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Tuesday, September 29, 2020

iCloud: Function, Features and How to Get Started

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In today’s world, there are various ways to store information. Unfortunately, only a few are safe or protected against hacking. Therefore, it’s best to choose your storage option carefully. One of the most recommended sources of storage is iCloud.

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iCloud is the trademark name given to all of the services Apple Inc. delivers through the internet, whether it’s on a Mac, iPhone, or a PC operating on Windows.

The services it provides include iCloud Drive (which is similar to Google Drive and Dropbox), iCloud Photo Library, which is an offshoot of Apple Music, iTunes Match, and even Photo Stream.

iCloud also provides you with the option of backing up your iPad in case you need to reconstitute it in the nearest future. iCloud was designed as online cloud storage and cloud computing service from Apple Inc. It was initiated on the 12th of October, 2011.

Since 2018, the service had approximately 850 million users, which was at 782 million users at a point in 2016. iCloud enables its users to store up data such as documents, photos, and music on remote servers for download to iOS, MacOS, or Windows devices.

It allows the sharing and transmission of data to other users. This gives users control over their Apple devices if lost or stolen.

Features of iCloud

iCloud works by letting you amass information online, and then give you access to the information that was stored from all of your devices – iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, Mac, or Windows PCs.

Other features that iCloud has include:

Contacts, Calendar, Reminders, Notes, and More

If permission is given, iCloud syncs contacts across your iOS and macOS devices. This means you need to manage one list of contacts, given that any changes you made on your iPhone will affect the Contacts on other devices(Mac and other devices).

Many essential apps that come with the iPad can utilize iCloud to sync between devices. So, accessing notes from your iPad or iPhone is easy. You can simply turn on Notes in the iCloud section by clicking the iPad’s settings icon.


Likewise, if you put on Reminders, you can make use of Siri to set up a reminder on your iPad, and it will also appear on your iPhone and vice-versa.

Back-up and Restoration

Apple supplies 5 GB of free iCloud storage for Apple ID accounts (but more are available for specific prices). They can be used for many purposes, including storing photos, but it’s probably the best used for backing up your devices.

This can be done by following these steps:

You can manually execute a back-up by opening the Settings app and navigating to iCloud > Backup > Back Up Now. You can restore information saved on a back-up by sequentially following the process needed to configure your iPad back to factory default, then choosing to restore from the back-up during the setup process of the device.

Find or Tracking of an “iDevice”

Another important iCloud attribute is the Find My iPhone/iPad/MacBook option. It is used to discover the location of your device. It can also be used to put a lock on the iPad if it’s lost or remotely reset it to factory default, which erases all data.

While tracking your iPad wherever it travels can seem spooky, it also provides you with an option of putting a lock that requires a passcode on your iPad to make it secure.

iCloud Photo Library and Photo Stream

Photo Stream is a service that downloads pictures(taken to the cloud) onto every other device that was signed up for your Photo Stream.

Not all photos are uploaded to the internet, so the Photo Stream photos are not permanent. This means they disappear after 30 days, and it can hold a maximum of 1,000 photos at a time.

The Photo Library is the latest update of the Photo Stream service. The difference is that it actually uploads the photos to iCloud permanently, so you don’t have to worry about the limitation of storage to store photos.

It can also upload the entire image or an optimized version that doesn’t take up as much storage space. Unfortunately, iCloud Photo Library isn’t recognised as part of iCloud Drive.

Apple was determined to keep the photos apart, and, while they advertised, the images are easily acquirable on your Mac or Windows-based PC, even when the actual usability is very poor.


Notwithstanding, as a service option, iCloud Photo Library is still very useful even though Apple hasn’t nailed the idea of cloud-based photos.

Apple Music

Apple Music is Apple’s response to Spotify, which is a subscription-based service that provides you with an incredibly large collection of music.

This music option is a great way to save up instead of buying songs all the time.

Users can download music tracks from Apple Music to listen even when they aren’t connected to the internet. They can also organise your library into playlists.


iCloud is free and can be set up without paying a dime. However, this comes with a limited amount of cloud storage, which is 5GB across all your devices.

That is not a lot of space, but if more is needed and you plan to back-up multiple devices to the cloud, or store significant collections of videos, photos, or documents off-device, then you will need it.

Here is what it costs to upgrade your iCloud storage:

  • 50GB: 79p/99c per month
  • 200GB: £2.49/$2.99 per month
  • 2TB: £6.99/$9.99 per month

How to Create an iCloud


An iCloud can be set up on various devices. Each with a different process, which are listed below:

  • On iPad or iPhone: Halfway through the setup process for an iPhone or iPad, iOS will ask if you want to use iCloud. If it wasn’t activated during setup, you could go to Settings later, then tap the option that says your name at the top (or tap to sign in), select the option iCloud, then input your Apple credentials.
  • On Mac devices: Open System Preferences and click on the option iCloud, then sign in with your Apple ID and tick the services(iCloud) you want to use.
  • On PC: Download and install the iCloud application for Windows. Execute the app and sign in with your Apple credentials. Afterward, put a tick next to the iCloud services you want to use.
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