If you own and use Apple devices, you may want to sync your files and data to iCloud so that you can back them up and access them regardless of where you are and which device you have handy.
By syncing through the service, your files stay up to date across all your devices, so you never have to worry about accidental deletion or not being able to access something you uploaded via your iPhone on your Windows PC, for instance.
iCloud for Windows lets PC users store their files without taking up any space on their computer. It also makes the iCloud files easily shareable with colleagues, friends, or family through File Explorer.
How to download iCloud for Windows
If you want to use iCloud’s features on your Windows PC, downloading and installing the software is a relatively simple and quick process that will get you up and running within a few minutes.
You can download iCloud for Windows directly from the Microsoft Store by clicking Get followed by Install and following the on-screen instructions as the installation progresses. You may need to wait a few minutes for the download to complete before you can proceed.
If you would like to install the iCloud program for Windows manually rather than through the Microsoft Store, you can also download the file directly from Apple. When prompted, follow these instructions.
1. Click Save File and when the download completes, open the file by double-clicking it.
2. Read through the terms and conditions and then select I accept, followed by Install.
3. After installation is complete, click Finish.
Note that you may need to restart your computer for the installation to complete. Once you have done so, you’ll be able to enter your iCloud username and password to begin using the program.
When you buy an iPhone, you automatically get 5GB of free storage on Apple’s iCloud service. But, if that’s not enough space for all your photos, documents, messages, and other data, you may need to consider buying more iCloud storage space.
Apple offers a number of plans, and you can upgrade from your iPhone’s Settings app. Here’s how to upgrade your iCloud storage plan on your Apple device.
How to buy more iCloud storage on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch
1. Open the Settings app and then tap your name at the top of the screen to go to your Apple ID page.
2. On your Apple ID page, tap iCloud.
3. At the top of the iCloud page underneath the bar showing how much storage space you’re using, tap Manage Storage. If you’re using iOS 10.2 or older, tap Storage.
4. If you don’t currently have an iCloud storage subscription, tap Buy More Storage. If you already have a plan and want to increase it, tap Change Storage Plan.
5. On the Storage Plan page, choose a plan to upgrade to.
6. Tap Buy” and enter your Apple ID password to complete the transaction.
If you’re like most users, you’ve probably got more data stored in iCloud than you realize. Photos, contact information, notes – even your Health app information is stored in the cloud by default.
But it isn’t always obvious how to access iCloud, or how to manage what data it stores. Luckily, it’s easy to do both.
How to access iCloud through the website
As long as you have a computer or phone that’s connected to the internet, you can access iCloud.
1. Head to icloud.com and enter the email address linked to your Apple ID account.
2. Click the arrow icon, and then enter your password.
3. If you have two-factor authentication set up on your Apple ID account, a code will be sent to all your devices. Enter this code on the iCloud website to gain access.
You’ll be shown a list of icons and options – more icons will be available on the desktop version of the site than the smartphone version. Click any of these icons to see the data stored in your iCloud account. From there you can delete, move, or download nearly anything you’ve saved.
How to access iCloud on an iPhone, iPad, or Mac
Alternatively, you can go through the Apple ID menu. This menu is at the top of the Settings app on every device.
On an iPhone or iPad, open Settings and then tap your name at the top of all the options.
On a Mac, click the Apple logo in the top-left corner and select System Preferences, and then Apple ID.
Once you’ve reached this page, tap or click the iCloud option.
You’ll be shown how much storage space you have in iCloud, and what kind of data it’s currently holding. Selecting the Manage option shows you exactly how much data each app takes, and lets you upgrade your iCloud storage plan.
You’ll also find an Apps Using iCloud section. Here, select which apps are allowed to save data to iCloud, and which ones have to keep their data stored only on your device. Turning off an option will erase its data from iCloud immediately.
On an iPhone with iOS 14 or later, you can also hide an app from your home screen by saving it to your App Library – after selecting “Remove App,” choose “Remove from Home Screen” instead of “Delete App.”
The process to delete apps on an iPad is the same. But instead of first selecting “Remove App,” you’ll simply select “Delete App.” Like on iPhone, deleting an app on an iPad will also delete the data associated with the app.
