Wednesday, December 12, 2012

How do Regular People Use iCloud?

My grandson, Jordan, asked me to write how he can use iCloud. So I did some research and tried some things.

Apple's iCloud works with Apple devices(iPhone, iPad,iPod Touch and Macs). Apple does this a lot. FaceTime video calling works between Apple devices only. iCloud allows information to move smoothly from one device to another device. iCloud stores your music, photos, documents and more . 

Please don't think Apple has the lock on this capability as data movement between devices has been going on for a while now. However, iCloud creates a nice experience for those of you in the Apple realm. View a short video look at iCloud.
iCloud fundamentally is a synchronization service. To many people used to services like Dropbox, or even Windows Live SkyDrive, iCloud will likely look like an online storage service. It's not -- even though such capability is available. Storage is there to facilitate sync across multiple devices -- Macs, Windows PCs, smart phones, music players and tablets. Other services primarily sync to the cloud, while Apple's service uses the cloud to sync content among devices.


Above is a graphic that shows how iCloud is so useful. It can move information from one Apple device (an iPhone) to another (an iPad). A really good example are photos. I hear often "how to I get photos from my iPhone to my iPad so I can view them on that terrific, large screen?" The feature is called Photo Steam and it uses iCloud. 
On each device, turn iCloud on by going to Settings > iCloud > [app]
In the old days (just a few months ago, one would either e-mail those photos or connect the iPhone to a Mac or PC and use iTunes to retrieve the photoes, then connect the iPad and use iTunes to transfer the photos. Whew, what a chore. Thank goodness for iCloud.
In many ways, iCloud eliminates iTunes as the method for moving information to the Mac and then synchronizing with another device. Turn the iCloud synchronizing on is 
I've been asked if iCloud works on Windows and it does indeed. Here is a brief article on iCloud for Windows 2.0.
Beyond the above photo example, here are some other real world uses of iCloud.
  • Back up your device. If your iPhone/iPad/iPod Touch was lost, stolen or was damaged, getting all of your apps and data can be restored quickly and easily if it was backed up to iCloud.
  • Keep your calendar, e-mail and contacts synchronized on your devices and Mac by using iCloud instead of iTunes.
  • Keep the Reminders the same on your iPhone and iPad and iPod Touch by Turning Reminders on in iCloud.
  • Synchronize Safari Bookmarks between devices and Mac. Save a new bookmark on one device and have it go to all of your devices.
  • My wife loves the Notes app on her iPad. Now she can have the same notes on her iPhone by turning Notes on in iCloud.
  • We purchased the app mGifts for the iPad to make holiday gift lists and track what was purchased and at what prices. This handy tool is really nice but taking the iPad to the store as a shopping list is not very practical. mGifts uses iCloud to synchronize all of the information to the iPhone. As a result, my wife uses her iPhone as the shopping list in the store. This is done by turning on Documents and Data in iCloud.

Thank you for the blog idea Jordan.  

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