Essentials Facts You Need To Know About iCloud Drive

While Dropbox and Google Drive are undoubtedly two of the biggest names in cloud services, Apple have their own online storage tool worth considering.

The iCloud Drive is only available for Apple customers who use Mac computers and iOS devices.

Let’s dive into the cloud to see just how Apple fares against their competition.

What is the iCloud Drive?

This is the longest-lasting version of Apple’s online cloud storage service, which enables users to upload, store, and share files, such as photos and emails.

It provides an easy way to sync all your devices and digital files with a few clicks, from simple calendar events to larger team projects.

Furthermore, you can use the drive to keep your third-party apps updated across all devices, including iPads and iPhones.

What Can You Sync with the Drive?

When you use iCloud, all of the native iOS apps will remain synced. This applies to the Mac equivalents too, covering a range of commonly used applications, including:

  • Contacts
  • Mail
  • Calendar
  • Reminders
  • Notes

An alternative method of syncing your photos is by using the iCloud Photo Library. It’s also possible to sync open tabs and bookmarks in Safari, enabling continued web browsing on any iCloud devices that have Safari installed on them.

Using the drive makes it easy to access images, documents and audio files from your devices, wherever you may be.

Understanding the Meaning of an iCloud Backup

You can back up your iOS device to iCloud. When you set this function up, it will automatically make a backup of your device and save it to the cloud storage space at the same time every day, providing the device is charging.

Users can also perform manual backups through the Settings app.

If you ever need to restore an iOS device or set up a new device, it’s easy to do so by using a recent backup from the drive.

The official list from Apple details everything that is included in an iCloud backup:

  • App data
  • Calls history
  • iMessage, SMS, and MMS message threads
  • Photos, images, and videos on your iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad
  • Apple Watch data backups
  • Device settings
  • Home screen and current app organization
  • HomeKit configuration
  • User purchase history from all Apple services, including movies, music, apps, and books
  • Ringtones

Where You Can Use the iCloud Drive

Since 2011, every device from Apple has had iCloud support built-in. By accessing the Settings app on any modern iPhone, iPad or Apple TV, you can manage the iCloud account.

Using the iCloud Drive on Web

By visiting on a modern web browser, you can access your Contacts, Mail, Calendars, Reminders, Notes and Photos. It’s also possible to check out the drive to see what is stored there.

Further features include the web-based versions of iWork suite, and Apple native programs such as Pages, Keynote, and Numbers. The web versions offer almost all the same functions as the macOS or iOS versions.

​Using the iCloud Drive on Windows

As iCloud is supported on Windows systems, it’s possible to download the iCloud for Windows app on your PC, enabling iCloud syncing.

By doing this, you can sync items to your drive on a Windows PC, and also send images and documents to the drive. You can even use this app to sync your bookmarked web pages with any browser you choose.

Using the iCloud Drive on Android​

Currently, there isn’t a solution for using an iCloud account on any Android device to store content in the drive.

However, it is possible to use an iCloud email address with Android email apps. That way, Apple users can still use an Android phone to access their email.

How Much is the iCloud Drive?

It is free to use the iCloud however the free account is limited to just 5GB of storage space. This will quickly disappear with automatic updates of your photos and videos.

After that, you’ll have to choose between deleting old, unwanted content, and upgrading to one of the paid iCloud plans.

Pricing for iCloud Storage Plans

There are a few storage plans to choose from:

  • 5GB storage space – Free
  • 50GB storage space – $0.99 monthly
  • 200GB storage space – $2.99 monthly
  • 2TB storage space – $9.99 monthly

It’s easy to change your plan on any Apple device, upgrading for more storage or downgrading to a cheaper plan if you feel you don’t need so much space.

Another solution is the Family Sharing option, which allows family members to share the iCloud storage. Apple makes a point of emphasizing that while this is a shared storage space, each member has a private section that is kept private from others using iCloud.

How to Sign-Up for an iCloud Drive Account

Whenever you get a new iOS or macOS device, you will have the opportunity to enable the drive during the initial set-up. Even if you decline initially, it’s easy to manually set up the drive account later.

You can sign into the account using a current Apple ID. Alternatively, set up a new ID to create a new account.

Enabling the Drive Manually on iOS

If you’ve changed your mind after that initial pass, here’s how to manually set up the drive on your iPad or iPhone:

  • Enter the Settings app on your device
  • Tap the Apple ID banner
  • Next, tap on iCloud
  • Scroll down until you find the On/Off toggle for the iCloud Drive

Turning off the drive will stop automatic backups and transfers until you reenable it.

Increasing Drive Storage Space on iOS Devices

The free iCloud account only has 5GB of storage space. Usually, this will get gobbled up pretty fast, especially if you take a lot of photos.

When this happens, you can subscribe for more space, are change an existing subscription tailored to your needs. Here’s how to do it on your iPad or iPhone:

  • Enter the Settings app on your device
  • Tap the Apple ID banner
  • Tap on iCloud
  • Tap on Manage Storage
  • Tap on Change Storage Plan
  • Choose the storage plan that is the best fit for your needs
  • Tap on Buy
  • Confirm the purchase by using your Apple ID to sign in

Moving Files in the App on iOS

In iOS 11, the drive is stored in the Files app. This changes how files are organized and stored on iOS devices. Effectively, this app can be treated like Dropbox.

  • Launch Files app
  • Tap on Browse, which is near the bottom of the screen
  • Tap on iCloud Drive, which is in the Locations section
  • Tap a folder to reveal its contents
  • Tap on Select, located in the top-right corner
  • Tap the files you wish to move
  • Tap on Move
  • Tap the folder you wish to be the new destination for the files
  • Tap on Move to complete the file transfer

Deleting Files in the Files App on iOS

After a while, you may need to clear the clutter out of your drive. This is easy to do via the Files app. Follow the steps below to free up some space:

  • Launch Files app
  • Tap on Browse, which is near the bottom of the screen
  • Tap on iCloud Drive, which is in the Locations section
  • Tap a folder to reveal its contents
  • Tap on Select, located in the top-right corner
  • Tap the files you wish to delete.
  • Tap the Delete option, located in the bottom corner

Just be aware that you won’t be asked to confirm. If you deleted something by mistake, you can find the files in the ‘Recently Deleted’ section, where you will be able to recover them.

How to Save Data While Syncing

Nobody wants to see their data go to waste. The Files app can quickly drain your plan or rack up a hefty bill while syncing all your documents.

By navigating through the settings app, you can go to Cellular > Cellular Data > Files App. In here you’ll find the toggle to turn off data.

This will save your data, and your money!

Use the Drive to Secure your Data

No matter how careful you may be, smartphones are easily damaged. A tumble down some stairs or spilled beer can suddenly render your device useless.

The hassle and potential cost of shopping for a new phone is enough trouble to deal with. You don’t want to lose all your important documents and precious photos in the process.

By using iCloud, you can have everything backed up in the drive, meaning you have peace of mind knowing what matters most is secure.

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