In March 2013, iCloud was already the most used cloud service in the US. In 2020, iCloud is approaching one billion users. Cloud services are forming the foundation of online storage, sharing, and collaborating. iCloud can help you find lost devices, sync your mail, calendar, or contacts – and back up your entire device.
While iCloud is pre-built into all Apple devices, it is also accessible for Windows users. Each account carries 5GB of free storage, and, for less than a dollar, you can access 50GB of space in over 175 countries.
As Apple doesn’t often publicize iCloud, many users aren’t aware of the numerous features that come free with the service. Keep reading for ten iCloud tips to help you get the most out of your iCloud account.
1. iCloud Drive in Your File Browser
One of the most straightforward ways to access iCloud, both on your Mac or Windows device, is to install iCloud straight into your file system. From the dedicated iCloud website, you can use your Apple ID to download and install iCloud now on your computer.
You can then use your iCloud storage to save important files and access them from any device. Most Macs now have a dedicated folder, “iCloud Drive,” where you can access your files directly. Still, if you’re using an older device, you can access your iCloud now from Finder with a small trick. Hit Command + Shift + G on your Mac and search ~/Library. In this folder, ‘Mobile Documents’ contains your iCloud storage – save the folder in your sidebar for quick access.
2. iCloud Backup
iCloud backups are automatic backups using your iCloud account and Apple ID. To perform an iCloud backup, you’ll have to install iCloud on the device you wish to backup (not necessary for Apple devices). On an iPhone, you can find this option in Settings>iCloud>Backup.
For users without a paid iCloud account (limited to 5GB), you can limit specific files for backup, such as your contacts or emails. You can do this in Settings>iCloud on the iPhone or Settings>Apple ID on the Mac.
3. Access iCloud Drive from iPhone
To access your iCloud Drive from your iPhone, you can do so through the “Files” app. Files come pre-installed on iOS 11 or above; otherwise, you need to install the app from the App Store separately. In Files, you can access all iCloud documents by logging in with your iCloud account.
4. Secure your iCloud
After backing up your personal photos and data on iCloud, you can enable two-factor authentication for extra security. Two-factor authentication means that you must approve any login from two different devices. This is useful in case one is missing or compromised, such as your laptop or phone.
Follow iCloud>Apple ID>Password & Security>Turn On Two-Factor Authentication on the iPhone. On the Mac, you can find this option under Settings>Apple ID>Password & Security.
5. iCloud as a Password Manager
To use your iCloud account as a password manager, you can enable Keychain on the iPhone within Settings>iCloud or Settings>Apple ID>iCloud on the Mac. Keychain allows you to store and share passwords securely between your Apple devices.
By tapping the username or email section in a Safari login or App login will trigger a prompt to autofill the rest of your credentials. You can block access remotely by using “Find My”, in case your device is stolen.
6. iCloud Family Sharing
Within iCloud settings, you can also enable Family Sharing. Family sharing is a convenient way to share music, apps, movies, storage, and more with up to six people. You can also set up a collective family photo album and calendar – and locate family devices under Find My.
Once enabled, you can share your location with your family members with the “Share My Location” option under iCloud on iOS.
7. Enable iCloud Photo Library
The iCloud Photo Library enables you to share and save photos between all your devices. iCloud photo backups ensure you won’t lose precious moments with your device. Under iCloud settings on the iPhone, tap ‘Photos’ and then turn on ‘iCloud Photos’ to enable the feature.
You can then access your photos from the iCloud website or your devices. You can find out more on how to sync your photos using iCloud at https://setapp.com/how-to/use-icloud-photo-library-with-sync.
8. Photo Sharing with iCloud
If you’re sharing large amounts of photos, the iPhone will automatically create a shareable iCloud link. Sharing via iCloud is useful if you want to save on mobile data. If you’d like to turn off this feature, check out this helpful guide.
9. Keep Private Photos Off iCloud
Under ‘Photos’ in your iCloud settings, you can turn off ‘My Photo Stream’, which stops your phone from uploading your photos by itself. If you want to be sure that your images are not uploaded to the cloud, you can follow this guide.
10. Delete iCloud
If you’d rather do things the old-fashioned way or are worried about security on a cloud-based storage service, you can always opt not to use iCloud. To delete iCloud, you can sign out from iCloud on your devices and delete your account on the official website. Be sure to backup any data before doing so, and remember to schedule regular manual backups.
iCloud can be a versatile and cheap cloud storage option. It’s especially practical if you already own Apple devices but can be used with Windows too. For a complete guide on iCloud and all its potential uses, you can check the official tutorial.
Hopefully, these tips helped you get more from your iCloud account and Apple devices. If you liked this article and our recommendations, check our How To section – packed with tech guides and solutions!