Apple’s new iCloud Drive was introduced with iOS 8 for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch devices and offers direct access to files created and saved on Apple devices.
iCloud Drive is set to also feature in Apple’s Mac OS X 10.10 Yosemite update, due to be released this Autumn.
Apple iCloud Drive replaces Apple’s Documents In The Cloud system. iCloud Drive provides direct access to files saved inside, unlike Documents In The Cloud (where you could only access documents using the same app on a different device). When you files are saved to Documents In The Cloud, you will be able to access the file directly in iCloud Drive folder in Mac OS X. In this respect iCloud Drive is similar to a service such as Dropbox.
In this feature we will look at the following:
- What is iCloud Drive and how much free space will I get with it?
- How do I enable iCloud Drive in iOS?
- How will I be able to access iCloud Drive in Mac OS X Yosemite?
- What can I do with iCloud Drive and which apps will support it?
Read our iCloud Drive alternatives
How do I use iCloud Drive on iPhone and iPad?
iCloud Drive is an integral part of iOS 8. When you ugprade to iOS 8 all your current files in iCloud (such as those created in Pages, Numbers and Keynote) are migrated over to iCloud Drive). New documents created in iCloud Drive compatible apps are stored in iCloud Drive automatically.
You get the option to turn on iCloud Drive during the initial setup process but before you switch it on you should read the next section (How do I use iCloud Drive on my Mac).
You can double-check that iCloud Drive is turned on in the iCloud Drive settings. Click on Settings > iCloud > iCloud Drive and ensure that iCloud Drive is set to On.
Why won't iCloud Drive work on my Mac?
iCloud Drive is not available in the current version of Mac OS X. Support for iCloud Drive will be available in Mac OS X 10.10 Yosemite.
This isn’t an ideal situtaiton by any means because it makes life tricky for users of Apple’s iWork suite of apps. If you turn iCloud Drive on in your iOS devices, then you can now longer access the documents created in them with iWork for Mac.
You can, however access the documents and work with them using the iCloud.com web apps and you can share documents using iCloud on iOS 8 and iCloud.com.
All documents created in iOS 8 will be safely stored until Mac OS X 10.10 Yosemite is released this Autumn. So you can upgrade now and wait for Yosemite to come along, or you can wait it out. We advise people who work heavily in iWork apps on both Mac and iOS to wait until Mac OS X 10.10 Yosemite is released before switching iCloud Drive on.
Read more about the issues with iCloud Drive not working with Mavericks: iCloud Drive trauma: Numbers, Pages and Keynote not working following iOS 8 update
Using iCloud.com to access iCloud Drive files
It is possible to use the iCloud.com website to access files stored in iCloud Drive (using a Mac running Mavericks or Safari). Follow these steps.
- Open Safari and visit www.icloud.com.
- Enter your Apple ID and Password (the same ones used on your iOS device).
- Click the iCloud Drive app icon.
You will now see a Finder-like display of all the files and folders stored in iCloud Drive. You can open folders to view the files contained inside. Double-clicking a file compatible with an iCloud Drive app (such as Pages) opens it inside the iCloud App in Safari (where you can make edits). Or you can select the file and click the Download icon to save it to your Finder. Note that you still won’t be able to access the file using an iWork app on the Mac (you have to be using Mac OS X 10.10 Yosemite). See: How work as a team using Pages, Keynote and Numbers
Using iCloud Drive in Mac OS X 10.10 Yosemite?
Using iCloud Drive on Mac OS X 10.10 Yosemite couldn’t be easier. You upload files to iCloud Drive by dragging them directly to the iCloud Drive folder. A shortcut to the iCloud Drive folder appears in the Favourites section of the Finder.
To upload your files you drag them to the iCloud Drive folder. iCloud drive apps can be created directly from inside compatible apps, such as Pages or Numbers. These documents are then accessible across all your Apple devices.
What is Look Me Up By Email in iCloud Drive?
When you turn iCloud Drive on you will notice a new feature called Look Me Up By Email. This slightly obscure feature doesn’t seem to do a great deal at the moment, but as Apple expands the iCloud.com sharing features it will enable people to look you up (and share documents) using your iCloud.com email address.
What Mac and iOS apps will have access to iCloud Drive?
All of Apple iWork apps will have iCloud Drive integration, and it’s a given that Keynote, Numbers and Pages will feature iCloud Drive. Many other apps (such as Byword) already use iCloud for storing documents, and we expect them to be immediately compatible with iCloud Drive. The nature of iCloud Drive is that it offers direct access to files already saved in iCloud.
Developers can use the CloudKit (the iCloud APIs) to enable their apps to store data in iCloud. CloudKid enables developers to store and retrieve app data in an iCloud database.
Apple’s iCloud Drive preview images show support from major apps like GoodReader and SketchBook Pro.
How much free space do I get with iCloud Drive?
You get 5GB of free storage space with iCloud Drive. The following upgrade options are available:
- 20GB (79p per month)
- 200GB (£2.99 per month)
- 500GB (£6.99 per month)
- 1 TB (£14.99 per month)
iCloud Drive's free space compares favorably to rival services such as Dropbox, although both Google and Microsoft are offering much more free space to entice customers to switch. We also think the monthly charge is pretty stingy, and we’d be happier if that 20GB was the free option.