The first mention of iCloud came on May 31st, 2011 in a press release when an Apple representative called it “Apple’s upcoming cloud services offering”. A banner logo hung at the WWDC revealing the logo. iCloud as we know it was announced on June 6th, 2011 at the annual WWDC. They also announced that MobileMe would be discontinued after June 30th, 2012, which had many issues throughout its time.
iClouds website, iCloud.com went live in early August for developers. In October 2011, iCloud was released to the public, which brought over 20 million users within the first week.
iCloud is based on Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure. In 2016, Apple signed a deal with Google to use Google Cloud Platform for some iCloud services. Apple has eleven company owned and operated data centers supporting iCloud services. The company has six data centers in the United States, two in Denmark, and three in Asia.
The original iCloud allowed users to back up and restore data including camera, settings, apps, messages, ringtones, and voicemails.
Back to My Mac
iCloud also healed over Back to My Mac, which allowed users to log in remotely to other computers.
Find My iPhone
iCloud healed over Find my IPhone, which allowed users to track the location of their iOS device or Mac, display a message, play a sound. This feature was originally announced on June 10, 2009 and was included with iOS 3.0 as a feature for users paying for MobileMe. Find My iPhone was made free with iOS 4.2.1 on November 22, 2010, but only for new devices. The iOS app was released by Apple on June 18, 2010. With iOS 6, Apple introduced Lost Mode- which lets users mark the device as “lost”, making it easier to find.
iOS 7 brought a new feature called Activation Lock. Activation Lock requires an Apple ID and password for any device restored in either DFU or Recovery Mode.
iOS 9 made Find My iPhone a default app.
Find My Friends
Find My Friends was introduced to iCloud in iOS 5.0. The general concept is very similar to Find My iPhone, except instead of finding a device, your tracking the location of your friends and family.
iOS 6 brought location-based alerts to the app, and in iOS 9 Find My Friends was a default app.
iCloud Keychain was announced in 2013 at WWDC as part of iOS 7 and OS X Mavericks. It’s release was slightly delayed until iOS 7.0.3 .
iCloud Keychain made it so passwords would sync between devices, and added a feature that would let the device suggest passwords.
iTunes Match was introduced on November 14, 2011. For an annual fee, customers could scan CD’s or other sources, and match them with tracks on the iTunes Store.
iWork for iCloud
At WWDC 2013, Apple announced iWork for iCloud, which allows Pages, Numbers, and Keynote documents to be edited in browsers. This made it possible to edit and create iWork documents on Windows.
Photo Stream allows for the most recent 1000 photos in a users photo library to be stored on the iCloud servers for 30 days. This would make it possible to see on any device.
iCloud Photo Library
iCloud Photo Library debuted on iOS 8.1, OS X Yosemite, and on the web. This allowed users to store all of their photos in the cloud. The photos are accessible in the photos app, or on the web at iCloud.com
iCloud Drive is Apple’s file hosting service for devices running iOS 8, OS X Yosemite, or Windows 7 or later. It’s also available for web access on iCloud.com.
iCloud Drive allows for users to store and sync documents between devices, and 3rd party apps have access.
In iOS 9, Apple included an ‘iCloud Drive’ app, so users could visually see their files, instead of it staying in the background.
In macOS Sierra, Apple gave users the option to sync their desktop and documents folders in iCloud Drive- so all devices would stay updated.
In iOS 11, Apple removed the iCloud Drive app in favor of Files- a more advanced File manager with 3rd party integration.
Apple has four storage tiers. For no cost you get 5GB, for 99¢/month you get 50GB, for $2.99/month you get 200GB, and for $9.99/month you get 2TB (aka 2000GB).
The 200GB and 2TB plans can also be shared with the family.
Things that count towards the storage quota include iCloud Photo Library, iCloud Drive, Device Backups, and more
Other services such as iTunes Match or Apple Music do not count towards the quota, but they most likely won’t sync if your storage is full.
iMessage for iCloud
Apple announced that Messages would be able to be stored and synced in iCloud in iOS 11 at WWDC 2017, but it has yet to be enabled as of April 1st, 2018
Health in iCloud
With iOS 11, iCloud can now sync health data
Siri in iCloud
With iOS 11. iCloud can now sync Siri data