of the iPhone and iPad, more and more people are attracted to the Apple ecosystem. But not all iOS users are also Mac users. While you can of course manage iCloud accounts natively on Mac, we can't say the same for Windows. This is why Apple provides Windows users with an application dedicated to iCloud management.
First, download and install the iCloud app for Windows, then open the app and sign in using your Apple ID. Once logged in, you can use the app to manage your iCloud account, similar to how you can do it on Mac.
For Apple TV
Setting up iCloud on Apple TV is very simple. You just have to start Apple TV and enter your Apple ID, and the machine will configure the rest for you. After that, you will be able to access iCloud Photo Sharing, Photo Streaming, iTunes Match and all the movies and TV shows purchased from the iTunes store.
ICloud features and services
Since its first incarnation, iCloud has become an app suite consisting of many utilities. Here are the features and services that you can use through your iCloud account:
ICloud Drive Apple's cloud storage service. In terms of storage size, iCloud is not the most generous option available. But the perfect integration with other Apple services makes it a valuable tool.
You can save anything digital on your iCloud Drive, from simple text documents, presentation files, videos or application data, and they will be available on all devices connected to the same Apple ID. It means you can use your iPad to continue working on a document that you have saved on your Mac. Some developers have even created their apps to use this iCloud interconnectivity feature, to keep their app data synchronized between different Apple devices. .
A dedicated iCloud Drive app is available for iOS, but if you want to access iCloud Drive data from any other device, you can do it via iCloud web. To save a file on iCloud Drive, you can drag it to the iCloud Drive folder or use the File-> Save menu when you save the file.
Since iPhones are continually named by Flickr as the most popular devices for taking photos, integrating photo storage and editing services into iCloud would be a logical step. This may be the reason why Apple merged its iPhoto app into iCloud and created iCloud Photo. The goal is to provide average users with an easy way to back up and organize those priceless memories, make slight changes if necessary, while also providing easy access to those devices from any device.
In addition to library, iCloud Photo also includes the function Sharing . With iCloud Photo Sharing, users can share photos and videos with their friends and family, create shared albums, where each invited member can add photos and clips. Users can also stream their library to supported devices like Apple TV and print the collection in a beautiful photo book.
Photos and videos are automatically organized by dates on the card Moments . You can zoom in to view items by dates or zoom out to quickly browse months or years. As an alternative organization option, there is the tab Album . Here, the items are classified by their type. There are several types like All photos, Selfies, Videos, Burst, Screenshots and other. You can also create new albums to accommodate different categories. Some apps create their albums to keep their particular images such as invoices and receipts, photos saved from social media, photo editing results, etc.
Since many of us take tons of photos with our mobile devices, another advantage of using online photo storage would be the convenience of not having to keep those images on the device and thus freeing up device memory. Unfortunately, this is not the case with the free 5 GB iCloud storage. Unless you opt in for a larger paid storage plan, the 5GB free storage space will be full with your photos in no time.
In my opinion, this feature may be the most interesting of iCloud's other features, albeit the name a little misleading. If you enable the Find iPhone function, you can monitor the location of one or more devices, not only iPhone, but also Mac and iPad, using another device or via the web interface. You can use the feature to locate your misplaced device around the house or to hunt stolen devices.
Before you can use the feature, you need to activate Find my iPhone is Location sharing on the device by selecting Settings-> iCloud . Then, you can open the Find My iPhone app on the iOS device or use the iCloud web app on a Mac or PC to view the location of other devices.
In addition to looking at the location of the device on the map, you can also set the remote device to Play sound, in so you can easily find it, lock your device and view a message with the Lost mode, or To delete the device completely, as a last resort.
Stories about how the Find iPhone feature has helped iDevices owners find their missing gadgets are everywhere on the Internet and always fun to read. There are also stories of how a mother used the feature to help police find her kidnapped daughter, or how a rescue team was able to find the victim of a missing car accident by tracking down the victim's iPad.
There are similar characteristics in different OSs, and there will be other things to follow in the future, but so far there is no one who can make news like Find iPhone.
The tightly integrated Apple ecosystem could drive away people who prefer to use a more "open" system. On the other hand, once a person has used an ecosystem, in which each service works perfectly with each other, there is a good chance that the individual will try to bring everyone into the family system.
With Family Sharing, you can easily add other family members (up to a maximum of 6 people) with one account. Family members can share purchases from iTunes, iBooks and the App Store without sharing accounts. The family can also use a credit card to make purchases; parents can approve (or deny) purchases of children remotely, each member can share photos, family calendar and more.
