HOW TO SET UP ICLOUD SERVICES
Continuing from the previous section, in this section I will show you how to enable iCloud Services so that E-Mails, Calendars, Notes, Reminders, Contacts and so on can be synchronised between Apple devices such as your iPad, iPhone and MacBook Pro for example.
When you create an APPLE ID (as shown in the previous section) you are actually creating an Apple Account that comes with 5GB of free Cloud Storage space. That cloud storage space, which is actually hard drive storage space on one of Apple's computers (servers), is used by certain iCloud Services to synchronise (Copy & Paste) files from one apple device to another. Usually to synchronise photos you take on your iPad, music you buy from the iTunes Store and Application Data.
As an example of this - When you take a photo on your iPad that original photo is stored on your iPad, as expected. However, once you are connected to the internet the iCloud Services will make a photocopy of that original photo and store it (upload it) inside your 5GB Cloud Storage space; located on one of Apple's computers (servers). As soon as the iCloud Services detect you have another apple device switched on, connected to the internet, using the same APPLE ID they will download (paste) a copy of the photocopied photo onto that other apple device. This means both your iPad and other apple device will have an exact copy of the same photo file and thereby be in-sync (synchronised).
The same applies to music you buy from the iTunes Store, except this time the file will originate from the iTunes Store (Apple's computer) and not from your iPad. This means the iCloud Services first store your purchased song inside your 5GB Cloud Storage space before downloading (pasting) it onto your apple devices connected to the internet with the same APPLE ID. iCloud Services are also used for iPad/iPhone Data Back-Up and synchronising text messages for example.
Don't be intimidated by "Cloud" or "In the Cloud" as these are just expressions of "It isn't stored on my computer directly". Facebook Pages, GMail E-Mail, Skype Conversations and so on are all "In the Cloud", but you never say "I am going on the cloud today". You say "I am going on Facebook", "I am going to check my E-Mail" regardless of where the data (facebook content and e-mail content) is stored. Ignorance is bliss! So ignore the technicals of the cloud and just go through this section with knowledge of what to switch on/off in order to use Cloud Services and Synchronisation.
To activate (login to / sign into) iCloud Services begin by opening the System Preferences window (control panel) and then click on the ICLOUD Preferences icon (Fig 1.0) to open the iCloud window (Fig 1.1). From there, enter your APPLE ID User Name & Password into their relative edit boxes before clicking on the SIGN IN button.
Remember. You can login with a different APPLE ID, for iTunes Store purposes, if you need a dedicated Apple Account (APPLE ID) purely for sharing music between apple devices for example; apple devices with their own APPLE ID's for normal computer use that also use a shared APPLE ID for the iTunes Store and purchased music. See the previous section for more information about this.
After clicking on the SIGN IN button (above) the next step is to agree to the Terms & Conditions of the iCloud License Agreement. Read the License Agreement carefully. Although license agreements tend to contain useless information, they usually explain Copyright issues or Usage issues that clarify how services can be used. So if, for example, you are told that a certain service is Free and/or Free To Use amongst X amount of devices you may want to clarify this by reading the agreement. If after reading the terms and conditions you agree to them, put a tick next to the I HAVE READ AND AGREE..... option and then click on the CONTINUE button.
The next steps to activating iCloud Services is to select what gets synchronised in terms of applications and their data. As the screenshot below shows, you can initially have Contacts, Calendars, Reminders, Notes and Safari Bookmarks shared between apple devices using the same APPLE ID. I say initially because in the following steps you can select more applications (Fig 1.4 below). For now though just keep the two options ticked and click on the NEXT button to continue.
Clicking on the NEXT button brings up a prompt (message requester) asking you for permission to use your apple device's current location. In this example it is asking me to give permission for the FIND MY MAC icloud service to use my MacBook Pro's current location, which is needed to track my MacBook Pro's whereabouts in case of theft, etc. So in this example I will allow the FIND MY MAC icloud service to use my MacBook Pro's current location by clicking on the ALLOW button. I have covered FIND MY MAC in the Security category of this website, so if you need more information please read the section called How To Locate An iPad, Mac or iPhone When Lost or Stolen.
At this point only the common applications, and/or their data, are backed up onto the cloud and thereby synchronised between apple devices with the same APPLE ID. Common applications are those that don't necessarily require an icloud.com e-mail address and/or additional security set-up. Hence why the Mail application for example is currently unticked, because it requires an icloud.com e-mail address. So the next step is to go down the list of applications and try to tick each currently unticked application in order to register/activate it as part of icloud services and get its data/settings synchronised/backed-up. Again I say "try" because although the registration/activation process requires an icloud.com e-mail address and/or additional security set-up sometimes an application cannot be registered/activated (ticked) as part of icloud services for other reasons.
