iCloud preferences pane on OS X 10.8.1
|Original author(s)||Apple Inc.|
|Initial release||Developers release
June 6, 2011
October 12, 2011
|Stable release||188.8.131.52 / September 18, 2013|
|Operating system||OS X (10.7 Lion & Later)
iOS 5 or later
|Type||Online backup service|
|Alexa rank||946 (December 2013[update])|
The service allows users to store data such as music and iOS applications on remote computer servers for download to multiple devices such as iOS-based devices running iOS 5 or later, and personal computers running OS X 10.7.2 "Lion" or later, or Microsoft Windows (Windows Vista service pack 2 or later). It also replaces Apple's MobileMe service, acting as a data syncing center for email, contacts, calendars, bookmarks, notes, reminders (to-do lists), iWork documents, photos and other data. The service also allows users to wirelessly back up their iOS devices to iCloud instead of manually doing so using iTunes.
- 1 History
- 2 Announcement
- 3 Features
- 4 URL access points
- 5 System requirements
- 6 Name dispute
- 7 Privacy
- 8 Criticism
- 9 See also
- 10 References
- 11 External links
iCloud was announced on June 6, 2011, at the 2011 Apple Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC). Apple announced that MobileMe would be discontinued after June 30, 2012, with anyone who had an account before the unveiling of iCloud having their MobileMe service extended to that date, free of charge.
The official website, www.icloud.com, went live in early August for Apple Developers. On October 12, 2011, iCloud became available to use via an iTunes update. iCloud had 20 million users in less than a week after launch. The iCloud.com domain and registered trademark were bought from a Swedish company called Xcerion, who rebranded their service to CloudMe. CloudMe still controls major domains like iCloud.de, iCloud.fr and iCloud.es.
A class action lawsuit by customers unhappy over the transition from MobileMe to iCloud was filed in early May 2012.
The first official mention of iCloud from Apple came on May 31, 2011, when a press release announced that it would demonstrate the service at the WWDC on June 6, 2011. A banner hung at the Moscone Center for WWDC revealed the iCloud logo five days before the official launch.
In the WWDC 2011 keynote speech, Apple announced iCloud will replace MobileMe services and that the basic iCloud service will be free of charge.
The cloud-based system allows users to store music, photos, applications, documents, bookmarks, reminders, backups, notes, iBooks, and contacts, and provides a platform for Apple's email servers and calendars. Third-party iOS and OS X app developers are able to implement iCloud functionality in their apps through the iCloud API.
Backup and restore
iCloud allows users to back up the settings and data on iOS devices running iOS 5 or later. Data backed up includes photos and videos in the Camera Roll, device settings, app data, messages (iMessage, SMS, and MMS), ringtones, and Visual Voicemails. Backups occur daily when the device is locked and connected to Wi-Fi and a power source. In case of a malfunction of any Apple device, during the restoration process, iCloud offers to restore all data along with App data only if the device was synced to iCloud and backed up.
Back to My Mac
Back to My Mac, also previously part of MobileMe, is now part of iCloud. As before, this service allows users to log in remotely to other computers that have Back to My Mac enabled and are configured with the same Apple ID.
Email, Contacts, and Calendars
As with MobileMe (and .Mac and iTools before it), an iCloud account includes an email account. Unlike MobileMe and its previous iterations, an email address is an optional part of an iCloud account, in that the user can choose not to use it but can still use the email as their iCloud Apple ID. The email account can be accessed using any standard IMAP-compatible email client as well as the web portal mail client on iCloud.com. Additionally, on an iOS device, iCloud email is push-enabled.
Users converting existing MobileMe accounts to iCloud accounts kept their existing "@me.com" email addresses, and users whose accounts pre-dated MobileMe and had both me.com and mac.com email addresses kept both. In iOS 6 beta 3, Apple gave notice to developers that new signups would instead get "@icloud.com" email addresses. As with the .Mac to MobileMe transition, existing users get to keep their old addresses and also get a matching new icloud.com address, so messages sent to a valid account with multiple addresses all end up in the same inbox.
