Are you ready for iCloud?

No doubt, you've heard plenty of rumblings in the news about Apple's iCloud service. It will begin a fundamental shift in how we all use our Apple products, and I am highly encouraging my clients to sign up for a free iCloud account when it launches on Wednesday.

What it iCloud?

"iCloud stores your music, photos, documents, and more and wirelessly pushes them to all your devices," says Apple. With iOS 5 & Lion, iCloud will be integrated into almost everything you do. For example, when you take a photo with your iPhone, it will automatically appear on your iPad and iPhoto libraries. This will also be true for music, iBooks, and apps which you purchase and other content such as address book contacts, calendar events, and documents. Everything is accessible from everywhere.

Why does iCloud matter?

iCloud ensures you never have to plug your iPhone or iPad into your Mac to sync things back and forth. This is a tremendous convenience for anyone who has more than one Apple device. For example, you have the option to back up your iPhone to iCloud. It happens automatically when your phone charges.

What does iCloud require?

iPad and iPhone running the latest software, iOS 5 are able to utilize iCloud. iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, Apple TV 2, and all iPads are able to run iOS 5, which will be a free download on Oct. 12. iCloud requires a Mac running Lion. If you do not yet have Lion, you can download it over the internet to your Mac by clicking here. Lion costs $30.

How do I get iCloud?

After October 12th, either install iOS 5 on your device or go to with your Mac. I would love to help you with the transition. To book an appointment with me, click here.

Misc. FAQ

What about MobileMe members?

Use your MobileMe account to upgrade to iCloud. Doing so will disable your iDisk, so if you have been using iDisk, be sure to remove all your files before upgrading to iCloud. Heavy users of MobileMe should review this document from Apple, click here.

What if I don't have a MobileMe account?

When you sign up for iCloud, sign in with your Apple ID, which is the same credentials you use to buy apps or music through Apple and iTunes.

Will iCloud replace Dropbox?

Because many of you are using Dropbox to access your Mac's files, then no, iCloud will not replace Dropbox. iCloud will sync iWork files from iPhone to iPad seamlessly; however viewing those files on the Mac requires logging into and downloading your files.

What if I don't want to use iCloud?

I'll still love you anyway. :-)

Rick Stawarz

Minneapolis, MN

I am an Apple Certified Support Professional with over a decade of experience supporting families, schools, and businesses. Tech has always captured my imagination, but it's not my only passion. I'm an ordained Anglican minister;  Aeropress is a daily ritual of mine; I've driven across Mongolia; and I'm the father of three girls. I hope to provide for you a balanced and realistic perspective into the practicality of technology.