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Gadgets & Home Improvement

Don't miss out on iCloud

Maximise your iOS 5 device with Apple's cloud storage and syching service
The Straits Times - January 25, 2012
By: Jasmine Osada
| More
Don't miss out on iCloud

Owners of iOS 5 devices may be missing out on iCloud because they did not sign up for it. This hidden box of treasures is Apple's cloud storage and synching service.

Though its name might suggest otherwise, getting iCloud up and running is no foggy process. This beginner's guide will get you started in no time.

What iCloud can do

iCloud is a service that lets you share, back up and synch files such as photos, calendars and word processing documents between your iOS devices and a desktop or laptop.

Digital purchases from the Apple App Store can be automatically synched.

Using iCloud is free and each user gets 5GB of storage upon setting up the service. More can be purchased, starting at US$20 (S$25.50) a year for 10GB.

iCloud is for (almost) everyone

You can use iCloud as long as you have an iOS device or a Mac. There is also a PC user interface, but it has fewer functions.

Setting up iCloud on your iOS devices and computers adds them to your network, so they will be able to access the same files.

Edited files and updated information will also be automatically synched among all the devices connected to the same iCloud account.

Signing up for iCloud

First, upgrade the operating system on your device to iOS 5 and you will automatically be redirected to the iCloud setup page.

If you opted to skip the initial set-up prompt, tap the Settings icon on the Home screen and select iCloud.

Mac users will need to have the OS X Lion operating system to use iCloud.

If you are already on Lion, go to System Preferences and click on the iCloud icon.

You will be asked to sign in to iCloud with your Apple ID.

PCs need to be running either Windows Vista or Windows 7 to use iCloud.

Go to Apple's site (icloud.com/icloudcontrolpanel) to download the iCloud Control Panel software for Windows. You will be prompted to sign in with an Apple ID when you start the program.

Using iCloud

Most iCloud functions work automatically. However, you need to let iCloud know what services you want synched.

To do so on an iOS device, access your iCloud options in Settings, choose the services you want to synch by switching the corresponding slider from 'Off' to 'On' (Photo 1).

On a computer, the slider switches are replaced by checkboxes (Photo 2).

If you want iCloud to synch your App Store purchases as well, first enable automatic downloads on each device.

On an iOS device, go to Settings, select Store, change the slider switches under the Automatic Download services, such as Apps and Books to 'On'.

For Mac and PC computers, the option can be found in the iTunes preference settings (Photo 3).

Click on the Store tab, then select the checkboxes of the automatic download services you want to synch.

Now, when you buy a new app, it will be automatically downloaded to your iOS devices.

Certain iCloud features can be accessed through your Web browser.

Visit iCloud at icloud.com and sign in with the same Apple ID you use for iCloud on your devices.

Once logged in, you will be able to see some synched items such as your mail, contacts and iWork documents.

All iWork files created on your computer or iOS devices can be uploaded to this online storage page and automatically synched once they are edited.

To access iWork files on your iOS devices, you will need the corresponding Keynote, Pages and Numbers apps (US$9.99 each, from the Apple App Store).

Apple ID tips

If you already know how to use iCloud, here are some bonus tips to get more out of the service.

Two types of Apple IDs work with iCloud: one that uses your non-Apple e-mail address as username, and the other that uses a me.com e-mail address log-in name.

Most features in iCloud will work with any Apple ID.

However, you will need an ID from MobileMe (me.com) to use the Mail and Notes features in iCloud.

If you signed into iCloud using a generic Apple ID, you will be prompted to create a MobileMe e-mail address when you turn on the iCloud settings for these two features.

Instead of using the same Apple ID for both iCloud and the App Store, consider creating a new and separate Apple ID just for iCloud instead. (You need not use the same Apple ID to sign in to both services.)

A separate ID for iCloud is especially useful if you share an App Store account with another person.

Using a different Apple ID for iCloud keeps information such as your contacts, e-mail and documents on iCloud private.

 

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