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Master iCloud On Your iPhone and iPad with This Easy Guide

What is iCloud

iCloud is Apple’s data storage system. It keeps your photos, apps and files backed up securely. There are many benefits, but one of the biggest is that your data is safe and secure and in no danger of being lost. Master iCloud by following this guide.

iCloud keeps the latest version of your data. It syncs files, photos, music, calendar, and more across every device you own.

iCloud and Apple ID

When setting up your Apple device, you’re asked for your Apple ID. It authenticates your identity and is required to log into any Apple device.

Your Apple ID gives you access to all of the services provided by iCloud. Imagine having separate accounts for each app you downloaded from the App Store. Of course, you’d spend more time managing the accounts than using the apps.

What Services Does iCloud Provide

Tap on Settings>Apple ID>iCloud to see the many services provided by iCloud.

iCloud Services

Storage, iCloud Drive, and Backup

Apple only gives you 5GB of storage to hold all your data. It isn’t much because backing up your device can take up all that storage. If you have more than one device, say an iPhone, iPad, or Mac, you still only get 5GB. To see how much storage you’ve used on your account, tap Settings>Apple ID>iCloud. Here’s how mine looks.

iCloud Storage

Some people can get away with that measly amount of storage, but many will need to upgrade. Apple sells additional storage, and these are the options available when you tap on Manage Storage>Change Storage Plan.

iCloud Storage Plan

iCloud storage is used for photos, backup, and data. If you have an Apple Music, the storage provided is independent of iCloud.

iCloud Drive allows you to store files that you can access in the Files app on your iPhone and iPad. Think of iCloud Drive like Dropbox, Google Drive, or OneDrive. If you’re using any of these services, you may not have many files in iCloud Drive, but if it’s your central repository increasing your storage plan may be needed.

iCloud Email

If your Apple ID uses an Apple domain such as icloud.com, you can also use iCloud email. If you use iCloud email, its storage is counted against your total storage.

You can also use your email address for your Apple ID. I use my Gmail account. Any email app can be used to access your iCloud email account. 

If you’ve paid for additional storage, you also have access to iCloud+, which adds these additional features. Private Relay, Hide My Email, HomeKit Secure Video, and allows you to use a custom domain for email.

Find My

FindMy is a valuable feature of iCloud that leverages the Apple Network. It was initially designed to Find My iPhone but has been expanded to include people, other Apple devices, and AirTags. It lets you find lost or stolen devices and even erase your device remotely. 


Apple’s iMessage is a proprietary service that allows you to send and receive messages. You can send voice messages, photos, and videos, and these are stored in iCloud. To enable Messages in iCloud open Settings,>Apple ID>iCloud, and toggle on Messages. Also, check to make sure iMessage is toggled on under Settings>Messages.


iCloud iMessage

Personal Data

iCloud syncs your contacts, calendar events, reminders, and Notes using Apple’s apps. Some third-party apps can also access this data. There are many Calendar apps in the App Store and some Contact apps.

iCloud can also sync your Safari bookmarks, browsing history, and reading lists.

Check out Settings>Apple ID>iCloud to see other data stored. This includes data from Apple News, Stock apps, and Home data if you have any smart home devices, Health and Fitness+ data, and your Wallet, which stores payment cards and Apple Pay if you’ve added it.

iCloud Data

iCloud Photos

Photos and videos use up the majority of most people’s iCloud storage. 

iPhones and iPad can shoot video in 4K. However, this storage can fill up quickly. Photos are usually a few megabytes, but video can take up vast amounts of storage. To check yours, go to Settings>Camera>Record Video. Here you’ll see how much space each format uses.

iCloud Video Storage

You may consider using economic video formats or storing your videos elsewhere to save space.

iCloud Keychain

iCloud Keychain helps manage your passwords and stores them in the cloud, so they are always available on all your devices. Keychain also suggests using strong passwords when you create new logins. I have a complete video on iCloud Keychain here. Master iCloud Keychain

Two Factor Authentication

This enhanced security feature leverages iCloud. Once you have authenticated the chain of trust on one device, you can authenticate on another device. 

Two Factor Authentication

You can set up recovery contacts in case you forget your password.


Your iCloud account is very diversified. Getting to know the various services and how you use them to manage data and protect your privacy is extremely important. Check out the links below for more information.

Need help with your device? I’m always available for a  Free Consult.

Like Video instead? Head to my YouTube channel for more great tips.

Hi, I'm Ellen!

I help mature adults master their iPhone and iPads, even if they aren’t  techie! 

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