If you just picked up a new Mac, iPhone, iPod, or iPad, you may have seen or heard something called iCloud when setting up with your friends. If you don’t already know, iCloud is a free syncing and backup service from Apple that helps to keep all of your devices—mobile devices running iOS 5 or later and desktop computers running OS X Lion or later, or Windows Vista or later—on the same page, with the same data, no matter which one you’re using at any given moment. But what if you’re unsure about how to set up iCloud in the first place and how to get it to work on your Mac, PC, iOS device, and Apple TV?
We’ll show you.
Although signing up for iCloud is free, you can’t do so just anywhere. You must create an account on either a mobile device running iOS 5 or later or a Mac running OS X 10.7.5 or later. Unfortunately, Windows users have to create an account on one of these platforms before they can log in from a PC. Apple also limits you to creating ten iCloud accounts per device. You won’t need more than one or two maximum, so you’ll probably never get the limit; however, you may see a warning about it if you’ve received an older iOS device or Mac. If you do get an alert stoped you from making a new iCloud account, just go to your nearest Apple Store, where they should be able to help you sort it out. If you’ve ever purchased anything from the iTunes Store, App Store, or iBookstore, you have an Apple ID. If you’ve logged in to the iTunes or App Store apps with this Apple ID, you should see the email address already filled out in the Apple ID section of the iCloud screen.
If you don’t used iTunes before on an iOS device, tap the Get a Free Apple ID button at the bottom of the iCloud settings screen. The screens will request some information, and ask whether you’d like to use a current email address or create an iCloud.com email address for your Apple ID. Even if you select to use your old email address, you can create a new iCloud.com address after making your account by going to Settings – iCloud and turning on the Mail switch. After that, to finish up, simply indicate whether you want to get email updates from Apple, and then agree to the terms and conditions. You’re ready to start using iCloud.
Originally iCloud was offered as a sync app for iOS devices, and consequently the iCloud signup process is simple and easy to get on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod. You need a device running iOS 5 or later; if your iPhone or iPod is still running iOS 4, you can’t get in on the iCloud action until you upgrade. When you first set up your iPhone or your iPad, you should have seen a screen asking you to sign in or sign up for an Apple ID and iCloud. Open the Settings app and tap the iCloud entry. You’ll see a space for logging in with an Apple ID and password, and a Get a Free Apple ID button at the bottom. Once you’ve set up iCloud on your iOS device, most of it starts working automatically. To setup iCloud on your Mac follow the same steps on the iPad, iPhone, or iPod: You use the iCloud settings pane in System Preferences. To add or create an iCloud account, your computer needs to be running OS X 10.7.5; any earlier, and you won’t have that pane.