Which iCloud services are you using?

How to use iCloud Drive
How to use iCloud Drive

If you have an Apple ID, including an iTunes account, you have an iCloud account. You just have to use it. Since you can toggle each and every iCloud feature on or off on in your iPhone or iPad Settings, or your Mac System Preferences, the question then becomes, which iCloud services are you using?

Is iCloud handling your mail and syncing your contacts, calendars, reminders, Safari bookmarks, notes, Passbook passes, and other personal data? Is iCloud Drive storing your files and making them available on all your devices? Is iCloud Photo Library keeping all your photos available on every device? Is iCloud Keychain handling your passwords and credit card information? Is Find my iPhone tracking your iPhone, iPad, and/or Mac in case you lose it or it gets stolen?

Vote in the poll above and then let me know the details in the comments below. Which iCloud services are you using and why? And if you aren't using some, why not?

Rene Ritchie
Contributor

Rene Ritchie is one of the most respected Apple analysts in the business, reaching a combined audience of over 40 million readers a month. His YouTube channel, Vector, has over 90 thousand subscribers and 14 million views and his podcasts, including Debug, have been downloaded over 20 million times. He also regularly co-hosts MacBreak Weekly for the TWiT network and co-hosted CES Live! and Talk Mobile. Based in Montreal, Rene is a former director of product marketing, web developer, and graphic designer. He's authored several books and appeared on numerous television and radio segments to discuss Apple and the technology industry. When not working, he likes to cook, grapple, and spend time with his friends and family.