Users setting up new iCloud accounts, whether completely new or attaching[clarification needed] them to existing non-MobileMe Apple IDs, can opt to not have email with their iCloud account. These users don't see the iCloud webmail component when signing in at iCloud.com. They still need a valid email address with another email provider to sign-up (e.g. a Gmail account), and that existing non-Apple email address becomes their iCloud login.[clarification needed]
Find My Friends
In iOS 5, iCloud introduced a new feature called Find My Friends. Find My Friends is very similar to Find My iPhone, except users can share their location with other friends or family using the feature. Concurrently with the launch of iOS 5, Apple released an app for Find My Friends. iOS 6 added location-based alerts to notify the user when a device arrives at a certain location.
Find My iPhone
Find My iPhone, formerly part of MobileMe, allows users to track the location of their iOS device or Mac. A user can see the device's approximate location on a map (along with a circle showing the radius depicting the margin of error), display a message and/or play a sound on the device (even if it is set to silent), change the password on the device, and remotely erase its contents. The feature was first announced on June 10, 2009 and was included in iOS 3.0 software update as a feature for paying MobileMe users. Find My iPhone was made free of charge with the iOS 4.2.1 software update on November 22, 2010, but only for devices introduced in 2010. An iOS app was also released by Apple on June 18, 2010, which allows users to locate their device from other iOS devices running iOS 4 or later software. In iOS 5, Find My iPhone was continued as a feature for iCloud. iOS 6 introduced Lost Mode, a new feature that allows the user to mark a device as "lost", making it easier to protect and find. The feature also allows someone that finds the user's lost iPhone to call the user directly without unlocking it. Similar phone finder services under various names are available for other families of smartphones.
iCloud Keychain was announced at the 2013 Apple Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC), to be released as part of iOS 7 and OS X Mavericks (version 10.9). It was not released with the initial release of iOS 7, instead being added with the release of iOS 7.0.3 and OS X Mavericks following Apple's October 22, 2013 event. It re-introduces the old MobileMe Keychain syncing function that was removed with the initial release of iCloud in 2011, but now renamed iCloud Keychain.
It functions as a secure database that allows information including a user's website login passwords, Wi-Fi network passwords, credit/debit card management (though without CVV), and other account data, to be securely stored for quick access and auto-fill on webpages and elsewhere when the user needs instant access to them. They are always stored encrypted using 256-bit AES encryption, are stored on device and pushed from iCloud between devices, and only available on a user's trusted devices.
The service can also suggest new longer and more secure passwords to the user, if and when required. It will only be available for use on Apple platforms, and even more specifically, when using inside a browser, will only work with Safari browser on iOS 7.0.3 and OS X Mavericks onwards.
iTunes Match debuted on November 14, 2011. It was initially available to US users only. For an annual fee, customers can scan and match tracks in their iTunes music library, including tracks copied from CDs or other sources, with tracks in the iTunes Store, so customers do not have to repurchase said tracks. Customers may download up to 25,000 tracks in 256 kbit/s DRM-free AAC file format that match tracks in any supported audio file formats in customers' iTunes libraries, including ALAC and MP3. Customers also have the choice to keep their original copies stored on their computers or have them replaced by copies from the iTunes Store. Any music not available in the iTunes Store is uploaded for download onto customers' other supported devices and computers; doing this will not take storage from the customers' iCloud's storage allowance. Any such tracks stored in the higher quality lossless audio ALAC, or original uncompressed PCM formats, WAV and AIFF, are transcoded to 256 kbit/s DRM-free AAC format before uploading to the customers' iCloud storage account, leaving the original higher quality local files in their original format.
If a user stops paying for the iTunes Match service, all copies of the DRM-free AAC iTunes Store versions of tracks that have already been downloaded onto any device can be kept, whether iOS devices or computers.
