While we all resent that Apple provides just 5G of free iCloud storage space, no matter how many of its products you own, most Apple OS owners use the online service. Here's a few little things it does that might make life a little easier.
Lost and found again
If you accidentally delete a file, contact, bookmark or calendar item from iCloud you can easily find it and restore it using iCloud online. Visit www.icloud.com and login with your Apple ID. Then tap the Settings icon, and scroll down the page to the Advanced area. Once there, you can choose to Restore Files, Contacts, Calendars and Reminders and Bookmarks. The process can take a few minutes, and you may be surprised at some of the files you find still available to you there – don’t wait too long, as files are kept here for only 30-days. When you find the item(s) you are looking for, just tap the checkbox and hit Restore.
You can share photos and videos with other family members from within iCloud even if they don’t use iCloud themselves. To do so, open Photos, select the images and videos you want to share, and then tap the Share icon. Choose iCloud Photo Sharing and then select "new public album." An album will be created, and you’ll get a URL to share with others that they can use to access the images even if they don’t use iCloud (or any Apple product). (In iOS 12, you simply choose the Copy Link command in the Share pane.)
iCloud lets you create a small number (three) of alias email addresses. These work just like your main iCloud address, but you can use them instead of that address. You can activate and disable your aliases, which makes them a really cool way to limit the amount of spam you end up signing up to get – just create an email alias to use when signing up for an online service.
Here is how to build an alias:
- Open iCloud Mail online.
- Tap the gear icon you can see at the bottom left.
- Tap Accounts followed by "Add an Alias."
- Create your new alias, click OK, tap Done, and your alias is active.
- Some people use just one alias to sign up for everything, disabling the alias when not in use, which dramatically reduces spam.
Another great feature in iCloud online is Mail Rules. These let you specify a simple collection of rules that are applied to all incoming email across all your devices. You can use it to gather all the messages you receive from a club, business, or person. The snag with the approach is that all these messages are then quarantined in a sub-folder in your email across all your iCloud devices. You must remember to take a look inside that folder, as incoming messages won’t be visible in your general in-box.
- To create a Rule open the Mail item in iCloud.com and then tap the Gears icon at the bottom left of the window.
- Create the rule in the form “If a message”.
- Then choose the most relevant of the available rules: from, addressed to, CC’d to, is addressed or CC’d to, has subject containing, has list-id containing.
- Choose the action – Move to Folder in this case.
It will take a few minutes, but after iCloud propagates your changes, you’ll find the new folder doing its work across all the Apple devices you have logged into your account.
If you use iWork, you need never lose a previous version of anything you are working on. Just open iCloud.com, launch the online version of the iWork app you are using find, select the document you want, and then click the gears icon. You’ll be presented with a few tools, including Browse all versions. Tap this, and you can pull out an earlier version of your work.
Let me know if you come across any other iCloud tips.
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