Syncing music, photos & videos with iCloud

Apple’s iCloud service keeps getting better. Now you can keep your photos and music in the cloud and access them from your Mac, iPhone, iPad & Apple TV.

Why store music, photos & videos in the cloud? All your media is kept safe and secure on Apple’s servers where it can never be lost. Any photo albums and playlists you create on one device are synced with the others without filling up the device storage. When you look for a photo in the Photos app or play a song in Music, it’s streamed to your device or computer on-demand. (You can still keep particular items on your device for offline use.) And you can easily share music & photos with your family.

To store photos in the cloud, use the Photos app on your Mac and devices, then turn on iCloud Photo Library. You’ll find this option on your iOS devices in Settings-iCloud-Photos. On your Mac, look for it in System Preferences-iCloud-Photos. Enable iCloud Photo Library on all the devices you use – all photos are uploaded to your iCloud and combined together, removing any duplicates. You’ll have end up with one consolidated photo library accessible on all your Macs, iPhone & iPad. You may need to pay for additional iCloud storage – the 5 GB everyone gets for free won’t go very far. But even the 50 GB plan for 99¢ a month can store about 10,000 photos & videos. The next plan gives you 200 GB for $2.99 a month (around 20,000 photos & videos). Or choose 1 TB (1,000 GB) for $9.99 a month. And the storage you buy here can also be used for iCloud Drive docs, email, backups and other things. Learn how to use iCloud Photo Library and the Photos app on your Mac or iOS device.

To store music in the cloud, use Music and enable iCloud Music Library. On iOS devices, go to Settings–Music and Sync Library. On a computer, open Music and click the Music menu-Preferences. Click General and Sync Library. Close the window and click the View menu at the top of the screen. Choose All Music. You can repeat the same thing in the TV & iPodcast apps.

What about music you ripped from CDs or got elsewhere? Sign up for an iTunes Match subscription [Evernote] for $24.95 a year. All the music you own is synced between the computers. Or choose an Apple Music subscription. You’ll have access to your own music, plus all 35 million songs in the Apple library for $9.95 a month or $14.95 for a family of six. Listen to hand-curated playlists and radio stations, or build playlists of your favorites. And never worrying about buying music or filling your devices again. You can even remove music files [Evernote] from the computers to save space – it stays in the cloud so you can stream or download again whenever you like. iTunes Match and Apple Music don’t use up your iCloud storage, so whether you have 10 movies or 20,000 songs, the sky’s the limit. Learn more about iTunes Match, Apple Music and iCloud Music Library for iTunes and iOS devices.

iCloud makes your Apple devices much more powerful. And they’ll last longer since it’s much more cost-effective to buy iCloud storage than replace your iPhone, iPad or Mac when it gets full. Read more about iCloud here.

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