Set Up iCloud in iOS & Mac OS X

Oct 12, 2011 - 104 Comments

iCloud Apple has rolled out iCloud, the cloud syncing service that automatically syncs all your content to all of your devices, be it an iPhone, iPod touch, Mac, PC, iPad, whatever. It also includes things like Find My iPhone and Find My Mac, in addition to several web apps that let you get your Mail, Contacts, and Calendar while on the go, via any web browser. It’s an awesome service, it’s free, and you don’t want to miss it. Here’s how to set it up from any iPhone, iPad, or Mac:

iCloud Requirements
First things first, you’ll need the latest versions of iOS and/or Mac OS X.

  • An Apple ID – same as an iTunes account or MobileMe login
  • iOS 5 update or newer – for iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch
  • Mac OS X 10.7.2 updated or later – for Mac users
  • iTunes 10.5 or later installed – required for PC & Mac users

Have those installed and ready to go? Here’s how to set up a free iCloud account:

Setup iCloud from an iPhone or iPad with iOS

First be sure you have upgraded your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch to at least iOS 5, you can download it here if you haven’t yet.

  • Tap on the Settings app
  • Tap on “iCloud”
  • Choose “Sign in with an Apple ID” (alternately, you can create a new account entirely by selecting “Create a free Apple ID”)
  • Enter your existing Apple ID (iTunes account), or an older MobileMe account
  • Choose “Use iCloud” at the setup screen
  • Tap the “ON” switch for the types of data and services you want to sync with iCloud: Mail, Contacts, Calendars, Reminders, Bookmarks, Notes, Photo Stream, etc

By default you get 5GB for free, but the iCloud plan prices are reasonably cheap if you require more storage.

Setup iCloud from Mac OS X

Obviously you’ll need your Mac updated to OS X 10.7.2 or later, get it from Software Update or download it here if you haven’t yet. OS X Mountain Lion includes even further iCloud integration.

  • Open “System Preferences” from the Apple menu 
  • Select “iCloud” under the ‘Networking’ section
  • Enter an Apple ID which is the same as an iTunes account, MobileMe login, or create a new Apple ID if you don’t have one yet
  • Accept the EULA and choose which apps and items you want to sync with iCloud

You can change iCloud settings at any point by going back to this preference panel.

iCloud setup for Mac OS X 10.7.2

Once you have configured iCloud, you can also visit to use the webapps, accessing Mail, Contacts, Calendar, Find My iPhone and Find My Mac, and iWork online. Just login with your aforementioned iCloud/Apple ID and you’ll be good to go.

iCloud web apps


Related articles:

Posted by: Paul Horowitz in iPad, iPhone, Mac OS, Tips & Tricks


» Comments RSS Feed

  1. Md Arian says:

    My iphone could not be activated..

  2. […] iCloud. This requires the Mac and iPhone to be sharing the same iCloud account, which is the most common configuration. This is by far the fastest way to delete all contacts from not only the iPhone, but from iCloud […]

  3. […] and documents on any iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch, so long as they are using the same iCloud account configured on each device. Because of this, it is fairly likely you will see apps and documents that are not specifically for […]

  4. […] sync bookmarks between your devices you will need iCloud set up to use the same account on each device you wish to sync the bookmarks between. Unless you’re […]

  5. […] is all quite easy to setup, and if you want it’ll add the date to your iCloud-synced Calendar and then alert you when the time has come. In most cases this will be anywhere from months […]

  6. […] iCloud is set up to be the same on the Mac and iPhone, you should find the changes made in for OS X […]

  7. […] You can do this on any iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad with Photo Stream support. Photo Stream requires iCloud. […]

  8. […] sync between your iOS devices and Macs, so long as each device is configured to use the same iCloud account. This is particularly useful if you ask Siri to add something to a Note that is also pinned […]

  9. […] instantaneously to Safari on all other Mac and iOS devices that are configured to be using the same iCloud account, but without iCloud Reading List will not sync at […]

