You have likely heard the term “the cloud” mentioned quite a lot in the last few year with regards to storing your information. It may seem like a mythical place and you may have wondered how one can tap into this magical ability to have your data both here and “there”, wherever “there” is.
Well, if you have 2 or more Apple devices and have ever entered, say, a friend’s contact information on one of the devices and had that same data appear on the other device (without syncing it through your Mac) then you have already started using the cloud - Apple’s iCloud service in fact.
Apple iCloud is, simply put, a little corner of the cloud (Apple’s secure servers actually) that is reserved for you and some of your data. By default we all get 5GB of storage space for free, and this tends to be plenty of space to store most people’s Contacts, Calendars, Notes, Reminders, Safari bookmarks & reading list, and much more. (More on what else iCloud can store for you later.)
If you have set up and iPhone, iPad or Mac in the last several years, you have have been asked if you’d like to enable iCloud and what data you’d like to put there. If you have opted to give permission to your devices to put some of your data there your other devices have been able to access that same data. The beauty of this is that you don’t have to remember on which device a particular piece of information is, because all your devices share the same data, relayed around via iCloud. (Many third-party apps also give you the option of syncing their data via iCloud, thereby keeping your experience with their app consistent between devices too.)
Another perk of iCloud is that you can even “go” there to access and use much of that same data. iCloud has its own website, aptly located at iCloud.com where, after logging in from your Mac with your Apple ID, you can see your Contacts, Calendars and other iCloud-synced data. You can even work on your Pages, Numbers and Keynote documents right on the website!
(Incidentally, this article was written in Apple’s Notes app and synced via iCloud. I started writing in on my Mac, then added some outline notes on my iPhone, and completed it on my iPad, without a second thought given to whether or not it would be available on any of those devices.)
That brings me to another aspect of iCloud is called iCloud Drive, which acts as something of a “virtual hard drive” where you can actually store most kinds of documents. The more kinds and amounts of data (i.e. photos, etc) you opt to store on your iCloud Drive the more storage you will need, but Apple offers some very affordable options for increasing that storage space. iCloud Drive even gives you the ability to sync the files from your Mac’s Desktop and Documents folders, which is a very handy option, though in many cases you will want to upgrade your iCloud storage before doing so. For the convenience of this feature, it’s easily worth it.
And because it does all of this, iCloud is also a good, albeit simple, way of backing up your data. Should anything happen to one of you devices, the iCloud-synced data is still available for your devices to access. Backing up via iCloud certainly shouldn’t replace a full, proper backup of your computer, but iCloud does act as a bit of a safety net, just in case.
Making the best use of iCloud, iCloud Drive and all of the available options is certainly something we can assist with, based on your particular needs. If you would like our help, please do get in touch.