How to set up and use iCloud Drive on Windows 10
Apple would like people to use its devices and platforms exclusively, but it does at least acknowledge the sheer number of Windows users around the world. Using an iPhone or iPad and a Windows machine isn’t at all uncommon, and as such iTunes and the core iCloud services are available on Windows 10.
One of those services is iCloud Drive. It’s pretty easy to get up and running with Apple’s cloud storage on your Windows PC. Here we show you how.
1. Download, install and set up iCloud for Windows
Before you do anything you need to have iCloud for Windows installed and set up. The good news is it’s an easy enough process. The even better news is we’ve got a complete guide to walk you through it, step-by-step. Find it at the below.
2. Enable sync on Windows 10
If you didn’t take care of it already in the first step, the next thing you need to do is to enable iCloud Drive in iCloud for Windows.
- Open the Start Menu and navigate to the “iCloud” folder.
- In there you need to open the “iCloud” application.
- In the box that pops up, check the box next to “Photos.”
That’s all you need to do to turn it on.
3. Pin to Quick Access and Start Menu
Once enabled, your iCloud Drive folder is a little buried. You’ll find it in Users > Your User Folder, which isn’t much use for getting to it quickly. For that, pin it to quick access or the Start Menu or both.
- To add to Quick Access in File Explorer, right click on “iCloud Drive” and select “Pin to Quick Access.”
- To pin to the Start Menu, right click on “iCloud Drive” and select “Pin to Start.”
4. Using the iCloud Drive folder
Once you’ve followed the steps above you can use iCloud Drive like any other folder on your Windows 10 machine. Drag and drop files and other folders or save things directly into it. You’ll see a whole bunch of folders already in there potentially with files you may or may not be able to open. Any apps on iOS or Mac which make use of iCloud to store data will show up, for example.
But so long as you’ve got a data connection anything you add to any of the folders in your iCloud Drive on your Windows 10 computer will automatically sync allowing you to access them on other enabled devices.
Getting set up with iCloud on Windows 10
It’s perfectly reasonable to expect a large number of iPhone and iPad owners to also use a Windows computer. The same was true back in the early days of the iPod and led to the development of iTunes for Windows. It’s never been the greatest piece of software ever, but Apple, albeit less so than Microsoft, does recognize the necessity to make services cross-platform.
It’s also perfectly reasonable that you may have never been aware that you could use iCloud on your Windows PC. It’s not exactly shouted about since Apple would prefer you use its own hardware and software together. But, if you’re using a mix of iOS and Windows, here’s the very basics on how to get set up with iCloud on Windows 10.
1. Know where to download
It sounds silly to some, but Apple doesn’t exactly shout about iCloud for Windows on its homepage. If you didn’t know it even existed, you may also not know where to find it.
All you need to do is visit the link below and download the iCloud for Windows installer.
Download iCloud for Windows
Once you’ve followed the instructions to install the package, the very first thing you have to do is sign-in. Use the same Apple ID username and password that you’re signed in to on your Apple devices.
3. Choose what you want to sync
iCloud covers a few different bases and you might not want to sync all of them to your PC. Select the ones you want my checking the relevant boxes and then click “Apply.”
The program you’ve installed support iCloud Photos, iCloud Drive and bookmark syncing from Safari to Internet Explorer. It can also integrate your calendars, contacts and more with Outlook on Windows.
4. File Explorer
Unlike Dropbox when you install that, iCloud Drive will not automatically add to your Quick Access panel in File Explorer. But it’s easy enough to do yourself.
- By default, your iCloud Drive folder will be in your main User folder. For example, in C:/Users/Richard/iCloud Drive, as it is on my PC.
- Navigate to the location in point one.
- Find the folder “iCloud Drive” and right click on it.
- Select “Pin to Quick Access” to have a shortcut permanently in the left-hand pane in File Explorer as seen in the image above.
That covers off the very basics. We’ll be looking in more detail at each feature offered by iCloud for Windows in specific guides.