41 Comments
  • I'd like to use iCloud Drive rather than Microsoft OneDrive, but I haven't figured out how yet (which makes me a bad nerd).
  • I use all of them. I also carry MicrosoftOneDrive as a compliment to my backups and for Office docs that I want to work with in the cloud. Not a bad set up if I do say so myself. Sent from the iMore App
  • I'm "using" find my iPhone, iPad, and Mac. Haven't actually needed to use it. I'm actively using iCloud backup for my iPhone and iPad. I use photostream. Haven't activated iCloud photo library because A. Photos hasn't been released for Mac yet. B. Apple offers a ridiculously low amount of free storage for iCloud. I don't use iCloud drive for aforementioned B. for photo library but I also don't like the fact that there is no iCloud drive app for iOS. Although its not listed as a choice in the poll I do use iWork and have my documents synced in iCloud.
  • Using it all save for the photo storage. Would need almost 1Tb, so not a monthly bill I need right now. But just as importantly, I've never been a fan of how Apple has set up syncing and streaming for family libraries. The wife and I tend to take too many pix of everything, do a lot of weeding out and then a ton of editing, and in both iOS and OS X. For whatever reason, whenever we tried the "every pic on every device" approach, we've wound up with way too many duplicates. And I'm not even going to get into the non-destructive editing problems.
  • All iCloud services here. I also use iPhone and iPad. Just in the last of two months I have had to replace a MacBook Pro and iMac. iMac fried on power surge. MBP just age - 7 years. Enter the AppleiD on hookup of new computers and 80% of anything I have to do is done. Just go to the Mac App Store and re-dwonload the apps I bought. I literally setup from unbox of iMac 5k to good to go in 45 minutes max. I use a Time Capsule, but all I brought from that was all my Documents. The rest from MAS. Have to say - iCloud rocks. All one has to do is commit to it for their computers and iDevices and learn - replace or buying new is so easy. When my iPhone 6 was delivered - input AppleID, select iCloud restore and watch the new iPhone become the one it replaced. Apple needs tp sell it better.
  • No iCloud app for iOS is an issue, no folders is an issue, the low amount of free storage is an issue, so I don't use it as much as I could. Instead, I have 2 OneDrive accounts with a fair amount of space between them. And my favorite, at this point, in Box with 50 GB free.. I hope Apple changes their pricing structure soon, as well as my above mentioned peaves, because I think iCloud could be so much more than it is and the built in convenience should be awesome. Just my 2¢.
  • I've managed to score 40 GB of free, permanent storage on OneDrive, otherwise I'd be using iCloud Drive more.
  • All of them.
    Find My iPhone came in handy when someone stole my gf's iPhone once.
    Tracked them all the way to their house where they returned it without issue.
  • Just Find My xxxx Sent from the iMore App
  • Anyone tried Amazon Cloud Drive for their iPhoto library? There's unlimited photo storage, but I read that it doesn't like to deal with the iPhoto library since it's sorta 1 big file. I really don't want to export all. I also hesitate to use it with my iPhone, which it can auto upload. But I'd rather do it once the right way. Any suggested tutorials? I can't find a good one. Sent from the iMore App
  • Just Drive, Microsoft has much more better cloud services. Yes. Sent from the iMore App
  • I pay for a little extra storage, something Apple charges way to much for, and for iTunes Match -- which is totally worth the annual fee. Wishing OneDrive integrated as well with iOS as iCloud does, it's much more reasonably priced.
  • I use everything but drive at the moment. I've recently bought a MacBook Air so I fully intend to use iCloud Drive too. I Sent from the iMore App
  • I also play for 100GB of storage from Google drive. Sent from the iMore App
  • I use everything except Keychain. 1Password rocks! I'm shocked at the low percentages. At a bare minimum users should have Find My iPhone and Backup turned on.
  • All of them. Sent from the iMore App
  • Apple just haven't empowered users for iCloud services yet. I suspect the next release cycle might include some enhanced iCloud services. I think if Apple release an iCloud Drive app and add support for custom domains to iCloud Mail, they would see a large rise in some of those percentages... Sent from the iMore App
  • In iOS9, an iCloud Drive app will be available for iOS. I'm using it right now with Public Beta and it's great.
  • 'Find my' and synching notes are enough. I use Gmail exclusively (work emails are saved on work server), I maintain cross-platform backups (onedrive and box) for my pics and videos, and got a time machine on my MBP (which is enough). Never been a fan of how Apple handles its cloud services, and Im way too invested into other services to roll that back.
  • Rene, can you start a petition on iMore to get apple to lower the cost of iCloud Drive?
    $20/m-1TB is too much.
    Especially since it's basically only for iOS backups & Photo Drive. Why no Mac Backups? For $20/m I should get 3/4TB with auto TimeMachine-to-iCloud sync -or- all of my files should be available near-line like Photos & iWork & cross-platform! I'm sick of having 10 different locations to look for my data.
    It's $99/y-1TB for DropBox.
    & Amazon Prime = unlimited photo storage. Sent from the iMore App
  • I use all except for Keychain. Sent from the iMore App
  • I am using all of those listed in the poll. Mail I am not currently using, but have in the past. Find My iPhone I have not had to use, but it is of course activated.
  • all of them ;-) Sent from the iMore App
  • I don't use iCloud Mail because the web interface, while nice a s clean, is very lite on features. After using Gmail's labels, it's hard to switch. My guess is that Apple will never do anything with mail aside from updating the UI to match their latest design style.
  • OneDrive, Box, DropBox, GoogleDrive Sent from the iMore App
