iMac System Preferences: The iCloud Pane

By Mark L. Chambers

From the El Capitan iCloud Preferences pane, you can specify which types of data are automatically pushed to your iMac and iOS devices. If you haven’t created an iCloud account yet — or if you signed out of an existing account earlier — System Preferences prompts you to enter your Apple ID and password. Click Sign In to display the contents of the iCloud pane.

iMac iCloud
Control and configure your iCloud activity with these settings.

El Capitan allows you to set up Family Sharing, where up to six accounts can share photos, iTunes media and apps, and a common calendar. Group members can even display the current location of other members who are using iMacs or iOS devices! Click the Set Up Family button and then click Continue to launch the Family Sharing setup assistant.

The check boxes for each category are

  • iCloud Drive: Enable and disable iCloud Drive access for specific applications.
  • Photos: Push the latest photos and video clips you’ve added in Photos to other devices, and update your Photos library with photos and video clips pushed from your iOS devices.
  • Mail: Synchronize your Mail account settings between devices.
  • Contacts: Push your Contact cards between devices.
  • Calendars: Push your calendar events to and from your iOS devices.
  • Reminders: Synchronize the reminders you’ve set between devices.
  • Notes: Synchronize your Notes between devices.
  • Safari: Synchronize your Safari bookmarks.
  • Keychain: Share passwords for applications and websites between your devices.
  • Documents & Data: Automatically synchronize the documents you create and your personal settings between your iMac and other iOS devices.
  • Back to My Mac: Control file and screen sharing across all the Macs sharing this iCloud account. Back to My Mac must be enabled on all computers that will use this feature.
  • Find My Mac: Locate your iMac from a web browser or your iOS device. You can also choose to remotely lock your computer — or even wipe your Mac’s hard drive to prevent someone from stealing your data!

Wiping your iMac remotely is a drastic step that will prevent you from locating it in the future!

To display the storage currently being used by your mail, backups, documents, and application data, click the Manage button at the lower right of the pane. Apple provides each iCloud account 5GB of space for free, but you can elect to buy additional storage from this sheet.