From iOS 7 and OS X Mavericks onwards, the iTunes Radio function will be available across devices, including integration with the Music app, both on portable iOS devices and Apple TV (2nd generation onwards), as well as inside the iTunes app on Macintosh and Windows computers. It will be included in an ad-free version for subscribers to the iTunes Match service and will initially be available in the US only, before rolling-out to other countries later.
iWork for iCloud
During the 2013 Apple Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) keynote speech, iWork for iCloud was announced for release at the same time as the next version of the app versions of iWork later in the year. The three apps for both iOS and OS X that form Apple's iWork suite (Pages, Numbers, and Keynote), will be made available on a web interface (named as Pages for iCloud, Numbers for iCloud, and Keynote for iCloud respectively), and accessed via the iCloud website under each users iCloud Apple ID login. They will also sync with the users iOS and OS X versions of the app, should they have them, again via their iCloud Apple ID.
This allows the user to edit and create documents on the web, using one of the supported browsers; currently Safari, Chrome, and Internet Explorer. It also means that Microsoft Windows users now have access to these native –previously only Apple device– document editing tools, via the web interface.
Photo Stream is a service supplied with the basic iCloud service which allows users to store the most recent 1,000 photos on the iCloud servers up to 30 days free of charge. When a photo is taken on a device with Photo Stream enabled, it is automatically uploaded to the iCloud servers; from there, it is automatically pushed to the rest of the user's registered devices. Photos in Photo Stream will automatically be removed from other devices after the user reaches the 1,000 photo or 30 day limit. Users who utilize Photo Stream on their Mac or PC can choose to have all photos permanently saved on their computer - their photos in Photo Stream will not be removed from the computer when they are dropped out of Photo Stream after the user reaches the 1,000 photo or 30 day limit. The service is also integrated with Apple TV, allowing users to view their recent photos wirelessly on their HDTV.
Since introduction in 2011, each account has 5 GB of free storage for owners of either an iOS device using iOS 5.x or later, or a Mac using OS X Lion 10.7 or later. Additional storage can be purchased in tiers of 10, 20, or 50 GB – 50 GB being the maximum. The amount of storage is shared across all devices per iCloud Apple ID.
Several native features of iCloud use each user's iCloud storage allowance, specifically, Backup and restore, and email, Contacts, and Calendars. On Macs, users can also store most filetypes into iCloud folders of their choosing, rather than only storing them locally on the machine. While Photo Stream uses the iCloud servers, usage does not come out of the user's iCloud storage allowance. iTunes Match music content that is not sold in the iTunes Store also gets uploaded to the user's iCloud storage and comes out of the user's allowance. Other apps can optionally integrate app storage out of the user's iCloud storage allowance.
Not all of a user's content counts as part of their iCloud storage allowance. Apple is able to keep a permanent track of every purchase a user makes under their Apple ID account, and by associating each piece of content with the user, means only one copy of every Store item is needed to be kept on Apple's servers. For items bought from the iTunes Store (music, music videos, movies, TV shows), iBookStore (books), or App Store (iOS apps), this uses a service Apple call iTunes in the Cloud, allowing the user to automatically, or manually if preferred, re-download any of their previous purchases on to a Mac, PC, or iOS device. Downloaded (or streamed, provided the user is connected to the Internet) iTunes Store content can be used across all these devices, however while iBookStore and App Store content can be downloaded to Macs and PCs for syncing to iOS devices, only the iOS devices themselves can be used to read books or use the iOS apps. Similarly, OS X apps purchased from the Mac App Store are also linked to the Apple ID they were purchased through, and are able to be downloaded to any Mac using the same Apple ID. Also, when a user registers any new device, all previously bought Store content can be downloaded from the Store servers, or non-Store content from the iCloud servers.
