What is iCloud Drive and How Does It Work?

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Apple released their brand new iOS 8 last Wednesday and with it, came iCloud Drive. So what is it?

It’s Apple’s “Dropbox-killer” where you store documents and other files in Apple’s iCloud system. Apple has had iCloud since 2011, but has only now truly given users functional access to file management across platforms from the cloud. iCloud Drive connects and syncs all of your Apple devices (iPhone, iPad, iMac, and Macbook) together to make sure all files are up to date. It will also let your share photos, calendars, locations, and more with your family and friends.

One example of how iCloud Drive might work in practice is starting a Keynote document on your Macbook and then editing it on the train ride to work on your iPad. Each app you sync with iCloud Drive will get it’s own folder on your Mac. You don’t have to copy or import anything as long as the file is saved within the folder. You just open the app on your iOS device and load the file from within that app.


Once you’ve updated to iOS 8, upgrading your iCloud account to iCloud Drive can be found right in the settings of your iDevice. Head over to your settings and tap on iCloud to open your cloud storage settings. It should then give you the option to upgrade to iCloud Drive, which can then later be toggled on or off. In this same menu you can also choose what kind of storage you want to purchase. Users will get 5GB storage for free but if you want to upgrade for more storage, the options are as follows:

$0.99/month for 20 GB of space
$3.99/month for 200 GB
$9.99 for 500 GB
$19.99 for 1 TB

There is only one problem though. Mac users must wait until OS X Yosemite is released later this fall to take full advantage of it (unless you are part of the Beta program). However, Apple released a version of iCloud for Windows, which includes iCloud Drive support so that you PC users with an iPhone can try it out now.

Apple fans will no doubt love how their files will be automatically synced between all their Apple toys, but heavy Dropbox or Google Drive users may need a bit more convincing (especially considering all the recent iCloud breaches).

Furthermore, a large amount of businesses depend quite heavily on cloud services such Dropbox and Google Drive to transfer/sync files between employees, so much that any new service will really require some benefits. Can the seamless compatibility between iDevices and Macs be enough to win over enough users? We’ll have to wait at least until Mac OS X Yosemite comes out, but it’s nice to see Apple finally making a serious move against its competitors.