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, however, that are important to cover, but don’t quite fit as cleanly elsewhere. One such service, for example, enables you to find your MacBook 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 MacBook 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.
- Click the Sign In button (if it appears) and enter your Apple ID and Password.
- Click the Keep Me Signed In checkbox if you’d like to be able to access iCloud from your computer without logging in again.
- Click the arrow to login.
- Once connected, click the icon of the application you wish to launch.
- Use the web application as you would the desktop version. As you make changes, they will be pushed out to all your iCloud-connected devices.
- Click the Cloud button to exit back to the main menu.
- Close your browser when finished.
Using Find My Mac
To turn on Find My Mac and make your MacBook location available via the iCloud website, follow these steps:
- If you haven’t already, activate Find My Mac using the technique described in “Activating iCloud Services,” earlier in this chapter.
- If prompted, click Allow on the Allow Find My Mac to use the location services dialog.
- Choose the option to Allow guests to log into your system if it’s lost, to improve recoverability. This makes it possible for a user to get online through a guest account (that has no access to your data) without a password. Enabling this makes it possible for your MacBook to signal its location if the thief (or person who found your laptop) takes it online.
- If you need to find your Mac, go to iCloud.com in your browser and login. Click Find My iPhone.
- Find your MacBook and click it in the list on the left.
- The MacBook’s location is shown on a map on the right.
- Click the “i” button in the map marker.
- 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 Files to iCloud
To store a file in iCloud, do the following:
- 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, Save from the menu bar.
- When prompted for a file name, set the “Where” location to iCloud.
- Click Save to save the file to iCloud.
Opening Files from iCloud
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.
- In the dialog box that appears, make sure iCloud is selected.
- 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.
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 MacBook, you need to move it locally. To move in either direction, first open the file in your application of choice, and then follow along:
- Click the file name in the window’s title bar.
- Choose Move To from the pop-up menu.
- 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.
- Click Move to finish moving the file.
Using Photo Stream
Another extremely useful (and fun) feature of iCloud is Photo Stream. Photo Stream automatically keeps copies of your most recent 1000 photos taken using iOS devices and makes sure that your MacBook has copies of them all. To enable and use Photo Stream, follow these steps:
- Open iPhoto from the Launchpad or Applications folder. (If you do not have iPhoto, it can be purchased from the Mac App Store.)
- Choose iPhoto, Preferences from the menu bar.
- Click the Photo Stream button.
- Click the Enable Photo Stream checkbox.
- Choose whether your Photo Stream photos should automatically be imported to the Events, Photos, Faces, and Places categories in your library.
- Select Automatic Upload to send any photos added directly to iPhoto on your Mac to your iPhone and iPad devices through Photo Stream.
- Close the Preferences window.
- Now when you take photos with your iPhone or iPad, they automatically appear in Photo Stream when your iOS device connects with Wi-Fi. Alternatively, you can drag photos from your iPhoto library (or image files from the Finder) into the iPhoto Photo Stream group to send them to your iOS devices (not shown).