Everyone in this highly digitized world of ours has at least 2 devices they use on a regular basis. And sometimes there is a need to pick up a project you started earlier, only to realize it’s actually on your other device.
Well, not really. This is not an issue if you back up your files onto the cloud. Ah yes, the famous cloud that everyone loves talking about. And yet many times when you ask them what it actually is, vague answers are mumbled.
If you are an Apple user, you’ve probably heard the term iCloud being pandered around and you are wondering what is iCloud. Well, to know and understand what iCloud is, we essentially have to figure out what a cloud is.
What is iCloud? Understanding Remote Storage Solutions
In the simplest term, the cloud simply refers to the internet. Not the whole internet, but a part of the internet owned by the cloud storage service provider. This means, like the internet, the cloud is a set of connected servers that are used to backup and store your data remotely.
For those who don’t understand technical lingo, a server is a large computer with massive computing abilities. So in essence, saving your files onto the cloud is simply saving them on another computer, right?
Not really. Cloud storage servers are not at all like your friend’s computer. They offer exceptional security for one. But security and storage are just the beginning as cloud storage service providers offer a lot more in terms of services and functionality.
So what is iCloud?
Generally speaking, iCloud is Apple’s cloud storage service specifically tailored for Apple devices. But in its truest essence, iCloud refers to every service Apple delivers to its users over the internet, this includes iCloud Drive, iCloud Photo Library (an offshoot of Photo Stream), iTunes Match, Apple Music, and a whole host of other Apple services.
The short answer to the “what is iCloud” question is that it is Apple’s ecosystem in your pocket or desktop. But that won’t do you much good, so let’s delve deeper into it, shall we?
What is iCloud and What Exactly Does it Do?
When it comes to cloud storage solutions, there are so many it becomes difficult to know which to go for. The beauty of it though is that each comes with its own edge that sets it apart from others.
And that’s exactly what iCloud does best.
Like everything Apple, the iCloud is designed to stand out. It oozes the quality and ease of use that Apple has become so synonymous with. And if you spend most of your digital life in the Apple ecosystem, you’ll find it easy to navigate the iCloud and access all your important files from device to device.
If you run windows, no need to worry as iCloud has a Windows client that enables you to access the iCloud from your PC. Windows users will have to download the app to their computers. For Mac users, iCloud is part of the operating system.
So what is iCloud?
It is an online file hosting and syncing platform built to support Mac devices but can also work on Windows run systems as well. The only drawback is that it doesn’t support Android. But that’s not a big deal.
Getting Started with iCloud
To get started with iCloud, you will need to register an Apple ID first if you don’t have one already. Once you have your Apple ID, you get a free iCloud account that comes with 5GB of storage. The Apple ID and your 5GB storage are the basic foundation for your iCloud experience.
Once you have registered your Apple ID, you can start backing up your documents, videos, pictures, music, and any other digital assets you have onto the iCloud. In fact, the basic use of iCloud is to back up your iPad, iPhone or Mac device in case of data loss, change of device, or any other eventuality that may lead you to lose access to your device.
his service is what Apple calls the iCloud Drive and is the equivalent of Google Drive, Dropbox, or Microsoft’s One Drive.
Once your data is backed up, you can either restore it to your new device or access it from a different device. This is a very convenient feature as there’s no need to keep important contacts in a notebook for safety.
Speaking of unfortunate events that may befall your mobile device…
Find My iPhone/iPad/Mac
One iCloud feature that many iPhone and iPad users are thankful to their gods for is the “Find My Phone” feature.
This service allows you to track a stolen or lost device and show the approximate location. But it gets better than that. Not only will this iCloud service show you your device’s location on a map but it will send a message to the device or play a sound (even if it is set to silent) so as to help you pin[point the devices exact location.
If locating the device is fruitless, the service can also allow you to remotely lock your device or erase all the data on it (by performing a factory reset). The last part is another reason to be grateful for the iCloud backup service. All you have to do to get your precious data back is to log in to your iCloud account and download it again.
Find my iPhone is a great service from iCloud that gives you added security in those times your phone gets lost. Whether you recover your phone or not, at least one thing is definite – you will recover all your important files.
File Sharing and Collaboration
The basis of iCloud is to provide users with a seamless experience across their devices. This means Apple tried as much as possible to make your files and the changes you make to them follow you everywhere you go (file syncing). But this experience can be extended outside of your own little ecosystem.
Enter file sharing
With many cloud storage solutions, especially Google Drive and One Drive, file sharing and collaboration are their strongest points. Sharing files is as easy as copying a link and sharing it on any communication channel. Collaboration is also easy as you can grant collaborators access to a file or project and set editing permissions.
Unfortunately for iCloud, this is where it falls short. Sharing is only possible via email. The only exception is the productivity suite, which, also falls short of the standards set by the “Big Boys”. However, that doesn’t mean you should completely write off iCloud and its file sharing and collaboration features, it is decent for the most part, it’s just that it can be better.
Keeping You Connected and Organized
If you love being organized, you’ll find that iCloud will make your life a lot easier as it integrates many of the other apps that come with your iPad or iPhone. Apps like calendars, contacts, notes, reminders, and any others that you use to keep your life from going out of control.
With the iCloud service, you can sync your reminders, appointments, alarms, etc. across your devices. And with Siri as your personal assistant, what can go wrong? This alone is reason enough to hop on the iCloud movement (a 782 million strong community).
In short, using iCloud, you can set an alarm or a reminder on one device and it will follow you to your other iCloud-enabled device.
What is iCloud?
What is iCloud? Only the world in your hand – your world that is.
Whether you exclusively use Apple devices or whether you like to dabble in different brands (life is meant to have lots of flavors after all), Apple’s iCloud is a great way of making sure that the things that matter in your life are all safely in one place.
And that one place is wherever you are.
From your favorite photos and videos to those inspirational songs that see you through the day to work-related projects, the iCloud has you covered.
With iCloud, your life can never be out of sync.