iCloud is easy to set up and enables you to share your chosen files and photos with other Apple Mac computers and devices such as iPhones and iPads
The iCloud service requires an internet connection to work and Mac users will need OS X Lion or later (to find out what version of OS X is installed on a Mac, open the Apply menu at the top left and choose About this Mac from the menu – it needs to be 10.7 or later).
To run iCloud, iPhones require iOS 5.0 or later (check that by tapping Settings on the home screen, choosing General, About and then scrolling down the screen to see the version number listed there).
Everyone who uses iCloud needs an Apple ID. Many people will already have one – for using the iTunes Store, for example – but there is a simple way to check. Load a web browser and visit http://appleid.apple.com/uk. This page makes it easy create an Apple ID, manage an existing one, reset the password and so on. And for anyone not sure if they have an Apple ID or not, there’s a helpful link to sort that out. All done? Open the Apple menu and choose System Preferences. When the window opens, find the Internet & Wireless section and left-click on iCloud. When the iCloud dialogue box appears, type in an Apple ID and password, and click the Sign In button.
After a moment, the setup screen appears and automatically offers to upload contacts, calendars and bookmarks to iCloud. This will make the contents of the Mac’s Address Book and any bookmarks created using the Safari web browser accessible from other iCloud-enabled devices (see Step 4). Calendar works slightly differently in that data isn’t uploaded at this point. Rather, a new shared calendar is created that can be used for any appointments that need to be shared with other devices via iCloud. The Find My Mac option is also ticked. It’s a really useful service that can be used to track down a stolen or misplaced Mac. Click Next and then click Allow to turn on location finding.
The next screen displays a list of those items that are copied up to iCloud by default. Besides the Contacts, Calendars and Bookmarks, there is also an entry for Documents & Data. This can be potentially confusing for new iCloud users because it’s natural to assume this refers to documents and data that get created and stored by popular programs such as Word and Excel. In fact, it’s a way of allowing programs running on a Mac computer and an iOS device such as an iPhone or iPad to synchronise files automatically – it’s important to note that programs have to be specially written to take advantage of it. Word doesn’t, for example, but Apple’s own iWorks word processor, spreadsheet and presentation programs do.
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