  • iCloud Drive seems like a Beta version of a Dropbox-like service. Most frustrating things are the fact that everything needs to be downloaded to be opened and iCloud creates App folders that cannot be deleted from iCloud.com/Document Picker even if you uninstall and stop using the app. #Messy.
  • I don't use any, actually. When logged into iCloud my battery will barely last 8 hours, even if in standby. When I am not logged into iCloud, the battery will last for 2 days. Apparently a number of people have this problem. iCloud for some runs in the background even when the phone is idle resulting in battery usage times where Usage and Standby are almost identical. When logged out of iCloud, the Standby time far exceeds Usage time. My senior Apple tech acknowledges there is a problem but has no answer at this time.
  • Must be a small number I know of no one with that issue. I hope you get it fixed soon. What iPhone are you on?
  • iPhone 6 with iOS 8.2. There are lots of folks having the significant battery drain issues. A number of them have posted in the Apple discussion forums. I think, but of course can't be sure, a lot of people don't realize they may have battery issues and don't think twice about keeping the phone charged all day or a number of times a day. A buddy of mine doesn't think twice about charging his phone every time he is around a power source. I don't have that option. Anyway, yesterday, for example, I only used 40% of the battery from 7:30AM to 11:30PM. Not a ton of activity, but I did check emails, surf a bit, check NHL & NCAA BB scores, weather, etc. If I had been logged into iCloud, the battery would have been dead by 5PM. The only iCloud feature I miss is Find My Phone. I can log into iCloud to run a back up and then log out again.
  • There's an option to have your phone's iCloud only synch when connected to a WIFI, otherwise, if using PHONE DATA is activated, it definitely eat your battery fast. It's like having your phone's GPS running all the time. I only activate the USE PHONE DATA option when I am travelling and taking lots of photos so I ensure all the recent taken photos will be in the cloud even if my phone will astray or get stolen. At least Im not losing those memories too. ;)
  • I love using iCloud Photo Library! So far it's freed up space on my phone that I can use for other things. iCloud Drive is awesome, but I wish I could access my drive on my iPhone natively instead of through other apps... Ah well. Maybe someday. Other iCloud features have helped me a lot - automatic iCloud backup has actually saved me from a phone crash when installing the betas. Overall, I think Apple is really improving the service and I'm excited to see what they will offer next! Sent from the iMore App
  • I don't use iCloud Photo Library because I have plenty of space on my phone to sync locally from iTunes, and I really just don't want to put my photos in the cloud. I use iCloud contacts because they support more fields than Google Contacts, but I don't use iCloud mail or calendar because I'm too far gone with Google's offerings. Other than those, I use the rest of the iCloud services.
  • I use all except iCloud Backup and Photo Library. As far as backup, I prefer to have control over physical access to my backups. That doesn't mean I don't trust Apple, as I do have it set up for my father's and stepmother's devices. But they don't have banking apps or much other confidential stuff on their devices like I do. Also, my iTunes backups are rather large, and I have 3 devices (iPhone 6, iPad 3, iPad Mini 2) to back up. I don't think all 3 would fit in the free 5 GB limit. I will go to iCloud Photo Library, once Photos for Mac is released. Most of my photos are in my Mac's library, with a few hundred spread around the "Camera Roll" on my iOS devices. I estimate I'll need the $0.99/month 20 GB tier to store everything. I also don't use iCloud mail, but do use it for the other PIM stuff (calendar, contacts, notes). I'd like to move off Gmail, but there have been a few iCloud outages lately, and I also am not fond of paying for my mail to be stored. If I did mail in addition to photos, I'd likely need to bump up to the $3.99/month 200 GB tier. Apple needs to offer more iCloud storage per each device that your Apple ID is signed in to for being a loyal customer. I think 5 GB per device would be a good starting point, and maybe even more starting with device #3 (additional 10 GB). Then my switch to iCloud for e-mail wouldn't cost me an extra $3 per month.
  • I didn't vote in the poll because you've merged mail and contacts. I use only Contacts and ios backups. Why I don't use icloud's other services: I don't want anybody but me backing up my photos,
    -I don't use icloud drive because i have Onedrive (and google drive, Box) with more free storage plus icloud drive lacks a file structure,
    -I don't use itunes match because i don't buy much music and when i do it's not from apple and i have free google play music.
    -I don't know what keychain is but it sounds like a password manager and honestly i have a pretty good memory and i can remember all my passwords in my head.
    -I don't use mail, because i have gmail.
  • Just iCloud Drive, Backup (anything that lets me avoid iTunes), and Find My iPhone. Dropbox for photos/images and documents and my NAS for movie or music related stuff.
  • Legacy .Mac user here so use them all. Still miss iDisk even-though it was terrible, but still better than iCloud drive.
  • I preferred iDisk to, iCloud Drive needs a documents app and file structure Sent from the iMore App
  • There is this App called Cloud Opener, can't seem to find it at the moment in the AppStore, and it was like a Finder navigation for the iCloud Drive. Edit: it's called Cloud Opener Free now: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/cloud-opener-free/id932897919?mt=8&at=10...
  • Been using apple's mail service since the .mac days. And yes that's means suffering through mobile me. But I still have that @Mac.com email. :)
  • Download a full iCloud Lock Bypasser or unlock the Screen Lock.
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  • I use them all. Ive got all the services TURNED ON on my iPhone.