What is iCloud, and how can you best use it? (your frequently asked questions, answered)

iCloud is the difference between crisis and calm if you lose your device, or if you’re upgrading to a new one, or if you just want to see all your pictures, music and documents from any Apple device you have.

iCloud is a web-based storage service from Apple, and whether you’re using it or not, here are some tips to get started, or get it working in the best way possible for you.


What is iCloud?

ICloud is a web-based service from Apple that allows users to keep all data such as music, contacts, calendar entries, emails, photos and more in sync across their compatible devices using a centralised iCloud account.

All iCloud accounts have 5 GB of storage by default, and music, photos and apps don’t count against that 5 GB limit. Only Camera Roll (photos not included in Photo Stream), mail, documents, account info, settings, and app data are counted in the 5 GB cap.


How does iCloud work exactly?

When data in iCloud-enabled apps is added or updated on compatible devices, the data is automatically uploaded to the user's iCloud account and then makes the document accessible to the user’s other iCloud-enabled devices.

In this way, iCloud is both a storage tool and a system to keep all your data in sync across multiple devices.


Why should I use iCloud?

  • Once your content is stored, it can be accessed from anywhere in the world, and from multiple devices, using your username and password.
  • You can use iCloud to create a backup and then restore your iOS data to a new device.
  • iCloud also provides automatic sychronisation of devices. 
  • You don’t need any USB or software for synchronisation of data.


How do I get started?

To use iCloud, you must have an iTunes account and a compatible computer or iOS device. Compatible devices and operating systems are:

  • iTunes 10.5 or higher
  • iOS 5 or higher
  • iPhone 3GS or higher
  • 3rd generation iPod touch or higher
  • iPad or higher
  • Mac OS X 10.7.2 or higher

If you don’t have an Apple ID, you can create one while setting up your device. Your Apple ID must be a full email address (e.g. name@example.com) to sign up for iCloud. If your existing Apple ID isn't in the format of an email address, you can change it to an email address at My Apple ID.

You can upgrade your iCloud storage from your iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Mac, or PC, and you can choose a total of 50 GB, 200 GB, or 1 TB. After you upgrade, you’ll be billed monthly.

Extra storage above the 5 GB costs:

  • 50 GB: R14.99 per month
  • 200 GB: R44.99 per month
  • 1 TB: R149.99 per month

You can buy more iCloud storage from within the iOS starting in iOS 5, and from the iCloud System Preferences (on Mac) or iCloud Control Panel (on Windows).


What can I store in iCloud?

You can store:

  • Photos
  • Apps
  • Contacts, Calendar and Mail
  • Music that you own 
  • Documents
  • Backups of your data


Can I sign up for iCloud if I don't have an iOS device?

If you don’t have an iOS device or a Mac, you can get iCloud web-only access to use Pages, Numbers, and Keynote for iCloud from your Mac or Windows web browser.

Go to iCloud.com, then sign in using your Apple ID. If you don’t have an Apple ID, click Create one now, then follow the onscreen instructions.


Can my child sign up for iCloud?

With Family Sharing, you can create Apple IDs for kids. As a parent or legal guardian, the family organiser can provide verified parental consent for a child to have their own Apple ID, then create it on the child’s behalf. 


How do I reset a forgotten password?

If you've forgotten your iCloud password, don’t panic! You can use Apple's My Apple ID service to recover it. Follow these steps:

  • Open Safari and enter appleid.apple.com.
  • Click Reset your Password.
  • Enter your Apple ID and click Next.
  • There are three ways you can confirm your identity to Apple. Although you will most likely only see two: Email Authentication and Answer Security Questions.
  • It's easiest to start with Email Authentication. Select it and click Next. Apple will then send an email to the backup account it has on file. 
  • Click the Reset Now link in the email and follow the instructions.
  • Click Return To My Apple ID.
  • Click Reset My Password and enter your Apple ID again and click Next. Choose Answer Security Questions and click Next.
  • Enter your Birth Date using the Month, Day and Year options.
  • Enter the answers to the two security questions. Click Next.
  • Fill out the New Password and Confirm Password fields. Click Reset password.

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