With the release of their iOS8 and Yosemite OS for the Mac, Apple has for the first time a viable option for cloud storage.
“But what about iCloud?” you may ask. “I’ve been using it for years!”
iCloud has actually always been mainly a syncing system, not a cloud storage system. You use it to sync your contacts, calendar, reminders, etc. from your iPhone, and also to back up the data from your iPhone – for data recovery, not for storage. In 2013, Apple added the ability to sync documents using iCloud – but only documents from Apple software like Pages.
Photostream is also a syncing service, but for your photos. (It’s a separate service from iCloud and doesn’t count against your iCloud storage limit.) You may not even know that photos from your iPhone are stored in the “cloud” for only 30 days (or up to 1,000) photos. If you don’t sync Photostream to your Mac within those 30 days, or before the 1,000 photo limit, then you could get out of sync.
When I talk about “cloud storage”, I mean an online repository for data – any type of data you want. Solutions like Dropbox, Google Drive, and Microsoft One Drive have become popular among both Mac and PC users because they allow you to store any kind of data.
Now Apple has introduced iCloud Drive. You can access the files stored in iCloud drive from any of your computers – home desktop, laptop, and work desktop – both Macs and PCs (with iCloud for Windows installed) right from Finder or File Manager.
Other cloud services like Dropbox still have an advantage on mobile devices. You can use your Dropbox app on your iPhone, for example, to view any of your files, but iCloud Drive on iOS is compatible only with Apple apps like Pages. Also, other services have better options for sharing documents.
Once you update your iCloud to the new iCloud Drive you can’t go back, so be sure that you update all of your Macs to Yosemite first, and all of your mobile devices to iOS 8.
On the Mac, you can find the iCloud drive on the left sidebar in your Finder window. You can move files to it just like you did with your Dropbox or Google Drive folder.
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