How to Use iCloud on Your iPhone 5

First and foremost, Apple’s iCloud isn’t an app that you run. It isn’t even physically in your iPhone! What exactly is iCloud? Virtually all of Apple's products — the iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac computers — are now automatically bound together with this semi-mysterious buzzword.

iCloud was designed for two reasons:

  • It lets you share data. Using iCloud and your Internet connection, data (which includes anything from your Camera Roll to your Safari bookmarks) are automatically shared among all of your iOS devices, as well as your computer. For example, if you take a photo on your iPad, that photo is automatically added to your Camera Roll on your iPhone and to iPhoto on your Mac.

  • It provides online storage. You can save documents to iCloud. You can grab them with your iOS device (including your iPhone) anywhere you can connect to the Internet. iCloud also can store your iPhone backup, which lets you restore your settings and data if you have to wipe your iPhone clean back to factory settings.

iCloud uses your Apple ID to identify the other devices and computers that should synchronize together. Therefore, all of your computers and iOS devices must use the same Apple ID for iCloud to work properly.

You can easily tweak your iCloud connection to synchronize only the data you want to share with other devices and computers.

Set up iCloud for your iPhone 5

Follow these steps to set up iCloud:

  1. From the Home screen, tap the Settings icon.

  2. Tap iCloud.

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  3. Tap Account.

  4. Set an Apple ID and password.

  5. Set up your iCloud storage plan.

    You automatically get, for free, 5GB of iCloud storage. That’s far more than most iPhone owners will need. You can upgrade to 10GB, 20GB, or 50GB of storage for an annual fee.

  6. Tap the Done button.

    You’re returned to iCloud settings.

  7. Set your iCloud Mail account options.

    Your iCloud e-mail address appears at the bottom of the Account screen.

  8. Tap any switch to turn on or off iCloud synchronization for that information.

    For example, to sync your Contacts list between your iPhone, Mac, and iOS devices, tap the Contacts switch to On. To turn off iCloud syncing for reminders, tap the Reminders switch to Off. Photo Stream and Documents and Data have separate screens with multiple options.

  9. Press the Home button to exit Settings.

If during Step 8 you turn on the Find My iPhone option, you can track down your iPhone from the website. From there, you can play a sound to help you find it. If your iPhone is stolen, you can even remotely lock or completely erase it!

Also, if you install the iCloud Control Panel for Windows, your PC can also join in the fun. The program is free from Apple. However, your PC can only sync Mail, Contacts and Calendars (with Outlook), Bookmarks (with Internet Explorer), and Photo Stream (with the folder you specify).

Check your iCloud storage

You can check out how much iCloud storage you have left. To monitor your iPhone backup, follow these steps:

  1. From the Home screen, tap the Settings icon.

  2. Tap iCloud.

  3. Tap Storage & Backup.

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  4. Tap Manage Storage.

    You’ll see the space used by your backups. You can delete backups for devices you no longer have if you want to save iCloud storage space.

  5. Optional: You can also enable or disable iCloud backups of your iPhone's data.

Back up your iPhone 5

Your iPhone can be set up to automatically back up to iCloud. You should always leave your iCloud Backup setting to On (both within Settings and within iTunes on your computer) unless an Apple technician tells you otherwise! If you must reset your iPhone to factory settings, this backup can automatically restore your iPhone's data.

Although iCloud backups are automatic, you can also perform an iCloud backup manually:

  1. From the Home screen, tap the Settings icon.

  2. Tap iCloud.

  3. Tap Storage & Backup.

  4. Tap Back Up Now to start the ball rolling.

    A progress bar shows how much time is left until the backup is complete. Naturally, the more data you have on your iPhone, the longer the backup will take.

For your iPhone to automatically start an iCloud backup, you must have a Wi-Fi connection to the Internet.

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