In addition to the free 5 GB of iCloud storage, previous MobileMe accounts (to be precise, those "individual" accounts, or the master account user only, not the sub-members, on "family pack" accounts) were automatically given the extra 20 GB tier on iCloud, and those with MobileMe accounts with 40 or 60 GB of additional purchased storage received a complimentary upgrade of 50 GB of iCloud storage. Originally this was going to be until the close of the MobileMe service on June 30, 2012, but Apple later extended this to be until September 30, 2012. On September 30, 2012 users noticed that the free storage upgrade had not expired, but had seemingly been extended 50 years longer, with their devices showing an expiry date of September 30, 2038. However over the course of the next few days this soon changed to show just a year's extension, until September 30, 2013, with Apple emailing customers to advise them of the extension. On August 1, 2013, Apple posted a knowledge base article and emailed affected former MobileMe customers who received the free storage upgrade, to notify them that this expires on September 30, 2013, and would then revert to the free 5 GB tier, also advising them in the email of the amount of iCloud storage they were currently using. As expected, on September 30, 2013, Apple ended the complimentary storage plan upgrades for former MobileMe members, re-advising them by emailing where they also told users the amount of iCloud data they were currently left using.
URL access points
There are subdirectory (private) access points to each iCloud user's individual account functions on the main iCloud.com portal. Once signed in, these provide web access to each iCloud user's account via direct links to each function. See list:
- http://www.icloud.com – main user login.
- http://www.icloud.com/mail – user's Mail access.
- http://www.icloud.com/contacts – user's Contacts access.
- http://www.icloud.com/calendar – user's Calendar access.
- http://www.icloud.com/find – user's Find My iPhone access.
- http://www.icloud.com/iwork – user's iWork access.
iCloud requires an iOS device running iOS 5.x or later, or a Mac running OS X 10.7.2 "Lion" or later, to create a new account. Synchronizing with a PC requires Windows Vista (Service Pack 2) or Windows 7 using iCloud control panel, optionally Outlook 2007 or later to sync Calendar, Contacts and Reminders, and optionally Internet Explorer 8 or later or Safari 5.1.1 or later to sync Bookmarks. Online access to iCloud requires a compatible web browser. MobileMe account users could move their account to be an iCloud account, keeping the same account details.
iCloud Communications, a telecommunications company in Arizona, sued Apple in June 2011 for trademark infringement shortly after Apple announced iCloud. The lawsuit was filed in the US District Court of Arizona and demanded that Apple stop using the iCloud name and pay unspecified monetary damages. iCloud Communications changed its name to Clear Digital Communications in August 2011 and dropped its lawsuit against Apple shortly thereafter.
iCloud data is kept encrypted on Apple servers, but Apple maintains a master key and can decrypt it when requested by government agencies.
iCloud has been criticized by third-party developers for bugs that make some features nearly unusable, specifically the use of Core Data in iCloud, for storing and syncing larger amounts of data between users' devices, which Apple is attempting to address with the release of iOS 7 and OS X Mavericks (version 10.9).
- Google Drive
- Syncplicity - EMC Corporation
- Ubuntu One
- Comparison of file hosting services
- Comparison of online backup services
- Comparison of online music lockers
- "Press Info – Apple Introduces iCloud". Apple Inc. June 6, 2011. Retrieved August 30, 2011.
- "Icloud.com Site Info". Alexa Internet. Retrieved 2013-12-01.
- "Switched On: Apple's cloud conundrum". Engadget. June 13, 2011. Retrieved June 13, 2011.
- "Fourth time's a charm? Why Apple has trouble with cloud computing". ArsTechnica. June 8, 2011. Retrieved June 13, 2011.
- "4th Time a Charm for Apple? From iDisk to .Mac to MobileMe to iCloud". Wired. May 31, 2011. Retrieved June 13, 2011.
- Kahn, Jordan (July 23, 2013). "Apple talks numbers at Q3 earnings: iTunes sales, retail stores, & 320M iCloud accounts". 9to5Mac. Retrieved July 23, 2013.
- "System Requirements for ICloud". Retrieved June 30, 2012.
- "Apple Introduces iCloud". Apple Inc. Retrieved January 1, 2013.
