Apple has been busy lately with the new iOS 8, iPhone 6 and 6+, and the recently rolled out OS X Yosemite for Mac computers. Somewhere along the way either during a new setup or update on a device, users have come across a question that may have asked to setup up iCloud Drive. TFA had previously released a blog post warning against setting up the iOS 8 version of iCloud Drive. Now that Yosemite is out and iCloud-compatible with the iOS 8 software, we wanted to take the breaks off and give you some tips on how to Drive.

Whether you are a new or experienced user of Apple products, the first crucial piece that users must have is an Apple ID and password. Apple uses this information to sync the iCloud Drive across multiple devices, which means that what is created on a mobile device can be accessed on a Mac or a separate mobile device, and vice versa. Setting up your iCloud Drive is simple, but a few choices need to be made along the way.

IMG_2481If you did not chose to setup the iCloud Drive during the initial setup or upgrade, the ship has not sailed. Setting up cloud is simple, quick, and painless. Simply go toSettings>iCloud> and then enable iCloud Drive to begin the process. Here is where the choices come in to play. Apple is a little more stingy on Cloud storage than, say, Google Drive or other online, cloud-based storage programs. iCloud still has the standard 5GB of storage, so once iCloud Drive is enabled a decision needs to be made as what to sync using this feature.

Pictures and video take up a lot of space on the Cloud, so be mindful of how many selfies you have on your mobile device. Another quick tip for mobile device users: emails with files in them also take up space. Pictures, documents, videos, etc., all sync if the mail selection is toggled on. Inside iCloud Drive, there are more apps that can be toggled on or off to sync. Also, if using an iPhone or an iPad with a data plan, toggle on or off the “Use Data Plan” feature based on personal preference of data usage when not connected to Wifi.

Screen Shot 2014-12-11 at 10.32.25 AMOn a Mac, users want to navigate to System Preferences>iCloud. Again, enable iCloud Drive, then click Options to manage how other apps interact with your storage. Some apps are already set to sync in the general iCloud settings. This allows the Mac device and apps to start syncing with the mobile devices on that iCloud account

So, now the iCloud Drive is set up to sync between devices, what next? Good news, the iCloud Drive has already started syncing and is running in the background. On the Mac, it is accessible in the finder window in the left sidebar. If there are Keynote, Pages, iMovie, etc., that are syncing, folders have already been setup to organize those files and vise versa on the iOS device. With a Mac, adding and removing files is as easy as accessing the folder and dragging the file in or out of the iCloud Drive folder. Screen Shot 2014-12-11 at 10.30.53 AMChanges made to files will automatically update on the other devices as well and sometimes, depending on the size, could take a few seconds longer to sync. Please note, though, that saving files to just the general iCloud folder will not allow you to access it on the other devices. For example, if someone finishes a Keynote and just saves it to the general iCloud account, the other devices when opening Keynote will not be able to access the Keynote file. It is saved on the iCloud, just not accessible.

In the end, iCloud Drive is not as high-tech yet as Google Drive, Dropbox, etc., but it does play nicely with iOS data and prove to be very useful when trying to collaborate and store Apple iWorks and iLife files. Knowing that its competition has a better overall solution, the sky’s the limit for how iCloud Drive can improve to rival the competitors. So, for now, Drive until the wheels fall off or a bigger storage package is purchased.