Apple ID and iCloud accounts understanding how they work

If you want today to download a free game or App from the App Store to your iPhone, iPad or iPod or maybe purchase Adele’s album or “The Martian” Film from the iTunes Store you will be prompted to log in to your Apple ID on your Apple Mac Computer, iPhone, iPad iPod or Apple Watch.

The Apple ID and the iCloud accounts started as two different services but over the years they’ve changed and become much more closely linked. When you log in now into iCloud, the email address and password are actually considered to be an Apple ID.

iTunes Apple Store iCloud

You need the Apple ID and iCloud accounts to enable certain functionality, access services and to use some applications. If you do not want to set up these accounts, you always have the option to skip when you are prompted to log in. However, this will mean that there are some features on the Operating System that you won’t be able to use.

What the Apple ID account can do?

In the Apple World they are pretty much the “magic wands” to open so many doors to entertainment and happiness that only music, films and books can bring to your life. In case you’d need to set up a new Apple ID account is a simple registration for one individual. You will need an email account, your bank details and a memorable password, this is a very important password to remember. This is a way of getting you and your information into Apple’s database so that you can identify yourself on your computer and Apple’s online services.

In other words, Apple ID is information about a person in Apple’s system. This information includes your name, contact information, any Apple Mac computers that you own (MacBook Pro, iMac, Mac Pro, Mac Mini) or devices (iPhone, iPad, iPod, Apple Watch) you’ve registered with Apple, and payment information.

So the Apple ID is the account that you use in any application that involves paying for something, like music, films, books games or anything free. You do not have to pay anything to have an Apple ID.

So you’d need to talk iCloud language

The Apple iCloud is an online service offered by Apple since October 2011 which is like a collection of services all attached to the same log in. This service is a way for you to accessing important information on multiple computers or devices.

You can access the iCloud directly on your computer but iCloud also has a website interface so you can access your data on iCloud even if you’re using a computer that doesn’t belong to you. You basically just need to log in to the iCloud with your email (username) and password even if you’re using a Windows PC.

Where the iCloud can be found in Apple Mac Computer and iPhone

You can also have iCloud on all iOS devices like iPhones, iPads and iPods. If you set up your iCloud account on your Apple Computer and your iPhone, you can access important information on both of them. You may ask, what sort of information we are talking about? For instance, your whole address book, your calendar and the bookmarks that you have in Safari. If you have an iPhone, iPad and Apple Computer you probably want those things to be in sync with one another.

In fact, one of the core features of the iCloud is synchronizing. What if you’d like to sync data from the notes and reminders applications as well. Yes you can do it with the iCloud.

In case you’d need to update or change anything to your calendar this change automatically will be in sync with all devices. You simply update on your iPhone’s calendar and the magic will work across all your Apple devices and Apple computers that you own at the same time. You just need to be logged in with your iCloud account in each one.

iCloud email account set up Apple-Bay

Also included with an iCloud account is a free email address. If you already have an email address through some other service, iCloud does not do anything with that.

However, if you use the iCloud email address, you’ll be able to access that on multiple machines as well. It usually is [email protected] and your password. You can easily access to your iCloud email account in your Apple Mac computer “Mail” Application or if your username and password and sign in and voila! You’ll have access to your mail right there in the web interface.

iCloud Drive what is

iCloud Drive is a tool for storing files and folders of any kind (Spreadsheets, PDF’s, images). It’s like having an external hard drive connected to your computer, but instead of connecting physically you just do it with the iCloud. You can store  documents, create and organize files. The advantage of this, yes you’ve guessed it, you can access to the iCloud Drive from any Apple computer you own (Windows PC) or iOS device.

