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iCloud Frequently Asked Questions FAQ

Article ID = 18
Article Title = iCloud Frequently Asked Questions FAQ
Article Author(s) = Graham Needham (BH)
Article Created On = 1st July 2011
Article Last Updated = 15th September 2023
Article URL = https://www.macstrategy.com/article.php?18

Article Brief Description:
Frequently Asked Questions about iCloud
Q. When was iCloud launched?
A. Apple launched iCloud on the 12th October 2011.
Q. How much does iCloud cost?
A. The "basic" iCloud service is free (with 5GB of storage space).
Q. What do I need to use the iCloud service?
A. To get the full benefits of iCloud you really need to be running one of the latest, up-to-date operating systems, but you will generally need an Apple ID plus one or more of the following:
  • An iPhone running iOS 5 or later
  • An iPod Touch running iOS 5or later
  • An iPad running iOS 5or later
  • An Apple Macintosh computer running OS X 10.10 Yosemite or later installed - earlier versions of OS X are no longer properly supported e.g. Family Sharing, iCloud Drive, iCloud Photos, Keychain in the Cloud and Mail Drop (large attachments)
  • A PC running Windows 10 or 11 using the iCloud control panel:
    • Microsoft Outlook required for Mail, Contacts, and Calendar
    • Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, or Microsoft Edge required for bookmarks in Windows 11
    • Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, or Microsoft Internet Explorer required for bookmarks in Windows 10
    • iCloud for Windows doesn't support Managed Apple IDs
    • Windows XP, Vista, 7 and 8 are no longer supported!
  • To use your Apple TV (2nd/3rd Generation) with iCloud/Photos (Stream) you need to update to Apple TV Software Update 4.4 or later
  • To use iPhoto with iCloud/Photos you need iPhoto 11 (v9) and install the 9.2.1 update or later
  • To use Aperture with iCloud/Photos you need Aperture v3 and install the 3.2.2 update or later
  • To use Safari with iCloud/Photos you need Safari 5.1.1 or later

A. To get the iTunes in the cloud features of iCloud you will need one or more of the following:
  • An iPhone running iOS 4.3.3 or later
  • An iPod Touch running iOS 4.3.3 or later
  • An iPad running iOS 4.3.3 or later
  • An Apple Macintosh computer running iTunes 10.3.1 or later
  • A PC running iTunes 10.3.1 or later
Q. What does the "basic" iCloud service give me?
A. When you sign up you will get the following:
  • An icloud.com email address (or you can continue to use your old one)
  • 5GB storage (separate to your purchased music, apps, books which are all stored for free)
  • Photos - includes the last 1000 pictures you have taken
  • Your content, on all your devices. Your iCloud data including documents of specific applications will be accessible from your iPad, iPhone, iPod touch, Mac or PC
  • iCloud will store all your iTunes purchased music, apps, books, documents, contacts, calendar and mail
  • "Find My Friends", "Find My iPhone", "Find My Mac" facilities (dependant on what software/hardware you have)
  • iCloud can be used to backup your iOS devices including:
    • Any purchased items (music, apps, books)
    • Photos and video in the camera roll
    • Device settings
    • App data
    • Your home screen and app organisation
    • Messages (iMessage, SMS text and MMS)
    • Ringtones
  • iCloud will be able to use the above backup data to restore an iOS device (via the internet)(
Q. What's the difference between iCloud "Documents and Data" and iCloud "Drive"?
A. From May 2022, iCloud Documents and Data, Apple's legacy document syncing service, was discontinued and replaced completely by iCloud Drive.
Q. What iCloud services are available via the "web"?
A. The following can be used online in a web browser e.g. Apple's Safari:
  • Mail
  • Contacts
  • Calendar
  • Photos
  • iCloud Drive (Desktop & Documents - macOS 10.12 or later required)
  • Notes
  • Reminders
  • Pages
  • Numbers
  • Keynote
  • Find My iPhone (iPod / iPad / Mac)
  • iCloud Storage and Plan settings
  • Data Recovery
Q. How secure is my data in iCloud?
A. Apple maintains a list here. Starting with iOS 16.2, iPadOS 16.2 and macOS 13.1, you can choose to enable Advanced Data Protection to protect the vast majority of your iCloud data using end-to-end encryption.
