The iCloud: Apple's virtual storage

Alexandra Malureanu

by Alexandra Malureanu

Along with the launch of iPhone 4S and iOS 5, there is also another major modification that Apple shared to its users. In the aspiration of having everything done wirelessly, Apple released its own cloud-based storage – the iCloud. iCloud is compatible with iOS 5 and OS X Lion so all new and newly-updated Apple gadgets are all set for it. iCloud users automatically get 5 GB free storage for signing up.

Backup options in iTunes

iCloud in a nutshell

iCloud is just like any other hard drive where you can save your files for future access. The only difference is that, as its name suggests, it is done virtually in ‘The Cloud’. Its goal is not to replace local storage on a device (iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Mac or PC) but to make all the data (music, apps, photos, etc.) you save accessible by all Apple devices and computers you own, anytime and anywhere. It virtually syncs all the data between your devices so your contacts, emails and calendars are always up-to-date. Additionally, it saves the settings and configuration and stores a backup for your iDevice (iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad) so if anything goes wrong, you can restore it easily without connecting to iTunes.

Which apps are supported by iCloud?

  • iTunes: Download your music across your iDevices. Music purchased outside iTunes count against the storage size but those that were purchased via iTunes do not, of course.
  • Photo Stream: iCloud gives you access to 1000 of your recent photos for 30 days through Photo Stream. It pushes a copy of the photo taken by your iDevice to the Photos app so all your devices contain all your photos, regardless which iDevice you use. This also does not count against your iCloud space. If you want to save the photos for longer, you must save them to your Camera Roll. Camera Roll uses your iCloud storage.
  • Documents: Open and edit your documents on whichever iDevice you prefer.
  • Apps, Books and Backup: Store and back them up for easier access across your devices.
  • Calendar, Mail and Contacts: Keep your iDevices up-to-date.

What to expect in the iCloud?

Expect iCloud to make your data accessible on all your iDevices but you must be wary of your storage space. All music, videos, apps, books and the like that are not purchased thru iTunes will use up your virtual hard disk. Make sure you manage your iCloud efficiently so you can maximize the free space for the data you frequently access. You may purchase additional space of course, but expect that it will not be cheap. You may also opt out from iCloud and stick with the old way wherein you backup and restore your data thru iTunes, in that way you do not have to worry about anything aside from your local storage size.

Alexandra Malureanu

by Alexandra Malureanu on

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