Apple iCloud: What is It and How Does It Work?


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iCloud is Apple’s online service that manages files and allows users to access them through iOS devices or Windows computers. Storing your files, notes, photos, or passwords in iCloud Drive keeps them safe. You can easily access and share files with friends and family as well as back them up on other Apple products, including iPhone, iPad, or iPod.

The article will tell you more about Apple’s iCloud and iCloud Drive. Let’s get started.

What is iCloud?

iCloud Drive is part of the cloud umbrella from Apple that stores and syncs your digital life across different devices. It stores items such as calendar events, photo albums, or any other content, as well as makes it available on your Apple devices whenever you need it.

Users can also sync third-party apps on Apple products because iCloud Drive keeps lists, documents, podcasts up to date on various devices. Built-in apps on iOS and Mac equivalents can be stored on iCloud Drive and Apple products. These include books, calendars, contacts, wallets, maps, mail, messages, shortcuts, notes, and much more.

Users can use iCloud Photo Library to sync photos. Open tabs and Safari bookmarks that help them continue with web browsing using any iCloud devices as long as they have Safari installed.

Further, iCloud Drive stores and automatically sync your contacts in the Contacts app across all iOS and MacOS devices. This helps you maintain a single list of contacts where you can add or delete a name and sync across your iOS devices. Similarly, your Calendar app containing events, holidays, birthdays, and anniversaries is also synced with the rest of the devices. Even iMessages and iWork are backed up and synced across all your devices.

Therefore iCloud Drive is an excellent option for users searching for general online storage because it stores, sync, and makes your documents, audio files, images, and other files accessible across Apple products. The purpose is to keep your entire digital life up-to-date across iOS and macOS devices.

iCloud Storage Plans

Users can pick the appropriate storage plans from any of the below plans. It’s important to note that the introduction of iCloud+ has not affected either the prices or the storage tiers. The following is the cost of iCloud drive storage.

  • 5GB is free
  • 50GB goes for $0.99 a month
  • 200GB goes for $2.99 a month
  • 2TB goes for $9.99 a month

Additionally, users can upgrade or downgrade the storage on the iCloud account using an Apple device.

iCloud+ mentioned above is not a premium add-on or advanced tier but a rebrand of iCloud. It has introduced additional features and enhanced the existing ones such as private relay, hide my email, and HomeKit secure video storage. In other words, users who have already subscribed to any iCloud plan can access iCloud+ and the extra features free of charge.

iCloud, like the rest of cloud services, has a family sharing plan that permits sharing of Apple Music subscription, iCloud Drive storage, and App Stores. However, each family member’s photos and documents are hidden from the rest, even if it’s a family plan because Apple is a privacy-driven company.

What Does an iCloud Backup Entail?

iCloud backup is basically a copy of the data in your device that is saved off-device. As a result, you can quickly restore the information or content to a new device when the old one is stolen, lost, or damaged. This shows the importance of regularly backing up your documents or data because the worst can happen at any time.

The good news is that iPhone, and iPad automatically back up your data to the iCloud each day as long as your device is on charge and connected to Wi-FI. In most instances, your phone will undertake this process overnight because that is when it meets these conditions. Alternatively, you can do the backup manually.

Further, you can choose the recent iCloud backup when setting a new device or restoring your iOS device. This is important because it puts everything saved onto the device as of that date and time.

Some of the items in the iCloud backup include:

  • Apple Watch backups
  • App data
  • iMessage SMS and MMS messages
  • Apple services purchases history, including TV shows, movies, music, books, and apps
  • Visual Voicemail password (however, this requires the SIM card that was previously in use during the backup)
  • App organization and home screen
  • Photos and videos on your devices such as iPod, touch, iPad, and iPhone
  • Device settings
  • ringtones

In other words, your backups contain information available on the iOS device. This includes content like Contacts, Calendars, Reminders, and Notes. Your iCloud Drive content and iCloud Photo Library are synced and updated via iCloud, thus not kept in your backup. In fact, you can see the synced data when you sign in to your iCloud account.

Does Apple One Include iCloud?

Apple One is a services bundle from Apple that includes iCloud, Apple Music, Apple News+, Apple TV+, Apple Fitness+, and Apple Arcade. The amount of iCloud storage depends on the plan. For instance, the Apple One bundle for an individual has 50GB, the family has 200GB, and the premier has 2TB. Because of that, you can bundle up Apple One with other Apple’s other services in order to get some savings.

How Does iCloud Drive Work on My Mac, iPhone, and iPad?

Mac: Accessing iCloud Drive on the Apple computer is simple. First, click on the Finder icon in the dock, tap the iCloud Drive located on the Favorites sidebar, and hit iCloud Drive. Alternatively, you can access it by clicking on the Go menu of any Finder window.

Interestingly, iCloud Drive has folders for Apple iWork apps which are Keynote, Pages, and Numbers by default. It also has folders for apps such as Automator, TextEdit, ScriptEditor, QuickTime Player, and Preview. However, you can still create any folder, drag and drop files and store it in iCloud Drive as long its data is less than 50GB because that is the iCloud storage allowance. You should think of iCloud Drive as an external hard disk, storage service, or network drive. In fact, it’s simply a hard drive in the cloud that is accessible from anywhere and any device.

iPhone or iPad: The Files app for iOS is designed by Apple to store all the files on your device and those of other apps and cloud services such as iCloud Drive. You can easily access your documents by opening the Files app and selecting the location of the desired item. It’s easy to arrange files on the File app, and all the changes you make on one device will automatically appear on every device linked to iCloud Drive.

Is iCloud Accessible on the Web?

You can access iCloud on the web through, sign in and select iCloud Drive. This enables you to access your mail, calendars, contacts, reminders, notes, and photos on any modern browser. Still, you can check out iCloud Drive and web-based iWork suite, Keynote, Numbers, and Pages versions. Apart from seeing all your folders, you can also share files, delete files, download files, upload files, and create new folders.

These web apps have almost the same functionality as those in macOS and iOS, including creating and managing your Calendars’ events, managing photos and preparing documents, and collaborating in iWork apps.

The web-based iCloud and Find My form a great combination when locating lost devices. They also help you discover what your friends and family are up to.

Can I Use iCloud on Windows or Android?

iCloud is supported on Windows, and the official iCloud for Windows app is available for download onto your PC. After the download, an iCloud Drive folder is created in the File Explorer. Proceed and configure the iCloud syncing items to iCloud Drive so that they can appear on other Apple devices. You can send your images to the iCloud Photo Library, as well as sync calendar, mail, and contacts with Outlook. Additionally, you can sync all your bookmarks with your favorite browser. Any stored data in iCloud will automatically download the File Explorer’s iCloud Drive folder.

As of now, there is no iCloud account for Android devices where you can sync calendars and contacts, keep content in iCloud Drive and store photos in iCloud Photo Library. However, you can use Android web browsers to access

Data stored in iCloud is safe and secure because it’s encrypted and has two-factor authentication. You can then access all your data on trusted devices because it’s already synced.

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Purity Muriuki

I'm a passionate full-time blogger. I love writing about startups, technology, health, lifestyle, fitness, electronics, social media marketing and much more. Continue reading my articles for more insight.

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