Q. Can I buy more storage capacity?
A. Yes, you can upgrade to "iCloud+". The UK pricing is:
  • 5GB = FREE
  • 50GB = 99p per month
  • 200GB = £2.99 per month
  • 2TB = £8.99 per month
  • 6TB† = £?.?? per month
  • 12TB† = £?.?? per month
Pricing last updated on 18th September 2023.
† = available from 18th September 2023.
Q. What does the "premium subscription" iCloud+ service give me?
A. When you pay for this service you will get the following: Not all features are available in all countries or regions.
Q. How do I purchase more storage capacity?
A. What operating system are you running?
  • iOS/iPadOS - go to Settings app > Apple ID (at the top) > iCloud > Manage Account Storage > tap Change Storage Plan
  • macOS 13 or later - go to Apple menu > System Settings > Apple ID (top-left) > iCloud (on the right) > Account Storage > click "Manage…" > click "Change Storage Plan…"
  • macOS 10.15 to macOS 12 - go to Apple menu > System Preferences > Apple ID (top-right) > iCloud (on the left) > Account Storage > click "Manage…" > click "Change Storage Plan…"
  • OS X 10.9 to macOS 10.14 - go to Apple menu > System Preferences > iCloud > Manage… > Buy More Storage…
  • OS X 10.7 or OS X 10.8 - go to Apple menu > System Preferences > Internet & Wireless > iCloud > Manage… > Buy More Storage…
Q. What does "iTunes in the cloud" give me?
A. iTunes now stores your music and TV purchases in iCloud and makes them available on your (iCloud compatible) devices anywhere, any time, at no additional cost.
NOTE: iTunes in the cloud may not be available in all countries. It is available in the United Kingdom. Check this Apple support document to see if the service is available in your country.
Q. If I am backing up my iOS device to iCloud can I still backup locally using iTunes?
A. You can't do both but there is a setting in iOS 5 or later that allows you to switch between the two backup types.
Q. Can I avoid storing and sharing photos from my iOS device automatically online?
A. Yes. Go to Settings app > Photos and switch OFF all of the following:
  • iCloud Photos
  • My Photo Stream
  • Shared Albums
Q. Do I have control over what is synchronised with the cloud?
A. Yes. What operating system are you running?
  • iPhone/iPad with iOS or iPadOS 17.x - go to Settings app > tap on your name at the top of the list > iCloud > tap "Show All" under 'APPS USING ICLOUD'. You have individual control over the following:
    • TBC
  • iPhone/iPad with iOS or iPadOS 16.x - go to Settings app > tap on your name at the top of the list > iCloud > tap "Show All" under 'APPS USING ICLOUD'. You have individual control over the following:
  • iPhone/iPad/iPod with iOS or iPadOS 15.x - go to Settings app > tap on your name at the top of the list > iCloud > tap "Show All" under 'APPS USING ICLOUD'. You have individual control over the following:
    • TBC
  • iPhone/iPad/iPod with iOS or iPadOS 14.x - go to Settings app > iCloud. You have individual control over the following:
  • iPhone/iPad/iPod with iOS or iPadOS 13.x - go to Settings app > iCloud. You have individual control over the following:
  • iPhone/iPad/iPod with iOS 12.x - go to Settings app > iCloud. You have individual control over the following:
    • Photos
    • Mail
    • Contacts
    • Calendars
    • Reminders
    • Notes - upgraded notes require iOS 9 or later, OS X 10.11 or later
    • Messages - requires iOS 11.4 or later, macOS 10.13.5 or later or Windows
    • Safari
    • News
    • Home
    • Health - if your iOS device supports it
    • Wallet
    • Game Center
    • Siri
    • Keychain
    • Find My iPhone/iPad/iPod
    • iCloud Backup
    • iCloud Drive - requires iOS 8 or later, OS X 10.10 or later or Windows
    • ~Apple apps including Books and Pages~
    • ~third party apps~
  • iPhone/iPad/iPod with iOS 11.x - go to Settings app > iCloud. You have individual control over the following:
    • Photos
    • Mail
    • Contacts
    • Calendars
    • Reminders
    • Notes - upgraded notes require iOS 9 or later, OS X 10.11 or later
    • Messages - requires iOS 11.4 or later, macOS 10.13.5 or later or Windows
    • Safari
    • News
    • Home
    • Health - if your iOS device supports it
    • Wallet
    • Game Center
    • Siri
    • Keychain
    • Find My iPhone/iPad/iPod
    • iCloud Backup
    • iCloud Drive - requires iOS 8 or later, OS X 10.10 or later or Windows
    • ~Apple apps including iBooks and Pages~
