What is iCloud?

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Updated June 27, 2022

Curious about iCloud? Check out our FAQ on what it is and how it works! You also might find our cloud storage vs cloud computing which are you using guide useful.

What is iCloud?

iCloud is a cloud storage and sharing service offered by Apple. You can use it to save photos, calendar information, notes and much more to servers owned by Apple. Cloud storage is useful because it does not depend on your local hard drive space in your computer or mobile device. Once in iCloud that data can be quickly accessed by other compatible devices, which makes sharing much easier.

iCloud is typically used to sync data, to share things (like photos between family members, and to collaborate on projects in more professional settings. Like most cloud storage services, it can have a lot of different uses depending on how you use it.


How Does it Work?

If you want to know how to access iCloud, the process is very simple: You download the the app onto your Apple device (there’s a version for Windows too, don’t worry) and use the iCloud sign in option with your Apple ID. iCloud is available with all Apple devices, and with the latest iOS updates, you may have been asked more than once if you want to sign up for it. Once turned on, it works quietly in the background, saving data to the cloud based on your customizations. And if you’re lof on HD space you can use any one of the best free cloud music storage services to store and save your music safely.

On Apple’s end, the company keeps its servers running and software functioning. But Apple also offers a few iCloud extras. There’s an iCloud mail and management options at iCloudcom that you can access, and a family sharing plan that allows families to share purchases from the iTunes and App Stores, among other things.

One of the main features of iCloud is syncing. Make a change to a calendar on one device, and that change will travel to all devices, updating your calendar throughout. This is why it’s a good idea to use iCloud with all your Apple products, if you use it at all. The app is available on Macs, iPhones, iPads, and iPod Touch models with current operating system upgrades. It even works with Apple TV.

What Data Does it Work With, Exactly?

Nearly any data you want. In addition to anything you buy from Apple (music, books, apps, ect.) iCloud storage can take data from your photo collection, your contact lists, your calendars, reminders, saved documents, and more. There is a Photo Sharing option designed to make it particularly easy to share videos and photos, and Apple is working on an iCloud Photo Library as well. Another iCloud feature helps you find a missing mobile device using Find My iPhone at iCloud.com.

You can set iCloud control panel to receive data or ignore apps on a case-by-case basis. This is useful if you only want to save photos to the cloud, for example, but not your contact information or calendar data.

Read: How to Setup iCloud


Does it Cost Anything?

iCloud is free to use, but your storage is limited. Everyone starts at 5GB – not a lot, but not a useless amount, either. If you want more, you’ll have to buy a plan from Apple to increase the amount of storage you have, and keep on paying the plan on a monthly basis. Monthly rates vary based on your location, but you can take a look at them here. A dollar a month will give you 20GB.

How Can I Get It?

If you have an Apple device, you probably already have iCloud and may have already signed in – it might just be a matter of using it. But if you want to know more, Apple does have downloads available on its site.

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