iCloud Drive: How it works and how to take advantage of Apple’s cloud

iCloud Drive

iCloud is an Apple virtual storage service. It is available for iOS 8 and later, for Mac OS X Yosemite and later PCs, and for Windows 7 PCs with iCloud for Windows. It can be very useful for saving images, spreadsheets, PDFs and all your data by storing them on an online hard disk in a simple and safe way.

The free version offered by Apple provides 5 GB of memory but it is possible to increase this space by subscribing to a paid subscription.

In this guide I will try to explain iCloud Drive in a few simple words, what it is used for, how it is activated and the various plans available.

All documents created on iOS devices are automatically stored on iCloud Drive. This brilliant app, standard with iOS, can greatly facilitate your life, and for you it becomes very easy as well as very fast to find, organize and share your files: you can find them all in one place, just have them created with a compatible application. And once found, you can modify it using one of the many compatible applications.

For example with an app per drawing you can make a sketch, after which you can color it by switching to another app and then present it with a different app, and all without making copies or exporting and importing anything, but always using the same file.

You can also access the files on your desktop and in the Documents folder on your Mac from iOS. And with iCloud Drive free space on your Mac: keep all your documents in the cloud and you’ll always have them at your disposal in the latest version.

Note: The saved files must have a size less than 15GB or in any case no more than the iCloud storage limit.

What are the requirements to use iCloud?

The prerequisites for using this service are: have an Apple ID and Have iCloud as the default basic system for making online backups.

If you do not already have an Apple ID and you want to make one, just connect to the Apple website, and after filling out a registration form with your personal data and confirming everything via email, you will finally have an Apple ID to use iCloud.

To ensure that iCloud is the basic application to back up your data online, simply check the appropriate option during the iPhone, iPad and iPod activation process. If you already have one or more of these devices active without having selected the iCloud service, follow the instructions below.

  • From your Apple device, press the “Settings” icon.
  • Enter the “iCloud” menu and then in the “Archive and backup” section; finally activates the “iCloud Backup” service.
  • Now you just have to choose which items you want to synchronize (calendar, photos, videos, documents, e-mail, address book …) from your devices.

iCloud Drive

iCloud on Windows and Mac PCs

If you are interested in using iCloud on a Mac or Windows operating system, we suggest you follow the next few simple steps.

Windows PCs

  • To download the iCloud client, just connect to this page on the Apple website and click on “Download” or “Download Now”.
  • Wait for the download to complete, then open the downloaded file; finally, in the window that opens, click on “Run” and then on “Next”.
  • Check the option “I accept the terms of the license agreement” and then click in this respective order on: “Next”, “Install”, “Yes”, “Yes” and “End”.
  • Once the installation process is complete, log in to your iCloud account by entering your Apple ID details.
  • Choose which elements to synchronize and at the end to save click on “OK”.


You can find it already installed on Apple iCloud PCs. If you want to change the iCloud configuration …

  • Go to “System Preferences”, select the iCloud icon and check the items (files and data) you want to synchronize.

Really very simple right?

How to use iCloud Drive?

Now we will see how to upload files to the cloud in a simple and secure way.

To be able to upload a file to iCloud, simply drag it to the iCloud Drive folder on your Mac with OS X Yosemite or to a PC running Windows 7 or later, or you can create a new document on your iOS device using one of the apps compatible with iCloud. Then you can access your file from any device.

When you upgrade to iOS 8, you will be asked if you want to activate iCloud Drive or not. We recommend activating the service only if you have Windows 7 on PC or Yosemite on Mac (Mac owners will have to wait for the release of the new operating system).

Once ready, you can also decide to activate iCloud Drive manually by following these steps …

  • Go to Settings
  • Click on iCloud
  • Activate the iCloud Drive item

After following these steps, a list of all the applications that already use this service will open, and you can choose which ones to disable if you do not want to share some data and documents on iCloud between your devices. The biggest feature of iCloud Drive is that it works by itself! There is nothing to do or need to configure. Once the service is activated, all apps that support iCloud will offer you options to open and save documents on Drive.

iCloud Drive

iCloud Drive, from 5GB to 1TB: Which is the most suitable?

The free version offered by Apple provides 5 GB of memory but if you need more space, you can increase it by signing up for a paid subscription.

There are various tariff plans to choose from depending on your needs, we have collected them all here so you can already get an idea of what suits you best.

Here are the various plans listed …

  • 5GB – Free;
  • 20GB – $ 0.99 per month;
  • 200GB – $ 3.99 per month;
  • 500GB – $ 9.99 per month;
  • 1TB – $ 19.99 per month.

By default the free 5GB plan will be enabled. To change it from an iPhone or iPad, follow these steps:

  • Settings
  • Click on iCloud
  • Click on Archive
  • Click on “Change Archiving Plan”
  • Choose the desired plan

5GB – Free

This plan is great if you only have one iOS device and rarely work out of the office or at home, and if you don’t need to have multimedia files handy wherever you go, then this plan may suffice. You will be able to access lightweight files and documents without problems, directly on iCloud Drive. However, you can hardly activate your device’s iCloud backup.

20GB – $ 0.99 per month

For most users, 20GB is enough to back up almost all the data on the various devices. However, if yours is a 64GB (or more) device, you may have space problems.

The 20GB plan is indicated if you want to perform a single backup on iCloud and store photos and videos uploaded from iPhone and iPad.

200GB / 500GB – $ 3.99 / $ 9.99 per month

These two plans have the same purpose, as they allow you to store all the photos and videos you’ve already stored on your PC and make full backups of 64 or 128 GB devices. If you are one who takes thousands of photos with your iPhone, and want to keep them all on the cloud, then consider one of these two options.

1TB – $ 19.99 per month

If you are dealing with large files, presentations, thousands of photos and videos, or you often work away from home / office this is the most suitable plan for you. In this bike, your world will always be accessible, wherever you are.

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