  10. […] instantaneously to Safari on all other Mac and iOS devices that are configured to be using the same iCloud account, but without iCloud Reading List will not sync at […]

  11. […] of wi-fi syncing and the PC-free experience, don’t forget to sign up for iCloud too. You can follow our guide on setting up iCloud here, it’s very easy and free for the first 5GB of cloud storage with […]

  12. […] a PC or Mac, but it relies on having iCloud set up on the original device. If you don’t have iCloud set up or you have a slower internet connection, jump to the iTunes method below […]

  13. […] you have set up iCloud before, you will find setting up Android and Google syncing with a Mac to be very similar and just as […]

  14. Emelia says:

    I am not able to set up iCloud on my iPad, it tells me the maximum number of free setup for this device has been exceeded. What do I do?

  15. […] whatever you put in a Note will end up accessible on your other Macs and iOS devices that are iCloud enabled. Sound good? It is, and it’s so easy to use that you can get started […]

  16. […] on using your iPhone as your primary camera? You should get the 32GB model. Even with iCloud and Photo Stream to help relieve the space burden, the iPhone 5 has a 8MP camera and that means […]

  17. […] will obviously need iCloud working and to have Location Services enabled in order for this to function properly, if you turned it off […]

  18. […] iOS world you don’t need to do much, but if you’re new to Gamecenter just be sure to have iCloud set up first and then follow these quick […]

  19. […] directly into iCloud from your Mac, these files can then be opened on any other Mac or iOS device set up with the same iCloud […]

  20. […] those of us who use iCloud, the better solution is to change the default save location to local Mac disk storage rather than […]

  21. […] but you’ll need OS X Mountain Lion and iOS 5 or later, and obviously you will have needed to set up iCloud in iOS and Mac OS X for this to work […]

  22. […] and not only does it look better, but you can share directly from the Note. Best of all, if you have iCloud set up with Mac OS X and iOS the pinned note will automatically update when it’s edited from an iPhone or iPad via the iOS […]

  23. […] iCloud set up and enabled on the iOS device […]

  24. […] Mac OS X 10.7.2 or later on the Mac, with iCloud configured […]

  25. nicole says:

    5.1.1, does nos recognize my password.

    • MTa says:

      iCloud wants secure passwords, you probably need to go through the process of setting up a secured password for the Apple ID.

  26. […] happen on the Mac. This is also a helpful setting to adjust for auxiliary Macs that have iCloud configured where you want access to the Calendar data but don’t want to be annoyed with the popup alarm. […]

  27. […] using iCloud, the iPhone, iPad, and iPod backups can take up a lot of local disk space on a computer. If […]

  28. binx says:

    i am trying to sign into iCloud but it says that the sign in failed b’coz multiple free accounts have been used. how can i fix that

  29. […] isn’t the only way to move pictures between iOS devices though, with iCloud enabled and Photo Stream, pictures taken on one device will appear automatically on each device using the […]

  30. help my mac says:

    Sorry to ask the same old questions but Im relatively new to all of this. I have set up iCloud on my iPad and iPhone and downloaded lion to enable it on my mac. I predominantly want it to sync all my mail and contacts between my devices but my mac seems to want me to set up an iCloud mail count (then I guess use the other mail accounts via that). The problem is, i read a lot about iTunes getting confused by having one ID for this and another for iCloud. Is it absolutely necessary to have an iCloud email to make the other email accounts sync please?

    • Dabo says:

      no, you don’t have to have an iCloud email for syncing. You can use any of the email providers and your email will sync if it is set up properly.

