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Setting Up an iCloud Account on Your Mac

iCloud Isn't Just for iOS Devices

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Setting Up an iCloud Account on Your Mac

The iCloud preferences pane should display the iCloud login, asking for your Apple ID and password.

Screen shot courtesy of Coyote Moon, Inc. List of iCloud services

Apple's iCloud provides a host of cloud-based services you can use on your Mac.

Screen shot courtesy of Coyote Moon, Inc.

Apple's iCloud provides a host of cloud-based services you can use on your Mac, including Mail & Notes, Contacts, Calendars, Bookmarks, Photo Stream, Documents & Data, Back to My Mac, and Find My Mac. Each service lets you store data on the iCloud servers, and keep your Mac and all of your devices, including Windows and iOS devices, in sync.

What You Need to Use the iCloud Service

iCloud on the Mac requires OS X 10.7.2 or later.

Once you have the proper version of OS X installed, you'll need to turn iCloud on. If you updated to OS X 10.7.2 or later after the launch of the iCloud service, the iCloud preferences pane will open automatically the first time you boot your Mac after updating the OS. If you updated to OS X 10.7.2 or later before the iCloud service launched, you'll need to access the iCloud preferences pane manually.

We'll assume you're going to start this process by accessing the iCloud preferences pane manually.

Turn on iCloud

  1. Click the System Preferences icon in the Dock, or select the System Preferences item in the Apple menu.

  2. In the System Preferences window, click the iCloud icon, which is located under the Internet & Wireless group.

  3. The iCloud preferences pane should display the iCloud login, asking for your Apple ID and password. If, instead, the iCloud preferences pane displays a list of available iCloud services, then you (or someone else who uses your computer) have already turned iCloud on.

  4. If iCloud was enabled using someone else's Apple ID, check with that individual before you log out of iCloud. If iCloud has already pushed data to your computer, he or she may want to back up that data before you disconnect from the service.

  5. Enter the Apple ID you wish to use for the iCloud service.

  6. Enter your Apple ID password.

  7. Click the Sign In button.

  8. You can choose to have iCloud upload and store your contacts, calendars, and bookmarks on its servers, so you can access this data from any iOS, Mac, or Windows device. Place a check mark next to this option if you wish to upload this data.

  9. Find My Mac, one of the features of iCloud, uses geo-location services to pinpoint where your Mac is currently located. You can also send your Mac a message, remotely lock your Mac, or even erase the data on its hard drive. Place a check mark next to this option if you wish to use the Find My Mac service.

  10. Click Next.

  11. If you choose to use Find My Mac, you will receive a warning asking you to allow Find My Mac to use your Mac's location data. Click Allow.

iCloud will now be activated, and will display a list of the iCloud services you can use.

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