Fine tune Mavericks' iCloud settings to meet individual business needs

Different business users possess different iCloud needs. Erik Eckel reviews methods for customizing Mavericks' iCloud settings to accommodate individual user preferences.

iCloud options

Different business users possess different iCloud preferences. While one user may wish to synchronize email using iCloud, another may wish to only synchronize bookmarks. Still other users may wish to synchronize Mail, Contacts, Calendars, Safari session information, photos, documents, spreadsheets, presentations, and specific iCloud-aware application files.

The iCloud Systems Preference

Mavericks' System Preferences includes an option for fine-tuning iCloud settings. Click System Preferences from the OS X dock and select iCloud to open it. Configure all the following individual applications using the provided checkboxes within the iCloud System Preferences menu:

  • Mail
  • Contacts
  • Calendars
  • Reminders
  • Notes
  • Safari, including bookmarks and session information
  • Keychain username and password data
  • Photos
  • Documents & Data
  • Back to My Mac
  • Find My Mac

Simply check the corresponding checkbox for each iCloud application option you wish to enable. Alternatively, uncheck an item's checkbox to disable the element's iCloud synchronization.

Additional options

Some iCloud elements, such as Photos and Documents & Data, possess additional configuration options.

When users choose to enable the Photos iCloud operation, two additional choices exist. Clicking the corresponding Options button opens the iCloud Photo Options window, from which users can specify whether to sync My Photo Stream and Photo Sharing. My Photo Stream automatically downloads new photos from the Mac's iCloud account to the Mavericks system and prompts the Mac to automatically upload images from the computer to the iCloud account's photo stream. Photo Sharing, when selected, shares the user's photos only with the people the user authorizes, and it enables others to add photos and comments and even videos to the stream.

The Documents & Data option boasts additional sync options for iCloud-compatible Apple and third-party applications. In addition to sync options for Apple's Preview, TextEdit, Keynote, Numbers, and Pages programs, users can also choose to enable iCloud syncing for iCloud-compatible Mac applications, such as Scapple.

iCloud storage tracking

iCloud, of course, possesses limits and won't prove to be the best data synchronizing option for all users, particularly enterprise organizations that possess thousands of users and proprietary content management systems. Many small and medium-size businesses, and many enterprise users leveraging their own Macs to fulfill job responsibilities, will find iCloud capable of providing convenient and reasonably secure file sharing services.

The service is certainly priced competitively. Apple automatically provides 5 GB of storage free. Music, books, movies, apps, and similar content purchased directly from Apple don't apply against that 5 GB limit, but more storage space is also available. An additional 10 GB of iCloud storage costs $20 (USD) a year, while 20 GB additional storage runs $40 (USD) a year. To purchase more storage space, users should click the Manage button (found at the bottom of the iCloud System Preferences window), and then click the Buy More Storage button.

Users can confirm the amount of data they're storing in iCloud at any given moment by opening the iCloud System Preferences window. iCloud storage usage is presented as a bar graph at the bottom of the iCloud System Preferences window. Clicking the provided Manage button enables users to individually edit each element's storage, thereby providing the opportunity to remove specific iPhone and iPad backups, documents, spreadsheets, presentations, and other files as might be required.

What settings and options for iCloud are most important to you and your business needs? Share your experience in the discussion thread below.

By Erik Eckel

Erik Eckel owns and operates two technology companies. As a managing partner with Louisville Geek, he works daily as an IT consultant to assist small businesses in overcoming technology challenges and maximizing IT investments. He is also president o...