Remember how you used to keep all your important documents backed up on an external hard drive, or if we’re looking even further into the past, in a filing cabinet or folder…well now you can store your data in a virtual folder or filing cabinet, known as the cloud.
Instead of walking across your office to the filing cabinet, you access the cloud online.
The great thing about this is (as long as you have a working internet connection, and access to your desktop computer, a laptop, tablet or smartphone) you will be able to access the contents of your cloud from wherever you are.
The cloud will store all of your data, and you will be able to access it from all and any of your devices… so you can reach up and grab them whenever you like.
iCloud has been designed in this way, as a virtual storage feature for all of the information you would like to access – including music, photo’s files, applications and lots more.
The thing about iCloud though, is that once you create your account, it can never be deleted.
You can break your access to the connection, but at any time in the future, you will be able to access it again.
What is iCloud?
iCloud allows you to access your contacts, music, photographs, videos, calendar, documents and other items you might want across any of your Apple devices which means if you are reading a document on your laptop, and are suddenly called out of the house, you can access the same document on your iPhone or iPad and continue where you left off.
iCloud is particularly great with media content. So all the movies and music purchases you make on iTunes will automatically sync across your devices.
What’s the Difference Between iCloud and iCloud Drive?
We have a more detailed look at what iCloud Drive is all about on our iCloud Drive page which you can access here, but in short, the main difference between iCloud and iCloud Drive is that iCloud Drive is much more focused on syncing and backing up your documents.
iCloud originally didn’t allow documents to be stored, but it now does allow this very useful feature. iCloud Drive works in unison with iCloud, and allows apps to store documents and data in iCloud.
For a bit more info on this, check out what Apple say on the main iCloud page.
How Do I Access iCloud?
From your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch:
- Simply go to Settings>iCloud
From your Computer:
- Apple menu>System Preferences>iCloud
If you are away from your devices, or if you have lost or misplaced your devices, you can still access your content by visiting www.iCloud.com – this is called ‘remote management’ of your data.
It’s a particularly easy and great tool to use to update all of your settings, contacts and information to a new Apple device.
What is iWork?
While you can store any type of files within iCloud, if you want to be able to access documents from your devices, you will probably want to buy the iWork apps from the App Store
For Pages click here to go to the App store
For Numbers click here to go to the App store
For Keynote click here for the App store
iWork is pretty similar to Microsoft Office, and the programmes correspond with Office. Pages is an Apple device-friendly Microsoft Word alternative, Numbers is an Apple device-friendly version of Excel and Keynote is an Apple device-friendly version of PowerPoint.
Other Cloud Storage Systems
There are of course a number of cloud storage options, such as Dropbox, JustCloud, Google Drive and others.
Not only is there no problem running these in tandem with iCloud to combine cloud storage methods, but that’s exactly what we’d strongly recommend you do. Dropbox is great!).
However, there are several differences between iCloud and other cloud based storage systems.
For example, Apple only gives you 5GB of free storage space within iCloud, so you want to make sure you aren’t using it for everything, but just the most important things – although you can buy more storage.
How Do I Buy More Storage on iCloud?
On your iPad, iPhone or iPod Touch:
- Go to Settings>iCloud>Storage>Change Storage Plan
On your Computer:
- Select the Apple Menu>System Preferences>iCloud>iCloud>Manage
Choose Which Apps To Back Up To Reduce Storage Costs
On your iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad:
- Go to Settings>iCloud>Storage>Manage Storage
- Choose the name of the device you want to select backups for (if you only have one Apple device, you will only see one here)
- Beneath Backup Options you can choose to switch on and off the apps you want data backed up on.