MacMost Now 619: iCloud Basics

See how you can use iCloud to view the same contacts, calendars and bookmarks across you Macs and iOS devices. You can also work on Pages, Numbers and Keynote documents across iOS devices and access them on your Mac as well.

Video Transcript
Hi, this is Gary, MacMost Now.
Today's episode let's take a look at iCloud.
So when you upgraded to Mac OS X Lion, 10.7.2 you had the chance to establish an iCloud account and the same with iOS 5.
On the mac is under system preferences which has a special iCloud control panel and on iOS it's in Settings under iCloud.
So in system preferences you go to iCloud, and in there you see all the different categories of things that you can use with iCloud.
Now you could say that each one of these represent when * you sync between your macs and iOS devices, but in truth it's not really syncing, it's all about having these on a server, and be able to access them from multiple devices.
So, for instance Mail & Notes, that applies to your email address that you can have for free with an iCloud account.
You've got contacts, calendars and bookmarks.
They're all pretty self-explanatory, before you would think of them as syncing but iCloud is gonna keep those on the server and then you have access to them.
So, basically it's the same set, of say, bookmarks, or events or contacts, that you share between all your devices where you have iCloud enabled.
Photo stream is a special feature where you can take photos using your iOS device and they will appear automatically inside of iPhoto.
You have to enable that here and also inside of iPhoto.
Documents & data, refers to sharing documents from Pages, Numbers and iWork between your iOS devices.
It doesn't yet do anything for the mac, you don't actually get those documents on your mac, I'll show you more later.
Back to my Mac is the same as the MobileMe functionality where you can easily use screen-sharing from outside of your home.
And Find my Mac is the ability to locate a mac, kind of in the same way you could Find my iPhone, if you lost it or if somebody stole a portable mac then you can try to find you own mac.
An here you can click on the Manage button here, to manage your storage options for iCloud.
So here I am in iCal, I've got iCal for today brought up, and I've got my iPad, and both of these will log into the same iCloud account.
So I'm gonna create a new event here for later today, it's gonna be called "Test" and I've done that.
Now on my iPad it's there.
Now I'm just gonna look here on my mac, and you'll see, in a few seconds it will appear here on my mac as well.
There it is.
The same will happen for contacts and for bookmarks, and create * a one-on-one device wether it's the mac, the iPad, my iPhone, if they're all using the same iCloud account it will sync across all devices.
The real data is stored on the server, on the iCloud servers and I'm actually accessing it on all of my different devices.
It's the same thing when you look at a web page, right, the web page is not really on your computer, it's on a server somewhere, your looking at or, and many people can be looking at it, on different computers and devices around the world.
This is kind of you own private little * internet * where you've got contacts, events, bookmarks and all sorts of other data that's stored in your iCloud account and you can access in all the devices.
So when in iPhone or ipad, of course you need to be running iOS 5, and your controls for iCloud are under Settings and it's right there labeled iCloud.
So here are all the on-off switches, it's basically the same as on the Mac. We would wanna look under Documents & Data you can turn off the using cellular for syncing documents and data.which can be usefull if you pay a lot for mobile bandwidth.
So here I am in Pages, on my iPhone, and when you start off, it shows you the Getting Started document that just shows you how iCloud works here.
I'm gonna create a new document on my iPad, which you can't see, I'm gonna create a blank document, and just type some texts...
And then I'm going to turn to the Documents page. and I can see on the iPad that it is uploading, there is a blue progress bar and then there it is, it appears instantly on my iPhone and I've got access to it and I can open it there.
If I were to edit it here on my iPhone, I would then see the changes reflected there on my iPad the next time I opened that document.
But you can access your documents on you mac, I've gone into and here I'm going to click on iWork, and I have Keynote, Pages and Numbers, and Pages is selected in here, and there is that document that is on my iOS devices and I can select it, and you get to have download options so I can choose download as Pages document.
That's how I can get it onto my mac, without too much trouble.
In addition if I look at the outside of this window, there is a settings button here and I've got the ability to upload a document, so I can actually take a Pages document upload it to iCloud this way on my mac and then access to it on my iOS devices.
Now I gotta believe apple is working on a way to make this a little easier perhaps an updato to Pages, Numbers and Keynote on the mac that will allow you to open up iCloud documents and save them directly from those applications.
In future episodes I'll be looking at some of the other features of iCloud such as Photo Stream and Find my Friends.
Till the next time, this is Gary on MacMost Now.