Ignoring the technicals again; Click on the checkbox (unticked box) to the left-side of the listed MAIL application (Fig 1.5 above) and you will be prompted to create a new, unique, icloud.com e-mail address (below). Click inside the edit box and type in a unique User Name for yourself. The @icloud.com part (domain name part) of the e-mail address doesn't need to be typed in as it will be added to the end of your unique User Name automatically. So in this example I am typing in johncairns whereby, if it's not been registered before, johncairns will be my unique User Name and firstname.lastname@example.org will be my unique iCloud e-mail address. Your unique User Name can only be created once, and not deleted, so think carefully be deciding upon a user name; especially if you require a business name. When you have typed in a user name click on the OK button to have it checked for availability.
As the user name and therefore icloud e-mail address is so unique you are prompted once more to verify that your chosen user name is the one you want to try and register. In other words, you are being asked "are you sure this is what you want to register". Click on the CREATE button to continue.
Assuming all went well with your unique icloud e-mail address (user name) the next step is to set up the iCloud Keychain (Password Vault) so that website user names, website passwords, credit card information, wi-fi network information, mail accounts and so on can be stored on Apple's computer ("in the cloud") and synchronised with your apple devices using the same APPLLE ID (Apple Account). If you like the idea of Apple storing your passwords and accounts information on its computer (server) continue by putting a tick next to the KEYCHAIN option.
Before iCloud Keychain can be set up you need to authorise this action by entering your APPLE ID password into the message requester that appears. When you have done this click on the OK button to continue.
To set up iCloud Keychain on apple devices with the same APPLE ID you need to create a special PIN code (iCloud Security Code) that authorises each of those devices to use (synchronise/update) currently stored accounts and passwords information. The PIN code can be more advanced than a four digit code, if you click on the ADVANCED button, but for this example I will keep it simple and just create a four digit PIN. As you type each digit (number) into their relevant edit boxes the number is displayed as a dot, to protect you from preying eyes. Simply enter your desired PIN code and click on the NEXT button. You will need to re-type (confirm) the PIN code and click on the NEXT button again (not shown here) before moving onto the next step (Fig 1.11 below).
As an added piece of security you have to supply a mobile phone number to accompany your PIN code (iCloud Security Code). That phone number will be texted whenever you set up iCloud Keychain on a new apple device with the same APPLE ID (Apple Account). Click on the DONE button when you have entered a phone number.
If you have previously set up another apple device, that uses the same APPLE ID (Apple Account), with iCloud Keychain you can use it to approve (verify/authorise) another apple device that uses the same APPLE ID (Apple Account). So in this example I am setting up iCloud Keychain on my MacBook Pro laptop computer whereby it (iCloud Keychain) has already been set up on my iPhone. In this case I could click on the REQUEST APPROVAL button to request approval from my iPhone or I could just use the existing PIN code (iCloud Security Code) by clicking on the USE CODE button instead; which is what I am going to do now.
After clicking on the USE CODE button you will be prompted for your PIN code (iCloud Security Code) and then, like in this case, be sent a text message with a unique verification code inside it. Simply enter that verification code into the prompt that follows (Fig 1.14 below).
At the end of all that set up and verification you should end up with all the listed applications ticked, unless a specific application required other information and/or procedure in order to be ticked. One example of this is when Photo Stream needs the Aperture application instead of the iPhoto application in order to be set up (ticked).
If you are signing into an existing APPLE ID (Apple Account), which you may have set up and used on another apple device, the gauge at the bottom of the iCloud window will show how much of your 5GB iCloud Storage space has already been taken up by apple devices using the same APPLE ID (Apple Account). Otherwise it will show 5GB of free space if your APPLE ID (Apple Account) is brand new. So in this example the total amount of iCloud Storage space used to store my iPad, iPhone and MacBook Pro data (combined) is almost 500MB (half a GigaByte).
Although it's not unusual for the initial 1GB of iCloud Storage space to be taken up purely by iCloud BACKUPS of your apple devices, such as an iPad backup that contains plenty of e-mails and documents for example, the "average" person doing simply things with their apple devices (in terms of storage and backups) should not need more than 5GB of storage space. Saying this, you can easily buy more storage space for a minimal price. The good news is that purchased music, movies, apps, books, television shows and photo streams don't count towards your free 5GB - More Information.
If you want to check what's taking up your iCloud Storage space you can click on the MANAGE button to the right of the green gauge (Fig 1.15 above) and on the OPTIONS button next to Documents & Data (Fig 1.15 above) to see what applications are using up storage space (Figures 1.16 and 1.17 below).
The MANAGE and OPTIONS windows (above) also give suggestions on how to save storage space and/or options to untick apps etc that you don't want storing data "in the cloud". Likewise, you can change Photo Stream options by clicking on the OPTIONS button next to Photos (Fig 1.15 above). Don't be afraid to investigate!
Hopefully the above has given you enough understanding of iCloud to at least set it up on your MacBook Pro for example, as it's beyond the scope of this section and website to cover all the iCloud features, functionalities and procedures.