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Let's take a look at configuring iCloud on a Macintosh. Now, it's possible that your Mac is already nearly there, and how can that be? If you've lately installed Mac OS X Mountain Lion, or received a new Mac with Mountain Lion on it, during the setup process, you were asked to enter your Apple ID and Password, and then asked if you'd like to use on iCloud. If you did both these things, iCloud is active, with its default settings enabled. We'll see what that looks like in a minute. For the time being, let's approach this as if you haven't yet enabled an iCloud account.
To do that, we'll chose System Preferences, select the iCloud Preference, and in the resulting iCloud window, you see two fields; one is your Apple ID, and the other one is your Password. If we have an iTunes account, this is the same username and password. If you don't yet have an Apple ID, just click on the Create an Apple ID link. You'll be walked through the process of creating that ID, which involves providing your date of birth, linking the account to an existing e-mail address, and choosing a username and password. You needn't provide a credit card number.
Complete the process, and Apple will send you a confirming e-mail that you use to establish the account. We already have an account, so I don't need to set that up, so I'll click on Cancel. Now that we have an Apple ID, let's enter it, and click on Sign In. By default, you are offered the option to sync your Contacts, Calendars & Reminders, Notes, and Safari bookmarks with iCloud. Although you don't have the choice to control these settings individually, you will once the account is set up. Additionally, you can enable the Find My Mac option.
This is a service that allows you to track your Mac by its location. We'll look at this feature in another movie. For the time being, I'll leave both options checked, and click on Next, and then on Allow. We're now looking at the iCloud preference, and as you can see, because we allowed the syncing of Contacts, Calendars & Reminders, Notes, and Safari bookmarks, those options are enabled, as is synchronizing mail. In addition, the Photo Stream and Documents & Data options are enabled. Although we'll discuss both in greater depth in other movies, here's the gist.
Photo Stream allows you to automatically sync photos taken on an iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad with other devices that use your Apple ID. So take a picture on your iPhone, and if it's connected to a WiFi or cellular network, that picture is automatically transferred to your Mac as well. Documents & Data is an option that keeps all your iCloud documents in sync across your devices. Create a document in the Mac's version of the Pages word processing application, for example, and that document is automatically available to you on your iPad, complete with the latest changes.
Now, as I said earlier, with initially setting up iCloud, you don't have the option to fine tune your synchronization settings. You can now. So for example, if you don't want to synchronize your Contacts, or Calendars & Reminders, all you have to do is uncheck those options. At the bottom of this pane, is the Back to My Mac option. This is something that we will look at in another movie. Before leaving this preference, let's click on Manage. With the iCloud account, you get 5 GB of storage on Apple's cloud servers.
Any data stored on iCloud is listed by the iCloud compatible application that created it. This would include things like Apple's iWork applications, TextEdit, Mail, the iOS versions of iPhoto, GarageBand, and iMovie, and some third-party iOS apps. Select an application, and you'll see any related documents. So for example, I will click on Keynote, and you'll see that we have two documents that are in iCloud. If I would like to delete one of them, all I have to do is select it, and then click on Delete, or if I want to delete all associated documents, I simply click on Delete All.
I want to keep both of my documents, so I won't do that. If you find that after a while, you're running out of space, just click on Change Storage Plan. Here you will find options for purchasing more storage space. Your options are 10 GB of additional storage for $20 a year, 20 GB of storage for $40 a year, or 50 GB of storage for an additional $100 a year. This is in addition to the 5 GB of storage that you are given for free when you Sign Up for iCloud. So if you were to sign up for an additional 10 GB, you would have 15 GB total.
Currently, I don't need any more storage, so I'll click on Cancel. We'll click on Done, and that covers the basics of setting up iCloud on a Mac.
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