How to use iCloud Drive: The ultimate guide

iCloud Drive is Apple's online storage service — a place to keep all your files and access them from all your Apple devices, including your iPhone, iPad, and Mac.

If you're new to iCloud Drive and not sure how to get started, you've come to the right place. Follow along and we'll walk you through how to enable iCloud Drive, pick an appropriate storage plan, and how to better manage your files across your iPhone, iPad, and Mac!

How to set up and use iCloud Drive on iPhone and iPad

How to set up and start using iCloud Drive

You can choose to set up iCloud Drive at the same time you set up your iPhone or iPad. Otherwise, you can set up iCloud Drive at any time from the Settings App. If you previously used iCloud Documents and Data, iCloud Drive will replace it. Here's what you need to know!

What iCloud Drive storage plan should you get?

What iCloud Drive storage plan should you choose?

iCloud Drive stores files in your iCloud account. Apple gives everyone 5GB of space for free, but if you want or need more, you'll have to pay for it. Since other services, including iCloud Mail and iCloud Photo Library also use your iCloud account storage, you may want to upgrade to make sure you don't run out. Plans start at $0.99 a month, and you can also downgrade at any time. How much storage should you get? Here are some tips to help you choose the perfect plan!

How to access iCloud Drive files on your Mac

How to access iCloud Drive files in OS X Yosemite

Your Mac comes with iCloud Drive support built right into Finder. Any file you save on your Mac, iPhone, or iPad is instantly synced between all your devices. Since iCloud Drive is baked right into the Finder, you can open, edit, and save any of these files on your Mac with any app that supports the appropriate file type.

How to view iCloud Drive files on iPhone and iPad

How to view iCloud Drive files on iPhone and iPad

Similar to the Mac, you can find all of your iCloud files by using the iCloud Drive app on your iPhone or iPad. You can also send content to others via Messages, Mail, and more using the Share button.

How to control what apps have access to iCloud Drive

How to revoke access to iCloud Drive on an app by app basis

Lots of App Store apps offer support for iCloud Drive. That doesn't mean you want all of them to have access to your file. If, for whatever reason, you decide you don't want a particular app to be able to save files to iCloud Drive, you easily shut it off.

How to manage iCloud Drive sync over cellular

How to manage iCloud Drive syncing over cellular

By default, iCloud Drive will sync your files not only over Wi-Fi, but over the cellular network as well. Depending on your data plan and the size of the files you're working with, you might want to keep an eye on that. Text files won't use much data, but presentation files can be huge. Luckily, you can easily restrict iCloud Drive to only sync files over Wi-Fi in just a few taps.

How to manually create folders in iCloud Drive on your Mac

How to manually create folders in iCloud Drive on your Mac

iCloud Drive will automatically create folder directories for any app that save data to it, but you can also choose to create your own folders. You can then drop files into them and they'll immediately be synced across all your devices. This is a great option for folks who have multiple documents on their Mac that they'd like to have access to on their iPhone or iPad.

How to move your files from Dropbox, Google Drive, or OneDrive to iCloud Drive on a Mac

How to migrate files from Dropbox to iCloud Drive

If you've previously been using Dropbox, Google Drive, or OneDrive but want to switch over the iCloud Drive, you'll have to move your files over first. We can show you how to do that.

How to share a document in iCloud Drive in iOS 11 and macOS High Sierra

How to share in iCloud Drive in iOS 11

Apple occasionally offers updates to iOS, watchOS, tvOS, and macOS as closed developer previews or public betas for iPhone, iPad, Apple TV and Mac (sadly, no public beta for the Apple Watch). While the betas contain new features, they also contain pre-release bugs that can prevent the normal use of your iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, Apple TV, or Mac, and are not intended for everyday use on a primary device. That's why we strongly recommend staying away from developer previews unless you need them for software development, and using the public betas with caution. If you depend on your devices, wait for the final release.

iOS 11 and macOS High Sierra add new sharing options for iCloud Drive users, making it easy to share documents with other iCloud users.

Need more help with iCloud Drive?

Our iMore forums are a great place to ask for and give help to others. The best part is you don't even have to register to ask a question — unless of course you want to. So if you still have some iCloud Drive questions on your mind, we encourage you to ask in our forums:

Updated August, 2017: Added a section for iCloud sharing in iOS 11 and macOS High Sierra, cleaned up and expanded section for moving files from Dropbox and other cloud services to iCloud Drive on the Mac.