What the heck is iCloud?
iCloud is not synonymous with "the cloud" or "cloud computing" (see sidebar). Rather, iCloud is a free service offered by Apple that keeps all your devices in sync. It allows you to seamlessly and automatically share information between your iPhone, iPad, iPod touch and your Mac. Some of the information it shares are Contacts, Calendars, Notes and Reminders and Photos. Used correctly, it can save you a significant amount of time and headache. Using iCloud ensures you have the most current information on all of your devices. iCloud can also automatically back up your iOS device daily when three conditions are met:
- your device is connected to Wi-Fi;
- the device is locked (not off, just locked);
- and it's connected to power.
iCloud runs in the background so after you have set it up on your devices, there's nothing special you need to do.
What can it do for me?
Let's say you own an iPhone, an iPad, and a Mac. You are at your son's graduation and take some photos of him receiving his diploma on your iPhone. If you then turn on your iPad or your Mac, those photos will automatically be available in the Photos app on those devices. There is no need to connect a cable between the device and your computer to transfer the photos. Incredibly convenient.
iCloud can also keep your Safari Bookmarks, Reading List and iCloud Tabs in sync across your devices. With iCloud on you can seamlessly pickup where you left off in Safari on your computer when you open your iPad. No more trying to figure out how to get back to the page you were looking at on the iMac. iCloud keeps you organized.
How does it work?
iCloud securely stores your information on a "remote" server. A remote server means a computer other than your own that you connect to through the internet. The remote server has storage space accessible only by you or someone with your Apple ID and password. This online storage capability is also known as “cloud” storage. Many companies offer cloud storage by various names but Apple's is called iCloud. By storing your information on this remote server, you are able to access it from any device you have set up with iCloud.
You can also access your information through a web browser. For example, let's say you are using a hotel computer and need to look up a phone number you have saved in your Contacts, but you don't have access to your own iPhone, iPad or Mac. Using a web browser like Safari, you could go to www.icloud.com and enter your Apple ID and password. Among other things, you will now be able to view your Contacts and Calendar. You can also use this method to locate missing or stolen devices that have "Find my iPhone" turned on in iCloud settings.
Setting up iCloud
A GeekHampton Geek is always here to help you. You can make an appointment or stop by the GeekBar to have iCloud set up on your devices. If you'd like to give it a shot on your own, here are some great step-by-step instructions from Apple:
For iPad, iPhone, iPod touch:
We hope this article was useful. We know there is so much talk about the cloud and we hope this has helped to clarify it a bit. Please feel free to post comments and questions below and a Geek will get back to you.
iCloud is a suite of free cloud-based services from Apple that helps users store and synchronize digital content across computers and numerous iOS-supported devices such as iPhones, iPads and iPod Touches.
A communications network. The word "cloud" often refers to the Internet, and more precisely to a data center full of servers that is connected to the Internet.
The practice of using a network of remote servers hosted on the Internet to store, manage, and process data, rather than a local server or a personal computer.