To create a Family Sharing account, a person (usually the mother or father) should act as head of the family and create the account from their device. Just go on Settings-> iCloud-> Family and add family members. Parents can also add children under the age of 13 by creating Apple IDs for them. Adding a child automatically activates the Ask for Purchase feature and parents have the privilege of limiting the content that children can access on their devices.
Other features and upgrade options
In addition to the ones mentioned above, iCloud offers more interesting features like synchronization of Notes, calendar, contacts is reminder, @ icloud.com webmail account and integration of Safari and keychain, which will allow you to create and access all your passwords from any device.
There are also separate update options that you can add to improve your free iCloud account, such as:
1. Storage update
You can choose to get 50 GB of storage for US $ 0.99 / month. For those who need even more storage space, there are also other plans: 200 GB of storage for US $ 2.99 / month and 1 TB of storage for $ 9.99 USD / month. This additional storage space will be available for all files contained in iCloud Drive, including all your photos and videos.
2. iTunes Match
This option allows you to keep all the music you own in the cloud. With an annual subscription of US $ 24.99, iTunes will analyze your library and match the music you have with those available in iCloud. You can access, transmit and download your collection from any device, with the highest possible quality. If there are items that iTunes doesn't have in its library, it will upload them to the cloud.
At the time of writing, iTunes has one of the largest music collections in the world with over 30 million songs in its library. chances are he already has your music.
3. Apple Music
Music streaming services are all the rage these days and while Apple Music isn't exactly part of the iCloud services, Apple is making use of its cloud storage and vast collection of music to offer users the Apple Music streaming service.
Apple Music lets you listen to any song available in Apple's iTunes library from any device, along with humanistic-based radios and 24/7 live radio hosted by the biggest names in the radio industry.
You can use Apple Music for free for the first three months, after which you will have to pay for a subscription of your choice. There is an individual season ticket for $ 9.99 / month, family membership for $ 14.99 / month, or student membership – if you are eligible – for US $ 4.99 / month.
iCloud on the web
You can access iCloud on the web using any browser. Recently, Apple opened iCloud for anyone, so anyone outside of Apple's ecosystem could sign up for an iCloud account. But those without registered Apple devices can only access the online version of Pages, Numbers and Keynote, without other goodies. Storage space limited to 1 GB.
Twelve apps are available on iCloud web. All of them are easily available through the home page or by using the link area under the name of the app you are currently using. Let's take a look one by one.
Mail the online mail client to your @ icloud.com email address. Although you cannot add other accounts from another email service, you can add up to three email aliases that you can use for different purposes. You can also add the automatic vacation responder to reply to incoming messages while you are away automatically and the rules for sorting your inbox so that they are more organized and manageable. These functions are available through the mail settings located at the bottom left of the screen.
Contacts, calendar, reminders and notes
These fabulous four services are the essential apps for personal organizers that date back to the times of the PDA and beyond. So it's no surprise that Apple includes them in the iCloud suite. By adding the advantage of cloud-based apps to the mix, you can be sure you always have your valuable information at hand.
In addition to synchronizing your data on devices, you can also edit the existing one, create the new one, delete the old one and import and export the data.
Photos, iCloud Drive, Find Friends and Find iPhone
We discussed three of these four apps, so let's not talk about them anymore. But a note on Find friends, the app similar to Find iPhone, but the slightly different goal – to find devices that are not yours. But before you start complaining about the importance of privacy, keep in mind that the owner of the device you want to monitor must first approve your tracking request. Unlike Find iPhone, you and your friends can temporarily activate the Find Friends feature to keep a tab on each other's position during a group vacation or any other activity involving unfamiliar groups and places.
Pages, numbers and keynote
Formerly known as iWork, this suite of productivity apps is the equivalent of Microsoft Office in the Apple ecosystem. Except for Keynote which is on the same level as PowerPoint, the other two apps have never achieved the popularity of Word and Excel.
But from a functional point of view, all three apps can give Microsoft Office apps a solution for their money, especially in the concept of making documents not only functional but also beautiful. Office and other similar app suites have adapted the concept of beautifully pre-designed document templates, but few have achieved the refinements of the design and Apple has done so.
Pages, numbers and Keynotes are publicly available, even if they don't own any Apply products. Since they are cloud based, they are accessible on any device, similar to Google Docs but more beautiful. You can edit your existing documents using one of the apps by simply dragging them into the browser window. And if you own a Mac, iPhone or iPad, you can synchronize your documents between devices and the web interface.