    • ~third party apps~
  • iPhone/iPad/iPod with iOS 10.3 or later - go to Settings app > ~your ID at the top~ > iCloud. You have individual control over the following:
    • Photos
    • Mail
    • Contacts
    • Calendars
    • Reminders
    • Notes - upgraded notes require iOS 9 or later, OS X 10.11 or later
    • Safari
    • News
    • Home
    • Wallet
    • Game Center
    • Keychain
    • Find My iPhone/iPad/iPod
    • iCloud Backup
    • iCloud Drive - requires iOS 8 or later, OS X 10.10 or later or Windows
    • ~Apple apps including iBooks and Pages~
    • ~third party apps~
  • iPhone/iPad/iPod with iOS 9.x - go to Settings > iCloud. You have individual control over the following:
  • iPhone/iPad/iPod with iOS 8.x - go to Settings app > iCloud. You have individual control over the following:
  • iPhone/iPad/iPod with iOS 7.x - go to Settings app > iCloud. You have individual control over the following:
  • iPhone/iPad/iPod with iOS 6.x - go to Settings app > iCloud. You have individual control over the following:
  • macOS 14 Sonoma - go to Apple menu > System Settings > "Sign in with your Apple ID" (top-left) > iCloud (on the right). You have individual control over the following:
    • Photos†
    • iCloud Drive - with individual control over "Desktop & Documents Folders" + Shortcuts + individual application storage
    • iCloud Mail†
    • Passwords & Keychain (in the cloud)†
    • Click "Show All" to reveal settings for the below items: The following items have now been moved to iCloud+:
      • iCloud Storage
      • Private Relay
      • HomeKit Secure Video
      • Family Sharing
      • Hide my Email
      The following additional configuration items are now also available:
      • Advanced Data Protection - enable end-to-end encryption for some services
      • Access iCloud Data on the Web
    † - This information can only be synchronised across multiple iOS devices/Mac computers if you have an iCloud account (Apple ID) - you cannot synchronise these types of data via USB/iTunes.
    †† - Messages (in iCloud) has now been moved to the Messages app > Messages menu > Settings… > iMessage > Settings tab - Messages in iCloud requires iOS 11.4 or later, macOS 10.13.5 or later
  • macOS 13 Ventura - go to Apple menu > System Settings > "Sign in with your Apple ID" (top-left) > iCloud (on the right). You have individual control over the following:
    • Photos†
    • iCloud Drive - with individual control over "Desktop & Documents Folders" + Shortcuts + individual application storage
    • iCloud Mail†
    • Passwords & Keychain (in the cloud)†
    • Click "Show All" to reveal settings for the below items: The following items have now been moved to iCloud+:
      • iCloud Storage
      • Private Relay
      • HomeKit Secure Video
      • Family Sharing
      • Hide my Email
      The following additional configuration items are now also available:
      • Advanced Data Protection - enable end-to-end encryption for some services
      • Access iCloud Data on the Web
    † - This information can only be synchronised across multiple iOS devices/Mac computers if you have an iCloud account (Apple ID) - you cannot synchronise these types of data via USB/iTunes.
    †† - Messages (in iCloud) has now been moved to the Messages app > Messages menu > Settings… > iMessage > Settings tab - Messages in iCloud requires iOS 11.4 or later, macOS 10.13.5 or later
  • macOS 12 Monterey - go to Apple menu > System Preferences > Apple ID (at the top - or click "Sign In") > iCloud (on the left). You have individual control over the following:
    • Photos†
    • Keychain (in the cloud)†
    • Private Relay
    • Hide my email
    • iCloud Drive - with individual control over "Desktop & Documents Folders" + Shortcuts + individual application storage
    • iCloud Mail†
    • Contacts
    • Calendars
    • Reminders† - upgraded reminders require iOS 13 or later / iPadOS 13 or later / macOS 10.15 or later
    • Messages - requires iOS 11.4 or later, macOS 10.13.5 or later
    • Notes† - see also the Warnings list at the top of the macOS 12 Monterey FAQ page
    • Safari†
    • Find My Mac
    • News
    • Stocks
    • Home
    • Siri (if your Mac supports Siri)
    † - This information can only be synchronised across multiple iOS devices/Mac computers if you have an iCloud account (Apple ID) - you cannot synchronise these types of data via USB/iTunes.