- "Information about the MobileMe transition". Apple Inc. Retrieved August 30, 2011.
- "iTunes – Everything you need to be entertained". Apple Inc. Retrieved October 30, 2011.
- "Big mo: In one week, Apple iCloud hits 20M users; 25M use iOS 5". October 17, 2011.
- "Apple May Have Snapped Up iCloud.com". GigaOM.
- "Apple gains control of iCloud domain". CNet.
- "Reports: Apple acquires 'icloud.com' domain". ComputerWorld.
- "Whois.net iCloud.de". Whois.net.
- Hughes, Neil (May 18, 2012). "Class-action suit targets Apple for iCloud downtime". AppleInsider. Retrieved May 20, 2012.
- "Apple to Unveil Next Generation Software at Keynote Address on Monday, June 6" (Press release). Apple Inc. May 31, 2011. Retrieved May 31, 2011.
- Lee, Daniel (June 2, 2011). "WWDC 2011: OS X, iOS 5, iCloud coins unveiled (Photo Leaks)". International Business Times HK. Retrieved June 2, 2011.
- "WWDC 2011 Keynote Speech". Apple Inc.
- "iCloud for Developers". Apple Inc.
- "iCloud: Backup and Restore Overview". Apple Inc.
- "Transition from MobileMe to iCloud". Apple.com. October 12, 2011. Retrieved October 12, 2011.
- "iOS 6 New Features". Apple Inc. Retrieved September 17, 2012.
- "Apple - iCloud - Find your missing Apple device.". Apple Inc.
- Slivka, Eric (June 8, 2010). "iPhone OS 3.0 Launching June 17th - MMS, Tethering in Some Countries". MacRumors. Retrieved January 17, 2011.
- Snell, Jason (Nov 22, 2010). "Apple makes Find My iPhone free for some iOS 4.2 users". Macworld.com. Retrieved July 2, 2012.
- Chartier, David (Jun 18, 2010). "Apple updates MobileMe, releases Find My iPhone app". Macworld.com. Retrieved July 2, 2012.
- "What's new in iTunes.". Apple Inc. November 14, 2011. Retrieved November 14, 2011.
- "iTunes Match pricing on Apple". Apple Inc. June 6, 2011. Retrieved August 30, 2011.
- "iTunes Match: $24.99/Year, Matches Ripped Tunes, Offers Them In The Cloud". MacRumors. June 6, 2011. Retrieved August 30, 2011.
- "iTunes Store: How to subscribe to iTunes Match". Apple Inc. January 16, 2012. Retrieved July 6, 2012. "Songs encoded in ALAC, WAV, or AIFF will be transcoded to a separate temporary AAC 256 kbps file locally, prior to uploading to iCloud. The original files will remain untouched."
- Caldwell, Serenity; Breen, Chris; Friedman, Lex (November 16, 2011). "iTunes Match: What you need to know". IDG. Retrieved December 16, 2011.
- "Apple - iTunes Radio - Here where your music takes you.". Apple Inc. Retrieved June 15, 2013.
- "iTunes in the Cloud and iTunes Match Availability.". Apple Inc. August 14, 2013. Retrieved August 23, 2013.
- "Apple's iCloud Connects People and their Photos". InfoTrends InfoBlog. June 8, 2011. Retrieved August 30, 2011.
- "Apple.com – iCloud: Storage Upgrade Options". Apple, Inc. Retrieved September 5, 2011.
- Gurman, Mark (August 1, 2011). "iCloud pricing per year: $20 for 10GB, $40 for 20GB, $100 for 50GB (update: UK and EU prices)". 9to5mac. Retrieved September 5, 2011.
- Panzarino, Matthew (August 2, 2011). "Apple’s iCloud Pricing". The Next Web. Retrieved September 5, 2011.
- Myslewski, Rik (June 6, 2011). "Apple opens iCloud to world+dog". The Register. Retrieved August 30, 2011.