  31. […] iCloud configured on the Mac in question […]

  32. […] iCloud is by far the easiest method, but you’ll obviously need to have iCloud set up and configured for this to work. This is the post-PC method, you won’t need to use a computer […]

  33. […] you haven’t set up iCloud yet, you should, the free service is genuinely useful and mostly seamless. stLight.options({ […]

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  35. […] you haven’t set up iCloud and Find My iPhone yet, now is a good time to do so. This friendly reminder comes to us from a […]

  36. […] screenshot is taken, all screenshots are stored in the Photos app in the image library, if you have iCloud enabled they will also get sent to Photo Stream and synced with other Apple hardware using the same iCloud […]

  37. Brian says:

    Cosmicfrog…you’re awesome. You’re quick-finger act hid Newsstand for me on my iPhone. Thanks!

  38. […] need iCloud enabled and have iOS 5+ on the iPad or iPhone, and OS X 10.7.2+ on the Mac, and all hardware must be […]

  39. […] you haven’t done so yet don’t forget to get iCloud configured, the basic account is free and it’ll sync data between your Macs and iOS hardware […]

  40. Jon Fields says:

    iCloud is a complete snow-job. No matter what I do, it does not work.

  41. […] can prepare for the iTunes Match service by signing up for and configuring iCloud to work on their desktops and iOS hardware. Once the Match service is made public, using the music service will then just be a matter of […]

  42. […] anyone else is now easier than ever. It’s a straight forward process that requires iCloud, set it up if you haven’t already and get sharing, here’s […]

  43. […] you have iCloud set up, it becomes easier than ever to keep recent backups of your iPhone and iPad, the backup starts […]

  44. […] you’re set up to use iCloud with an iOS 5 device, you may have noticed that Photo Stream hosts your pictures online on […]

  45. […] or ‘UPDATE’. Unlike iOS, this has to be done manually even if you have set up iCloud, which does not automatically download Mac apps (yet at least). You can do the same thing with the […]

  46. Tamar says:

    Got it all fixed, everything is working perfectly between icloud, ipad, mac and iphone! Just one thing…

    IS it possible to upload a whole FOLDER to icloud? Or just single documents? I want to apply a whole document tree but I can’t see how…

    Help is much appreciated!

  47. Tamar says:

    Got it al fixend, everything is working perfectly between icloud, ipad, mac and iphone! Just one thing…

    IS it possible to upload a whole FOLDER to icloud? Or just single documents? I want to apply a whole document tree but I can’t see how…

    Help is much appreciated!

  48. Jenny says:

    I just updated iTunes and Lion. My iTunes account will NOT open on any computer or device and says that it does not recognize my ID or Password. When I go thru the whole “reset my password” routine, I’m supposed to receive an email to verify. Never comes. Not in Spam either.

    Separate from iTunes, iCloud will NOT send the verification email either. Apple told me that all I could do is send an email to explain and ask for help. Said it would be 24-48 hours. Yippy.

  49. Paul says:

    I too am getting the “This Apple ID is valid but is not an iCloud account” message when trying to sign into icloud.

    I also tried using my account instead of my apple ID, and it fails saying this is not an apple ID.

    This question has been posted several times, but I have yet see an answer.

  50. storstark says:

    How do I get iCloud to sync all my documents automatically between my Mac and iPad? Is the only option to visit the stupid site and do it manually?

  51. cfountain72 says:

    Wait…So Vista users can use Photostream, but Snow Leopard users can’t? And is it only the most recent version of iPhoto that is supported as well?

  52. Julie says:

    I have a PC with Vista. I’m trying to get icloud for my ipad and iphone. I’ve downloaded i0S5. Then, I sign in with my Apple ID and I get the message “This Apple ID is valid but is not an iCloud account”. Anyone know what to do to make iCloud work???

  53. darkcooleo says:


    I asked the same question and answered myself, its only keeps the @me contacts, calendar and mail in sync. I’ve been doing that for years and years with my @gmail and google apps for business accounts. That part of iCloud is nothing special i don’t think.

  54. haymoose says:

    Now, if you can just tell me how to delete a couple of pictures I took that will not leave PhotoStream?