  • macOS 11 Big Sur - go to Apple menu > System Preferences > Apple ID (at the top - or click "Sign In") > iCloud (on the left). You have individual control over the following:
    • iCloud Drive - with individual control over "Desktop & Documents Folders" + individual application storage
    • Photos†
    • Mail†
    • Contacts
    • Calendars
    • Reminders† - upgraded reminders require iOS 13 or later / iPadOS 13 or later / macOS 10.15 or later
    • Notes† - requires "upgraded" Notes with iOS 9 or later, OS X 10.11 or later
    • Safari†
    • Keychain (in the cloud)†
    • Find My Mac
    • News
    • Stocks
    • Home
    • Siri (if your Mac supports Siri)
    † - This information can only be synchronised across multiple iOS devices/Mac computers if you have an iCloud account (Apple ID) - you cannot synchronise these types of data via USB/iTunes.
  • macOS 10.15 Catalina - go to Apple menu > System Preferences > Apple ID (in the top right - or click "Sign In") > iCloud (on the left). You have individual control over the following:
  • † - This information can only be synchronised across multiple iOS devices/Mac computers if you have an iCloud account (Apple ID) - you cannot synchronise these types of data via USB/iTunes.
  • macOS 10.14 Mojave - go to Apple menu > System Preferences > iCloud. You have individual control over the following:
    • iCloud Drive - with individual control over "Desktop & Documents Folders" + individual application storage
    • Photos†
    • Mail†
    • Contacts
    • Calendars
    • Reminders†
    • Messages - requires iOS 11.4 or later, macOS 10.13.5 or later
    • Safari†
    • Notes† - upgraded notes require iOS 9 or later, OS X 10.11 or later
    • Siri (if your Mac supports Siri)
    • Keychain (in the cloud)†
    • Find My Mac
    • News
    • Stocks
    • Home
    † - This information can only be synchronised across multiple iOS devices/Mac computers if you have an iCloud account (Apple ID) - you cannot synchronise these types of data via USB/iTunes.
  • macOS 10.13 High Sierra - go to Apple menu > System Preferences > iCloud. You have individual control over the following:
    • iCloud Drive - with individual control over "Desktop & Documents Folders" + individual application storage
    • Photos†
    • Mail†
    • Contacts
    • Calendars
    • Reminders†
    • Messages - requires iOS 11.4 or later, macOS 10.13.5 or later
    • Safari†
    • Notes† - upgraded notes require iOS 9 or later, OS X 10.11 or later
    • Keychain (in the cloud)†
    • Back To My Mac
    • Find My Mac
    † - This information can only be synchronised across multiple iOS devices/Mac computers if you have an iCloud account (Apple ID) - you cannot synchronise these types of data via USB/iTunes.
  • macOS 10.12 Sierra - go to Apple menu > System Preferences > iCloud. You have individual control over the following:
    • iCloud Drive - with individual control over "Desktop & Documents Folders" + individual application storage
    • Photos†
    • Mail†
    • Contacts
    • Calendars
    • Reminders†
    • Safari†
    • Notes† - upgraded notes require iOS 9 or later, OS X 10.11 or later
    • Keychain (in the cloud)†
    • Back To My Mac
    • Find My Mac
    † - This information can only be synchronised across multiple iOS devices/Mac computers if you have an iCloud account (Apple ID) - you cannot synchronise these types of data via USB/iTunes.
  • OS X 10.11 El Capitan - go to Apple menu > System Preferences > iCloud. You have individual control over the following:
    • Photos†
    • Mail†
    • Contacts
    • Calendars
    • Reminders†
    • iCloud Drive† - requires iOS 8 or later, OS X 10.10 or later or Windows
    • Keychain (in the cloud)†
    • Notes† - upgraded notes require iOS 9 or later, OS X 10.11 or later
    • Safari†
    • Back To My Mac
    • Find My Mac
    † - This information can only be synchronised across multiple iOS devices/Mac computers if you have an iCloud account (Apple ID) - you cannot synchronise these types of data via USB/iTunes.
