With so much happening while we are on the move, being able to have access to our photos, documents, and email through a cloud service can be a blessing. And Apple devices’ users get for free 5GB of storage linked to their Apple ID with their Macs, iPhone, iPads or iPods. This tool called iCloud make possible not only to have an updated backup but also to keep all devices in sync.
Make sure it will work
One of the biggest mistakes of those using iCloud is to think that it will set itself up on all your devices as soon as you turn them on. Unfortunately, this isn’t how it works. You will need to active the service on your Mac or mobile devices, and ensure that the items you want are synced, just for starters.
Turn it into a more friendly virtual folder
To make iCloud looks like a more friendly virtual folder, follow these steps: go to iCloud System Preferences and turn on Documents & Data. Then, open the Finder and tap Command + Shift + G. Type ~/Library in the dialogue box. Scroll down the Mobile Documents, where you will be able to drop down your own files and folders from now on.
Make sure your Reading List works
To make sure that your Reading Lists feature is functioning properly, ensure that Safari is checked in your iCloud settings on your Mac, or that Bookmarks is checked in your iPhone or iPad. It will make them all sync correctly.
Free up storage space
If your 5G storage space is running low, go to Settings >> iCloud >> Storage >> Manage Storage. There you will be able to see what is taking your space and decide what you might want to delete. And this is just one way to free up storage space in your iCloud.
If you haven’t been away from a power source or of a Wi-Fi connection for a while, you might want to backup your files manually. In this scenario, tap Back Up Now (located below your toggle switch) and your backup will be started as soon as you are connected to a Wi-Fi connection.
Understand what is on your backup
Not everything that you have in your devices will be backed up, as you can imagine. Here is what will and won’t really be saved for you (if you set it correctly):
Yes: The most recent 1,000 photos from your Photo Stream, but only for 30 days;
No: the music you sync;
No: purchased music, movies, TV shows, apps, and books (only a link to them in iTunes Store, App Store, and iBookstore, respectively, is saved)
Be also aware that iCloud storage space is used for iCloud Backup, iCloud Drive, iCloud Photo Library beta, iCloud Mail, and data from apps.
Remember that there is a limit to the file size
It isn’t only on the storage space limit that you need to keep one eye. There is also a limit to the size of the files themselves, which can’t be more than 15 GB each. They can be of any kind, though.
Use the extra limit to send large files
If you are using the Yosemite’s version of Mail and need to send an attachment of more than 40 MB that shouldn’t be shrunk (as in a photo that would lose its quality if you do so), now you can do it with iCloud and Mail Drop features.
As iCloud can handle files up to 5GB, your attachment will be “temporarily” stored there while you send it. You will get a warning message the first time you do it, but just ignore it, click on Send and you check the Mail Drop button on the display option you will get.
Enable two-step verification to increase security
Of course, it sounds very concerning that all your precious data is out there in the cloud available to anybody hack it. But it shouldn’t worry you much. Apple has a very secure system, and some of the best security apps for iPhone and iPad in the market, rest assured.
Still, the company suggests that you enable a two-step verification process, so you can decrease the chances of having your Apple ID hacked. After following a few steps, every time you try to log in your Apple ID, you will receive a four-digit code on your trusted device for verification.
Managing iCloud Family Sharing
Now is possible to link more than one iCloud account to a single payment method and make the app, music or book purchased available to download for the entire family.
All you need to do is go to Settings >> iCloud menu, and look for a family section. There, you will be able to manage your family members, so they will all be associated with the main device and payment method.
Generating strong passwords with iCloud Keychain
If you are running out of ideas for strong passwords and have been unable to do effective research online, you can use iCloud Keychain to get some suggestions.
When you are asked to add a password to a website (assuming here that you are navigating on the site with your Safari app), tap on the password field and you will see the option “Suggest a Password” above your keyboard. A pop-up menu will show up with a randomly-generated password for you.
How to disable Find My Phone (and Activation Lock)
If you need to restore your Apple device, you will need to disable Find My Phone first – it will disable Activation Lock as well. And you still can do it even if you don’t have your iPhone, iPad or iPod on you through iCloud.
Just open any web browser and go to icloud.com. Then enter your Apple ID and click on Find My Phone. Now, enter your Apple password again, and click on All devices >> Offline device you want to remove >> Remove from account.
iCloud is a powerful tool offered by Apple for free to their clients. If you learn how to make the best of it, you will have plenty of resources in your hands.
And if you feel that 5GB is just not enough, just pay extra space and enjoy the freedom of having access to all your files and data anywhere you go and of syncing all your devices together.