To free up space in your iCloud account, go to the Settings app on your iPhone or iPad, then select your name, hit “iCloud,” and “Manage Storage.” From there, go into the “Backups” section and you’ll see your list of apps, which you can then delete.
How to delete apps on a Mac
You can’t delete some of the apps on your Mac, but for the ones you can, the Launchpad is the easiest route to getting it done.
Simply open it and then click and hold the app. An “x” should appear in the top-left corner of the app icon. Click the “x” to delete the app on your Mac.
On your Watch, you can tap and hold the app icon. An “x” will appear over the icon, which you can tap to remove the app from the device. If your apps are in a list view, you can swipe to the left on an app and tap the trash can icon to delete it.
On your iPhone, open the Watch app and, on the “Watch” tab, select the app and then toggle off the option to “Show app on Apple Watch.” You can also turn off automatic app installation from there.
How to delete apps on a Chromebook
Deleting apps on a Chromebook is simple: Select and open the launcher, then right-click the desired app, and select “Uninstall” or “Remove from Chrome.”
On the other hand, if you want to delete apps from Google Chrome, go to “chrome://apps” in the browser and, like with Chromebook, right-click the desired app icon and then select “Remove from Chrome.”
But for those who can, the process is simple: Scroll to the app on your home screen, then if you have a remote with a touchpad, press down in the center of it until the apps begin to wiggle. If you don’t have the touchpad, press and hold the select button. Then hit the play/pause button to open the menu to delete the app.
In the early days of the internet, it seemed like there were thousands of free email service providers. Since then, a select few have dominated the space thanks to their reliable features, customizable interfaces, and extensive storage options.
The best free emails accounts
While Google’s Gmail and Microsoft’s Outlook stand above the rest in terms of well-rounded, accessible features, there are a couple outliers users should consider depending on their email needs.
Gmail is an obvious choice for many reasons: It’s free, customizable, and gives users access to the full Google Workspace (formerly known as G Suite). More than a billion people use Gmail across the world.
Here are the features that make Gmail stand out:
Schedule send (which lets users can schedule when an email is sent out)
Advanced search via the toolbar to find specific emails
15 GB of free storage
Offline access (with Google Chrome)
Spam mail filter provides security against phishing and bugs
The ability to snooze emails for later
Share files directly from Google Drive with email recipients without leaving the message box
Automatically filter emails into categories for Promotions, Social, and Updates
Send confidential emails that expire within a specific period of time upon receipt
While Gmail has a highly customizable interface and sleek design, its labeling system could use some work. Users often have to customize labels and manually filter emails into folders, rather than the service doing it intuitively.
Junk mail filter provides security against phishing and bugs
The ability to snooze emails for later
Automatic email filtering (Outlook organizes emails it deems important to go to the “Focused Inbox”)
Works seamlessly with other Microsoft-related apps within the platform
Similar editing abilities users would find in Microsoft Word
Unlike Gmail, Outlook’s template for automatic email replies is restrictive and doesn’t offer many options. However, it’s ability to filter, label, and find emails puts it a notch above the rest.
Most Apple users know about iCloud’s email service, but don’t have one. The good news is you can set up an iCloud email account in a few minutes. iCloud’s email service is for anyone looking for a no-frills option that can accomplish basic email functions without much fuss.
Here are the features that make iCloud stand out:
Automatic Out of Office replies
5 GB of storage (additional space can be purchased in monthly or yearly installments)
Junk mail filter provides security against phishing and bugs
Filters can be easily set up using Rules, which can be found on the sidebar
Access to Apple apps like iCloud drive, Notes, Reminders, Photos, Calendar, Contacts
Can be synced with any iOS device
Minimalist design is easy to use
Allows users to designate “VIP” senders
The biggest downside of iCloud’s email service is that you must have an Apple device to get full access to all its features. An iCloud email account also doesn’t have the ability to schedule send emails, snooze emails for later, or access email offline. However, if you have an Apple ID, signing up for iCloud is the easiest, quickest way to get an email address.
Users who are looking for the epitome of email security should look no further than ProtonMail. ProtonMail’s mission is to provide users with the privacy and security, which has made it a favorite among journalists and government figures.