  • OS X 10.10 Yosemite - go to Apple menu > System Preferences > iCloud. You have individual control over the following:
    • iCloud Drive† - requires iOS 8 or later, OS X 10.10 or later or Windows
    • Photos†
    • Mail†
    • Contacts
    • Calendars
    • Reminders†
    • Safari (bookmarks)†
    • Notes†
    • Keychain (in the cloud)†
    • Back To My Mac
    • Find My Mac
    † - This information can only be synchronised across multiple iOS devices/Mac computers if you have an iCloud account (Apple ID) - you cannot synchronise these types of data via USB/iTunes.
  • OS X 10.9 Mavericks - go to Apple menu > System Preferences > iCloud. You have individual control over the following:
  • OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion - go to Apple menu > System Preferences > Internet & Wireless > iCloud. You have individual control over the following:
  • OS X 10.7 Lion - go to Apple menu > System Preferences > Internet & Wireless > iCloud. You have individual control over the following:
  • Windows 10 or 11 - go to Start menu > Control Panels > iCloud. You have individual control over the following:
    • iCloud Photos, iCloud Shared Photo Library and Shared Albums
    • iCloud Drive
    • Mail, Contacts, and Calendar (with Outlook)
    • iCloud Passwords
    • iCloud Bookmarks (with Chrome, Firefox, or Edge)
  • Windows 7 or 8 - go to Start menu > Control Panels > iCloud. You have individual control over the following:
    • Mail, Contacts, Calendars and Tasks (with Outlook)
    • Bookmarks (with Chrome)
    • Photos
    • Storage
Q. What is "iTunes Match"?
A. iTunes Match will allow you to match up any music in your iTunes library not purchased from Apple and download it from iTunes (and thus also store the music in the cloud). See our iTunes Match FAQ for more information.
NOTE: iTunes Match may not be available in all countries. It is available in the United Kingdom for £21.99 per year. Check this Apple support document to see if the service is available in your country.
Q. When iCloud data synchronises data between devices is the data encrypted?
A. See this official Apple article.
Q. Is the data store in iCloud encrypted? Does anyone have access to it?
A. See this official Apple article.
Q. Does iCloud recompress images/video/audio as it synchronises the data or is the synch "lossless"?
A. At present this is unknown - please check back.
Q. Can I use (non-Apple) email clients on my computer to access iCloud email?
A. Yes. Go to iCloud, click on Help at the bottom left, click Mail > Set up iCloud Mail > Set up iCloud Mail on your devices and computers > select your email client. The basic iCloud mail server settings can be found here.
Q. I'm having a problem with iCloud. Is there any way to know if iCloud is currently experiencing problems?
A. Yes. Keep track of iCloud issues via their status page.
Q. What happened to MobileMe?
A. The MobileMe service was switched off on 1st July 2012. There was a limited time where you could still move a MobileMe account to iCloud and also download your Gallery photos and iDisk files - this closed on 01/08/2012.
Q. I had a MobileMe account but I didn't do anything. What can I do?
A. Nothing, sorry. Your account and any data has now been removed/lost.
Q. I'm having problems connecting to file servers in the Finder/from the Desktop e.g. SMB Windows Servers/NAS or AFP Apple servers. The connection is really slow and it takes a long time/ages for the login screen to appear. What's wrong?
A. If you had a MobileMe account and/or used iDisk, Apple's closing down of the MobileMe servers can affect OS X's ability to connect to file servers via the Finder's Go menu > Connect To Server. First go to Apple menu > System Preferences > MobileMe and click the "Logout" button. Then go to Macintosh HD > Applications > Utilities > Terminal and enter these commands: sudo defaults delete /Users/[username]/Library/Preferences/.GlobalPreferences iToolsMember sudo defaults delete /Users/[username]/Library/Preferences/.GlobalPreferences iToolsMemberDomain NOTE: [username] should be replaced with your computer user account name (you can check what this is by going to Macintosh HD > Users and checking what the name of the house icon is called).

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