    • Booboo says:

      Apple already stated that you can’t delete photos from PhotoStream. They will be purged eventually, like 30 days I think it was said. So those pictures of your taint that you took are gonna be there for a while.

      Stupid? Yes. Truth? Yes. I’m too lazy to find the support for it. I’m sure you can use Google or search Apple’s forums.

    • cosmicfrog says:

      Settings: iCloud: Photo Stream Off. Make sure you save the ones you want to keep.

  55. bill says:

    updated iTunes first, then OS X Lion on my mac 1 month old mac mini, then tried to update my iPad 2. Got an error message. Restarted my computer. Now i can’t log in! WTF

  56. Makka says:


    Mail that delivers. Free.

    When you set up iCloud, you get a free email account. iCloud automatically pushes new email messages to all your devices, so your inbox is up to date everywhere you check it. And iCloud keeps all your folders in sync, no matter which device you’re using.

    Do I need to use a account to be able to keep my email in sync? Isn’t iCloud able to keep email from or in sync?

    How about getting that account? Is this only possible from a device with iOS 5 or Mac OS X Lion? I don’t have a device running iOS yet, although I’ll be buying an iPhone 4S next month. I’m still running Snow Leopard on my MacBook Pro, but next month I’ll buy a MacBook Air with Mac OS X Lion.

    Can I already create a account somewhere? I want to know if my desired account name is still available and want to claim it before someone else claimes it. :P

    • Alexander says:

      You can have a normal iTunes account/Apple ID to sync with iCloud, and that comes bundled with a free account. Go to and login, and get that email. Once you get your upgraded devices, and sync with iCloud, you will have your :)

  57. Albert says:

    Cannot receive verification e-mail for iCloud–any suggestions?

  58. Joseph says:

    It keeps saying my login is wrong even though I know it’s right and it works in Itunes. Anyone else getting this?

  59. I think it’s pretty ridiculous that the bloody update took over an hour to download, install, configure, and reset both computer and phone several times. I currently can’t access my apps from iTunes. When I try to click the Apps tab on the iPhone, it crashes.

    Also, since I’m still on Snow Leopard, I can’t upgrade to iCloud, which is incredibly annoying. Clearly, iOS has major integration, and yet we can’t access it even if our system is a few months old?

    But the most annoying thing is Newsstand, which can’t be deleted, hidden, or grouped into a folder. You’ve gotta be kidding!!!

    • Matt says:

      There is speculation that a theoretical OS X 10.6.9 will include iCloud access but there is no confirmation of this.

    • aldo says:

      Newsstand IS a folder and therefore cannot be put into another folder. That’s why one cannot hide it. The update (for me) took less than 25 mins and both iTunes and my iPhone are working and syncing using iCloud.

      • cosmicfrog says:

        Actually, you can put Newsstand into a folder. I have it in my junk folder, with all the other mandatory apps I don’t use. While creating a folder with 2 apps (not Newsstand), quickly grab the Newsstand app and drag it into the folder while it’s still creating. You have to be quick, but it works. Try it!

    • my goodness. says:

      Just drop the $30 and get a new operating system already. Geez.

      • dang says:

        some of us can’t afford to upgrade, not because of money but because we are running too many 3rd party apps which would be obsoleted by lion. in my case this is about 100 audio plugins. (AU) this is a problem for me and I hope the rumors that 10.6.9 will be supported are true. otherwise I guess I’ll just have to buy an entirely new computer just to put my pictures on. Like one of those huge screen iMacs for the living room. YEAH! I’m gonna go get one right now!

  60. Brad says:

    Waiting for iOS 5 to download zzz.

  61. Roy Sablosky says:

    *Setup* is a noun. The verb is *set up*, with a space. You are talking about how to “set up iCloud.” With a space.

      • loljr says:

        Well you may know how to use set up or setup…..but you still had to come to this page to get the ball rolling on your iCloud…..

