iCloud Drive: Apple’s New Move

iCloud Drive: Apple’s New Move

iCloud Drive:

Recently Apple launched iCloud Drive which was officially announced along with iOS8. Apple has given its users a solution to manage documents across their iPhone, iPad and Mac. The freedom being ability of users to work with the document of their choice on the device of their choice at the time of their choice at the location of their choice! Pretty much an idea we all have had one time or the other but now it’s just turned into real real-time.Using iCloud Drive you can safely store your presentations, PDFs, images, spreadsheets or any other kind of documents- accessible from any of Apple device that belong to you.

But then it’s never that simple is it? In this blog, I will be talking about:

  • All the good things about iCloud Drive.
  • iCloud Drive and its impact on iOS 8.
  • Limitation of iCloud Drive with iOS8.
  • Precautions while upgrading to iOS 8.
  • Mac and Apple’s viewpoint.

iCloud Drive – A positive Outlook:

Attempting to provide a more streamlined way of ‘back-up’ process by introducing iCloud Drive, Apple has tried to achieve multi-devices real time accessibility while not compromising on the simplicity of use.

  • Restore Your Important data: You probably want to restore your device at any time or want to replace the device or may want to upgrade your device to a new hardware. iCloud Drive simplifies your restoring work and therefore you will easily be able to restore all your data instantly.
  • Storage Of Data: iCloud Drive does help you in storing your data which need confidentiality and on-time accessibility. iCloud gives you freedom to access your data on various devices including iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Mac or even PC.
  • Simple Upload: iCloud drive allows you simple dragging and dropping of your new document to your iOS device. You can do this by on iCloud Drive on your Mac running OS X Yosemite or PC running Windows 7 or later. You can also create a new document using an iCloud-enabled app on your iOS device. This will help you in easy access of your documents available on iCloud.
  • Easy edit appearance: Latest edits you make on one device appear on all of them. Say you start creating presentation on your Mac at home but then it’s time to go to office. On the way in the car you open the doc on your iPhone and edit it further. And you reach office and share the presentation via your iPAD to your team. Enjoy the device flexibility with iCloud.
  • Easy access of work on one app: iCloud offers you advantage to access your files across multiple apps. For example, you can draw the sketch on one app, open that sketch on painting app for colouring it. No more copying and pasting or opening same files individually on different apps. Anyways importing the files or making copies of documents has always been annoying.

The last two features provide real substance to the whole ‘good’ side of the story.

The Other Side of Story:

At the release of iOS8 we also heard some warning signs of developers saying “not to upgrade to Apple’s new iCloud Drive feature just yet”.

There have been issues and speculations regarding iCloud Drive and many users have been sceptical whether they should install and use it. Why? Let’s find out.

The extensible features of iCloud Drive which allows users to store and access files stored in iCloud on Mac, Windows, and iCloud-enabled iOS apps is available for users on iOS 8 but it won’t support on Macs until Yosemite is released. This certainly validates that there will be syncing issues with Mac and iOS device users. (Details to follow)

How the syncing technology would work on iOS 8 has also been doubtful. Once they installed or upgraded their device to iOS 8, users had doubts whether iCloud Drive gets installed as a package or it needs to be installed separately. What if one does not want iCloud Drive services?

Many suggested not upgrading to iCloud Drive until Mac OS X 10.10 Yosemite is released. An alternative could be using the settings app on iOS. A tech-giant also commented on iCloud Drive that it is a “one way street’, once you upgrade, you can’t go back to old document. True that.

Does it come pre-installed with iOS8?
No, when you upgrade your device to iOS 8, you are asked for activating iCloud Drive.

So what do you do? A quick answer:
If you still have devices that run on iOS7 or lower, then the best is to say no to iCloud Drive. We understand that iCloud Drive enables you to share files on the cloud but iCloud Drive doesn’t have backward compatibility with iOS 7, and on the Mac, iCloud Drive won’t be supported until OS X Yosemite is available.

Once you have upgraded to iOS8 on all your Apple devices, you should definitely go for iCloud Drive.

iCloud – Summarizing Various Warning Notes:

1. Using iCloud Drive on iPhone and iPad:
If you upgrade to iCloud Drive, you will only be able to sync with devices running iOS 8 or OS X Yosemite. As OS X Yosemite is still pre-release therefore upgrading to iCloud Drive will not let you sync with Clear for Mac until you upgrade to OS X Yosemite after its release.

2. Ginger Labs Comments:
Makers of popular note-taking tool Notability, Ginger Labs, also warned its users that syncing will be disabled between iOS and OS X versions of its app unless Yosemite is released.