All emails are automatically encrypted unless otherwise selected, making it the best choice for anyone looking to ensure the security of their correspondence, but who can also overlook the service’s lack of extra features.
Here are the features that make ProtonMail stand out:
End-to-end encryption on every email, even with those who don’t have ProtonMail
Encrypted email data
Email expiration dates (automatically deletes an email after a certain amount of time, ranging from one hour to 28 days)
Recipients will receive a one-time password to access an encrypted email
There are a few downsides to using ProtonMail, like only being able to send up to 150 messages per day. And at just 500MB, it’s free email storage is abysmal compared to other services. There’s also no way to filter messages into more than three folders.
Don’t cast Yahoo Mail aside just yet. Yahoo has been around longer than many of the other email providers, but doesn’t get enough credit for its features and hefty storage options. In recent years, Yahoo has scrapped the flashy, page-length advertisements for a more robust, polished email interface that resembles its competitors.
Here are the features that make Yahoo stand out:
Schedule send (where users can schedule when an email is sent out)
Automatic Out of Office replies
1 TB of free storage (significantly more than most providers)
Junk mail filter provides security against phishing and bugs
Easy ability to connect external apps, like Google Drive and Dropbox
Disposable email address (users can create up to 500 disposable email addresses that can’t be linked back to their primary account)
Customizable folders and layout
Ability to easily unsubscribe from unwanted emails without leaving your inbox
Import contacts from sites like Facebook
SMS and text message capabilities
Track packages and mail within the Yahoo Mail app
Yahoo’s biggest downfall is it can, at times, be buggy and slow. Creating filters isn’t as intuitive as other competitors, making organization time-consuming. However, if you want to add Yahoo Mail to the mix, the app makes it easy to integrate your other inboxes (Gmail, AOL, Outlook) all in one place.
You may have heard of “the cloud” countless times, but only have a general idea what it means. Cloud computing is the delivery of “on-demand” computing services – whether it’s storage, software, processing power, or other resources – over the internet. You typically pay as you go, billed only for the resources you use or the storage amount you’re subscribed to.
Though cloud computing isn’t an especially new innovation (it’s been around for decades), it’s become increasingly important to the most popular apps around today.
What to know about cloud computing
Types of cloud computing
The term “cloud computing” masks a lot of complexity. Where is the server? “In the cloud” – most users generally don’t need to know more than that.
The name obscures the fact that there are several different kinds of cloud computing architectures.
Public cloud: Perhaps the most common kind of cloud computing architecture, a public cloud is owned and operated by a third party and makes its resources available to customers, generally on a subscription basis. Every common commercial cloud service you know, from Dropbox to Microsoft Azure, is on a public cloud.
Private cloud: The only difference between a public and private cloud is who owns and operates it. A private cloud is generally owned by a single business or organization and is used exclusively by that entity. It’s a private network that reserves all of its resources for the business, but is still accessed remotely rather than in data centers on site.
Hybrid cloud: A hybrid cloud combines public and private clouds in a way that data, software, and other resources can flow seamlessly between them. It allows for more flexibility, generally by letting public clouds meet shortfalls in computing requirements when the private cloud is fully saturated.
Types of cloud applications
Not only are there distinctions between the architecture of cloud services, but there are some key differences in the kind of applications that cloud computing is used for.
Cloud computing services tend to fall into one of three main categories, and you can read more about this in our guide to cloud applications.
Software as a service (SaaS): This is often the simplest kind of cloud computing platform to understand; with SaaS, the cloud computing operator offers software (running on the SaaS operator’s computing hardware) you can access remotely. Microsoft 365 is a common example of SaaS.
Infrastructure as a service (IaaS): In this case, a third party provides the computing hardware to run your software. For example, a software developer might rent space on an Amazon Web Services (AWS) server instead of owning and maintaining a large server locally.
Platform as a service (PaaS): Slightly different from IaaS, PaaS includes the hardware, operating system, and middleware needed to host the software you want to run in the cloud. Google’s App Engine is an example of PaaS.
Common uses for cloud computing
While cloud computing was a novelty in years past, the proliferation of online services, web apps, broadband, massive commercial data centers, and other technologies have made cloud computing a core part of today’s technological landscape. Here are some of the most common applications for cloud computing today.
