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iCloud FAQ: Why Apple's online service will matter more than ever

Dan Moren, Dan Frakes | June 4, 2014
While the focus of Monday's WWDC keynote was on Apple's two operating systems, iCloud was a strong supporting player. That's because, if iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite will represent the two sides of an Oreo cookie, then iCloud will be the creamy filling that keeps them glued together.

Well, it depends on your definition of the word "share." You'll probably be able to do the same sorts of things with those files that you can now — send them to other folks via email or messages, for example. In those cases, though, you'll still be making a copy of those documents that your contacts will edit independently.

But beyond that, it's probably not wise to hold your breath. Apple didn't specifically discuss any multi-party collaboration features during its keynote, which suggests that the only place you'll l be able to get those features will continue to be in iWork for iCloud, for now. But, hey, it gives you something to put on your iOS 9 wishlist.

Did my ears deceive me? Will AirDrop really work between my Mac and iOS devices?

It was on many of our wishlists, and we're pleased as punch that it's come true: AirDrop will now work between iOS devices and Macs, meaning you can exchange files on an ad hoc basis between the two, without the need for an Internet connection or even being on the same local network. Need to get a photo to your Mac from your iPhone? Fire up AirDrop. Want to send that PDF from your Mac to your iPad? Same thing. And you can also limit your sharing so that only your iCloud contacts can see your share requests.

Will Mail Drop count against my iCloud quota?

Let's back up: If you missed it in the barrage of news yesterday, Mail Drop is Apple's new iCloud service for sending large attachments (up to 5GB in size). Apple will avoid mail-server bottlenecks by uploading those attachments to iCloud first, then downloading them to your recipients from there. As for whether those uploads will count against your quota, we don't rightly know. But if they're going to offer support for 5GB attachments and also provide you with 5GB of free iCloud space, we certainly hope not.

Will older versions of OS X be able to use iCloud Drive? What about iCloud Drive-enabled iOS apps under iOS 7?

Again, our Magic 8-Ball says "Reply hazy." But if we had to guess, we'd imagine that iCloud Drive will require iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite. (Apple's page on iCloud Drive certainly seems to confirm the latter, while the fine print says only that "some features" require iOS 8 and Yosemite.) Apple's never been shy about enticing developers and users onto the latest versions of its software through its offer of new features.

So what's the deal with Continuity?

Many of us own more than one Apple device these days. While iCloud already helps us keep some information in sync between those devices, the process of switching back and forth between them is still often rough. Continuity aims to help smooth it out: If you start writing an email on your iPhone, you'll be able to pick it up from the same exact spot on your Mac. In the middle of reading an interesting article on your iPad when you need to head out the door? You'll be able to open up your iPhone and keep reading, right from the same scroll position.


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