Apple iCloud Review
We may earn money or products (at no cost to you) from the companies mentioned in this post. However, we do not let any merchant influence our ratings - even though they might like to. ;-) Some of our top rated merchants we have no relationship with, other than we like their products! We do however appreciate you using our links when possible, because it allows us to keep the lights on and bring you more great reviews!
Apple iCloud made its first debut in 2011. It was marketed as Apple’s easy way to store and manage all of your digital files regardless of where you were. Because it automatically syncs, files are available anywhere you are. But, while they do label themselves as a “cloud storage provider” it is important to note they are not a true backup service and work more as a file sharing and storage service.
An online file-syncing and storage service offered by the pros at Apple.
- iCloud automatically included with the purchase of Apple device
- Can be integrated with Apple TV
- Easy to install
- Works on Windows-based products
- Excellent security
- Free 5GB of space
- Difficult to use
- Not a true backup service
- Requires installation of other Apple apps to unlock most features
- Prices not competitive
Access: (Rating: 5/10)
Access to the iCloud drive is not as straightforward as you would think. And, it definitely takes some patience to figure out. You can use it on Mac as well as Windows-based products, but it is not a productivity suite for these platforms by any means. If you own an Apple device, then iCloud is already installed on it for you – just use your iTunes account to access it.
Backup: (Rating: 5/10)
Backing up with iCloud is not like most backup services and in all honesty, if you to store data and documents without issues, you need to install Apple’s iWork apps first. Also, iCloud is a file syncing program – not really a true file backup service. For photos and stuff from your iPhone or tablet it does an excellent job, but for a computer-based backup, it takes a lot of work just to store your data. Backups are automatic, but you cannot backup the system, NAS drives or even external drives.
Restore: (Rating: 5/10)
iCloud is a file syncing service, so if you back something up, it is accessible on any device. You can restore flies or folders, but you cannot request a hard copy and the site doesn’t keep versions like a true backup service would. You can, however, recover deleted files.
Share: (Rating: 8/10)
Sharing is something iCloud excels at – but to an extent. You can share via links and directly to social media via your iCloud account. You can also set permissions. But, when it comes to collaborative folders, you have to use iWork for collaboration and sharing of full files and folders.
Sync: (Rating: 8/10)
Syncing is fairly easy with iCloud. All you need is an iTunes account and the software or app installed on the device. Then, once you sign in, all data that has been saved to your iCloud is automatically synced and available. But, this is not for online collaboration and synchronizing. Their synchronizing is very confusing, especially on iOS devices because there is no app. So, unfortunately, their syncing is not as good as it could or should be. It isn’t something you can monitor the status of or even pause either – making it less feature-rich than other file-syncing services.
Security: (Rating: 10/10)
iCloud is backed by the Apple tech family, so naturally it would have great security. To set up an account, you are required to create a strong password. You also will use a two-step verification process any time you login on an unrecognized device. Data is encrypted when transferred and stored and an SSL encryption is always used online. They have excellent storage facilities – including geo-redundant and hardened facilities. With Apple devices, you can also use the remote wipe feature – so if someone steals your iPhone, you can wipe it of all data to ensure no one accesses your iCloud info.
Help & Support: (Rating: 10/10)
Apple is one of the better-known tech companies, so naturally they would have excellent help and support. Not only do they have great tutorials and guides online, but they offer phone, email and chat support. You can participate in the help forums and just about every tech site out there has some sort of tutorial applicable to iCloud.
Free: Apple iCloud starts with 5GB of free storage space. This is allotted across all devices though – so you can quickly use it up with your iPhone’s photo storage.
After you fill up your free storage, you can upgrade to a monthly plan. You get all features of iCloud, including unlimited devices.
20GB: Starts at $0.99 per month.
200GB: Starts at $3.99 per month.
500GB: Starts at $9.99 per month.
1 TB: Starts at $19.99 per month.
Help and Support
Restore Individual Files
Version History: 0
Encrypted File Transfer
Encrypted File Storage
What We Like About Apple iCloud
Free 5GB of Storage: You automatically get 5GB of free storage with Apple iCloud – and if you buy an Apple device, it is automatically integrated into the system. So, you won’t have to worry about downloading it.
Setup is Easy: Surprisingly, setting up iCloud (even on a Windows device) is easy to do. You just download and install the app or program and sign in with your Apple ID (which is the same as your iTunes account).
Excellent Security: Apple deserves credit for all of the security they offer with their products – and they take it very seriously. iCloud is backed with excellent SSL security online, file encrypted transfers and storage and servers with superior up-time capabilities.
What We Don't Like About Apple iCloud
Confusing on Apple Devices: While it is great that iCloud automatically comes with Apple devices, it is not great how complicated and confusing it is. There’s no app because it is automatically installed in the hard-drive’s operating system. So, you have to go through your system settings to find it rather than locate a program – which is a lot more complicated than it needs to be.
Not a True Backup: While iCloud does advertise itself as a backup service, it really isn’t a true backup – it’s a file-syncing service.
Requires Extra Apps: If you want to get the most out of iCloud, you need to install extra apps like iCloud Drive or iWork to get a true backup and file collaboration service.
How to Backup with Apple iCloud
To backup, you need to go to the settings of your iCloud device – rather than the app itself. Which is why this service can be very confusing for some people. To do this you will need to:
1. Make sure you are connected to a Wi-Fi network – mobile networks may deny the automatic backup with iCloud.
2. Tap on the Settings, then iCloud, then Backup.
3. Make sure you have your iCloud service turned on. If not, turn it on.
4. Select Backup Now, then make sure you stay connected to the internet while it backs up. If you lose Wi-Fi connection, you may not have everything automatically updated.
iCloud will automatically backup your files each day after that.
How to Restore with Apple iCloud
Restoring is just as complicated as everything else with iCloud. To restore, you can only do so via a registered device with your Apple account – so you will have to go through the tedious process of registering a new device first (if you are restoring on a new one).
After the device is registered, turn it on. Then, follow these steps:
1. Join a Wi-Fi network.
2. Go to Settings, the iCloud.
3. Tap Restore from a Backup. Then sign into your iCloud account.
4. Choose the backup date you want to restore from and it will automatically start.
You must stay connected to Wi-Fi to fully restore.
Apple iCloud was created to keep up with the demands of cloud-based storage and file syncing. Apple created iCloud as their way to remain competitive in the market of cloud storage services – and their product was designed to integrate seamlessly with other Apple family products.