iCloud Drive: The ultimate guide


Apple provides a cloud-based storage service, called iCloud, that makes it possible for us to sync our documents and files across all of our iPhone, iPad, and Mac devices. The program used to access these files is called iCloud Drive (in iOS 11, the app is called Files). If you're wondering what iCloud Drive is all about, we've got your ultimate guide right here.

How to set up and use iCloud Drive

When you first set up your operating system, you're asked if you want to enable iCloud Drive. If you chose not to, you can manually enable it on iPhone, iPad, and Mac.

How to choose the right iCloud storage plan for you

Apple gives you 5GB of iCloud storage for free, but if you start syncing all of your documents, files, and photos in the cloud, you'll quickly run out of space. Subscription prices for more storage range from $0.99 to $9.99 per month. The capacity you need is based on what you use iCloud for.

How to control which apps have access to iCloud Drive

With iCloud Drive, you can sync files across all of your device in supported third-party apps, as well as Apple's built-in programs. This starts to use up a lot of storage. It's incredibly convenient to be able to sync files across your iPhone, iPad, and Mac, but you don't need to use it with every app. You can manually change which apps should or shouldn't use iCloud Drive.

How to create new folders in iCloud Drive

When you sync files and data in iCloud, a folder is automatically created to keep data organized. You can also create new folders in iCloud Drive or the Files app so you can manually add or move files into them as you please.

How to move content from another cloud storage app to iCloud Drive on Mac

There are dozens of great cloud storage services you can use to sync your files across devices. After a while, you might have photos in Google Drive, documents in Dropbox, and music in OneDrive. If you'd rather keep all of your cloud synced content in one place, you can easily move everything to iCloud Drive on the Mac.

How to save your Desktop and Documents Folders in iCloud Drive

iCloud on Mac

iCloud on Mac (Image credit: IMore)

As of macOS Sierra, you can store files and folders from your desktop and all the files in your Documents Folders in iCloud, where you can access them from any device using iCloud Drive. It saves space on your Mac, while making it easier for you to get your important files on any other iCloud supported device.

How to share a document in iCloud Drive

Sharing in iCloud Drive

Sharing in iCloud Drive

As of iOS 11 and macOS High Sierra, you'll be able to share documents with others, and work in them in real-time, directly from iCloud Drive and the Files app. No longer will you have to switch between apps in order to invite others to work with you on a project.

Need more help with iCloud Drive?

If you're still having trouble with iCloud Drive, you can check in with our forums to see if iMore's readers have a solution. A problem you're having right now may have already happened to someone else. The best way to find out is to just ask.

Lory Gil

Lory is a renaissance woman, writing news, reviews, and how-to guides for iMore. She also fancies herself a bit of a rock star in her town and spends too much time reading comic books.  If she's not typing away at her keyboard, you can probably find her at Disneyland or watching Star Wars (or both).