What Is iCloud? (#1070)

What Is iCloud? (#1070)


Hi, this is Gary with MacMost.com. On today’s episode let’s take a look at some
iCloud basics. iCloud has been around for a while now but
many new Mac users, and also some Mac users that have been using Macs for a long time
before iCloud existed, have some basic questions. I thought I would do a video on some of the
basics. Exactly what is iCloud. The easiest way to see that is to go into
System Preferences and go to the iCloud section. Here you basically get a list of exactly what
features iCloud has. You can go through them one by one to understand what iCloud is. It starts off here with iCloud Drive. iCloud
Drive is the ability to store your files in the cloud. This means when you save a file
on one machine, let’s say you have a Mac and a MacBook. A desktop and a laptop. You save
a file on your desktop Mac and then you look on your laptop Mac and since they are both
logged in to the same account here in iCloud and you have iCloud Drive checked here the
file will sync across to both. So the file appears to be in both places. In fact, the
main place the file is is Apple’s iCloud server. But copies of it live on both your desktop
and your laptop. In addition if you have iOS devices, like
say you have an iPad and an iPhone, and if you have an app that corresponds to that file,
say it’s a document for Pages, you will see that document appear for Pages on both the
iPhone and the iPad. So by creating the document on your desktop Mac you now have access to
it on all four of your devices because it is synced through the iCloud server. Even more exciting than that is the fact that
you can add new devices to this. Say you get rid of that laptop and you get a new one.
You go into System Preferences and login to your iCloud account or more likely you do
it when you setup the MacBook. Those files that were saved in iCloud Drive, the Pages
documents for instance, would then instantly be available on your new device. You did not
have to do anything. You didn’t have to migrate or copy files across. They are just available
on all your devices as long as you are signed in. Now what about the rest of what we have here.
Let’s jump over Photos for a second and let’s look at Mail. Well Mail is a special service
in iCloud where you get an iCloud.com email address. Some Mac users may have older accounts
that have Mac.com or Me.com email addresses. They are all just the same basically as iCloud.com.
You turn that on here and in the Mail app you will have access to your email. You will
have access to that same email on all your different devices as long as you are logged
in. Then you’ve got services like Contacts, Calendars,
Reminders, and Notes. These four are very similar in that if you have them turned on
then anything you create or edit on one device will show up on the others. For instance you
add a Contact on your desktop Mac. Go over to your laptop Mac and you will see that the
contact now is in your contacts there. On your iPhone it is there as well. The same
for Events, Calendars, Reminders, and Notes you create. Now Contacts, Calendars, and Notes all predate
iCloud. So it is possible, for instance, in Calendars to have accounts that are setup
on different services. So, for instance, you can set it up on Goggle or Yahoo calendar.
You can also have calendars that are just local calendars stored on your local drive
that aren’t part of iCloud. A lot of times when people have trouble with
Contacts, Calendars, and Notes it really boils down to the fact that they’ve got some of
those things saved locally to a pre-existing kind of local file and you haven’t moved it
over to iCloud. It is really hard to diagnose and fix those problems unless you know what
you are doing. If you are experiencing that you may want to visit the Genius Bar and have
somebody help you migrate those things over to the iCloud accounts so they are available
everywhere. Now you have a few other things down here.
You’ve got iCloud Keychain. Keychain stores things like passwords and all sorts of other
things. Certificates for developers. Things that you used to just keep on your one local
computer but now the great thing is with iCloud you can sync them across multiple devices.
So you log into a website say that needs some sort of security certificate and you do that
on your desktop Mac. You don’t need to do it on your laptop Mac because iCloud Keychain
has synced those across those devices. I don’t have it checked here because this is a test
account that I use for making these videos so there is no need. But I do use it on my
main account. Back to My Mac is a very specific service
that basically allows you to access the files on your Mac from outside on another computer
somewhere else. Basically like file sharing except that you don’t have to be on the same
local network. You Mac will basically tell its location to iCloud all the time so that
if you are somewhere else and you want to log into it to access those files through
file sharing you can. Find My Mac is another service too that will
basically allow you to locate mostly iOS devices like iPhone or iPad if it is lost. But also
very useful for MacBooks that can also get lost or stolen and can report their location
back to iCloud and you can use this service. So some different services here that have
been tacked on to iCloud. Now I skipped over Photos because Photos is
going to be changing very soon. Right now you’ve got two services. You’ve got My Photo
Stream and iCloud Photo Sharing. One or both of those is going to be replaced by the new
iCloud photo service that Apple will introduce later this year. So we will hold off talking
more about that as things are going to change. You have some options here on the right for
some of these services like iCloud Drive. So here you can disallow or allow different
apps to store things in iCloud. Now just because you are allowing it, like for instance Pages
here, doesn’t mean you can’t store documents locally. You just have the option to do either
one. To get an even bigger picture of what iCloud
is doing you can take a look here at the storage at the bottom and see how much space is being.
You can also click on Manage for more details. You get a list of apps here and what space
they are using. It is useful to go through this. On my real Apple ID account I found
a few games that I’d finished playing that had stored their game data and I was able
to go and select and delete those as I no longer needed that data. But you can look and see what other apps are
storing here and how much space they are using. You can also see backups that several of my
iOS devices were backed up and had stored data there and I can see those and perhaps
if I don’t own that device anymore I can delete the backup from that. You can also buy more storage and we’ll have
to see how this changes when the Photos app comes online later on because a lot of people
are definitely going to need more storage to store all their photos in iCloud. It remains
to be seen whether Apple changes how these plans work or most of us are probably going
to have to jump above this 20GB level to store lots of photos. So we will have to see how
that plays out. Now as you can expect Apple provides a lot
of information about what iCloud is and it’s very easy to read through and get to know
more. This there is this great page here but you can also just search for What Is iCloud
and it is the first one to come up. They go into detail about these links to individual
items. So you may want to check out this document and begin reading more if you want to know
more about iCloud basics.

Dereck Turner

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