How to access and manage iCloud Drive files from any device

October 25, 2020 | Tutorial | Lex

With iCloud Drive, you can save any kind of file to your iCloud storage. But how you access all the files in your iCloud Drive storage changes depending on whether you’re using an iPhone, a Mac, a Windows PC, or an Android device.

We’ll show you how to access iCloud Drive on any device. With it, you can edit documents, upload files, or free up some iCloud storage no matter where you are or what you’re using.

How To Access iCloud Files On An iPhone Or iPad

With iOS or iPadOS, it’s easy to sync different types of data to iCloud, from backups to calendar events to photos. Most of these options are built into the operating system on your device, which is why you can find your iCloud Photos directly in the Photos app.

Similarly, to access your iCloud Drive files from an iPhone or iPad, you need to use the Files app.

Use The Files App On An iPhone Or iPad

The Files app is an intuitive file browser that you can pair with a range of cloud storage services, like iCloud, Google Drive, or Dropbox. You can even use Files to look at the documents saved locally to your device.

To access iCloud Drive files in the Files app:

  1. Open Files on your iPhone or iPad.
  2. Repeatedly tap the Browse button until you see a list of Locations.
  3. Tap iCloud Drive to view all the files in your iCloud account.
  4. Tap a file to download and open it.
  5. Alternatively, tap and hold on a file to view a popup menu with more actions, like RenameCopy, or Delete.

How To Manage iCloud Storage On An iPhone Or iPad

Whether you want to clear out some space or buy more storage, you can manage your iCloud storage from the Settings on your iPhone or iPad. Open Settings and tap [Your Name] at the top of the screen, then tap iCloud.

You can see an overview of your iCloud storage usage at the top of the screen. Tap Manage Storage for more details, then tap Buy More Storage or Change Storage Plan if you want to get more iCloud storage.

Alternatively, scroll through the list and tap on each app to delete its iCloud data. This deletes that data for every device connected to your iCloud account.

If iCloud backups are using up too much of your storage, consider backing up your iPhone with a computer instead.

How To Access iCloud Files On A Mac

Much like on an iPhone or iPad, you need to use various different apps to access iCloud data on your Mac. Open the Photos app to view your iCloud Photos, open the Notes app to see your iCloud Notes, and use Finder to access your iCloud Drive files.

Use Finder With iCloud Drive On A Mac

Finder is the best way to find and manage any files on your Mac or in your iCloud Drive storage. You can even combine the two by enabling the Desktop & Documents Folders option in your iCloud Drive settings, to sync those folders from your Mac to iCloud.

To view iCloud Drive folders on your Mac, open a new Finder window and select iCloud Drive from the sidebar.

If you don’t see an iCloud Drive option, go to Finder > Preferences from the menu bar. Then click Sidebar and enable the iCloud Drive option.

Interact with these files and folders the same way you would any other file or folder on your Mac.

How To Manage ICloud Storage On Your Mac

To manage your iCloud storage on your Mac, go to System Preferences > Apple ID and select iCloud from the sidebar. You can see which apps are linked to your iCloud account, as well as a storage usage chart at the bottom of the preferences window.

Click the Manage button next to the storage breakdown to delete iCloud data, buy more storage, or change your iCloud storage plan.

How To Access ICloud Files On A Windows PC

To manage your iCloud storage on a Windows machine, you need to download and install iCloud for Windows from the Windows Store. This free software lets you choose which apps to sync with your PC, view your storage usage, and turn on iCloud Drive for File Explorer.

Use File Explorer To View ICloud Drive Files

After installing iCloud for Windows, sign in to your Apple ID account and enable the iCloud Drive checkbox. You may also want to enable any other apps that you’d like to sync with your PC.

Now open a new File Explorer window and click iCloud Drive from the Quick Access navigation menu. You should be able to view, edit, download, or delete any files in your iCloud Drive account in the same way you would with other files on your computer.

If you turn off iCloud Drive in the iCloud for Windows app, it’ll ask if you want to delete iCloud files from your PC. This won’t delete anything from your iCloud account.

How To Manage ICloud Storage On A Windows PC

Open iCloud for Windows to see a breakdown of your iCloud storage in the main window. Click on the Storage button to delete data from your iCloud account; you can also upgrade your storage by clicking the Buy more storage button.

How To Access ICloud Files On An Android Device

It isn’t obvious how to access files in your iCloud Drive storage from an Android device because Apple doesn’t offer an app allowing you to do so. Fortunately, you can still access some of your iCloud content by logging in to the iCloud website from a browser.

Use An Internet Browser To Access ICloud Storage

Open any web browser on your Android device and go to iCloud.com to log in to your Apple ID account. After logging in to your account, tap the PhotosNotes, or Reminders button to view your iCloud content for those apps.

Unfortunately, there’s no way to view files in your iCloud Drive storage from an Android device. However, you can access those files by visiting the iCloud website on a tablet or a computer.

Tap the Account Settings button to view your iCloud storage usage. You can’t upgrade your storage through a browser, but hopefully Apple will add this functionality in the future.

Sync More ICloud Data To An Android Device

As you’ve seen, it’s fairly easy to access your iCloud storage on just about any platform except for Android. Although you can still open iCloud Drive through a web browser on Android, this is much less streamlined than the official Apple apps you can use elsewhere.

Apple’s reluctance to play nice with Android devices doesn’t stop at iCloud Drive. It’s just as awkward to sync photos, calendars, notes, and other details from iCloud to Android as well. That said, there are some workarounds available that can make it more bearable.

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