Data storage: It’s common today to rely on cloud storage for data storage, backup, and recovery solutions. Not only is data backed up to the cloud, but the cloud is commonly an extension of local storage as well.
Software-on-demand: Many businesses and individuals now rent software using SaaS rather than purchasing it outright – like Microsoft 365 and Google Docs.
Streaming audio and video: Services from Spotify to Netflix to HBO Max are all examples of streaming services that operate from the cloud. They’ve essentially replaced local media playback, making the cloud an integral part of most people’s daily life.
Analyzing business data: Many businesses now store their critical business data in the cloud. They then use cloud services to analyze that data for business intelligence solutions.
The advantages and disadvantages of cloud computing
While cloud computing has become a critical part of the modern computing landscape, it’s not without its disadvantages.
For example, despite the appeal of “renting” rather than “buying,” cloud computing isn’t necessarily cheaper. Long-term, it can be more cost-effective to own and operate your own computing resources, especially if you need those resources indefinitely. If the company hosting your cloud computing service of choice shuts down, you could lose all your data.
Additionally, there are security concerns. If a third party is hosting your data, it’s a potential risk vector for hackers and corporate espionage.
Companies may also want to own their own computing resources as a way to differentiate their capabilities. If you are using the same third-party services as the competition, for example, it’s difficult to offer capabilities that are better than, or even different than what they offer.
On the other hand, cloud computing is popular today because it still offers significant advantages over local computing. It’s less costly, at least in the short term, compared to owning your own servers.
It also allows for greater mobility and portability of your data – it’s already in the cloud and can be accessed from anywhere. And it moves responsibility for factors like security and disaster recovery to a third party that theoretically has that expertise.
iPhone hacks aren’t incredibly common, but they can still occur if you aren’t careful.
From malware and trickster apps downloaded from the App Store to targeted attacks on a specific device, your information can be stolen in myriad ways.
Here we’ll break down the common types of hacks, how to tell if you’ve been hacked, and what to do about it.
How an iPhone can be hacked
Hacking occurs when someone else gains access to private information on your device or controls it without your consent. It’s a broad term, and lies on a gradient of bad to very serious. Some hackers want to make a quick buck selling advertising. Others want to hurt you.
Experts said there are a few main types of iPhone hacks:
Suspicious websites or links
Just like on your computer, your iPhone can be hacked by clicking on a suspicious website or link. If a website looks or feels “off” check the logos, the spelling, or the URL.
Try to avoid connecting to a password-free public Wi-Fi network, which opens the possibility of a hacker accessing unencrypted traffic on your device or redirecting you to a fraudulent site to access login credentials.
Messages from numbers you don’t recognize are also suspect.
Fortunately, modern smartphones are good at resisting malware and ransomware.
Suspicious apps on the App Store
Apple devices exist in a much more closed and monitored digital ecosystem when compared to Android devices.
The company has a vetting process for apps on its store, but it’s not bulletproof.
Ning Zhang, who leads the Computer Security and Privacy Laboratory at Washington University in Saint Louis, said to watch out for apps that ask for more information than they’ll need to function.
For example, if you’ve downloaded a wallpaper or flashlight app and it’s asking for your location or contact list, camera, or microphone, that’s a red flag. Likely, the developers are tricking you into giving out this information so it can be sold.
“I’d be a little bit skeptical about it and consider if I really want that wallpaper app,” he said. “Being vigilant, even with official apps, is helpful. If we are able to do that, I think for the average person, you should be fairly safe.”
Intimate partner hacks
Abusive partners can grab your phone and download spyware (or stalkerware) when you’re not looking. This malicious software can be used to track your location, or make private information like texts, your call history, and emails accessible to them.
All they need is your password and physical access to your phone. Experts we spoke to said that this is unfortunately common. This abuse can be psychologically traumatizing and devastating to someone’s personal and public life. If you notice apps that you don’t remember downloading, this could be a sign – although many times the spyware app is invisible on the home screen.
Sadly, this problem isn’t easy to fix. Victims can risk their safety by deleting the apps or checking for malware if and when abusers notice these actions.