- Foresman, Chris (August 8, 2011). "MobileMe users to get 25GB of storage in upcoming iCloud transition". Ars Technica. Retrieved September 5, 2011.
- "Apple – MobileMe – MobileMe transition and iCloud". Apple Inc. Retrieved July 5, 2011. "MobileMe members with 20GB of storage receive a complimentary iCloud storage upgrade of 20GB, and accounts with additional purchased storage (40GB to 60GB) receive a complimentary upgrade of 50GB after moving to iCloud. These free upgrades are good through September 30, 2012. After that date, you can continue the upgrade at the regular price or let it expire and use the free 5GB plan."
- "Former MobileMe subscribers getting free 20GB iCloud storage until 2050". Ars Technica. October 1, 2012. Retrieved November 22, 2012.
- "iCloud: Extended complimentary storage for former MobileMe members". Apple Inc. October 8, 2012. Retrieved November 22, 2012.
- "Apple extends free iCloud storage to MobileMe users for extra year". Apple Insider. October 5, 2012. Retrieved November 22, 2012.
- "iCloud: Complimentary storage plans expire on September 30, 2013". Apple Inc. August 1, 2013. Retrieved August 6, 2013.
- Golson, Jordan (August 1, 2013). "Apple Notifying Former MobileMe Customers of Impending iCloud Storage Downgrade". MacRumors. Retrieved August 6, 2013.
- Padilla, Richard (October 1, 2013). "Apple Ends Complimentary 20 GB Storage Plan for Former MobileMe Members". MacRumors. Retrieved October 2, 2013.
- "iCloud homepage". iCloud.com. Retrieved September 10, 2012.
- "iCloud Mail". iCloud.com. Retrieved September 10, 2012.
- "iCloud Contacts". iCloud.com. Retrieved September 10, 2012.
- "iCloud Calendar". iCloud.com. Retrieved September 10, 2012.
- "iCloud Find My iPhone". iCloud.com. Retrieved September 10, 2012.
- "iCloud iWork". iCloud.com. Retrieved September 10, 2012.
- "iCloud – All your music on all your devices. (requirements: small print on page bottom)". Apple Inc.
- "iCloud Control Panel for Windows". Apple Inc. October 12, 2011. Retrieved October 30, 2011.
- "Learn how to setup iCloud on Windows". Apple Inc. October 12, 2011. Retrieved January 22, 2012.
- "Apple IDs and iCloud". support.apple.com. October 12, 2011. Retrieved March 18, 2012.
- "iCloud Complaint". Scribd. Retrieved August 30, 2011.
- "Apple's iCloud Sued for Trademark Infringement – Lessons from its Predecessors". International Business Times. June 13, 2011. Retrieved August 30, 2011.
- "Apple iPhone 5's Potential Ace iCloud Accused Of Infringing On Trademark". International Business Times. June 13, 2011. Retrieved August 30, 2011.
- Musil, Steven (September 7, 2011). "Arizona company drops iCloud suit, changes name". News.cnet.com. Retrieved September 10, 2012.
- Foresman, Chris (April 3, 2012). "Apple holds the master decryption key when it comes to iCloud security, privacy". Ars Technica. Retrieved September 10, 2012.
- Hamburger, Ellis. "Apple's broken promise: why doesn't iCloud 'just work'?". The Verge. Retrieved May 31, 2013.
- Panzarino, Matthew. "A tale of two iClouds". The Next Web. Retrieved May 31, 2013.
- Richie, Rene (April 5, 2013). "Debug 12: iCloud and Core Data sync". iMore.com. Retrieved July 2, 2013.
- Gillett, Nick (June 25, 2013). "WWDC 2013: What's New in Core Data and iCloud". YouTube. Apple Inc. Retrieved July 2, 2013.
- Niels Bosch. "What is iCloud Keychain?", AmongTech, October 25, 2013.
- iCloud – official site
- iCloud – Apple's iCloud information site
- System Status – Apple's services status