iCloud is a cloud solution from Apple that promises to keep users’ digital life synced across all devices. The service is easily accessible from both macOS and iOS.
The cloud solution can store and sync everything. For example, you can upload photos to iCloud and access the photos on any Apple device. The native apps that stay in sync using iCloud are Shortcuts, Maps, Health, Books, Notes, Calendar, Contacts, Mail, News, Messages, etc. Additionally, users can sync photos using iCloud Photo Library. Furthermore, the Safari bookmarks and open tabs are synced, and users can continue browsing the web on any of their iCloud devices.
In 2021, at the WWDC, Apple announced an improved version of iCloud in the form of iCloud+. However, iCloud+ is not a premium add-on or extra tier, it is a rebrand of the cloud solution itself. But it does add some new features like Private Relay and Hide My Email.
If you are on a paid iCloud plan, you will get these upgraded iCloud+ features at no additional cost.
What are the iCloud Plans?
iCloud can be used for free, but it might not be the best experience. When you’re using iCloud for free, you only get 5GB of storage space. Your videos, photos, iCloud drive content, backups, etc., will quickly eat this space. So if you have used up 5GB, the only option is to delete the older content or upgrade your storage plan.
The different storage plans are 50GB for $0.99/month, 200GB for $2.99/month, and 2TB for $9.99/month.
The iCloud storage plans can be managed from any one of your Apple devices. You can upgrade, change or downgrade the plan according to your requirements.
What’s an iCloud Backup, and What’s Included?
iCloud backup is a copy of your system’s data. The backup is saved off-device. So if your phone or Mac is lost, damaged, or stolen, the data is safe. You can get a new device and set it up with the same content and information.
It is a good idea to perform regular backups of your iPad, iPhone or Mac. If you have turned on the automatic iCloud backup option, the data from your device will be backed up without manual intervention. But for the backup to take place automatically, it must be connected to the Wi-Fi network and must be on charge. Alternatively, you can manually back up your Apple devices by going to the Settings app.
If you are setting up a new macOS/iOS device or restoring one, select to restore from a recent iCloud backup. So all the data saved from that specific time and date will be restored to the device.
In an iCloud backup, the things included are device settings, Apple Watch backups, app data, ringtone, app, home screen organization, MMS messages, iMessage and text messages, videos and photos, purchase history from Apple services, passwords, etc.
The backups will include all the information and data stored on your Mac, iPhone, and iPad. Content like Contacts, Calendar, Reminders, Notes, iCloud Drive content, and iCloud Photo Library. These are regularly kept in sync via iCloud. Therefore, you don’t need to include them in your backup.
How to Sign in to iCloud?
You can sign in to iCloud and work with the settings by going to the Settings app > choosing iCloud.
But if you are not signed in to iCloud and have arrived on the iCloud screen, you can log in using your existing Apple ID. If you do not have an Apple ID, you need to create one.
On your iPad, iPhone, or iPod Touch, create an Apple ID by tapping Forgot Password or Don’t Have an Apple ID > tapping Create a Free Apple ID > enter your name and select your birthday > Next > Use your current email address or get a free iCloud email address. Then, follow the onscreen instructions to finish the process.
On your Mac, click the Apple menu > System Settings or System Preferences > click Sign In > Create Apple ID. Then, follow the onscreen prompts and provide your email address. Don’t forget to use a strong password. You also need to include your billing and credit card information.
Can iCloud Storage be Shared with Family Members?
You can share your iCloud storage plan with your family. For this, you must set up Family Sharing. When this is set up, your family can access iCloud storage, Apple Music subscription, and App Store purchases.
However, do not worry about the safety of your documents and photos. They will remain safe and hidden from your family members. Family members won’t be able to snoop on what others are storing in iCloud.
iCloud is the best way to store your important files and access them from any device, anywhere. However, it would be best if you were wary of accessing this account when connected to a public Wi-Fi network because it is unsafe.