You can use Apple’s iCloud to help share and synchronise data between your Mac – or handheld Apple device such as an iPhone or iPad – and Windows PC
Given Apple’s reputation for controlling the hardware and the software of its computers, operating system and services, it’s surprising that there’s a version of iCloud available for Windows. But while it has many of the same features as the Mac version – including 5GB of free storage and support for the Photo Stream – there are also significant restrictions and differences.
First, you’ll need a copy of Outlook 2007 or 2010 in order to set up calendars, contacts and reminders; second, there’s no option in the Windows iCloud Control Panel to synchronise documents and data.
Start by loading a web browser like Internet Explorer and going to www.apple.com/icloud. When the page loads, scroll down to the Simple setup panel and click the Learn more link. At the next screen, find the PC panel and click the Set up now link. Scroll down to the Step 1 panel and click the Download now link there. This opens the screen for the iCloud Control Panel for Windows (at the time of publishing this was on version 1.1). Click the Download button on the right to continue. Ignore any security warnings and follow the options to save the setup program to the Windows desktop. Double-click the new icon on the desktop and follow the instructions to install the iCloud Control Panel.
When iCloud has finished installing, make sure there’s a tick next to ‘Open the iCloud Control Panel’ and click the Finish button. When the dialogue box appears, type in your Apple ID and password (this is the same ID used to buy stuff from the iTunes Store – if you don't have one, go to the Apple ID webpage) and click the Sign in button and after a second the iCloud Control Panel will appear. To get to this screen in future, click the Start button, then open the Control Panel and choose Network and Internet – then click the iCloud icon.
Let’s get started by putting a tick next to the empty box by Photo Stream. Then click the Apply button. Photo Stream is an iCloud service which uploads the last 30 days’ photos automatically from any device associated with the iCloud account. By default this creates two new folders on the PC – called My Photo Stream and Uploads. These go inside the main user’s Pictures folder, inside another folder called Photo Stream. Any pictures placed in the Uploads folder will be added to the user’s iCloud, while new photos (say, taken on an iPhone using the same iCloud account) will be added to the My Photo Stream folder. Here we’ve opened Windows Explorer to show the folders.
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