In this chapter, you learn about iCloud services and unified account management in Mavericks, including:
- → Activating iCloud services
- → What iCloud is and does
- → Interesting iCloud services
- → How to move files to and from iCloud
- → How to manage your myriad of Internet accounts
One of the coolest features of Mavericks isn’t really located on your Mac—it’s “in the cloud.” The Mavericks iCloud services enable you to keep all of your information in sync in your digital life. Your iPhones, iPads, and Mac—coupled with iCloud—make up the perfect digital workplace and playground.
Setting Up iCloud
One of the most convenient features of using multiple Apple devices is the difficult-to-describe iCloud service. iCloud provides data synchronization between your computers and iOS devices (such as synchronizing your web browser bookmarks, passwords, and even credit card information). It also gives you free email, contact storage, beautiful online office applications, and it even provides the ability to connect to your home Macintosh from your work computer. Best of all, all you need to do to use iCloud is establish an account and click a few checkboxes.
Configuring iCloud for the First Time
The first step in using iCloud is configuring your Mac to log into your account. If you have an Apple ID, chances are you already have an iCloud account. If not, the setup process guides you along the way. Note that you only need to follow these steps once—after that, you remain logged in even if you reboot your Mac.
To access your iCloud account, follow these steps:
Open the iCloud System Preferences panel. A sign-in window displays.
- Enter your Apple ID and Password, or click Create Apple ID to generate a new safe ID.
Click Sign In to log in to the iCloud service.
- iCloud prompts to automatically install basic services—contact, calendar, reminders, notes, and bookmark syncing as well as Find My Mac. You can either enable these now, or you can do it later by following the instructions in the “Activating iCloud Services” task.
You might be prompted for information as some services start. If you’re using Find My Mac, for example, you’re prompted to allow Location Services. Click Allow to move on.
You are shown the list of active iCloud services. Close the System Preferences, or proceed to the next section to learn more about the available services.
Activating iCloud Services
Your iCloud account comes with many free services that work across your OS X systems and iOS (iPhone/iPad) devices. The following list summarizes the available services at the time of this writing:
- Mail—When activated, Mail sets up a Mavericks email account associated with your iCloud account. This will be an @icloud.com address that you established when registering for an Apple ID (discussed in Chapter 5, “Accessing Email and the Web”).
- Contacts—Moves your contacts to iCloud storage, making them accessible and editable on any device that has iCloud configured. (See Chapter 8, “Managing Who, Where, When, and What,” for more details.)
- Calendars—Sets up shared calendars between all iCloud devices. (See Chapter 8 for more details.)
- Reminders—Creates shared lists—everything from shopping lists to to-do lists that are shared between all iCloud devices. (See Chapter 8 for more details.)
- Notes—Connects your Mac Notes application to iCloud storage, making all your notes available across all your Macs and iPhone/iPad (see Chapter 8 for more details.)
- Safari—Enables syncing of your Safari bookmarks and your reading list across devices as well as providing a list of open Safari tabs on other devices. This makes it possible to start browsing in one location and finish in another. (Read more in Chapter 5.)
- Keychain—Enables syncing of secure passwords and credit card information between your devices. This will be used for auto-fill data in Safari. Note that when enabling this feature, you’ll need to bounce back and forth between your Mac and iOS devices to ensure that they are all properly authorized to share the data. (Read more in Chapter 5.)
- Photos—If you have iPhoto installed on your Mac, Photos automatically makes the photos you take on your iPhone or iPad available on your Mac (and vice versa) and enables you to share albums with anyone. (Discussed later in this chapter in the “Using Photo Sharing” task.)
- Documents & Data—This makes it possible to save files to iCloud rather than your local hard drive. Using this feature, you can start editing a document on one machine and finish it up on another. (Discussed later in this chapter in the “Using Documents and Data” task.)
- Back to My Mac—When activated, this unique iCloud feature makes your computer visible to any other computer where you have activated Back To My Mac. Using this, you can access your home computer from any other network-connected Mac—no network configuration required. (See Chapter 6, “Sharing Files, Devices, and Services,” for details.)
- Find My Mac—If your Mac is lost or stolen, Find My Mac attempts to locate it. Using the icloud.com website, you can track your Mac on a map and even lock or erase it. (Discussed later in this chapter in the “Using Find My Mac” task.)
To activate an iCloud service, first make sure you have completed the task “Configuring iCloud for the First Time” and then follow these simple steps:
Open the iCloud System Preferences panel.
- Click the checkboxes in front of the services you want to use. If prompted to provide access to additional system services (Find My Mac requires you to grant access to your location, for instance), click the appropriate response.
Close System Preferences when satisfied with your selections.