Apple's iCloud is about to change your life. On Wednesday, Apple opened up the iCloud Web site so that users can automatically and effortlessly use just about every device with a Mac or PC. iCloud is Apple's master synchronization service, which gathers all your e-mails, contacts and more and offers online storage.
iCloud offers users 5GB of storage for free with the option of buying more.
If you want to fully experience iCloud the way it should be there are a few updates you must make before you can get started. So here's how to get started:
Make sure all your devices are up to date
- Download iTunes 10.5.: You must get the latest version of Apple's iTunes for your Mac or PC. If you didn't get it on Tuesday, you're going to need it now. Download it here.
Get iOS 5 for your iPhone, iPad and iPod touch
- If you don't have iOS 5 for your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch them these devices won't work with iCloud. Once you have that taken care of you just connect your device to your Mac or PC and your new iTunes will take care of the rest for you. iOS 5 launched on Wednesday and includes more than 200 new features for your iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch. Learn more about iOS 5 here.
- Once iOS 5 is downloaded the next thing for you to do is to set it up just the way you want to. You need to turn on iCloud (just follow the onscreen instructions given once you turn on your new iOS device); tap the settings icon and select iCloud to customize your setting (you can also tap the on/off switches to enable individual iCloud services). Finally, you want to enable automatic downloads for your music, apps and more. You can do this by tapping the Settings icon on the home screen and select Store.
What you need for your Mac
- You need to update to OS X Lion 10.7.2: Without this most recent version of the OS X Lion, you won't get all that iCloud has to offer on your Mac computer. So ensure you click the Apple icon located to the top of your screen then click Software Update and you're good to go.
- Set up the iCloud on your Mac: If the latest OS X Lion is installed, turn your iCloud on and enter your Apple ID. If you don't get a message prompting you to do that then you can click the Apple icon to the top left of your screen and hit System Preferences, click iCloud then enter your Apple ID and select the services you want enabled.
What to do for PCs?
- Get Windows Vista (Service Pack 2) or Windows 7. You will also need to have either Outlook 2007, Outlook 2010 or an up-to-date version of browser that you prefer in order to access your e-mails, contact and calendar in Apple's iCloud.
- Setting up iCloud on your PC is easy: Here's how. Download the iCloud control panel and install it for Windows. Remember your system will need to have the updates mentioned above. Then turn on iCloud: go to Windows Start menu, choose Control Panel and Network and Internet then iCloud. After that, enter your Apple ID (the same one you used to create your iCloud account) and then enable the iCloud services you want. Keep in mind the versions of Outlook needed for accessing iCloud email, contacts, and calendars. You will also need Safari 5.1.1 or Internet Explorer 8 or later for accessing bookmarks.
- Once that is done, enable automatic downloads: You should open iTunes (you need iTunes 10.5), click Edit, then Preferences, then Store and Select whatever you want.