In addition to the web apps, they are also available Settings in where you can view the storage status, activated devices, and the family share member. You can also use Settings to restore files, contacts, calendars and reminders and bookmarks; as well as manage apps that you can watch on yourself and exit all browsers.
Except for Pages, Numbers and Keynote, other apps and services in iCloud are not available outside of the Apple realm. This is not good news for those who do not want to go to Apple and want to synchronize their data on different platforms and devices from various manufacturers.
Fortunately, iCloud isn't the only name in town. There are other alternatives that offer similar (or better) services like iCloud. Let's explore our options, should we?
Cloud storage services
The concept of online storage has been around maybe since the beginning of the Internet, but it didn't really take off until recently, when better Internet connectivity and fairly inexpensive storage space. Now these types of services are a hundred dozen, but Dropbox could be what should be credited for bringing cloud storage service to the masses.
Dropbox equipped with 2 GB of free storage space that can be expanded up to 16 GB by going through some circles and obtaining referrals. Some other popular services that you can consider are Google Drive (15 GB of free storage space), Box (10 GB of free storage space) and OneDrive (5 GB of free storage space). You can also check out some other great cloud storage services.
Online photo archive
You can use any cloud storage service to store photos and videos, but not all services come with dedicated photo viewing, editing and management features such as iCloud Photo. While Dropbox comes with its photo support version, many agree that Google Photos what it can hold on an equal – or perhaps higher – plane than iCloud Photo.
The artificial intelligence that Google puts behind this online photo service is so good that we just have to install the app and log in with our Google account. The app will do the rest, from loading to curating. But the feature that would attract most of those with tons of photos to hand is the unlimited storage of photos and videos. If you choose the "High Quality" setting for the photos you upload to Google Photos, those uploaded images will not be counted for the total remaining Google Drive storage space. And for us ordinary citizens who take pictures with our camera phones, the high quality option is more than enough.
Quick and easy notes
Notes a decent and simple note that takes the app on the iCloud platform. If you want to throw something fast and have it available between your devices, Notes has the task of doing. But the app doesn't come with other bells and whistles. If you want something more, there are other alternatives.
The most obvious SimpleNote. This is another note that should not be underestimated that takes / synchronizes the app, but available for other platforms outside of Apple. So perfect for those living in the cross-platform universe.
But if you want to have a more complete note by taking experience, there is nothing that can beat Evernote. We have discussed Evernote many times before, including tips and tricks, external tools and even alternatives. Please refer to these articles for more information.
Pages and numbers have not made much progress outside of the Apple environment, in part because of the worldwide dominance of Microsoft Office. But just like the ruler of the world, MS Office has not yet reached the office in the cloud concept, yet. Therefore, the current alternatives to iCloud Pages and numbers would be Google Docs and Google Sheets respectively, while Keynote is unrivaled for the time being.
Calendars and to-do lists
If there is an area where virtually unlimited alternatives are available, calendars and to-do lists may be. In addition to tons of apps created specifically for Mac or iOS, iCloud's Calendar and Reminders also have many competitors from cross-platform calendars and to-do lists. And we're not talking about the more complicated project management applications and services like Trello.
Above the cloud and beyond
Considering the indications on where the technology could take place in the future and all the competitions from other software and hardware platforms, where could Apple perhaps take iCloud to strengthen its position in the market?
Nobody can see so far in the future, but from what we already have today, quite obvious that Apple will continue to use iCloud as a hub that connects all its devices and operating systems, and will merge Siri into the platform to improve services.
To date, Apple has already entered the wearable market with Apple Watch and has created Health Kit as the basis for creating apps to improve healthcare. Apple has also released Home Kits with similar intentions but in the smart home arena. And Apple is also said to be dipping its fingers into the Smart Car business.
Imagine all your devices – inside and outside your body – connected together. In the future, we can expect invisible conversations between our appliances, computers and cell phones, garden sensors, self-driving cars, home monitors, smart watches, personal living room assistants, door locks and other devices. . They will share the health data necessary for doctors, list groceries at supermarkets, book tickets for the local football game, help you in the search, send birthday greetings to your friends, close remotely and secure your home, and do more futuristic possibilities. Now imagine iCloud technology as the center of all these possibilities.
This, my friend, how much potential iCloud has. In the future, l think it will be iCloud. What do you think? Let us know in the comments section below.