iCloud Review

A survey carried out at the end of 2013 shows that Apple iCloud is the world’s most widely used cloud storage service. iCloud is an Apple service and functions more as a data-syncing service than a cloud storage. The main function of iCloud is to sync data across Apple devices and Windows computers as well. With iCloud, Mac users can access the events, calendar, images, contacts, iTunes music and some other files using a Windows device too. Let’s check out what Apple iCloud can do for backing up the data on your Apple Device.


Starting with Apple iCloud

For starting with iCloud, you need to sign up using an Apple ID. iCloud is compatible with iPhones/iPads running on iOS 5 or later, Mac running on OS X Lion or later and Windows computers having Windows Vista SP 2 or later. Using a computer, tablet or smartphone running any of the above mentioned platforms, you can start using Apple iCloud.

iCloud Store Preferences

iCloud Pricing Plans

Once you’ve signed up for iCloud, you’ll get 5 GB free cloud storage. This space can store iCloud backup, the data for different applications, iCloud documents and iCloud email. There are upgrades as well if you need more space. The iCloud storage volume can also be reduced with the iCloud Storage Management Overview.

iCloud Pricing

iDevice backup on iCloud

If you’re using an Apple device at the moment, there is a big chance that you’re already using iCloud’s automatic backup. Go to the iCloud page on your settings menu and check at the bottom for “Storage & Backup”This is where you can turn on the iCloud Backup feature.

iCloud Control Panel

From the Manage Storage section, you can choose the specific apps which you would like to back up. It’s a good idea to keep the unimportant app backups turned off to ensure that you’re not wasting your free cloud space.

If you have no problem paying for extra storage, you can choose any of the premium plans. Usually 5 GB is a quite good volume of storage space for an iPhone/iPad user. You can refrain from worrying about the iCloud eating up all your data, as it will back up the data only over Wi-Fi.


What will be synced by iCloud?

Like any other ordinary cloud storage serviceiCloud cannot be used to backup any type of file. iCloud clearly shows how Apple is pushing its users to a platform centered on mobile apps and prioritizes syncing app data than normal file synchronization. Let’s check out the stuffs which will be synced to the cloud server by iCloud.


Calender

When you have turned on the iCloud syncing option for your calendar, it will sync all your calendar events to the cloud. All the devices registered with your Apple ID will have these events synced to their calendars. Visit www.icloud.com from any smart device and you can access your Apple calendar with your Apple ID.


Contacts

Nothing can be worse than losing all your important iPhone/iPad contacts. With the iCloud turned on, all your contacts will be perfectly synced across all your devices. Add or change any contact info, and it will be instantly synced over all the iPhone, iPad, Mac or iCloud web, which can be accessed using your Apple ID.


Photo Stream

The Photo Stream app has more to offer than the Calendar or Contacts. This works on Windows computers too, provided that iCloud is installed on the device. Turning on photo syncing on you iDevice will create a new album titled Photo Stream. All the photos in this album will be automatically uploaded to the cloud.

iCloud Streaming

In my experience, Photo Stream is a much more comfortable on a Windows device than on Mac. A folder with distinct labels show up and the photos can be opened using any software you like. On a Mac, on the other hand, you can’t open the photos without iPhoto or Aperture.


Email

The iCloud email app has a gorgeous design and elegant interface. There are three panels with the left one comprising of Inbox, Drafts, Set etc. categories. The message headers with a short preview are on the central panel. The right panel shows the messages on a broad area. Just like the previous contents, iCloud will sync your emails over all devices.

iCloud Email Client

iWork

Without iWork apps i.e. without Keynote, Pages and Numbers on your iDevice, this feature of iCloud will come to no use. You can download these iWork files in their native format from the web portal of iCloud. A folder is not synced, but the iWork files are synced in this section. Learn how iCloud had some downtime last year on Cloud Tweaks.


iTunes

iCloud offers iTunes music sync service in two ways. Firstly the free or purchased storage on iCloud can be used to store your iTunes music. And secondly, any music that you’ve ever purchased through iTunes will be stored in a space, other than your allotted free or purchased space.

The Pros of Apple iCloud

  • Supports Windows, Mac and iOS devices
  • Apple device data backed up automatically
  • Features iTunes match – the perfect music backup
  • Features automatic photo backup for Apple users

The Cons of Apple iCloud

  • A fully app-centric cloud solution
  • Restricted file types
  • No folder syncing
  • Confusing interface
  • Photo and music web interface not available

The Verdict

Apple has always been known for their sheer elegance and pure design. If you’re using an Apple device at the moment, it would be foolish not to use the Apple iCloud service. However, if you’re not an Apple user, Apple iCloud will be of little use to you.

This is definitely not a regular cloud service to be used commercially, rather it’s a service to be used by all Apple lovers on their iPhone, iPads, iPods or Mac computers. As an app-centric cloud solution, Apple iCloud is simply perfect!

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