Q:

What is Apple iCloud?

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Quick Answer

Apple iCloud is a cloud storage service that allows users of various Apple devices, including iPads and iPhones, to store and access photos, videos, documents and contacts online. As of 2015, the iCloud Drive service requires iOS 8 for mobile devices and OS X Yosemite for Mac computers.

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Full Answer

In addition to iCloud Drive, the iCloud service includes features such as photo library, family sharing and instant access to files on any device that supports iCloud. It also makes the changes simultaneously on every device whenever a user updates his contact list, modifies a note or deletes an email message. In case a user loses his device, iCloud provides an option to locate the device on a map or use the remote erase and activation lock options to prevent others from abusing the data stored on the device. The iCloud Keychain feature stores passwords, account names and credit card numbers so that users don’t have to type them again when switching to a different device.

To secure the files it stores online, iCloud uses a 128-bit encryption standard on the server and while the files are in transit. For more sensitive information, such as passwords and credit card numbers, it uses 256-bit encryption, key wrapping and elliptic curve cryptography. Through iCloud, a user can share his location with family and friends as long as he enables that option in the Privacy and Location Services sections on his device.

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