Everyone has the same question when they first hear about the term “iCloud.” That question is: “What is it?”
The term sounds unusual to our ears, and we are frequently left with a question about what something with such a unique name can do for us.
iCloud has been around since 2011, but it remains somewhat nebulous to many people. Those people would like to know what it is, what it can do, and how it can change their everyday life for the better. We will take a close look at these questions for you today.
What is iCloud?
The iCloud is a service offered directly by Apple Inc. that is used to store your documents, photos, files, notes, and any other electronic files that you find helpful. When you sign up for iCloud, you will receive a free e-mail account from the company and 5 gigabytes of free data storage. Those who need additional storage and extra features can sign up for a service known as iCloud Plus. This service is offered directly from Apple via a monthly subscription plan.
What is the purpose of iCloud?
Simply put, the purpose of iCloud is to provide you with full access to all your documents, photos, files, and anything else that you store across any Apple device exactly when you need them.
Every one of those documents and files is kept up to date in the cloud so that you can access it on-demand.
If you take a photo and later delete it from one of your devices, it will still be available to you in the cloud should you decide that you would like to retrieve it at a later date via a different device. Therefore, you never again have to worry about accidentally deleting a sensitive file that you may have wanted to keep. In this way, you can think of iCloud as your fail-safe backup plan for moments of human error.
How do I use iCloud?
There is good news for anyone who is concerned about not knowing how to use iCloud. Apple sets up all of its products to automatically have iCloud installed. All you have to do is decide if you want to use it.
For a clarifying explanation of how this works, we turn to the company itself via information that it provides directly on its website:
iCloud is built into each Apple device. To set up iCloud, you just sign in to your device with your Apple ID, then choose which apps you want to use with iCloud and which iCloud features you want to turn on or off. You can customize these settings for each device.
You are not compelled to use iCloud simply because you own an Apple device, but the service is there for you if you decide that you may want to engage with it.
How much is iCloud?
Are you now excited about the prospect of potentially using iCloud across your devices? That’s great!
Now you may wonder, how much does a program like this cost? There is even more exciting news on this front. The first five gigabytes of storage that you receive from the company are completely free of charge. They come as a “thank you” for having purchased an Apple product. If that is not enough storage space for your needs, you can always upgrade to iCloud Plus and pay a monthly subscription charge to increase your storage capacity.
The breakdown of the monthly charges is as follows:
- 50GB of additional storage: $0.99 per month
- 200GB of additional storage: $2.99 per month
- 2TB of additional storage: $9.99 per month
Again, you will need to decide, based on your own specific needs, exactly how much storage makes sense for you. Paying a monthly subscription charge is no fun, but these are generally considered to be reasonable rates for something as practical as this much extra storage.
Disadvantages of iCloud storage
We would not be telling the whole story of the iCloud system if we didn’t also recognize the fact that it does have some disadvantages. For the most part, people tend to like the iCloud storage program and the service that it provides them. However, there are some complaints that are worth mentioning.
Many people complain about having to sign up for yet another subscription service in order to attain the storage capacity that they require for their Apple devices. They know that the company can provide them with this higher level of storage without a charge and wonder why it doesn’t come standard with the expensive Apple product that they have purchased.
They may complain that they are already paying for a product that comes with a premium price tag, and tacking on a monthly subscription to attain the storage capacity that they require seems to be just another money grab by the company.
It requires an Internet connection
You will need an active Internet connection to access any files stored on the iCloud. You cannot use the data that is on your device to access your iCloud files. This makes accessing files from the cloud while on the go somewhat more complicated than most people think that it should be.
Security and privacy concerns
There have been plenty of stories in the news in recent years about security and privacy concerns related to the technology sector in general. Apple has not been able to avoid being the subject of some of these stories.
Thus, some consumers are uncomfortable putting their files on the iCloud, where they fear that they may be used by the company or stolen by an outside entity at any time. The risk tolerance that you have for such an incident occurring will determine whether you decide to use iCloud in most cases.
How do I see my iCloud files?
The final question that we want to touch on is how you can access your iCloud files when you need them.
To do so, you’ll need to follow a series of steps. These steps are in place to help ensure the security of your files and to make sure that you are the only one viewing the information that is personal and private.
Follow these steps to gain access to your files from a laptop or desktop:
- Download the iCloud for Windows (if using a computer that is on the Windows operating system)
- Restart the computer
- Pull up the iCloud program
- Enter your Apple ID
- Select the files that you would like to keep up to date across all of your devices
- Select the files that you would like to view
It is as simple as that. You can see what you need, and no one else will be permitted to do so. This may help you feel safer and more secure knowing that your files are available wherever you need them to be but that only you have access to them.