INFO: What is iCloud

Description: This article will provide a basic understanding of iCloud.

  1. Apple describes iCloud as "the easiest way to manage your content because now you don't have to". iCloud is a service provided by Apple where you can store and synchronize your data "in the cloud" - computer terminology that refers to storing or synchronizing your data on a remote server somewhere other than your local computer or device. The term iCloud is a registered trademark name of Apple.
  2. iCloud has become very popular in a relatively short period of time. Since officially launching to the public in the fall of 2011, iCloud surpassed 150 million users by the summer of 2012, and continues to grow in popularity.

  3. The iCloud service offers many features for managing common tasks relating to the interaction of mobile devices such as iPads and iPods with each other and with desktop and notebook computers. The following features or services benefit from interaction with the iCloud service:

    • iTunes - Apple's popular music service. You can store and/or backup your music using iCloud, making it easy to transfer between authorized devices or to restore your music and related files in case of data loss on your device. Purchased music can be sent directly to your iCloud account for easy access from authorized devices.
    • Photo Stream - take a photo with your iPhone or iPad and have it automatically appear in your iCloud account for easy viewing or sharing with any authorized device.
    • Documents in the Cloud - store your documents and presentations in iCloud from any connected computer or use specific apps like Keynote, Pages, and Numbers from Apple which automatically take advantage of iCloud as their default storage medium.
    • Safari - save and synchronize your bookmarks for the Safari browser for sharing between computers and connected devices.
    • Calendar, Contacts, and Mail - store your calendar, contacts, and email and keep it up to date between all of your devices. You can choose to use the apps from Apple on your device and you can also synchronize these items with your address book or Outlook contacts from your computer with ease.
    • Apps - when you have multiple devices with content from the app store, iCloud makes sure you can access these apps on all of your devices that are authorized to the same account. iCloud also keeps a history of your past app purchases in case you want to download them again on a connected device.
    • iBooks - whenever you buy a new iBook, iCloud is the best place to keep it because you can start reading your iBook on one device, make notes or just put it away for now, and then pick up right where you left off on another connected device when you are ready to read some more.
    • Backup and Restore - iCloud can literally be your hero someday. With all of the important things you store on your connected devices, iCloud will back up your purchased items, your pictures, device settings, app data, preferred home screen and app settings, messages, and ringtones. Should you encounter a data loss on a connected device, iCloud comes to the rescue and with little extra effort on your part.
    • Find My iPhone - by turning this feature on for your connected devices, iCloud Find My iPhone comes to your rescue if you misplace your connected device. Whether you simply want to locate your misplaced device, or have it display a message with your contact information. If necessary you can remotely lock or wipe the connected device to protect your personal information if you are concerned that it has gotten into the wrong hands.
    • Find My Friends - this feature allows you to share location information between authorized friends and family, helping you keep in contact with those important to you.

  4. iCloud as a service does all of the above and more for your connected devices, and is natively available on current Apple computers and mobile devices, but iCloud also offers an app that you can install on your Windows computer allowing it to interact with your connected devices in a similar manner. More information on this process is currently available at:
  5. iCloud also allows you to view and manage your information from any computer's web browser by signing in to the iCloud web portal at:
  6. So as you can see from the extensive list of features and benefits above, iCloud is a useful service to take advantage of, and it is all available currently for no charge from Apple.