iCloud: What is iCloud?

What is iCloud?

iCloud offers free mail, contacts, calendar, and other features that are easy to set up and use. It lets you share family purchases, backs up your iOS devices, and helps you find lost devices.

iCloud stores your photos and videos, documents, music, calendars, contacts, and more. It pushes your up-to-date content automatically to all your iOS devices and computers signed into iCloud with the same Apple ID.

iCloud upload image.

Get started

To get started, just set up iCloud on your iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Mac, Windows computer, or Apple TV. Then you can use the apps from your computer’s web browser. For more information about the apps or iCloud features, select a topic in the table of contents or use the search field in the upper right.

iCloud features

Here are the features of iCloud,, and some apps that use iCloud. Some features have minimum system requirements.

  • Content everywhere: Automatically get purchases from the iTunes Store, App Store, and iBooks Store on all your devices. You can also download past purchases on any of your devices, for free, anytime. For more information, see What is content everywhere?

  • Photos:

    Use Photos on to view, add, remove, or download photos and videos to iCloud Photo Library beta.
    Use iCloud Photo Sharing to share photos and videos with just the people you choose, and let them add photos, videos, and comments.
    iCloud also stores all photos recently added to your devices in My Photo Stream.

  • Family Sharing: Up to six family members can share their iTunes Store, iBooks Store, and App Store purchases without sharing accounts. Pay for family purchases with the same credit card and approve kids’ spending right from a parent’s device. Plus, share photos, a family calendar, reminders, and locations. For more information, see the Apple Support article Guide to Family Sharing.

  • iCloud Drive: Safely store and organize all kinds of documents in iCloud by using iCloud Drive on, and access them from any of your devices set up for iCloud Drive. Plus, use your iOS 8 apps and Pages, Numbers, and Keynote on to work with documents stored in iCloud Drive.

  • Pages, Numbers, and Keynote for iCloud beta: Create and edit spreadsheets, presentations, and other documents using beta versions of Pages, Numbers, and Keynote on, in English only. Use the same documents in the Pages, Numbers, and Keynote apps on your iOS devices set up for iCloud Drive.

  • Bookmarks, Reading List, and iCloud Tabs: Use Safari on any of your devices to see the webpages you have open on your other devices (your iCloud Tabs), and easily resume browsing. Use Safari on any of your devices to read articles from your Reading List, even when you’re offline. Plus, use the same bookmarks in Safari on your Mac and iOS devices and in Internet Explorer, Firefox, or Google Chrome on your Windows computer.

  • iCloud Keychain: Keep your passwords, credit card information, and more up to date, and enter it automatically on your iOS devices and Mac computers. For more information, use the Help menu on your Mac to search for iCloud Keychain, or go to Basics > Security > iCloud Keychain in the user guide for your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch.

  • Mail, Contacts, Calendar, Notes, and Reminders: Create and edit contacts, calendars, notes, and reminders using Contacts, Calendar, Notes, and Reminders on iCloud keeps them up to date across your devices. With your free email address, your inbox and mail folders are always up to date on your devices.

  • iMovie Theater: Watch your finished movies and trailers on all your devices. For more information, see iMovie Help for iPhone, iPad, or Mac.

  • Find My iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, or Mac: Find your missing iOS device or Mac, or one belonging to a family member, by using Find My iPhone on You locate it on a map and can play a loud sound, lock the screen, or erase its data. Find My iPhone includes Activation Lock, which makes it harder for anyone to use or sell your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch if it’s ever lost or stolen. Besides using Find My iPhone on, you can download and use the free app on your iOS device.

  • Backup and restore: iCloud automatically backs up your iOS device daily over Wi-Fi when your device is turned on, locked, and connected to a power source. You can use your iCloud backup to restore your iOS device or set up a new one.

  • Back to My Mac: Securely connect your Mac to your remote Mac over the Internet, then share the screen or files of your remote Mac. For more information, go to the Finder on your Mac, then use the Help menu to search for Back to My Mac.

Last Modified: Oct 30, 2014
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