iCloud And The Files App – iPad Beginners

iCloud is Apple’s cloud computing service. You can use it to sync information and files across your Apple devices using iCloud and even access some of them on the Internet. Here’s how iCloud and the Files app work.

Configuring Your iCloud Account

To use a photo with your iCloud account, tap the grey circle at the top of the right-hand column and then take one or add one from your Photos library. If you don’t have one yet, just leave it; you can come back and take or add one whenever you choose.

Two-Factor Authentication demands verification from one of your other Apple devices when you sign on using a new device for the first time. It guards against account theft if someone has somehow accessed your Apple ID’s password, so we recommend you use it.

Before turning on two-factor authentication, you must have a passcode for your iPad. If you haven’t yet set one, do so now, on the security screen. You also need to verify your identity, with your security questions and a phone number to take a call or message.

In Settings > [your name], tap the iCloud link for a list of apps that can be kept in sync with iCloud. If an app is switched on in this list, it means changes you make on one Apple device are also made on all your other Apple devices signed into the same iCloud ID.

For example, if you have Calendar switched on in this list, and then enter a new Calendar event using your iPad, it is also shown on your iPhone and Mac, if they’re signed into the same Apple ID. In Calendar’s case, it’s also available online at www.icloud.com.

Tap the iCloud Keychain link and you can turn on the iCloud Keychain service here. This stores things like passwords, usernames and credit card information; for example, when you log on to an online forum, you won’t need to keep typing your details every time.

We strongly recommend you turn on Find My iPad. This means if your iPad is lost or stolen, you can track it down from another Apple device or on any Internet capable computer at www.icloud.com. Switch on Send Last Location too, so if your iPad runs out of power while lost, at least you have its whereabouts when the battery ran out.

The Backup option lets you automatically back up your iPad whenever it’s switched on, plugged into a charger and connected to the Internet over Wi-Fi. It’s a great option for hassle-free backups. You can also trigger an immediate backup on this screen too. Just tap the Back Up Now link and your iPad is backed up straight away.

Under Share My Location, you can show family and friends where you are in Messages and the Find My Friends app. Obviously, it’s the iOS device that’s located when you do this, so you can opt to share that location from your iPad or another device, if you’re more likely to have it on you.

The Mail option towards the bottom of the screen shows the details used for your iCloud email account; this is automatically configured in the Mail app. You can change some of the advanced settings relating to the mailbox behaviours if you wish; take a look and explore the options.

iCloud Drive and the Files App

Go to Settings > [Your name] > iCloud and scroll down to iCloud Drive. If it isn’t on already, turn it on. From the Home screen, open the Files app and tap iCloud Drive (left column). Here you can see all the folders and files stored on your iCloud Drive.

Remember, your iCloud Drive is accessible through any of your Apple devices, and also on the Internet at www.icloud.com, where you can find the same collection of folders containing your iCloud docs under the iCloud button.

You can open an iCloud document created on another device on your iPad, as long as you have the iPad version of the app that created it. Just open the folder for the app in question (here, we’re looking at Pages), and tap a document to open it.

When you open an iCloud document on your iPad, the document is downloaded. Edits made on the iPad are also made on the cloud copy of the document. For example, if you edit a document on the iPad then open it on your Mac at home, the changes are there.

If you want to move a document from your iCloud to your iPad, so it’s stored locally instead of on the cloud, tap and hold it until you get the pop-up bar. Tap Move, and then tap On My iPad in the pop-up.

The bar that pops up when you tap and hold iCloud docs has a range of options, including tag it with a colour. When you’ve tagged a doc, it can also be found by tapping its colour in the Tags section in the left-hand column.

Open the iCloud Drive folder in the Files app, or one of the individual folders contained in it, and pull down for a search bar, sort options and the opportunity to create a folder (top left) or view as a list (top right).

There’s an easy way of getting fast access to recently opened documents. On the Home screen, tap and hold the Files app icon, and a pop-up appears. Tap Show More in this window for more documents.

iCloud Backups

Go to Settings > [Your name] > iCloud and scroll down to ‘iCloud Backup’. Switch on iCloud Backup. Your iPad will back up to the cloud instead of when you sync with iTunes on your computer. Tap OK in the pop-up.

A new option appears; a link to back up now. Tap it whenever you want to do an immediate backup. Your iPad now automatically backs up when connected to a power source and on a Wi-Fi network.

Subscription Upgrades

iCloud Drive comes with 5GB of free storage space, but you can buy more if you wish, and it’s inexpensive too.

Open the Settings app, tap your name at the top of the left-hand column then tap iCloud. Tap Manage Storage. You’re told what iCloud storage plan you’re on. If you want to change your plan, tap Change.

You get 5GB free of charge but if you want more, choose a paid-for plan. You can also downgrade by tapping the Downgrade Options link at the foot of the pop-up window. Choose your plan, then tap Buy/Done (top right).

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Ian Osborne

Ian has worked on computer and video games magazines since the legendary Crash and Zzap! 64 in the early Nineties, so he’s seen many changes over the years (including an expanding waistline and receding hairline). A lifelong Mac user, he bought his first Mac in the year 2000. It’s a testament to the resilience of the Mac that his mother is still using that computer to this very day.

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