(…and how to share an Apple ID!)
iOS 5 is awesome; surprisingly so, even. I’ve only had it for a little over a day now, but the hundreds of little improvements really add up to something special. It kind of feels like Apple gave everybody new phones and high fives.
So What the Heck is iCloud?
Of all of the new stuff Apple baked into iOS 5, iCloud is easily one of the best features. It’s also one that no one really understands (many geeks included). Apple has spent a lot of time trying to explain iCloud, but its purpose can be summed up in about five words:
It keep things in sync.
Tired of having separate sets of contacts, calendars, notes, bookmarks, etc on all of your devices? iCloud fixes that, and its kind of a set it and forget it type of service. Unless you use an “@me.com” email address, or need to hunt down a lost iDevice, you’ll probably never think twice that the service is there. But that’s the beauty of it; it’s an extra, luxorious layer to the iOS experience.
Bookmark a page on your iPhone… bring it up on your iPad later that night. Pick up a new iPod Touch and enter your iCloud login… all of your info is there like you’ve owned it for years. It’s the finishing touch you probably never new you wanted.
It Also Does a Lot of Other Stuff
…or at least, Apple has branded a lot of new services under the iCloud umbrella. iCloud syncs iMessage conversations across all of your iOS devices. It can help you locate a lost device. It can help you find your friends. My personal favorite, it will backup your entire device every night over WiFi!
iPhone “bought it” at the resort swimming pool? Hook your replacement up to iCloud and pick up right where you left off. There’s no longer a need to track down your USB cord and back things up with iTunes (thank God!).
iCloud for the Whole Family (sharing one Apple ID)
Lauren and I share an Apple ID. We own four separate iOS devices, and since we share the use of those devices, it’s stupid to pay for the same apps multiple times.
Everything worked swimmingly until we upgraded to iOS 5. With iCloud enabled, Lauren began receiving iMessages addressed to me, I began seeing her bookmarks, Facetime calls went to both of us, etc. As I’m sure some of you are experiencing, its a mess.
That’s not to mention trying to share iCloud’s measly 5GB of free space for those nightly WiFi backups; just one of our iPhones could easily extinguish that in a matter of days.
Thankfully, there’s a fix.
For the primary Apple ID account holder (my email address, is this case), just use the Apple ID to log into iCloud like normal on your devices. For other family members (spouse, kids, etc), keep using the primary Apple ID in the store settings (to share all of your purchases), but create a new iCloud account/Apple ID to use everywhere else.
On the non-primary family member’s device, open Settings > iCloud and open a new iCloud account (you may have to log out of the primary store Apple ID). It will create a new “@me.com” email address for you to use for the account, but you don’t have to use that email account for anything besides logging in. Their personal iCloud account should now be ready to go.
Next, you’ll need to re-setup all of the iOS services to use the new account. In the Settings App again, log out of the primary Apple ID account and log in to their new iCloud account in the FaceTime and iMessage sections. You may also want to associate other email addresses with those services to make it easier for people to contact them.
Finally, if they use Game Center or Find My Friends, you’ll need to change the accounts in those Apps as well. Boom! Their iOS device should now be entirely self-sufficient, except for the shared App/Media purchases from the iTunes Store.
I hope that helps you get all of the iCloud madness sorted out. Feel free to ask questions in the comments below.