Comments: 43 Responses to “MacMost Now 619: iCloud Basics”

    10/17/11 @ 6:34 pm

    Hi Gary,
    If the server that the iCloud information is stored on goes down/crashes, is all the info lost? Or, is there a back up kept on your device (things like contacts, or calendars etc)?

    Thanks for the info and thanks for the great videos!

      10/17/11 @ 6:40 pm

      No and yes. iCloud is no doubt a distributed server system. Many many servers. So one server going down won’t do anything. In fact, they probably have so many servers that single ones go down all the time and are replaced, without iCloud missing a beat. Google, Amazon and other large cloud companies all do this. You data is stored in many places for faster access and reliability.
      And yes, your data is cached on your devices so you can view it even when you are offline. So you have it too.

    10/18/11 @ 6:38 am

    I was disappointed to discover that my Snow Leopard machine would not sync with iCloud, specifically for contacts and calendars. I found a work-around for ical but nothing for contacts. Any ideas?

      10/18/11 @ 6:41 am

      You could always use another cloud-based service like Gmail. Or just keep syncing daily with your Mac as before.

    john f.
    10/20/11 @ 10:14 am


    First, Gary you do a great job and provide an excellent service. Thanks for that. Second, a question: I’ve got all my iOS devices and two Macs on iCloud… and I have many duplicate calendar events. I also always seem to get at least two copies of every email. Am I over syncing somehow? I wonder if I need to uncheck some preference options on some of the devices. Ideas?


      10/20/11 @ 10:15 am

      Yes, probably. Check and recheck your settings in System Prefs, Mail, etc. You probably have this account as both an iCloud and MobileMe account, or something like that.

    10/20/11 @ 11:14 am

    Gary, my problem is having access to all my docs while away from a wifi connection. I’m guessing syncing is the best option since the cloud would not be available while I’m traveling down the highway. Is there another way?

      10/20/11 @ 11:25 am

      Do you mean your Pages, Keynote and Numbers documents on your iOS device? With iCloud they should still be there when you don’t have a connection. They just won’t sync back to the server until you connect again.

    10/20/11 @ 12:40 pm

    Gary: Thanks for the video. I do all of my documents using Office 2011. Will I be able to access and work on those documents using the iCloud or will it only work using Pages, etc.? I am particularly thinking of stuff I do on my desktop and then need to access when I am “on the road using my Mac Book Pro.Thanks again.

    10/20/11 @ 6:00 pm

    Gary, as mentioned numerous times above – thank you for the video tutorial. My question revolves around my Apple ID and my Mobile Me account. You guessed it, they correspond to different email addresses and I am not sure I want to move to the cloud without knowing how to handle this situation. What should I do?

      10/20/11 @ 6:03 pm

      Rumor has it that Apple is working on that issue. Until then, are you using your MobileMe account AS an Apple ID too? If not, maybe try changing your MobileMe account ID to your Apple ID. Risky, though. Be interesting to see what the Genius Bar has to say.

        10/21/11 @ 11:25 am

        Gary, Genius Bar said to move MobileMe account directly over to the iCloud and leave my Apple ID alone as it should function normally for iTunes purchases as well as Newsstand.

      10/20/11 @ 11:37 pm

      Check out this link for using one Apple ID for iCloud and a different Apple ID for iTune Store Purchases.

    10/20/11 @ 8:20 pm

    Does iCloud save your individual application settings? For example, if I have a banking ap, with a stored username, does it synch that across different devices? And if I get a new phone, and restore from the cloud, am I getting the same back-up I got when synching to my computer (text messages, ap settings, phone settings, etc.)?

      10/20/11 @ 9:57 pm

      No. That’s not a part of iCloud. The backup feature of iCloud should be the same as the backup to your Mac. But I haven’t heard much either way.

