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iCloud: What is iCloud?

What is iCloud?

iCloud gives you access to your music, photos, contacts, calendars, documents, and more from your Mac, iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Windows computer. iCloud stores your content and automatically keeps it up to date on all your devices. iCloud is easy to set up on your devices, and it’s easy to use with the apps included with your Mac and iOS devices, as well as the apps on iCloud.com.

iCloud upload image.

Get started

To get started, just set up iCloud on your iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, or Mac. Then you can use iCloud.com apps from your computer’s web browser, and you can set up iCloud on your Windows computer and Apple TV.

If you haven’t yet set up iCloud on your iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, or Mac, you can still use the Pages, Numbers, and Keynote apps on iCloud.com.

iCloud features

Here are the features of iCloud, iCloud.com, 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, and download past purchases anytime. For more information, see What is content everywhere?

  • Photos: Use iCloud Photo Library beta to keep your entire library, including photos and videos, stored in the cloud and up to date on all your iOS devices and on iCloud.com. Use iCloud Photo Sharing to share photos and videos with just the people you choose, and let them add photos, videos, and comments.

  • iCloud Drive: Safely store and organize all kinds of documents in iCloud. Access them from iCloud Drive on iCloud.com and your devices set up for iCloud Drive.

  • Family Sharing: Up to six family members can share their iTunes Store, App Store, and iBooks 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 Family Sharing.

  • Mail, Contacts, Calendar, Notes, and Reminders: Keep your mail, contacts, calendars, notes, and reminders up to date using Mail, Contacts, Calendar, Notes, and Reminders on iCloud.com, and using apps on your iOS devices, Mac, and Windows computer.

  • Find My iPhone: Find your missing iOS device or Mac, or one belonging to a family member, by using Find My iPhone on iCloud.com. 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.

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

  • Bookmarks, Reading List, and iCloud Tabs: See the webpages you have open on your Mac and iOS devices (your iCloud Tabs). Read articles from your Reading List, even when you’re offline. Plus, use the same bookmarks on your iOS devices, Mac, and Windows computer. For more information, go to the Safari section in the user guide for your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch. Or, on your Mac, click the Safari icon in the Dock, then choose Help > Safari Help.

  • 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, go to Basics > Security > iCloud Keychain in the user guide for your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch. Or, on your Mac, click the Finder icon in the Dock, choose Help > Mac Help or Help > Help Center, then search for iCloud Keychain.

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

  • 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, on your Mac, click the Finder icon in the Dock, choose Help > Mac Help or Help > Help Center, then search for Back to My Mac.

With iCloud, you get an email account and 5 GB of storage for your mail, documents, photos, and iOS device backups. Your purchased music, apps, TV shows, and books don’t count against your available space. See iCloud storage and backup overview.

Last Modified: Jan 8, 2015
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