    • Mike says:

      Why is it some people insist on whining about how words are used. Who cares? Setup or set up the whole world knows what was meant.

      • John says:

        Quite a lot of people care. The next time you apply for a job, sure, go right ahead and use bad grammar and misspell words. See how far that gets you…

        It’s because language is used to convey information. By using sloppy language, you are indicating that you don’t care about how your information is presented. Either that, or you don’t know, which indicates ignorance. (I’m not suggesting that is the case with the author of the article, just a general observation).

        Just my $0.02 worth.

        • Language Is Important says:

          Amen brother.

        • Pheeva says:

          Job…. What job??? Gotta make your own nowadays. If your ur own boss you can spell however you want to. I guess only corporate slaves have needs propa grammaz…….
          This is the internet as long as your point is made let those control freaks waste their time typing.

          • dang says:

            dang du why you end yo snteecne wit’a preposition? tahz bad grammar

          • Makka says:

            I completely agree with John and Language Is Important. If you think language isn’t important in the internet, it’s your opinion, but I just ignore people who write like you do.

            So, if you’re trying to sell a product on eBay, I won’t buy your product. Write your advertisement in proper English or I’ll just ignore you.

            If you’ve got a question and you start a topic on a forum and you write like you do in the comment above, I won’t answer your question. First write your question in proper English or I won’t even bother answering.

            I just don’t help and don’t do business with people who think it’s cool to write the way you do.

            My English isn’t perfect and I’m not saying there are no errors in this reply, but that’s because English isn’t my mother tongue. Although it isn’t my mother tongue, I try my outmost to write as best as I can. I hate people who know how to write in proper English, but just don’t do it, because they think it’s cool to make errors on purpose. That’s the kind of people I normally just ignore.

          • bratchenstein says:

            Even if you are self-employed and/or run your own company, you still need to be able to communicate clearly and in a way at least your customers and anyoneyou want to do business with understands. Duh.

          • aRobert says:

            He didn’t sound like a control freak, it was just an FYI. Some day you may need to know little things like that to clearly convey yourself. Until that time, it’s nice to know even if you never use it. Wha’ you tink, eh?

          • IHateSnow says:

            Who the heck is their own boss? Everyone is accountable to someone. I’m an independent consultant. I now have more bosses than when I worked as an employee.

        • Gordon Sapsed says:

          The article also says ) re setting up ICloud on Mac-OSX – to select System Preferences and ‘Networking’
          There ain’t no such animal !
          At least, not on my version of ‘Lion’ – it’s called ‘Network’.
          Such sloppy writing is the stuff that, if discovered, gets poor performance ratings.

        • 4947eel says:

          (I’m not suggesting that is the case with the author of the article, just a general observation).

          The period belongs inside the parentheses.

          • herrbutzie says:

            Use a period inside parentheses only if the enclosed material is meant to stand alone as a sentence. Use other punctuation marks inside parentheses only if the punctuation is part of the parenthetical material

        • Shua says:

          Really!?! lolol…Y’all have to much time on your hands. Just make sure YOU get it right.

        • hahaha says:

          Haha you’re such a douche. And I spelled everything right…is my information presented well enough for you? Take those two cents where someone will actually appreciate them.

        • Stuart Leigh says:

          Hello John,
          I thoroughly agree with you! I am also always distressed when the American trend to start proper names with small letters spreads more and more.
          Best regards,

        • Kevin Bacon says:

          The english language was killed when we got computers. Also, many American school kids never learn to read or write. It is a lost cause….

      • juanc says:

        perabs bicoz ist eeziar 2 onthstdan eechoda if we oll uze da seim spelhin? ?

        • Jimmy James says:

          It’s a shame that you think that his is funny. I personally don’t want 10 different ways to speak English. You won’t go far in the world, making up your own language so nobody can read it. Grow up, life is not all about you!!

    • Dale says:

      “With a space.” is a sentence fragment. You probably know how to fix this.

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