Yosemite: A Take Control Crash Course
by Scholle McFarland

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Working with Apple’s iCloud has been a wee bit confusing. Sure, you could save a document to your free, Apple-provided storage space, but how exactly did you get back to it again? The new iCloud Drive no longer insists that documents be associated with a particular app (and hides them from other apps), instead it now lets you see all your stored documents in the Finder .

① 	Click iCloud Drive in a Finder window sidebar and then drag and drop files in or out as you please.

① Click iCloud Drive in a Finder window sidebar and then drag and drop files in or out as you please.

You can share data in your iCloud folder between your Apple devices (as long as they’re running Yosemite or iOS 8), and open documents in your app of choice. Here’s the least you need to know to make the most of iCloud Drive.

What iCloud Drive Can Do

Use iCloud Drive to store documents, presentations, spreadsheets, PDFs, images, you name it, on Apple’s servers. Everything you save here is immediately synced and available on other compatible Apple devices you’ve set up. That means you can work on a document on your iPad and then open it later on your Mac and see the changes you made there, too.

Check the Requirements

To use iCloud Drive, a device must have an active Internet connection and meet minimum requirements:

If you use iWork apps (Pages, Numbers, and Keynote), you must upgrade them to the latest versions.

Access Files in a Pinch

If upgrading to Yosemite (as Apple would like you to do ) isn’t an option, all is not lost if you need to get an a iCloud Drive file from a Web browser.

② 	Despite Apple’s warning, you can get to iCloud Drive files from a Web browser.

② Despite Apple’s warning, you can get to iCloud Drive files from a Web browser.

Go to iCloud.com, sign in, click iCloud Drive, and then use the Web interface to upload or download files. (iCloud might ask you to rename or compress the file.)

Turn on iCloud Drive

Activate iCloud Drive on your Mac by going to System Preferences > iCloud and signing in with your Apple ID. Check the iCloud Drive box .

③ 	To activate iCloud Drive on your Mac, go to System Preferences > iCloud and check the iCloud Drive box.

③ To activate iCloud Drive on your Mac, go to System Preferences > iCloud and check the iCloud Drive box.

You’re given the opportunity to upgrade to iCloud Drive when you install iOS 8. If you skipped this, go to Settings > iCloud on your device and toggle the iCloud Drive switch to On.

Once you’ve upgraded your devices to iOS 8 and your Mac(s) to Yosemite, it’s simple to get started with iCloud Drive.

On your Mac, open up System Preferences > iCloud and make sure the box next to iCloud Drive is checked. Click Options to see which apps will store files and data in iCloud. (Uncheck the box next to one to prevent it from doing this.)

On your iPad, iPhone, or iPod Touch, tap Settings > iCloud > iCloud Drive > Upgrade to iCloud Drive. Any documents that you’ve already stored in iCloud are automatically moved to iCloud Drive when you upgrade.

Size up Your Storage

You get 5 GB of storage for free when you sign up for iCloud, but that space isn’t used for iCloud Drive alone. It also covers your iOS iCloud Backup files and any iCloud Mail messages. On an iOS device, iTunes media (whether from Apple or you), iBooks books, apps, and My Photo Stream don’t count against your storage.

If you need more space, go to System Preferences > iCloud. Click the Manage Button. Select an app in the list to see how much space its files are taking up. iCloud tells you how to delete files, if you choose. If you want to buy more space instead, click Buy More Storage. See Apple’s iCloud Storage Upgrade Pricing page for current rates. Choose a plan, click Next, and then enter your Apple ID password to purchase it .

④ 	If you need more room for files, upgrade your Cloud storage plan.

④ If you need more room for files, upgrade your Cloud storage plan.

Save a File to iCloud Drive

Choose File > Save (Command-S). In the Save As dialog, choose AppName — iCloud from the Where pop-up menu to save the file in the associated app’s iCloud Drive folder (the Keynote folder, for example) . That will simplify opening files from within that app. Or, choose iCloud Drive to save it at the root level of the iCloud Drive folder.

⑤ 	I’m saving a presentation to iCloud Drive’s Keynote folder (not iCloud Drive’s root level).

⑤ I’m saving a presentation to iCloud Drive’s Keynote folder (not iCloud Drive’s root level).

Warning! You can store any type of file in iCloud Drive, as long as its file size is less than 15 GB…and you have enough storage. To check a file’s size, select it in the Finder and choose File > Get Info (Command-I). The file size appears in the Get Info window.

Access iCloud Drive Files

Here are just a few ways to access iCloud Drive files:

⑥ 	Access iCloud Drive files from a supported Web browser by going to iCloud.com and signing in with your Apple ID.

⑥ Access iCloud Drive files from a supported Web browser by going to iCloud.com and signing in with your Apple ID.

⑦ 	Click iCloud Drive in the Finder sidebar to browse files and folders stored there.

⑦ Click iCloud Drive in the Finder sidebar to browse files and folders stored there.

Open a File in Another App

It’s easy to open an iCloud document with an app other than the one that created it. For example, navigate to the file in the Finder. (It might be in the iCloud Drive folder for the app that created it.) Control-click (or Right-click) the file and choose Open With > AppName from the contextual menu .

⑧ 	To open a file in an app that’s different from the default, Control-click the file’s icon in the Finder and choose Open With > _AppName_.

⑧ To open a file in an app that’s different from the default, Control-click the file’s icon in the Finder and choose Open With > AppName.

Turn Off iCloud Drive

On your Mac, open to System Preferences > iCloud and unchecking the iCloud Drive box. When you do, your Mac apps will no longer be able to access documents stored in iCloud.

If you decide to turn iCloud Drive off, first make sure you can work with your documents offline. On your Mac, navigate to iCloud Drive in the Finder, select the files or folders, and then press Option while dragging-and-dropping them to another location (to copy the files instead of moving them.) Local copies won’t update if you use another device to change the original iCloud documents.

Tip: To learn the in’s and out’s of the iCloud’s many features, read Take Control of iCloud.

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