Exploring Unique iCloud Services
It’s pretty easy to describe the use of features like Contacts and Safari bookmark syncing, and they fall neatly into place in many of this book’s chapters. There are a few “unique” iCloud services that are important to cover, but don’t quite fit as cleanly elsewhere. One such service, for example, enables you to find your Mac on a map, should it be lost or stolen. Another provides direct access to your contacts, events, and mail from a web interface no matter where you are. Rather than leave these topics out, they are covered in the following tasks.
Accessing iCloud Applications Online
After you activate iCloud services like Mail, Calendaring, and Reminders, you can log into Apple’s online iCloud service and use web applications that resemble their Mac counterparts. To access iCloud applications, do the following:
- Open a current version of a web browser (Safari, Internet Explorer 8+, Firefox, or Chrome) and browse to http://www.icloud.com.
- Enter your Apple ID and Password.
- Click the Remember Me checkbox if you’d like to be able to access iCloud from your computer without logging in again.
Click the arrow to log in.
Click the icon of the application you want to launch.
- Use the web application as you would the desktop version. If your app makes changes to data, those changes will be pushed out to all your iCloud-connected devices.
- Click the Cloud menu to jump to other applications.
Close your browser when finished.
Using Find My Mac
To turn on Find My Mac and make your Mac location available via the iCloud website, follow these steps:
If you haven’t already, activate Find My Mac using the technique described in “Managing iCloud Services,” earlier in this chapter.
If prompted, click Allow on the Allow Find My Mac to Use the Location dialog.
If you need to find your Mac, go to iCloud.com in a browser on any Internet-connected device and log in. Click Find My iPhone.
- Click All Devices to show the list of tracked devices.
Click the name of your Mac in the list.
- The Mac’s location is highlighted on the map.
The web app displays options for sending a message/playing a sound on the computer, locking it, or wiping the contents of the hard drive.
Using Documents and Data
The Documents and Data feature of iCloud is meant to make it easy to work on a document in one location, and then open it again in another.
Before starting, be sure to activate Documents and Data using the steps described at the end of the “Activating iCloud Services” section, earlier in this chapter.
Saving Your Mac Files to iCloud
Edit the file as you normally would in an application of your choice (be aware that not all applications support iCloud at this time).
Choose File, Move To from the menu bar.
- When prompted for a filename, set the “Where” location to iCloud.
Click Move to save the file to iCloud.
Opening iCloud Files on Your Mac
To open a file that you’ve saved in iCloud (from any iCloud-connected device), first open the same application you used to create the file, and then follow these steps:
Choose File, Open.
- Make sure iCloud is selected in the dialog.
- Use the icon and list buttons at the bottom of the dialog to switch between icon and list views.
- Click the file you want to work with.
Click Open. The file opens and you can begin working with it wherever you left off, no matter which device you were using.
Opening iCloud Files in iCloud
If you save a file to iCloud using Pages, Keynote, or Numbers on your Mac or iOS device, you can open and edit the file with nothing more than your web browser. To do this, first follow the steps in the earlier task “Accessing iCloud Applications Online.”
Use the iCloud webpage to choose the application whose files you want to open.
- The application opens, displaying all the files you saved to iCloud from your Mac.
- Drag and drop new files into the empty area of the web browser to upload them.
Double-click a file you want to work with.
The file opens and you can begin working with it directly in your browser.
Moving Existing Files to and from iCloud
If you create a document locally (such as on your desktop) and want it to be available everywhere, you need to move it to iCloud. Similarly, if you want to take a document that has been shared via iCloud and move it so only a single copy exists on your Mac, you need to move it locally. To move in either direction, first open the file in your application of choice, and then follow these steps:
- Click the filename in the window’s title bar to open a pop-over window.
Click the Where pop-up menu to view the locations where you can send the file.
- To move a local file to iCloud, choose iCloud or a folder within iCloud.
- Choose a local destination to move the file to your local machine.
- Choose Other to pick from any destination on your computer.
Click outside the pop-over window to save your changes.
When viewing files in the iCloud Open File dialog, you can create whatever file organization you like by dragging the icons around—it works exactly like the Launchpad organization covered in Chapter 2, “Making the Most of Your Screen Space.” Drag a file onto another file, and a folder/group is automatically created. Drag files out of the folder, and the folder disappears. If you’re used to working with Launchpad or iOS, you’ll have no problem organizing your iCloud documents.
Using Photo Sharing
Another extremely useful (and fun) feature of iCloud is Photo Sharing. Photo Sharing automatically keeps copies of your most recent 1,000 photos taken using iOS devices and makes sure that your Mac has copies of them all. It also enables you to share collections of photos with anyone you’d like.
Enabling Photo Sharing
To get started, enable and configure Photo Sharing in iCloud. To enable the service, follow these steps:
Open the iCloud System Preferences panel.
- Enable the Photos item.
Click the Options button beside the Photos line.
- Click the My Photo Stream checkbox to keep all of your latest photos synced between devices.
- Enable the Photo Sharing option to share photos with individuals that you select.
- Click OK.
Close the Preferences window.
Viewing Shared Photos
To view your shared photos and photo stream, you need to use iPhoto. If you don’t have it installed, you can download it from the App Store.
Open iPhoto from the Applications folder or Launchpad.
- Click the iCloud icon in the left iPhoto navigation pane.
- Your shared photos are displayed.
Double-click an album.
The album opens and the pictures display.
To share your photos with others, you also use iPhoto.
Open iPhoto from the Applications folder or Launchpad.
Navigate to a photo collection (Events, Albums, Faces, Places, and so on) or select a group of photos from the Photos section.
Click the Share button and choose iCloud.
Choose an existing shared album, or click the + icon to create a new shared album.
- Enter the addresses for people who should be able to access the shared album, the name of the album, and any comments.
- Check Subscribers Can Post to allow comments from people viewing your photos.
- Check Public Website to publish a publicly accessible version of your photos.
Click Share to begin sharing!