Productivity Tools

iCloud File Sharing 101

icloud

If you have a Mac, iPad, or iPhone, then you can use iCloud file sharing to backup and share your photos, documents, and more. The iCloud drive lets you store files online, thus freeing up storage space on your device and making it easier to share between devices. Whether you need to share files with other people or just with another device that you own, you can use iCloud sharing to quickly and easily do the trick.

In this article, we will cover everything you need to know about iCloud file sharing. We will answer the following questions: how do you use iCloud, how do you share iCloud files, and how do you get more iCloud storage. By the end of the article, you will know how to use your account to store and share any iCloud files.

How to Use iCloud Sharing

If you have an Apple ID, you can sign into your iCloud account at any time and on any device with a web browser. It is automatically available with your Apple ID, even if you haven’t accessed it before. To access your iCloud account, simply go to iCloud.com and input your Apple ID and password.

Once you input your Apple ID, you will be directed to a homepage that includes the various apps you can sync with iCloud, as shown below.

icloud online account with list of apps

To access your iCloud Drive, you can click on the iCloud Drive icon. From here, you can see which files have been uploaded to your iCloud or upload new files. To upload new files, simply drag and drop files into the drive or click on the cloud upload button. You can also download files or delete them from this page.

your icloud drive is empty

Another way to upload files to iCloud is by automatically syncing apps from your device with iCloud. Here’s how you can do so from your Mac or iPhone/iPad device.

Mac

macbook system preferences window with apple id circled

Click on “System Preferences” in your toolbar. Then, click on the Apple ID icon. Scroll down to “iCloud.”

apple id window with list of apps on this mac using icloud

From here, you can select which apps to sync with your iCloud account. Synced files will be available through the iCloud along with any other device that is synced up with your iCloud account.

You can also adjust your amount of iCloud storage from this screen. We’ll talk more about iCloud storage later, but note that you get 5GB of storage for free.

iPhone/iPad

On our iPhone or iPad, simply go to the Settings app, click on your name in the top banner, then click on iCloud. From here, you can decide which apps to sync with iCloud, including some third-party apps. Be sure to turn on “iCloud Backup” to automatically back up your iOS device to iCloud.

How to Share iCloud Storage Files

Now that you know how to store and sync iCloud files, you’re ready to learn how to share them. It’s easy to share files on an iCloud storage drive with co-workers, family members, friends, or other personal devices. You can also share iCloud folders in their entirety. To share either files or folders, follow these steps:

share file on icloud drive

1. Click on the file(s) or folder(s) that you wish to share. To select multiple files or folders, hold the Shift key while clicking on additional files.

2. Click on the share on top of your screen, next to the mail icon. It looks like a plus sign next to an image of a person.

3. Add the email addresses or phone numbers for the people you want to share files with.

4. Click on “Share Options” to set additional permissions. You can set file access to either “only people you invite” or “anyone with the link”. You can also set file permissions to “view only” or “can make changes”.

5. Once you’re done setting your sharing options, click “Share”.

You can also share files directly from your Mac and iPhone/iPad account without accessing the iCloud web app.

Mac

add people to icloud drive file

1. Go to the “Finder” app. 

2. Click on “iCloud Drive”. Your iCloud files should show up here. If they don’t, then make sure your iCloud drive is turned on for your Mac account. You can turn it on by going to your Apple ID preferences as discussed above.

3. Hold the “control” key, then single click on the file you wish to share.

4. Scroll down to “Share”, then click on “Share File”. 

5. From here, you can choose whether to share your file via Mail, Messages, a link, or Airdrop. You can also set the same permissions as on the web app.

6. If you select link or Airdrop, you must input the email address(es) or phone number(s) you wish to share your file with before continuing.

7. Once you’ve filled everything out, click “Share”. If you selected Mail or Messages as your sharing method, you will be redirected to that app to finish sharing your file.

iPhone/iPad

1. Open the Files app on your device.

2. Go to the Browse tab, then Locations.

3. Tap the iCloud Drive icon.

4. Tap Select, then tap the file or folder you wish to share.

5. Tap Share, then tap the Add People icon.

6. Select how you would like to share your file: through Messages, Mail, or via a link. For more sharing options, click on “More”. You can also change your sharing permissions on this screen. Change your sharing permissions before you select how you would like to share your file, as once you click on the sharing method you will be redirected to that app to finish sharing your file.

Get More iCloud Drive Storage

By now, you should know how to share iCloud files from any Apple device and the web-based iCloud Drive. However, what if you run out of iCloud storage space? As mentioned above, you get 5GB of free iCloud storage, but if you run out of that, you will have to purchase more.

Fortunately, Apple offers more cloud storage for a reasonable price. You can purchase plans for 50GB, 200GB, and 2TB of storage. These plans cost $0.99/month, $2.99/month, and $9.99/month, respectively.

You can also set up a family sharing plan for 200GB or 2TB of storage. Family plans let you share iCloud storage with up to five other family members. You can learn more about Family Sharing on Apple’s support website.

If you need even more file storage, then you may need to switch to a different file sharing service. You can read our articles on the top platforms for unlimited cloud storage and the best file sharing websites for more options. 

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