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ICloud Logo 2013.png
Basic data

developer Apple
Publishing year October 12, 2011
Current  version 7.19
( May 26, 2020 )
operating system from: iOS 5 ,
Mac OS X Lion ,
Windows 7 and newer , Windows 10 and newer via the Microsoft Store
programming language C , Objective-C
category Cloud computing
License proprietary license
www.icloud.com (login page)
www.apple.com (information website)

iCloud is an online service from Apple that can be used to save and synchronize data. The service was presented on June 6, 2011 at the WWDC developer conference and launched on October 12, 2011. iCloud replaces Apple's previous online service MobileMe , which was completely shut down on July 1, 2012.


With iCloud, it is possible to transfer data to a maximum of ten Apple devices and Microsoft - Windows to keep in sync -Rechnern. In addition to emails, contacts and calendar entries that could already be synchronized with MobileMe , photos, documents and settings can be automatically uploaded to iCloud and synchronized between all of the owner's devices. For iOS devices, iCloud also serves as a backup.

In the iTunes Store purchased multimedia content can be downloaded by all devices of the user.

The “Find my iPhone” function enables you to determine the location of an iOS device, for example if it is lost. With the "Find my friends" function, your current location can also be shared with other people.

Every user has 5 GB of free storage space in iCloud  . Your own photos in Photostream and content purchased from Apple such as music, apps or books are not counted towards this storage space. Additional storage space can be purchased for a fee.

  • Mails : The service includes an e-mail account (e.g. first name.surname@icloud.com , previously @ me.com ) that can be queried via IMAP.
  • Contacts : Access to the contact information synchronized via iCloud
  • Calendar : Access to the calendar data synchronized via iCloud.
  • Bookmarks : Synchronization of bookmarks managed by iCloud.
  • Find my iPhone : a function with which the iPhone or iPad can be located and blocked remotely with a four-digit access code.
  • Access to my Mac : Connect to the Mac remotely over the Internet.
  • iTunes in the cloud : synchronization of purchased iTunes music
  • Photo stream : synchronization of photos
  • Documents in the cloud : synchronization of your own documents
  • Automatic downloads and list of apps and books purchased
  • Backup and restore from iPhone or iPad
  • Find my friends

The following functions, which were introduced with OS X Mountain Lion and iOS 6 in autumn 2012, were presented at WWDC 2012 :

  • Reminders : Sync reminders between all Apple devices
  • Notes : Synchronizes notes between all Apple devices
  • (i) Message : Synchronized recently read messages from the instant messaging - service iMessage between all Apple devices
  • Safari : Synchronizes tabs from the Apple Safari web browser between all Apple devices with version 6
  • Shared Photo Stream : Photo streams can be made available to other users (“shared”).

At WWDC 2013 additional functions were presented which were introduced in iOS 7 and OS X Mavericks "Mavericks" in autumn 2013:

  • iCloud Photo Sharing : Other people can now share photos in a shared photo stream.
  • Find my iPhone : To deactivate the service or reactivate the device, it is now necessary to enter the Apple ID and the password.
  • iCloud keychain : All usernames, passwords and credit card numbers are encrypted and stored in the iCloud.
  • iWork for iCloud : All iWork documents can now be created, edited and presented in the iCloud web interface.

At WWDC 2014 additional functions were shown which were introduced in iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite "Yosemite" in autumn 2014:

  • iCloud Drive : Stores any type of document in iCloud.
  • iCloud Photo Library: The entire library is automatically saved in iCloud and is accessible from all devices.
  • Family sharing: Up to six family members can share purchases from iTunes, iBooks, and the App Store without sharing accounts.


With the introduction of iCloud for iOS, it was only supported by iWork for iOS; since the release of Mac OS X Lion , it can also be used with iWork for Mac. iCloud can also be used in software from third-party providers that offer them via the App Store .

iTunes Match

The iTunes Match service was launched in the USA for an initial annual price of US $ 24.99, and has been available in Germany (€ 24.99) and Switzerland (CHF 35) since December 16, 2011. The GEMA , which represents many musicians in Germany had initially a one-year experimental agreement signed with Apple.

iTunes Match creates an acoustic fingerprint for each track in the user's music library and compares the library with the offerings available in the iTunes Store. If a song is also available in the iTunes Store, it will now be treated as if it had been purchased in the iTunes Store. Pieces of music with poor sound quality are exchanged for better copies and can be kept even if the iTunes Match subscription is not renewed. Songs not available from the iTunes Store are uploaded; they can be streamed or downloaded to all devices of a user during the term of the iTunes Match subscription.

Web app

On iCloud.com, Apple offers the possibility of using all iCloud services via a web interface, which is referred to as "CloudOS" in the source code. Files stored on iCloud Drive can be downloaded there or edited in browser-based versions of Pages, Numbers and Keynote. Mail, contacts, calendar, notes, reminders and the "Find my iPhone" function are also available.

Data centers

Apple operates data centers in several US states.

