How to Setup iCloud

If you are wondering, “How do I setup iCloud?” but haven’t quite started yet, you’ve come to the right place. Setting up iCloud is a little different between Apple and Windows devices, but it’s a simple process in both systems.  Not sure what it is?  Learn what is iCloud with this easy to read article.

iCloud for Apple Devices


  1. Sign Up

Apple devices already come with the innate capability to use iCloud. In fact, if you’ve uploaded the latest iOS or OSX update, you may have noticed reminders and notifications about using iCloud. The first step is to simply make sure that you are signed up, and the process is very similar across both Apple mobile devices and Mac computers.

Start by making sure you have the latest OS update. iCloud and its latest features only work on newer versions of the Apple operating system. Often updating will take you directly to a screen to sign into iCloud if you choose to use it. If not, you can also go into Settings (System Preferences on the Mac) and find iCloud. You will be prompted to enter your Apple ID to sign in. Enter the same Apple ID across all systems – otherwise, you’ll lose most of the functionality that iCloud offers.

Apple has more information if you aren’t sure if you have an Apple ID, or have a different kind of account. Generally speaking, if you have an iTunes login, that is your Apple ID.


  1. Choose Features

Once your iCloud setup is completed on all devices, the information you upload into various Apple apps will sync easily across your devices. Because everything is Apple-centric, this happens automatically, but you can still control what features will share data in the cloud and which won’t. Apple does this via a simple on/off list that’s essentially the same on Macs and iOS.

Go into the iCloud settings files, and you will see this list. It typically includes photos, your Mail, your Contacts, Calendars, Reminders, Browser settings, and so on. The list can get pretty long, depending on how many compatible apps you use. To avoid conflict, turn off the same app on all your devices. At any time, you can go into iCloud and archive your data in case you want to turn some of the sharing features back on in the future but want to access your old data.

iCloud also has a special relationship with certain Apple properties, especially My Photo and iTunes. You can enable automatic downloads and photos sharing for both these programs. Remember, you can also turn iCloud off completely whenever you want by toggling iCloud itself off.

  1. Manage Your Email and Storage

Along with iCloud settings you get access to a free iCloud email that you can sign up for with the same Apple ID. You may want to use this extra email address for specific types of email logins or other purposes.

You can see at any time how much storage space your iCloud account has. iCloud starts with 5GB of free storage across all devices. However, you have the option to increase your storage amount by paying more via a new plan that you can buy directly from Apple.


iCloud for Windows


  1. Download and Sign In

The procedure to download and setup iCloud for Windows is not quite as automatic as it is with Apple devices, but it can be done! Start by making sure that you have the program downloaded onto your Mac device: Here’s a link where Apple gives you a big download button to make it easier. Note that iCloud is available in Windows 7 and anything afterward, and will no doubt be available for Windows 10 when it migrates to Windows devices as well. Before Windows 7, you probably won’t be able to use iCloud.

Once you have downloaded the program, open it up via the Start Screen, and sign in using your Apple ID. Hop up to “Sign Up” in the Apple section if you have questions about this part. Always sign up for iCloud with the same Apple ID across all your devices to enable syncing.


  1. Choosing Features and Email

iCloud is a sharing and cloud storage service, but you can control what apps and programs save data in that cloud. When you open the iCloud for Windows program, you will see a list of devices that iCloud supports, such as photos, bookmarks, contacts, and so on. You can select or unselect any of these to control what iCloud does, but keep it the same across all your devices.

If you use Microsoft Outlook 2007 or later, the program will play nice with Outlook and will automatically group all of your Outlook information from Mail, Contacts, Calendars, and Tasks in one bundle. You also have access over which browsers iCloud will work with.

  1. Upgrade Storage if Necessary

As noted, Apple gives you 5GB of free storage to start. If this just isn’t enough for you, you can upgrade if you are willing to pay more. The upgrade will apply to iCloud itself, which means it will work across all your devices.

Read our other cloud service reviews to stay in the know.

Tyler Lacoma

When he isn't enjoying the beautiful Northwest outdoors, you can find Tyler on business and tech sites, writing about the latest news, analyzing trends, and generally making the Internet a more interesting place.

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