The average person probably won’t be singled out and remotely targeted by hackers because it’s expensive, sometimes costing millions for hacks of newer phones, said Matthew Green, an associate professor at the Johns Hopkins Internet Security Institute.
Journalists and activists are most at risk for this kind of hack.
One form of a targetted hack works like this: Hackers exploit unknown flaws in the iOS programming that even its developers don’t yet know about. With this knowledge, hackers can install malware to get data from targetted sources.
“This is a very sophisticated set of hacks and oftentimes you won’t even know this happened to you,” Green said. “If it’s someone who is really sophisticated, they’ll send you an invisible text message and then your phone is going to be compromised for awhile.”
The bugs are known as “zero-day” exploits, corresponding with the fact that Apple will find out about a possible security issue in their software on the same day it’ll work to patch it. The minute the world knows, it’s only a matter of time before the hack is obsolete. That’s why these pricey hacks are often kept under wraps by the people, or governments, who purchase them, Green said.
Ways to protect yourself from an iPhone hack
iPhones can absolutely be hacked, but they’re safer than most Android phones.
Some budget Android smartphones may never receive an update, whereas Apple supports older iPhone models with software updates for years, maintaining their security. That’s why it’s important to update your iPhone.
Apps on the App Store are also vetted for malware (though there are questionable apps that go unnoticed).
However, if you’re considering “jailbreaking” your iPhone – removing the software restrictions imposed on iOS – you’re opening yourself up to potential vulnerabilities in the software because you’ve eliminated some of Apple’s existing security measures. It is possible to download incompatible spyware or malware apps on a jailbroken phone, and this is also how remote takeovers can occur with iPhones. A jailbroken phone should be avoided as it can dangerously allow malicious apps to go undetected.
If you backup your phone in iCloud, make sure to have a strong password. If someone gets ahold of your password, they don’t even need to hack your phone because they can download a backup from the cloud.
Vyas Sekar, a professor of electrical and computer engineering at Carnegie Mellon University, said staying safe is all about “good digital hygiene.”
“Install apps from trustworthy sources and unless you know what you’re doing, you probably don’t want to jailbreak your phone,” Sekar said. “Be careful. Don’t click on attachments you don’t want to open and keep your phone up to date.”
How to tell if your iPhone has been hacked
You can’t always tell if your iPhone has been hacked, Sekar said. But you may notice a few things.
Your phone is unusually hot, or frequently dying.
Your phone is sluggish when trying to load websites.
The battery is draining even when you’re not touching your phone.
These symptoms indicate the phone is running all the time, even when you’re not using it. Sometimes, the best indicators come from the outside, such as when friends say they’re getting odd messages from you. However, the most sophisticated hacks can be somewhat invisible.
There’s no definite way to check for every type of hack. Experts told us that one reliable way to investigate is to download a mobile security app called iVerify, which scans your phone’s operating system for suspicious behavior and can also detect if your phone has been jailbroken.
What to do when your iPhone has been hacked
If you know your phone has been hacked, you have a few options depending on what happened.
For minor problems, like an app stealing your information, delete the app and update your software.
Finding an expert for inspection may be the best solution. Green from Johns Hopkins said your phone can’t always be cured.
“I hate to say this, but if you really, really need to be safe, get a new phone,” Green said. “If somebody actually gets on your phone, and it’s a really high barrier for iPhones, they can install stuff like keyloggers, which means every key press, every letter you type in is being sent to somebody. Until you’re sure that’s gone, you can’t be sure you have any privacy.”
If you can’t get a new phone right away, a hacked iPhone is likely not safe to use, so you’re best to leave it turned off.
If you’re experiencing issues with your iPhone, like if it’s freezing or glitching, resetting the device to its factory settings may solve the problem. Or, if you’re selling or giving away your iPhone, you’ll want to reset it so all your personal information is wiped from the device.
Resetting your iPhone to its factory settings will take it back to the basics it came with: no contacts, playlists, pictures, password memory, or anything else you’ve added since the day you bought it.
But before you begin the process of resetting your iPhone, it’s important to back up all your data so you don’t lose your important information. After your iPhone has been reset, you can then restore it with your backup.
