What Is iCloud?

iCloud stores your music, photos, apps, calendars, documents, and more. And wirelessly pushes them to all your devices — automatically. It’s the easiest way to manage your content. Because now you don’t have to.

iCloud is so much more than a hard drive in the sky. It’s the effortless way to access just about everything on all your devices. iCloud stores your content so it’s always accessible from your iPad, iPhone, iPod touch, Mac, or PC.* It gives you instant access to your music, apps, latest photos, and more. And it keeps your email, contacts, and calendars up to date across all your devices. No syncing required. No management required. In fact, no anything required. iCloud does it all for you.

How Much Storage?

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When you sign up for iCloud, Apple will give you 5 GB of storage space. Now that’s not too bad because of the way iCloud stores your content. Your purchased music, apps, and books, as well as your Photo Stream, don’t count against your free storage. That leaves your mail, documents, Camera Roll, account information, settings, and other app data. And since those things don’t use as much space, you’ll find that 5GB goes a long way.

Which Apps Work With iCloud?

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When you update your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch to iOS 5, your favorite Apple apps become seamlessly integrated with iCloud. Just like that. So all your content and information is available and up to date, no matter which device you’re using.

iTunes In The Cloud

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With iCloud, the music you purchase in iTunes appears automatically on all your devices. You can also download your past iTunes purchases. Where you want, when you want.

New purchases. Automatically everywhere. Beta Available Now

iCloud automatically downloads any new music purchase to all your devices over Wi-Fi — or over 3G if you choose. Which means you can buy a song from iTunes on your iPad at home, and find it waiting for you on your iPhone during your morning commute. All without having to sync.

Your past purchases. Available on all your devices. Beta Available Now

Now you can download music you’ve previously purchased to all your devices. When you buy music from iTunes, iCloud stores your purchase history. So you can see the music you’ve bought — no matter which device you bought it on. You can access your purchase history from the iTunes Store on your Mac, PC, iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch. And since you already own that music, you can tap to download your songs or albums to any of your devices.

iTunes Match

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If you want all the benefits of iTunes in the Cloud for music you haven’t purchased from iTunes, iTunes Match is the perfect solution. It lets you store your entire collection, including music you’ve ripped from CDs or purchased somewhere other than iTunes. For just $24.99 a year.

Here’s how it works: iTunes determines which songs in your collection are available in the iTunes Store. Any music with a match is automatically added to your iCloud library for you to listen to anytime, on any device. Since there are more than 18 million songs in the iTunes Store, most of your music is probably already in iCloud. All you have to upload is what iTunes can’t match. Which is much faster than starting from scratch. And all the music iTunes matches plays back at 256-Kbps iTunes Plus quality — even if your original copy was of lower quality.

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About Joanne Carter

Joanne Carter is the Founder and Editorial Director of TheAppWhisperer.com. A Professional Photographer and Associate of the British Industry of Professional Photographers, BIPP, as well as a Professional Journalist, specializing in Photography. Joanne is also a Columnist for Vogue Magazine and is Contributing Editor to LensCulture.