    11/5/11 @ 6:45 am

    icloud is free?

    11/5/11 @ 6:48 am

    How to download icloud? It’s not in my mac book pro.

    11/5/11 @ 9:02 pm

    Hi Gary, why icloud doesn’t work with snow leapord? just wondering why?

      11/5/11 @ 9:42 pm

      Because it is a feature of Mac OS X Lion 10.7.2. It is something new. So naturally it is part of the latest OS. You can upgrade to Lion and then have iCloud. Why would Apple spend the effort to add iCloud to Snow Leopard when Snow Leopard users could just upgrade to Lion and get it that way? Seems that would be a waste of effort.

    1/27/12 @ 7:43 am

    I am going on holiday and will have WIFI access at the hotel. I am likely to fill my iphone with videos so will have to delete some to make space. My question is, is there a way of syncing my iphone to my mac (which is in another country) over WIFI so I can delete some videos to make space (or is there an alternative)? Lastly, if my photos have backed up to icloud photostream and i delete a photo off my camera roll, can I restore that photo from photostream to my Iphone? Thank you very much

      1/27/12 @ 7:55 am

      No, there’s no way to sync over the Internet. The only think I can think of is to maybe email them to yourself (or a special account, like a free gmail account) and then retrieve them from email when you get home.
      Photo Stream doesn’t work like that. The photos would be synced between all devices. So you would have them on your iPhone still. But you should be able to keep a ton of photos on your iPhone. Emailing them won’t work there because it is hard to email a lot of photos, and the emailed versions are compressed, not the originals.

    2/13/12 @ 8:35 am

    Hi Gary,
    to me it’s not clear yet the difference between the email address to sign on icloud and the email accounts which are going to sync using icloud.
    Can you explain which email will be synced to what…?
    I’ve been around working with apple’s products for years and this story of which email will sync i just don’t get it.
    Can you help?
    Thanks a lot

      2/13/12 @ 9:59 am

      iCloud email would be your email address. It is a service of iCloud. But you can have an Apple ID that is not a email address — that would just be used as an ID. You would not be getting email from iCloud through this. For instance, if you have a email address you would be getting that email from Google’s Gmail service. It would not be iCloud email. You can use either or email addresses as Apple IDs, but iCloud email would have to be

    5/18/12 @ 12:29 am

    Recently just started using my new iPhone 4S with iCloud and was wondering why my contacts got replaced with someone else’s contract information? I bought an iPhone 4S from Craigslist and then reformatted when I got home and moved my backups over to it. But..I also gave him my older iPhone 3GS. I was wondering if maybe iCloud had something to do with his information getting onto the iPhone 4S? I just now removed the older iPhone 3GS from the Find My iPhone. So I dunno what was causing it..and I also had a CalDav email, contacts, and more that was under iTunes? I’m confused and dunno how to fix this. I backed up my contacts and will tinker with it a little more this weekend. Any comments would be appreciated. Thanks!

      5/18/12 @ 6:44 am

      Sound like you either:
      1. Are still using his iCloud login on your iPhone.
      2. He is still using your iCloud login on your old iPhone.
      #2 shouldn’t be an issue because you changed your iCloud password just before you gave him your iPhone, right? If not, do it now. Do it again anyway.
      If #1, it is just a matter of looking in your Settings app (and other apps, like Messages, App Store, iTunes, etc) and logging out of his ID and in with yours.
      I’m sure #1 is the case unless you didn’t change your Apple ID password. Change it right away anyway, just to rule that out.

        5/18/12 @ 9:00 am

        1. Nope, I reformatted the iPhone 4S. It has none of his information or data on it anymore.

        2. Just changed my password and so far I haven’t seen anything replacing my contacts yet since last night. It was very odd. I was away from my Macbook Pro too when this had happened. I was wondering why I couldn’t find some people in my contact list and was overwhelmed by someone else’s information. I removed the old iPhone 3GS from my iCloud that I have given him. I was wondering if his information being synced to my old iPhone 3GS could have caused all my contacts on my Macbook Pro and iPhone 4S to be replaced with his. It could be possible.