Here’s how to factory reset your iPhone and make sure your data is backed up.
How well do you know your iPhone‘s various backup options?
Like many iPhone users, you might have set your phone to back up automatically and not given it another thought. That is, until you run out iCloud storage or hard-drive space.
Or maybe you just like to handle your backups manually.
In this feature, we’ll show you how to backup your iPhone to iCloud, your computer through iTunes, or to a hard drive, as well as how to locate backups, delete old ones, and save backups to an external hard drive.
How to backup your iPhone with iCloud
Backing up with iCloud is convenient. It can be done over WiFi and in the background so you don’t have to think about it. But should you want to back up your phone via iCloud manually from your phone or adjust your settings, here’s how you do it.
1. Tap the Settings icon on your phone and select your username where it says “Apple ID, iCloud, iTunes & App Store.”
2. Next, select “iCloud” from the menu.
3. Now, select “iCloud Backup” and toggle it to “On,” if it’s in the “Off” position.
4. From here, you can select “Back Up Now” to back up your iPhone manually. If you leave iCloud backup on, your Mac will back up your files daily, as long as you’re on WiFi and connected to a battery source, according to Apple. So plug your phone in at night before bed and your files should back up regularly.
What to do if you run out of iCloud storage
Apple only gives you 5 GB of free space on iCloud. If you have multiple Apple devices backed up to iCloud – or even one reasonably full 10 GB iPhone – that space runs out quick.
At that point, you will be prompted to upgrade your storage space.
The good news is that iCloud storage is cheap. It’s just $0.99 per month for 50 GB, $2.99 per month for 200 GB, and $9.99 per month for a whopping 2 TB. The latter two plans you can also share with your family.
How to backup your iPhone to iTunes on a computer
If, however, like this humble author, you’re a bit more frugal, you can eschew iCloud altogether and backup to your physical computer.
iTunes lets you select where you want to backup your devices, letting you choose between iCloud and your laptop hard drive. And, with a little finagling, you can find these backups and move and delete them as you see fit.
Here’s how to do it on Windows and Mac for the time being.
1. Open iTunes with your iPhone plugged in and wait for the device to finish syncing.
2. If the device prompts you for your Passcode or asks if you want to “Trust This Computer,” select yes.
3. Select your device in iTunes, which should bring you to the Summary panel. From here, you can see and manage your backups, choosing from either iCloud or your computer. Note that if you want to backup your Health and HomeKit data, you must select “Encrypt iPhone backup.” There’s not a real drawback to encrypting your data, anyway, so you might as well.
4. This screen will also show you when your most recent backup was and allow you to backup manually.
How to delete backups on iTunes
Relatively simple, right?
One thing the above screen doesn’t show you is how to delete previous backups, which could be a concern if you have limited hard drive space. But deleting old backups is still pretty straightforward.
1. Go to the iTunes Menu and select Preferences.
2. From the Preferences Menu select “Devices.”
3. This menu should show you all of your devices’ backups with the options to delete.
How to backup your iPhone to an external hard drive, and how to move backups
For the majority of users, the steps above will more than suffice.
If, however, you’re interested in keeping device backups on an external hard drive or simply want the flexibility to store and restore old backups from multiple devices, you’ll have to dig a little deeper.
Find the backup files
Click the Spotlight search button or press Command – Shift – G together with a Finder window open and copy in the following text: ~/Library/Application Support/MobileSync/Backup/
That will take you to the folder where your backups are stored.
On Windows 7 through 10:
Use a similar process for Windows. Open your Search bar and type in Users(username)AppDataRoamingApple ComputerMobileSyncBackup.
This will take you to the folder with your backups.
Copy and move backups
Now that you’ve found where your backups are hidden away, you can copy them to an external drive and delete the ones on your hard drive.
Apple advises users to copy the entire folder if you want to preserve the data without any chance of it becoming corrupted, so go ahead and make a copy of the folder and drag that over to your external hard drive or a different cloud service than iCloud.
Now, you can delete your copy and if you wish to remove your now-redundant iPhone backup from your primary machine’s hard drive, return to iTunes and follow the instructions on deleting backups above.