Apple has released a new version of iCloud for Windows 10 in the Microsoft Store, according to a recent blog post by Microsoft and a handful of Apple customer support documents. The new version claims to be a major improvement, with more robust features and more reliable syncing—the latter of those has been a common complaint for users of Apple's previous version.
Features listed by Microsoft include:
- Access your iCloud Drive files directly from File Explorer without using up space on your PC
- Choose the files and folders you want to keep on your PC
- Safely store all your files in iCloud Drive and access them from your iOS device, Mac, and on iCloud.com
- Share any file right from File Explorer and easily collaborate with others—edits will be synced across your devices
Interestingly, Microsoft says the new iCloud app is "powered by the same Windows technology that also powers OneDrive's Files On-Demand feature"—an unexpected technical and corporate partnership. But it shouldn't be too surprising at this point; despite the storied history and rivalries of the 1980s and '90s (as well as competition in areas like, yes, cloud services), Microsoft and Apple have largely played together nicely in recent years.
Apple's iCloud is a full-featured service for storing files and photos, syncing contacts, and other things, as long as you're working solo and not looking to collaborate. (Dropbox, Google Drive, and other competitors offer much more robust features for teams by far.) But iCloud flies under the radar for a lot of people. Its cross-platform support has been mediocre, which doesn't help, so this new version is a welcome update for users who are dependent on the service, provided it actually addresses users' complaints.
Apple has set up a support page explaining what iCloud for Windows can do and what the requirements are for using it. Basically, you just need to set up iCloud on an Apple device first (an iOS device with iOS 5 or later, or a Mac with Mac OS X Lion 10.7.4 or later). Once you've done that, it's straightforward.
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