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How To: Manage Your iCloud

by on November 8th, 2011

In spite of the iOS 5 battery issues Apple announced last week, there’s still plenty to love about the latest and greatest iOS, one of which is the iCloud. Managing iCloud, however, can be a bit daunting given the scale with which iCloud backs up and syncs your information. No fear, though, here’s a quick walk-through of some of the important bits and pieces to get the most out of your cloud.

Figuring Out What To Sync

All your iCloud settings are found under the iCloud section in your Settings. Right from the top, you’re given options to select various apps and settings you can sync to the cloud (and your other devices). Now, in typical Apple fashion, they don’t really give you much depth in options available. So, if you allow iCloud to sync your Contacts and Calendars, then all of them will be synced across all of your devices tied to your iCloud/Apple ID. Definitely something to keep in mind if you separate your iPhone for corporate work and iPad for play (or for your kid to play with). Of course, the best way to get around this problem is to set up different IDs with Apple to manage each parts of your life.

Managing your Storage & Backup

Now, I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again – iCloud backups are pretty cool. It cuts down on sync times with the desktop and it provides some peace of mind when it comes to knowing my data is stored backed up automatically. However, backing up your iOS device can really suck up a lot of your precious free 5GB available when you open your iCloud account. Here’s how you can quickly check your storage, change your settings and buy more storage as needed.

Now in the iCloud settings, click on the Storage & Backup button, which will give you some general information about your backups – your total storage available, how much you’ve used and so forth. Here, you can buy more storage directly from your device and toggle whether to set up iCloud backups for this device.

Clicking on the Manage Storage button will list the devices you’re backing into the cloud, as well as any documents you’ve chosen to back up from your Mac/PC or directly from apps in your device. As more apps continue to support document syncing, the more apps you’ll see in that section. For now, though, I’ve only got the iWorks suite backing up to it.

You can manage (primarily delete) the documents you’re backing up by going into each of the apps here and selecting the specific file you no longer need.

Managing device backups is just as easy. However, you can only manage the backups on the device you’re using, but you can delete backups on other devices in case you’re hitting your storage limit. Jumping into my iPad’s backups, you can see that the bulk of my backup is taken up by my camera roll (the same is the case for my iPhone). Now, the intuitive thing to do is to turn off Camera Roll backups. Before doing that though, it’s important to keep in mind that while doing so will not only help drop data usage, but it will also delete my backup as well.

Cloud Management…From the Cloud

The last piece of iCloud management can be done from iCloud.com. Logging in with your iCloud ID allows you to access not just your backed up documents, but also your iCloud based mail (yup, you get one of those), but also your contacts, calendars and Find my iPhone. So this last piece is useful to remember if you’ve lost your phone or need a contact while you’re away from your iOS device.What the web-based iCloud doesn’t have yet is access to your Photo Stream or app backup management. I’m sure as iCloud continues to grow and mature, more of the management will be shifted to the web, and the console would be available for multi-device management for enterprise and small businesses.

For now, though, are you all making use of the iCloud? Or is it just a neat feature that will disappear much like Ping? Let us know in the comments below.

 

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  • Ssilver

    iCloud is more complicated than I have patience for. Not a simple Apple offering.