Data uploaded to iCloud is encrypted with the AES-128 algorithm and stored in storage services such as Amazon S3 or Windows Azure , while the keys and metadata such as the file name or access rights are stored in Apple's data centers.

Since the servers are located in the USA, they are not subject to German data protection law , but to the much weaker US data protection law . Stiftung Warentest therefore rated data protection with all US cloud providers only as sufficient.

Power consumption

A Greenpeace report published in April 2012 criticized the fact that Apple was very selective and non-transparent and criticized the energy sources used by Apple. Greenpeace had estimated the energy requirements of an Apple data center in the US state of North Carolina at 100 megawatts based on the investment costs of 1 billion US dollars  . Only 10% of this comes from environmentally friendly sources, the rest comes from coal and nuclear power plants. The industry website DataCenterKnowledge.com pointed out, however, that the investment costs also include costs for a solar system and fuel cells that are supposed to generate part of the electricity required on site. The actual costs of the data center and thus the energy consumption are therefore significantly lower than assumed by Greenpeace. Apple explained that the data center only needs around 20 megawatts of power at full capacity, of which 60% is generated on site from renewable sources. The remaining 40% were bought and also from renewable energies.

In a report released in April 2014, Greenpeace stated that Apple was the only company it investigated to switch all data centers to completely renewable energy.

System requirements

To activate the service, at least an iPhone , iPad or iPod touch with the Apple operating system iOS 5 or a Mac with Mac OS X Lion or newer or Windows Vista or newer with additional iCloud software is required. The use of the web service via iCloud.com is now also possible without an iOS or MacOS device.


At the beginning of September 2014, a security hole in the "Find My iPhone" function became known. This function, which is actually supposed to help users find an iPhone or iPad, was able to use a tool called iBrute to determine a too simply chosen password of a certain user using brute force , as Apple had not incorporated any limitation for the login attempts. Shortly after the security hole became known, it was closed by Apple and only ten attempts to log in to “Find My iPhone” are allowed.

Individual evidence

  1. About the security content of iCloud for Windows 7.19 . May 27, 2020 (accessed May 28, 2020).
  2. Available for: Windows 10 and later via the Microsoft Store. Retrieved on May 29, 2020 (English).
  3. [dead link | date = 2020-05-29 http://events.apple.com.edgesuite.net/11piubpwiqubf06/event/ Keynote from June 6, 2011]
  4. a b Matthias Less: Quality boost for the digital music collection . In: badische-zeitung.de, Ratgeber, Computer & Medien , December 23, 2011 (January 4, 2012)
  5. Markus Franz: Networking with Apple's Find my Friends In: netzwelt.de. October 14, 2011, accessed August 30, 2012.
  6. What is iCloud? . In: apple.com
  7. - ( Memento from October 23, 2013 in the Internet Archive ) Apple: OS X Mountain Lion (section iCloud)
  8. http://www.apple.com/icloud/coming-soon/ Apple: iCloud - Coming Soon
  9. Apple - iCloud - Your content. On all your devices. In: apple.com. September 10, 2013, accessed September 15, 2013 .
  10. http://www.apple.com/de/icloud/preview/ Apple - iCloud - Preview
  11. ↑ What's new in OS X 10.7. Apple Inc., archived from the original on August 12, 2012 ; Retrieved August 11, 2012 .
  12. iTunes Match started in Germany In: heise.de on December 16, 2011
  13. GEMA press release: iTunes Match in Germany: GEMA concludes agreement with Apple ( Memento from January 6, 2014 in the Internet Archive ) December 16, 2011
  14. http://www.giga.de/downloads/ios-6-fur-iphone-ipad-und-ipod-touch-von-apple/news/ios-6-itunes-match-jetzt-als-echtes-streaming /
  15. iCloud.com. In: JavaScript source code. Apple Inc., accessed May 18, 2018 .
  16. a b Apple: Apple Facilities: Environmental Footprint Report, Fiscal 2012. pp. 7–9. Retrieved March 1, 2014.
  17. Apple: White Paper: iOS Security. P. 22f. Retrieved March 1, 2014.
  18. Stiftung Warentest for iCloud on November 20, 2013.
  19. a b Rich Miller: Apple: Greenpeace's Cloud Math is Busted DataCenterKnowledge.com on April 27, 2012, accessed on March 1, 2014.
  20. Greenpeace: How Clean is your Cloud? April 2012, accessed March 1, 2014.
  21. Greenpeace: Clicking Clean: How Companies are Creating the Green Internet. ( Memento of May 28, 2014 in the Internet Archive ) April 2014, accessed on July 16, 2014.
  22. Apple Control Panel iCloud - For Windows systems . In: support.apple.com
  23. iCloud.com. Retrieved May 18, 2018 .
  24. The Fappening: Celebrity nude photos sucked from the cloud via Find My iPhone on Heise.de
  25. Apple comments on iCloud data theft: Targeted attack on user names and passwords on mactechnews.de

Web links