While upgrading to iOS8 and iCloud Drive:

Upgrading to new versions of iOS must be ensured with the fact that you are able to restore all your data safely and securely. Once you have made up your mind that you need to upgrade your old iOS to iOS8 you need to ensure that you choose the right iCloud Drive option. There must be complete certainty that Clear for iOS continues to sync with Clear for Mac or with any older devices.

iCloud Drive - Apple's New Move
You must remember that as OS X Yosemite is still under pre-release and upgrading to iCloud Drive will prevent you from syncing with Clear for Mac. I understand that developers cannot just sit in the dilemma whether to upgrade to iOS8 or not but the choice is in our hands- pay close attention to the iCloud Drive screen once you are done with you update procedure of iOS8.

Also if you need to sync with devices which are currently not iCloud Drive compatible, you must ensure that you choose “Not Now”. This will allow you to keep iCloud’s “Documents and Data” sync feature enabled on your iOS 8 device so that you can sync with OS X Mavericks and iOS 7.

During this research I found some concerns and experiences which Mac shared:

Macworld Speaks:

The team of Macworld share their experiences with iCloud which goes like this,

“We all use Numbers spreadsheet which we access from web so that we could make instant changes while we are working on for the website. This worked very well until Apple brought iCloud. Following the release of iOS 8 we found that when we tried accessing the Numbers app on our Mac we were told that the spreadsheet is not available. Though we were able to access to spreadsheet in the Numbers app on our Mac but we were not able to save that to our Mac’s hard drive.”

Apart from the fact that iOS developers were receiving an alert note, not to upgrade to iCloud drive we(Mac) were rather spreading that, “Important: If you upgrade, you won’t be able to access spreadsheets in iCloud from devices with iOS 7 or OS X Mavericks. You’ll need to install iOS 8 or OS X Yosemite on the following devices…”

Apple Speaks on iCloud Drive:

Apple says that if you upgrade to iCloud Drive now: “Your documents will keep up to date across devices with iOS 8, Macs with OS X Yosemite, and iCloud.com.”

Apple also adds:

  • Your documents will no longer keep up to date on devices with iOS 7 and Macs with OS X Mavericks or earlier.
  • You’ll be able to use the iWork web apps on iCloud.com.
  • You’ll be able to use the Share via iCloud feature on iOS 8 and iCloud.com. You’ll be able to use it on OS X Yosemite later this year.
  • Documents you previously shared via iCloud will be accessible to collaborators.

Apple even insisted users to upgrade to iCloud Drive when OS X Yosemite is available. They even warned users that until you upgrade your iCloud account to iCloud Drive, you won’t be able to use the iWork web apps on iCloud.com or the Share via iCloud feature.

What If You Don’t Upgrade To iCloud Drive?

Apple adds that if you don’t upgrade to iCloud Drive at this time:

  • Your documents will keep up to date across devices with iOS 8 and across devices with iOS 7 and Macs with OS X Mavericks or earlier.
  • You won’t be able to use the iWork web apps on iCloud.com.
  • You won’t be able to use the Share via iCloud feature.
  • Documents you previously shared via iCloud won’t be accessible to collaborators until you upgrade to iCloud Drive.

Better but still not best?

iCloud Drive seems promising but then it would not be wise to compare it with other cloud storage services such as Dropbox, Box.com, Google Drive, OneDrive or MediaFire. iCloud Drive is limited and at times not as flexible. You can share files only with documents created with iWork apps. Also, you can’t save files larger than 15GB.


5GB 20GB 200GB 500GB 1TB
Free $0.99/month $3.99/month $9.99/month $19.99/month
Free £0.79/month £2.99/month £6.99/month £14.99/month

iCloud Drive offers 5GB of free storage which you can share across all your iCloud Drive associated devices, however the pricing for more amount of space gets expensive- at least considerably expensive than its competing services mentioned earlier. For example, 1TB of storage costs $20 a month.

Just like any other product, Apple’s iCloud Drive has been perfected for the purpose it was devised- primarily enabling users to access files on different devices making collaboration on user’s various Apple devices really meaningful.

And just like their any other product, the product will indeed become flexible and purposeful with time. They always do.

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Rachit Agarwal

Rachit Agarwal

Director and Co-Founder at Algoworks Technologies
Rachit is leading the mobility business development function, mobility strategy and consulting practice at Algoworks. He is an expert of all mobile technologies and has experience in managing teams involved in the development of custom iPhone/iPad/Android apps.
Rachit Agarwal

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