Understand the Types of Information Synced Through iCloud

Understand the Types of Information Synced Through iCloud

While many people may have seen the television commercials from Apple, they are still unfamiliar with the benefits of iCloud and how to use it. Understanding and customizing the information synced on your devices will help keep your important information up to date on all your devices.

By opening the Settings app on your iOS device and selecting iCloud, you can choose the information you want to sync. To sync information, the device must be connected to the Internet by Wi-Fi or a cellular data connection.


Setting the Mail option to the ON position will deliver your iCloud.com emails to all devices connected to your account.

You need to have an iCloud.com email address for this to work properly. If you don’t have an iCloud.com address, it can be obtained for free, right from your device. The first time the Mail option is set to the ON position, the system will recognize no email address exists. You will be asked if you want to create an email account. Simply follow the on-screen instructions to setup the email account.

Only iCloud.com emails are managed by the service. Any other email addresses you have will not be automatically delivered to all your devices. The email accounts will need to be manually setup on each device.

Contacts, Calendars, and Reminders

Enabling these options allows your Contacts, Calendars, and Reminders to be synced to all your devices. If you update something on one device, it is automatically updated on all your other devices.


Setting the Safari option to ON will sync bookmarks and tabs across all devices. To see tabs from other devices, open Safari on one device and select the icon at the bottom of the page that looks like an open book.

This is where your bookmarks are stored. Select the item named “iCloud Tabs” from the list. This should display a list of all open browser tabs on all your devices.


Enabling this option allows you to share notes on all your devices. Changes to existing notes or any new notes created on one device are automatically available on all other devices.


Passbook keeps your airline boarding passes, movie tickets, retail coupons, loyalty cards, and gift cards all in one place. The coupon can be redeemed by scanning the iPhone or iPod touch at the point of use. The merchant must create a Passbook-enabled pass or iOS app for the service to work with Passbook. Current Passbook services are limited, but the list of participating merchants continues to grow. The Passbook app is only available on the iPhone and iPod touch.

Photo Stream

Enabling Photo Stream allows you to share photos across all your devices. Photos taken on one device are automatically available on all other devices. You can even create separate Photo Streams to share with others.

Documents and Data

If you use Apple’s iWork suite of apps (Pages, Numbers, or Keynote) for word processing, spreadsheets, or presentations, this option allows you to automatically share documents between devices. Not all apps are designed to share data, but most apps from Apple will have some interaction with iCloud. For instance, iBooks will remember the page you were reading on one device and automatically go to that page when the book is opened on another device.

Find My iPhone

This service allows you to locate a device if it gets lost. Enable Find My iPhone on each device. You can not locate a device if this option isn’t set to the ON position. When a device is missing, you can use the Find My iPhone app on any iOS device to locate the missing device. Additionally, you can log on to the iCloud website from any computer to use the Find My iPhone service.

iCloud Storage and Backup

Selecting this item provides access to the storage and Backup options. Enabling the Backup function will automatically backup your data to iCloud. The data backed up includes photos, device settings, app data, Messages, ringtones, and visual voicemails.

You can select which apps back up data by selecting Manage Storage. This will provide a list of apps that are currently backing up information to iCloud. Enable or disable the backup of specific apps by toggling the slider. Apple provides 5GB for storage for free. If you want additional storage, you will need to purchase a storage plan from Apple by selecting Change Storage Plan.

Hopefully this brief summary will help you understand iCloud and its benefits. Customizing the settings can help keep your important information up to date on all your devices.