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iCloud is a cloud-based storage service from Apple. It allows Apple users to store their photos, documents, videos, music and more, for access whenever they want them. Files can be synced across devices and having them in the cloud frees up space on your phone or tablet; instead of storing them on a hard drive, they can be stored on a remote server.
The cloud service is free and available to all Apple users. No specific application is required for use, although most iOS apps are fully integrated with the service, meaning you can store files from applications such as Photos, Contacts, Notes and more, by selecting the option from within each individual app.
Each user is allotted an initial 5GB of storage. This can be used to store any type of file, including backups of your iPhone, iPad or other device. If a user reaches the maximum 5GB, they can purchase additional storage from Apple.
The service is intended for use with Apple products, like the iPhone and iPad. It is included in the registration of an Apple ID, most often created when a user first purchases and sets up an Apple product. Accessing it is done through a web browser, so any operating system that runs programs like Safari, Chrome, Firefox or Edge is suitable for using the service.
When your data is stored in the cloud, you shouldn’t expect frequent updates. Once logged in, the user interface rarely changes and your data remains untouched by anyone but you. Data itself can be updated automatically when the sync function for a specific app is turned on in your iPhone or iPad settings.
When data is saved to the cloud, it is stored on secure Apple servers that can be accessed at any time. One of these data centers is located in Maiden, North Carolina in the United States.
Yes, in order to use the service, an Apple ID is required. An Apple ID is a single login that connects users to different products and services, like the cloud storage system, iTunes Store and more. Apple IDs can be created by visiting the Apple website and don’t require the purchase of an Apple product.
Most mobile data can be saved in cloud storage. For iPhone users, this can be personalized in the Settings app. Things like photos, videos, music, notes, contacts, documents and more can all be saved to a remote server and are protected in the event your device is damaged, lost or stolen. Similarly, full iPhone backups can be saved and stored in the cloud.
In some cases, files that are stored in the cloud remain on your device. If you choose to remove them from your Phone or tablet, they can be found by logging into the official website with your Apple ID and password.