ICloud Drive

ICloud Drive is here, but what ex­actly is it?

Mac Format - - CLOUD SYNCING -

ALong over­due

What is it? iCloud Drive is Ap­ple’s vir­tual on­line stor­age sys­tem, built into the lat­est ver­sions of OS X and iOS, that lets you store files re­motely and ac­cess them from de­vices logged in with your Ap­ple ID. It has var­i­ous stor­age and pric­ing op­tions. What does itwo rk­with? OS X Yosemite and iOS 8, but it’s es­pe­cially pow­er­ful with apps that can save files di­rectly to it. This in­cludes Ap­ple’s iWork suite (free on new de­vices) on Mac and iOS and also Tex­tEdit. PC users can in­stall the iCloud con­trol panel for file ac­cess. pple has tried to make a ser­vice like iCloud Drive in the past, but its pre­vi­ous at­tempts met with limited suc­cess. Those who have been with Ap­ple for a while may re­mem­ber iDisk, an early at­tempt at pro­vid­ing re­mote file stor­age ac­ces­si­ble us­ing the Finder, onto which you could drag and drop any kind of files to store them in the cloud. It was slow, us­ing We­bDAV as its trans­fer pro­to­col, and of­fered only limited stor­age space. It’s some­what telling that Steve Jobs tried to buy Drop­box some years ago – pre­sum­ably with the aim of in­cor­po­rat­ing its then-su­pe­rior cloud stor­age tech­nol­ogy into OS X – but Drop­box said no. Ap­ple has got there in the end though, and, as you would ex­pect, iCloud now does more than just store files. It has fea­tures like backup, lo­cat­ing your iPhone and stor­ing pass­words, though here we’re only re­ally look­ing at the Drive com­po­nent. In many ways, iCloud Drive is over­due. When iCloud was in­tro­duced, many peo­ple were dis­ap­pointed that it didn’t in­clude a reg­u­lar file repos­i­tory that could be ac­cessed from the Finder. You could sync con­tacts, cal­en­dars and book­marks through it, but you couldn’t drop stuff onto it man­u­ally. But hooray! Now you can, and it’s also at the heart of Hand­off, Ap­ple’s new tech­nol­ogy for start­ing a doc­u­ment on one de­vice and then pick­ing up ex­actly where you left off on another. You’ll need OS X Yosemite to ac­cess iCloud Drive (and be run­ning iOS 8 if you want to use the apps that have been writ­ten to be com­pat­i­ble with it, such as Ap­ple’s iWork and a small-but-grow­ing se­lec­tion of third party apps that will surely ex­pand as the new op­er­at­ing sys­tems are more widely in­stalled).

Sign­ing into iCloud on your Mac run­ning OS X Yosemite lets you switch on the iCloud Drive op­tion, after which it will be­come avail­able as a short­cut both in the side­bar of any Finder win­dow and in the Go menu from the Finder. Se­lect it, and your re­mote iCloud Drive ap­pears in a Finder win­dow just as if it was a lo­cally con­nected hard drive. You can then drag and drop any­thing from your Mac onto the drive and it will up­load to the cloud. For small doc­u­ments this will take a mere mat­ter of seconds, but for big­ger items it will de­pend on your con­nec­tion speed. You also only get 5GB of space for free, and while this is fine for up­load­ing some files, if you’re back­ing up your iOS de­vice too, those back­ups may al­ready be us­ing most of that space. You can up­grade for a mod­est monthly fee to 20GB, 200GB, 500GB or 1TB of stor­age de­pend­ing on your needs, and down­grade too if you want to change your mind.

As well as sim­ple file stor­age, the space on your iCloud Drive can be used for other things too, when you are run­ning the lat­est ver­sion of OS X. Per­haps the most use­ful is a new fea­ture called Mail Drop, where you’ll be able to send Mail at­tach­ments much larger than those al­lowed by any ISP di­rectly from inside Mail. At­tach a file, and, if it’s large, Mail will up­load it to iCloud and in­stead of send­ing the whole mes­sage through your ISP, the at­tach­ment gets up­loaded to your iCloud Drive. If the re­cip­i­ent is also us­ing Mail they see an in­line copy of the file and can click to down­load it. Users of other mail

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