Intro – iCloud and Apple ID

iCloud is a cloud-based service from Apple, initially you get 5GB of storage for free and if you are clever setting up iCloud this is more than sufficient for most users (more about this further down the track). The first time you start using your iOS device or Mac computer you will be asked if you wish to sign up for your free iCloud account. 

The iCloud account will also become your Apple ID – when using Apple’s various services your Apple ID is the email connected to all services:

  • You can register your Apple products with your Apple ID to keep track of warranty, repairs etc
  • Your Apple ID also becomes your iCloud account (in most cases)
  • Your Apple ID also becomes your iTunes account (in most cases)

You don’t have to sign up for an email address when setting up your initial Apple ID, you can use your own email such as [email protected]. If you later wish to register for an you can do so when logged in as [email protected] and these two emails will be connected to the same Apple ID. 

So to conclude, your Apple ID is your ‘master account’ with Apple that connects all Apple services, such as iCloud, iTunes and App Store. 
In other words if you for example update your Apple ID password you will have to enter this new password into iTunes, iCloud and App Store as well.

To initially register for your Apple ID you can either do this on your new Apple device, alternatively visit https://Apple and click ‘Create an Apple ID’  

So to conclude, if you for example don’t need to separate your iTunes purchase thethe best way to setup and use Apple ID would be this (and would have this hierarchy):

  1. Apple ID, your ‘master account’ (your own email address or iCloud email if you have chosen to do so)
    1.1 iCloud (when signing you can elect to add an iCloud email)
    1.2 iTunes (your iTunes Store will use your Apple ID account for purchases) 
    1.3 App Store (your App Store will use your Apple ID account for purchases) 
    1.4 Books (your Books Store will use your Apple ID account for purchases) 
    1.5 Messages/iMessages (Messages  will use your Apple ID to send and receive, you can add additional email aliases and your mobile number for your Messages service as well) 
    1.6 FaceTime (FaceTime will use your Apple ID to make and receive calls, you can add additional email aliases and your mobile number for your FaceTime service as well)


If you like me are an iPhone, iPad and Mac user you definitely want to setup iCloud correctly to sync across all your devices. 

As mentioned above iCloud is a free service from Apple and usually associated with your Apple ID.
The default services when using iCloud are:

To make it complete and add more power to your sync features you can also sign up for a free iCloud email to use as your private email address (should you wish to do so). This also makes it possible to sync these services as well: 

Even if you don’t need or will use a iCloud email I still recommend signing up for one, you don’t have to activate the mail account on your device, but it will allow you to sync your reminders and notes between your devices. 

Step-by-step, setting up iCloud on your device

This step-by-step assumes that you already have an Apple ID, if not – visit to set one up or you can register for one on your device (follow step 1-2).  

Let’s get started! Follow this steps below you can access this tutorial as a video on YouTube:

  1. Open ‘Settings‘ on your device
  2. Open ‘iCloud
  3. Enter your email associated with your Apple ID and the password for the same
  4. Tap ‘Sign In
  5. If you get questions about merging existing data on your device with iCloud I recommend accepting this an choose ‘Merge
  6. ‘Allow iCloud to Use the Location of Your Device?’, if you want to be able to track your devices (using the ‘Find My iPad/iPhone’ feature you need to choose ‘OK‘ – not that this will activate ‘Location Services’ and your device will send it’s location to Apple’s servers in order to track the device if you misplace it. 
    Personally I prefer using this service as I have recovered both my own devices as well as clients when the devices have been misplaced.
    But if you have privacy concerns you may wish to not use this feature – but it should be noted that if you then lose your device you will NOT be able to track it.
  7. Now you can adjust and turn on/off the services you wish to use, these are my recommendations: 
    7.1 iCloud Drive, OFF (can be used if you are a complete Mac user to sync application settings between your devices)
    7.2 Photos, OFF (if you have this on your photos will sync via Apple’s server and as such use your 5GB free allowance. I recommending syncing your photos with your computer on a regular basis instead – this way you don’t have to pay for extra storage with Apple
    7.3 Mail, ON (turn OFF if you do not wish to use your email address on the device
    7.4 Contacts, ON (will sync your contacts between all devices)
    7.5 Calendars, ON (will sync your calendars between all devices)
    7.6 Reminders, ON (will sync your reminders between all devices)
    7.7 Safari, ON (will sync your Safari bookmarks etc between all devices)
    7.8 Notes, ON (will sync your Notes between all devices)
    7.9 Passbook, ON  (will sync your Passbook between all devices)
    7.10 Documents & Data, ON (will sync documents and data from certain apps)
    7.11 Backup, OFF (I recommend backing up using iTunes on your computer instead as this will minimise the use of your iCloud data storage)
    7.12 Keychain, ON (your passwords and usernames stored in Safari will be encrypted and synced between your devices, turn OFF if you have concerns about privacy)
    7.13 Find My (Device), ON (this will allow you to track and locate your device if you lose it by logging into with your Apple ID (turn OFF if you have concerns about privacy)

A note about adding other mail accounts to your device

When adding additional email accounts to ‘Mail, Contacts, Calendars’ your new mail account will automatically activate both ‘Mail’ as well as ‘Notes’. 
My recommendation is to turn off Notes, Reminders etc for those new accounts and only have Mail activated – this will give you the best benefit as you will make sure that ALL your notes, reminders, contacts and calendars are synced via iCloud and will as such sync between all your devices. 

Step-by-step video