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What is iCloud Drive, and how does it work?

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What is iCloud Drive, and how does it work?


iCloud Drive is an iCloud service. It’s one of the services offered by iCloud, including Backups, Photos, and the Find My iPhone app. You can use iCloud Drive to store any of your other papers.

A user on Apple’s discussion forums provided the following excellent analogy for the distinction between iCloud and iCloud Drive:

Consider iCloud as a filing cabinet and iCloud Drive as one of the cabinet’s drawers. It is intended to hold files that do not fit in the other drawers.

On the website, you can access iCloud Drive.


iCloud Drive is storage space on iCloud for documents that do not suit somewhere else.

Thus, it serves as a repository for your Word documents, PDFs, screenshots, and everything else not already synced to iCloud. It operates similarly to third-party cloud storage services such as Google Drive or Dropbox.

Is it necessary for me to use iCloud Drive?


You are not required to use iCloud Drive; as with all of iCloud’s services, it is an optional feature. When the computer is switched off, all records are kept locally on the device. Which means they are still accessible, even when no Internet connection is open.

Is iCloud Drive a cost-free service?


When you create an Apple ID account, you automatically receive 5GB of free online Storage. If that’s sufficient space for anything you want to store in iCloud and iCloud Drive, there’s no need to pay for additional Storage.

For the majority of people, 5GB is insufficient Storage. That’s because it’s used for all of your iCloud services: Backups, Photos, Drive, and so on.

If your run out of iCloud Storage, you can purchase additional space from Apple. Apple currently provides three paid storage subscriptions:

  • Monthly fee of $0.99 for 50GB
  • Monthly fee of $2.99 for 200GB
  • TB for $9.99 a month

How to turn on iCloud Drive for an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch:


Step 1

Go to Settings

Step 2

Enter your [Your Name] > iCloud.

Step 3

Scroll down

Step 4

Turn on iCloud Drive.

How to turn on iCloud Drive for a Windows PC:


Step 1

Download, install, and open iCloud for Windows.

Step 2

Sign in using your Apple ID details.

Step 3

Check the box next to iCloud Drive

How to turn on iCloud Drive for a Mac:


Step 1

Navigate to System Preferences… > Apple ID (for macOS Mojave and below, in System Preferences, click iCloud.)

If it is not already verified, tick the box next to iCloud Drive.

Step 2

To access the iCloud Drive Options… menu, click the iCloud Drive Options… icon.

Step 3

Enable Desktop & Documents Folders in iCloud Drive to store those folders.

Step 4

Select something else for which you want to use iCloud to store documents and records.

Step 5

Switch on Optimize Storage for macOS Mojave and earlier increase the amount of free space on your Mac. Optimize Storage is located on the main page for your Apple ID in macOS Catalina+.

How do I gain access to my iCloud Drive files?


With iCloud Drive, you can access your documents from your iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Mac, or Windows PC. You can access the iCloud website from any Internet browser using the Files app, Finder, or File Explorer.

Before you can access your documents, you must first enable iCloud Drive using the instructions above.

How to use the iCloud website to navigate iCloud Drive:

Step 1

From any secure Internet browser, access the iCloud website.

Step 2

Log in using your Apple ID credentials.

Step 3

To access iCloud Drive, click the iCloud Drive button.

When using public computers, be sure to sign out again.

To access iCloud Drive on an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch, follow these steps:

Step 1

Files can be start to downloaded and opened from the App Store.

Step 2

At the bottom of the page, tap Browse.

Step 3

To access iCloud Drive, navigate to Locations > iCloud Drive.

On a Mac, here’s how to navigate iCloud Drive:

Step 1

Begin by opening a new Finder window.

Step 2

Click iCloud Drive in the sidebar, under iCloud.

Step 3

If you do not see an iCloud Drive choice, follow these steps:

Step 1

Navigate to Finder > Preferences… from the menu bar.

Step 2

Navigate to the Sidebar tab.

Step 3

Select the iCloud Drive check box.

How to use iCloud Drive on a Windows-based computer:

Step 1

Open a File Explorer window.

Step 2

In the sidebar, press iCloud Drive under Quick Access.

How to use the iCloud website to manage iCloud Drive documents:

Step 1

To rename a document or folder, select it and press the I button.

Step 2

Create new folders by clicking the New Folder button at the top of the window.

Step 3

To pass a document or folder, click and drag it, or drop it into the file path at the bottom of the window.

Step 4

To remove a document or folder, select it and press the Trash Can button; the Recently Deleted folder is located in the window’s bottom right corner.

How to use the Files software to handle iCloud Drive files:

Step 1

To rename a document or folder, tap its name.

Step 2

To build new files, click the New Folder button in the top left.

To see additional activities, tap Select and highlight a document or folder:

Step 1

To relocate it, click the Folder button.

Step 2

Copy it using the Two Squares press.

Alternatively, you can uninstall it using the Trash Can button; the Recently Deleted folder is accessible from the Locations screen. Alternatively, you can tap and hold a document or folder to display a list of available acts.

How to use a Mac or a PC to handle iCloud Drive files:

As you would on a Mac or PC, rename, copy, transfer, or remove documents and files. To view a list of activities, use keyboard shortcuts or control-click a document or folder.

Distribute the documents to others

You can share a connection to your iCloud Drive documents with others. Select the file to share and then click the Add Person icon to reveal the sharing options. To begin, tap the Share button in the Files app.