What the Heck is iCloud?

What the Heck is iCloud?

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Many people are unsure of what exactly iCloud is. Ever wish that:

  • When you bought an app or song on your iPhone that it would automatically download on your iPad, spouse's iPhone, and your iMac?
  • When you take a picture with your iPhone that it would automatically show up on your other iDevices?
  • Your iDevices would automatically back itself up while it's not in use so you don't ever have to worry about it?
  • share calendars and contacts with your spouse and other iDevices?
  • You could work on a Pages doc (aka Word doc) or Numbers doc (Excel sheet) and pick up exactly where you left off but on a different device? All without having to save your work?
  • You could see on a map where your iPhone-toting friends/children are?
  • Be reading a book on your iPad and then bookmark a page and have that bookmark carry over to your iPhone or another iDevice?
  • view a webpage from your iPhone that you left open on your iPad or iMac?
  • You could view your iPhone's contacts, calendar, notes or reminders from your non-Apple work PC using just a web browser?
  • you could send a text (aka iMessage) from your iPad and also see it and continue the conversation on your iPhone?
iCloud does all of that stuff and it does it effortlessly. iCloud is not an app - it's a mobile computing concept. Unlike Apple ID's, each person in your family should have their own iCloud account. An iCloud account is free, there's nothing to buy (unless you need a ton of storage for backups, etc), and you only have to set it up once. It could be the same as your AppleID but it does not have to be. Either way, I would strongly recommend that you set yours up today if you don't have it set up already. Here's how you can set it up (or check to see if it's set up) on your iPhone/iPad:
  • tap Settings > iCloud
  • follow the prompts to set up your iCloud account
  • choose what you want to sync by flipping the "on/off" switches. I'd recommend turning on all that you can. some (mail, notes, etc) will require you to have an "iCloud.com" email address. if you need to set one up, your iPhone/iPad should walk you through the steps to do so.
  • Very important: tap Storage & Backup (at the bottom of the Settings > iCloud menu) to turn on your automatic iCloud backups. Once this is turned on, your iPhone will automatically back up when it's charging and connected to wi-fi
  • download other iCloud-enabled apps like "Find My Friends" (see the location of your iPhone-toting friends on a map) and "Find My iPhone" (find your iPhone if it's ever lost or stolen) from the App Store. Be sure to go into the apps and set these up once they're downloaded.

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