Did you get an iPhone or an iPad this holiday season? One of the things you’ll learn about Apple’s devices is that they can back up data via the company’s cloud service, iCloud, which you can easily access on other iOS devices or Macs. Simply log in with your Apple ID to access your Contacts, Reminders, Messages, and photos on any iOS or OS X devices that comes pre-installed with iCloud. If you use a Windows computer, however, you’ll have a bit more work ahead of you to have iCloud up and running on your machine. But it’s not hard. Here’s what to do to get iCloud running on your Windows PC.
Download and install iCloud on Windows
1. First, download the iCloud Control Panel installer from the Apple website. If you have a fast Internet connection, it shouldn’t be a problem; otherwise, feel free to pause or cancel any other downloads or video streams you might be running. You’ll get an executable file that’s less than 50MB in size.
2. Double-click the iCloud executable file to open it. Choose Run when your computer asks you if you want to Run or Cancel.
3. The program will walk you through the iCloud installation.
4. Once installed, you’ll be able to log in to iCloud using your Apple ID credentials.
5. You can choose to back up your Mail, Contacts, Calendars, and Tasks with Outlook; sync your Safari bookmarks with Internet Explorer; and access your Photo Stream on your Windows computer.
Using iCloud on your Windows computer
If you want to access your Photo Stream on a Windows computer, make sure to tick the check box beside it on the Control Panel. Then, click the Option button, so you can change your Photo Stream folder if you wish to do so. To see your images, open My Documents and click on the Photo Stream folder. Note that iCloud sometimes doesn’t automatically sync your Photo Stream – it’s a well-known issue among Windows users. To solve this problem, simply go to Program Files > Common Files > Apple > Internet Services, then find a file named ApplePhotoStreamsDownloader.exe. Right click the file and choose to Run as Administrator. Your Photo Stream should start syncing.
If you’ve chosen to sync your Mail, Contacts, and Calendar with Outlook, you’ll find Refresh iCloud and Notifications buttons on the program next time you launch it. Clicking Refresh iCloud will sync your Reminders, Calendar entries, and the emails sent to your iCloud email address on your computer.
Using iCloud on your browser
You can also access Notes, Mail, Calendar, Reminders, Contacts, and Find my iPhone on your browser via the iCloud website. All you need to do is go to the website and input your Apple ID and password. You can’t access your Photo Stream via the iCloud website, but it’s a convenient way to access your data on any operating system without having to install anything.
Take note that you only get 5GB worth of storage for free – once you’ve gone past that, you either need to start deleting files or upgrade your iCloud account. It costs $20 per year for 15GB of iCloud storage, $40 per year for 20GB, and $100 per year for 50GB.