Find my iPhone where to find it

Find my iPhone or Find My Mac is maybe the most valuable feature in the iCloud. In fact, when you purchase a new iPhone, iPad or Apple Mac computer we always recommend to set up this feature first of all. The idea is quite simple, just set this up and you will know exactly where your devices or computers are at all times. You just need to log in to your iCloud and you can locate the devices (iPhone, iPad, iPod or Mac) because they will report back its location to the iCloud. the device just need to be turned on and connected to a WiFi network.

What is Back to My Mac and where to find it

With Back to My Mac you can connect over the internet with your other Macs even though you are not in the same office, in the same city or even in the same country.

The way to set this up is either:

File Sharing, search for your files and folders on your other Mac and bring them over to your local Mac.

Screen sharing, use your other Mac in teh same way that you’d be using it if you were sitting in front of it. Just use your local mouse and keyboard to operate the remote Mac. Open and edit documents in your remote Mac.

To make this work you will need:

  • Two or more Apple Mac computers connected to each other through the same iCloud account on OSX Lion v10.7.5 or later.
  • An AirPort base station (AirPort Extreme, AirPort Time Capsule or AirPort Express) or if you don’t have access to these you can use any router that support UPnP or NAT-PNP with the latest available firmware. AirPort base stations require firmware version 7.6.1 or later in order to Back My Mac to function properly.
  • AirPort Utility 6.3 or later.
  • If you are using Screen Sharing to Back My Mac, you will need a 300-Kbps or faster, bi-directional (up/down) internet connection between all computers you intend to use. But you may be able to make this work (File sharing option) with a slower connection.
  • If you are not sure if the firewall will allow Back to My Mac connection check this up with your network administrator as some times you might be able to connect from your work to your home but not the other way around.

iCloud Keychain how to set up

iCloud Keychain when you type in a password (i.e. email) you’ve probably noticed that Safari has an option to save passwords for you that you don’t have to type them in every time. This is normally available to you if you use Safari as your primary web browser.

So you can see it if you go to Yahoo Mail that you don’t have to type your password in every time because Safari remembers it. That’s because the first time you went to Yahoo you’ve said to Safari “Save Password” but you have the option to choose “Never for this website” or “Not Now”.

We will have more detailed information on how to set up iCloud Keychain later in another post.

You can do it Handoff style

What if you start something in your iPhone or iPad and you want to continue doing it later on your Apple Mac computer? yes, you can continue writing that email later on or reading the content of that website later in your Mac desktop computer.

Handoff is a feature that brings seamless connectivity between a Mac Computer and an iOS device (iPhone or iPad). And is again the iCloud the star that makes this possible.

This is pretty simple, the idea is that you’ll be working all day in between your iPhone and your computer and Handoff gives you the ability to start a task on one device and pick up right where you left off on another device.

To make this work you will need:

  • Your iPhone and Mac on the same iCloud
  • Bluetooth ON, on the iPhone as well as in the Mac

Handoff bluetooth set up for iPhone

You will need the Bluetooth low energy standard also known as Bluetooth LE.

Not all iOS devices and Mac computers have access to Bluetooth LE (i.e. original iPad and iPad 2 doesn’t have this capability) the iPhone 5 and later hast it.

Check that the iPhone has the “Handoff & Suggested Apps” turned on, although it’s on by default.

After all this is ready, just check if your Apple Mac Computer has the Bluetooth LE capability as well.

  1. Click on the Apple Logo on the top left hand side of your Mac
  2. Click on About this Mac
  3. After that on System Report
  4. Look for “Bluetooth” more information
  5. In there you will open the Bluetooth Low Energy Supported: Yes or No
  6. Make sure your Bluetooth is turned ON as well in your Mac

Handoff check Bluetooth LE on Mac

After you confirm that your Mac is Bluetooth Low Energy Supported you just turn the Bluetooth on, through the System Preferences (image below). In your Mac there is not an option to “enable” or “disable” iCloud Handoff.

Handoff Bluetooth LE complete set up Apple-Bay

Thank you for taking the time to read this post. Apple-Bay will come back soon giving more useful information. Watch this space.