          5/18/12 @ 9:24 am

          Reformatting does not guarantee that the data is gone. I’ve reformatted an iPhone many times and noticed that MobileMe/iCloud logins still remain.
          Changing your password won’t bring your data back. If he logged in with your password and got rid of your data (easy to do, without even intending it — think about it) then it is gone from iCloud and now you must clean it up.

            5/18/12 @ 2:10 pm

            Alright so far everything has been good. Nothing has got replaced or overwritten with this person’s data. I changed my password on my iTunes, removed the iPhone 3GS from Find my iPhone, reset computer authorization for iTunes, and made sure there was no MobileMe accounts or anything else attached to the iPhone 4S. Everything is now syncing via iCloud, not locally. So far all I see is just my apple id on the iPhone 4S and nothing else. I also made sure everything was in sync from my Macbook Pro,, and my iPhone 4S. Thanks for your reply! I think this has been solved.

    Bilal Ahmed
    8/5/12 @ 9:34 pm

    Hi Gary,
    Can i completely sync my hotmail account (i.e: all inbox,sent,folders etc) with account? as i want to shift completely to my “” account but want to keep all the previous data from my hotmail.

      8/5/12 @ 10:15 pm

      You can’t sync two different email accounts — you use one or the other. I’d export all of your previous emails (not sure what ability hotmail has for that) and then start using your new account. Refer to that exported archive if you need it. Or, just log into your old hotmail account when you need to look up something old.

    Bilal Ahmed
    8/5/12 @ 11:41 pm

    Yes, i just want to start using my new account…I ve exported all mails from my hotmail to local drive in a file “MAIL.mbox”, now how come i import the mails from that file to this account?

      8/6/12 @ 7:41 am

      I don’t think you really can. If you drag and drop that mbox file into Mail, I believe it will open it up, so you can see them. It might import it, but as a locally stored email archive, not up to iCloud. So just keep that file around — rename it “My Old Hotmail Archive.mbox” or something and keep it on your Mac for reference.

        Bilal Ahmed
        8/6/12 @ 1:24 pm

        Ok i finally got it and wanna share it too..I added my both accounts in the Mail app, and then draged & droped all the messages(selecting at once) from source account’s pushed messages to the destination account’s desired folders..and now they exist in ma new account in the same way as they existed in ma old account.

    Bilal Ahmed
    8/13/12 @ 5:45 am

    I got a problem at icloud mail, I can’t recieve the email which is having multiple .txt files in its attachment, at my account….also if i attach .txt files and send it to any body, it shows to be sent, but no body receives that mail..

      8/13/12 @ 11:09 am

      That’s odd. Never had a problem with multiple attachments before. As a work-around, you can try putting them in a folder and compressing the folder, then sending that .zip file. But you shouldn’t need to do that.

        Bilal Ahmed
        8/14/12 @ 1:19 am

        Sr, i didn’t need to do that my self, but what about my customers or other people who dont know about this and keep on sending me files like that???
        If you cant forward that issue, please tell me where can i report this bug so that apple might fix that…i ve tried also on my friend’s account and the same problem existed there..

    8/27/12 @ 7:59 am

    Great job, you really make us getting the max out of our Macs! Thanks for that.
    I’m not sure if fully understand iCloud? The data on my touch get synced to my iMac through iCloud. Is that right? But do I understand it well that this data that gets synced is not stored in the iCloud itself?
    I took a picture with my touch and it ended in my iMac iPhoto, which is good. But on my iCloud account, I can’t find any pic.

      8/27/12 @ 8:24 am

      Data is synced from your devices to the iCloud servers. It is up there. For instance, you can go to and log in and see your Pages, Numbers and Keynote documents. But only those. Other documents stored in iCloud (3rd party apps) can’t be seen on the Web but they are still on iCloud’s servers so they can appear when you turn on another device later and it checks the server to get the latest docs. There just isn’t a way to access them on the Web.
      With your photos, I assume you mean the Photo Stream feature. That works the same way, sending the photos to the server where they remain, and then sync with your other devices as they get access. There just isn’t a web-based interface for viewing Photo Stream — you do it in iPhoto on the Mac and in the Photos app on iOS (and Apple TV too).

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