How To Master All That Free iCloud Storage Apple Gives You

steve jobs icloud

Photo: Associated Press

iCloud may not be the perfect solution for keeping all your iDevices backed up and in sync, but compared to Apple’s last attempt, MobileMe, it’s a godsend.Plus, it’s free this time around.

Even if you don’t want to use iCloud to back up your contacts, emails, etc., it’s still incredibly useful if only for its ability to automatically back up your iPhone or iPad so you never have to sync with your computer again.

But it does a lot more than that.

Keep reading to learn how to get the most out of those 5 free gigabytes of storage Apple gives every iPhone user.

If it's your first time using iCloud, you need to log in using your Apple ID. This is the same email address and password you use to download apps from the App Store.

With iCloud backups, there's no longer a need to sync your iPhone with your computer via iTunes. Everything will be saved in the cloud. Your iPhone will automatically back up to iCloud when it's charging, connected to Wi-Fi, and locked.

You can get a detailed view of what's backed up. Let's see the options for our iPhone.

From here you can select the apps you want to back up to iCloud. It'll save all your passwords, game progress, etc. If you ever lose data on your phone, all your apps will download again when you log back in to iCloud.

If you use iWork for documents, presentations, and spreadsheets, you can keep everything synced to iCloud. Let's try it.

Here we started a new presentation. Let's see if it synced to iCloud.

From your PC, go to icloud.com and log in. Then click the Documents icon on the far right.

Wow! Our presentation is already there waiting for us. Pretty cool. Any edits we make will show up here in almost real time.

iCloud also comes with a free email service. You can set up your new email address from your iPhone.

Here's what the desktop web version of iCloud's email app looks like.

If you use iCal, you can use the desktop web app to add events. Everything will show up on your iPhone after you save.

Same goes for contacts. It's a great way to make sure you never lose your contacts if something happens to your phone.

With Find My iPhone on the desktop web version, you can keep track of where your iPhone, iPad, or Mac are located. This will come in handy if you lose one of those devices.

Find my iPhone lets you remotely lock down your iPhone, send a message to it, or wipe all data. Let's try sending our phone a message.

The message will show up on your iPhone within seconds.

Finally, let's check out Photo Stream. This feature automatically uploads photos you shoot with your iPhone to your iCloud account. Switch it on from the iCloud settings menu we were at before.

Now snap a photo...

All the photos from your iPhone will pop up in iPhoto. The photo we just took appeared in the bottom right corner.

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