12 members gathered to hear Tony tell us about “Presents from Apple”
All new Macs come with the collections of apps we used to know as iWork and iLife for free but the focus for this evening’s talk was that more nebulous offer, iCloud.
After providing a comprehensive list of iCloud services, Tony went on to look at some of them in a bit more detail.
iCloud Drive: This appears in the sidebar of a Finder window, like an external disc drive. 5GB of storage is free, shared with some other iCloud services. More space is available by paying a monthly subscription. Moving documents from your Mac to iCloud Drive makes them available on all of your other devices. Files can also be shared with other users rather like the service offered by DropBox.
The next group of services highlighted were the ones which potentially could eat up your 5GB allowance, iCloud Photo Library, Backup and Restore (of iOS devices) and Desktop & Documents folders in iCloud Drive being the main culprits. Less space-consuming alternatives were mentioned, e.g. Photostream, backing up iOS devices to your Mac via iTunes and moving selected documents to iCloud using iCloud Drive. It is also worth checking that you have your iCloud Mail account set to erase deleted messages and junk mail after a sensible period to avoid Mail eating too far into your allowance.
Next we looked at syncing services for various apps, e.g. Contacts, Calendar, Messages, Notes and Safari Bookmarks & tabs. These are all useful for keeping your Mac and iOS devices in step.
Mail Drop is useful to get around e-mail attachment size limits, allowing transfer of large files. Up to 1TB of files each up to 5GB will be held for up to 30 days. This storage is separate from your 5GB iCloud allowance.
iCloud Keychain, which stores a copy of your keychain full of passwords in Cloud, was discussed. The main conclusion was that paranoia takes different forms in different people!
Two ‘Lost and Found’ services were next:
Find my Friends, which shares a device’s location with friends - very handy when trying to meet up or keep track of children!
Find my iPhone/iPad/Mac: This only works if the device being sought is switched on and knows where it is, so it works best on Phones. A quick demonstration was staged.
Lastly, there are iCloud versions of the iWork Apps (Pages, Numbers and Keynote) which can be used from a PC. However, we did struggle a bit to come up with scenarios where this might actually be useful.
After the usual refreshment break a brief Q&A was held. Euan warned us about FileVault. It seems that on new MacBooks it is easy to enable this unwittingly. He advised us to turn it off or make sure you keep a note of the recovery key or select the option to be able to unlock it using Apple ID.
Other questions included how to override a 15min delay Sleep timer to lock a Mac immediately and whether a Mac mini could work through an older iMac’s display as a cheaper alternative to a new iMac.
Lastly, we returned to the issue of sharing documents via iCloud Drive. This was demonstrated by Tony enabling David to modify his Keynote presentation - which resulted in Tim Cook sporting a rather Christmassy white beard! A fitting way to end another successful year of Bournemouth meetings.