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iCloud

The best place for all your photos, files, and more.

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iCloud

iCloud was launched in 2011 as the successor to MobileMe and is Apple’s current cloud service that allows iOS and Mac users to save and synchronize information. Apple includes 5GB of iCloud storage for free with all accounts and has paid options starting at $0.99/month for 50GB.

iCloud is built into every Apple device. That means all your stuff — photos, files, notes, and more — is safe, up to date, and available wherever you are. And it works automatically, so all you have to do is keep doing what you love. Everyone gets 5GB of free iCloud storage to start, and it’s easy to add more at any time.

What is iCloud?

iCloud solved a problem that we were facing in 2011. Originally, Apple pitched the Mac as the digital hub to our life. Our iPods (and then iPhones) would sync over a cable to transfer information. As we added iPads, it became a mess. Steve demoted the Mac back to just a device and made the “cloud” the center of our digital life. Using the service, users could sync all of their data over the air. As an example, a Keynote document edited on your Mac would automatically be up to date with the latest changes on your iPad or iPhone. iCloud also allowed you to back up your iOS device for an easy path to change devices without having to set everything up manually.

The problem with this original iCloud pitch is it didn’t cover all of our photos. We didn’t get that until iCloud Photos came in iOS 8. It didn’t cover iMessage, as that didn’t come until a few years ago with messages in the cloud. It didn’t cover all of our files, but only those in the iCloud folder stored inside of app folders. We didn’t get seamless syncing of files until Apple added Desktop and Document folder syncing a few years ago.

Over time, Apple has continued to add features to iCloud, and it’s turned out to be a really robust and reliable service. Users can sync files, photos, notes, reminders, and Safari bookmarks to their Mac, iPhone, iPad, and even Apple TV (photos).

iCloud Troubleshooting

If you’re having trouble using iCloud, you may want to make sure it isn’t affected by downtime. Check Apple’s iCloud Status page here.

How much does iCloud cost?

Pricing can change at anytime (view Apple’s latest pricing page), but here are the current rates for a few countries.

United States
50GB: $0.99
200GB: $2.99
2TB: $9.99

Canada 
50GB: $1.29
200GB: $3.99
2TB: $12.99

United Kingdom
50GB: £0.79
200GB: £2.49
2TB: £6.99

European Union
50GB: 0.99 €
200GB: 2.99 €
2TB: 9.99 €

Read below for all of our coverage

Apple account recovery needs an overhaul: Here’s a simple suggestion

Apple account recovery | Keyboard with Touch ID shown

There have been numerous examples of people losing a lifetime’s worth of photos after being locked out of their iCloud account. The Apple account recovery process often proves impossible, especially in cases where an iPhone has been stolen and its owner forced to unlock it.

Just yesterday there was a fresh example, where an unlocked iPhone was stolen at gunpoint by seemingly tech-savvy thieves …

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How to turn on end-to-end encryption for iMessage, iCloud, iPhone backups in iOS 16.2

How to turn on iPhone end-to-end encryption

Apple has launched a big security enhancement with iOS 16.2 that brings the long-requested feature of full encryption for iMessage in iCloud, iPhone backups, and eight other apps/categories. As part of the process, you’ll need to set up a recovery contact/key – here’s how to turn on iPhone end-to-end encryption for iMessage, iCloud, device backups, Notes, Safari, Photos, and more.

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Apple SVP of Software Craig Federighi talks about latest iCloud security features in interview [video]

Apple SVP of Software Craig Federighi talks about latest iCloud security features in interview

Apple on Wednesday announced new iCloud security features to strengthen users’ privacy. This includes Advanced Data Protection with end-to-end encryption for all data saved in the cloud, as well as support for physical security keys. In an interview with WSJ’s Joanna Stern, Apple’s SVP of software, Craig Federighi, shared some details about what led the company to introduce such features to iCloud.

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iCloud for Windows users claim images and videos from strangers are showing up in their library

Apple services Find My iCloud down

There are ongoing issues apparently affecting the iCloud for Windows app, particularly in regards to photo and video storage. According to a number of online complaints from users, iCloud for Windows is corrupting certain videos. There are also reports of a more worrying problem: photos from strangers popping up in people’s iCloud Photo library.

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PSA: Don’t try to use iOS 16’s iCloud Shared Photo Library yet

iCloud Share Photo Library not working

Apple is close to launching a major new feature in the Photos app that makes it much easier to share photos and videos with loved ones. iCloud Shared Photo Library lets you automatically or manually share your whole library or parts of it. But while the feature is available in the iOS 16.1 public and developer beta, you can’t share with anyone running the public iOS 16.0.2 release or earlier.

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Chinese spy convicted with help from iCloud backup of his iPhone

Chinese spy | Man in darkened room using MacBook

A Chinese spy carrying out industrial espionage against GE Aviation and Honeywell’s aerospace division was caught with the help of access to an iCloud backup of his iPhone. The data obtained included a never-before-seen copy of a security form used by the Chinese security service when recruiting spies.

Xu Yanjun, an officer in China’s Ministry of State Security (MSS) was arrested and brought to trial in the US after investigators lured him out of the country to a meeting in Belgium, from where he was extradited to America …

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iCloud class action lawsuit sees Apple agree to pay $14.8M to paid tier subscribers [U]

iCloud class action lawsuit

Update: A federal judge has now approved the settlement – see bottom of piece for details

An iCloud class action lawsuit has been settled out of court, with Apple agreeing to pay a total of $14.8M to US residents subscribing to one of the paid storage tiers during a specific time period.

The payout was agreed upon after it was alleged that Apple breached the service terms and conditions by storing user data on non-Apple servers …

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iCloud Photos backups are discouraged by design, and that’s a dangerous problem for users

iCloud Photos

iCloud Photos is a fantastic feature for syncing large photo and video libraries across all your devices. Have a 300GB photo library? With an iCloud subscription and Optimize Storage, you don’t need a 512GB or 1TB iPhone to take your media with you. Still, iCloud Photos backups shouldn’t be ignored.

Keeping a local backup of your photo library is mighty important. iCloud Photos can feel like a backup. It’s really just your photo library in a single place — even if you don’t use Optimize Storage. iCloud Photos really doesn’t encourage methods of keeping separate, offline copies of photos and videos.

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iOS 16 could expand iCloud Private Relay to hide even more data

As part of its new iCloud+ subscription service unveiled at WWDC 2021, Apple launched iCloud Private Relay. This feature is designed to give users an additional layer of privacy and security by sending requests through two separate internet relays to mask user information.

The feature is currently available to iCloud+ subscribers as an opt-in “beta” feature, but a new report suggests that may change with iOS 16 this year…

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Shared iCloud calendars are a great help when vacationing with friends

Shared iCloud calendars are a great help when vacationing with friends

My girlfriend and I make extensive use of shared iCloud calendars. We have one for joint events, and we each share our own calendars so that we both have a complete picture of our schedules. That enables either one of us to arrange things like dinner with friends, knowing that it won’t clash with anything else.

But (semi-) vacationing with friends, we’ve also found a shared group calendar is the perfect way to coordinate activities …

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How does iCloud Private Relay work? Apple partner Cloudflare explains

With iOS 15 and macOS Monterey 12 last year, Apple added a new iCloud Private Relay feature that helps protect your internet privacy. The feature works by sending all of your internet requests through two separate and secure internet relays, including one operated by Apple and one operated by a third-party.

The web infrastructure company Cloudflare is one of those partners with which Apple is working, and it has published a new blog post detailing its role in the iCloud Private Relay process.

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