One of the most significant benefits of getting into the Apple ecosystem is how seamlessly everything works. One area where this is very evident is syncing the data and apps on your iPhone and iPad devices via iCloud — it just works. Apple has designed it so that there are no complicated settings to mess with, no manual processes to waste your time, and no apps to download or anything of that nature.

Once iCloud is enabled, your data is seamlessly synced between two or more iOS devices and is always kept up-to-date. No matter which device you pick up at any given time, you will always have access to all your photos, videos, memories, the latest versions of your files and folders, the apps you use, etc. In this detailed tutorial, we’ll help you understand how you can use iCloud to sync your iPhone and iPad and how to get the most out of your iCloud account to back up your devices.

What is iCloud?

Before we learn how to sync iPhone & iPad devices using iCloud, it is essential to understand what “iCloud” actually is and how you can benefit from it. If you have just gotten yourself a new iPhone and iPad device and are hearing about iCloud for the first time, you’ve landed on the right page. This guide will tell you everything you need to know about iCloud.

Simply put (and as the name suggests), iCloud is Apple’s own “cloud” service that enables iPhone, iPad, and Mac users to store their data in the cloud and sync this data across their devices. Wouldn’t it be nice if the photos and videos you take on your iPhone were automatically available on your iPad or Mac? Or the presentations and spreadsheets that you work on to be readily available on the go on your iPhone? Maybe you want to access some data in the browser? iCloud runs in the background and makes all this possible. All you need to do is sign up for an account with your existing email address or create a new one.

The iCloud service also includes an optional email service, giving you your own email account if you need one. Like a or email account, you can get a email account. However, at its core, iCloud is simply a way to store and sync data across Apple devices.

What is the difference between iCloud & Apple ID?

If you are new to the Apple ecosystem, you may be confused between the “Apple ID” and iCloud. What’s an Apple ID, and how does it compare to iCloud? Let’s find out.

An Apple ID is the foundational account of any user within the Apple ecosystem. It’s essentially an email address (or, in some cases, a mobile number) that enables access to all the services that Apple offers, such as iCloud, but also includes App Store, Apple Music, Apple TV+, Apple Arcade, Apple News, etc. To use the iCloud service, you sign in with your Apple ID account credentials on the devices that you want to backup or sync.

A similarly common example is a account — a Google account that gives access to Gmail and other services.

How to sync iPhone and iPad via iCloud?

Here’s how you can back up your photos, videos, contacts, files and documents, and other data and sync all this across all your devices using iCloud.

  1. Open the Settings app on your iPhone or iPad.
  2. Tap your name at the top, then tap on iCloud. If you aren’t already, sign in with your Apple ID to access the iCloud services.
  3. On the iCloud screen, you will see how much storage is available with your iCloud account to back up and sync data. More likely than not, you will need to buy iCloud storage.
  4. First, scroll down to the Device Backups option and turn on iCloud Backup. Your device may take a while to be backed up to iCloud for the first time.
  5. Next, tap on each item under the Apps using iCloud option and enable them.
  6. Once your device has backed up to iCloud, you can sign in with the same Apple ID on additional devices to start syncing your iPhone and iPad via iCloud.

What is the difference between iCloud and iCloud+?

Everyone who signs up for an iCloud account for the first time gets 5GB of storage space for free. This 5GB of storage can be utilized to back up your iPhone or iPad and sync data such as photos, videos, documents, etc. across devices, or it can be utilized towards email storage and attachments via the iCloud email service. Apple refers to this core set of services as iCloud.

iCloud+ (iCloud Plus), on the other hand, is a paid offering that gives you additional storage space and more premium benefits. iCloud+ storage options start at 50GB and go as high as 12TB, and come along with these premium benefits:

  1. Custom Domain for Email: Instead of using, you can use your domain — such as — along with Apple’s email service.
  2. Hide My Email: You can create unique, random email addresses to sign up for online services and apps without revealing your email address.
  3. iCloud Private Relay: Protect your browsing activity on the internet by hiding your IP address.
  4. HomeKit Secure Video: If you have a HomeKit-compatible security camera, iCloud+ allows you to store encrypted video footage and view it from anywhere.

The pricing for iCloud+ depends on where you are located. For details, please refer to this Apple support article.

How to sync iPhone and iPad using the free iCloud account

As you may have seen, iCloud+ premium plans can be expensive. For example, the 200GB storage plan that one might need to back up a base model iPad costs $3 per month recurring. Many users might be looking for a way to sync their iPhone and iPad devices without spending any money on iCloud+. Here’s how the Documents app by Readdle enables you to sync your documents, files, and folders across your devices using your free iCloud account.

  1. Get Documents for Free from the App Store and launch the app.
  2. In the My Files section, tap the Documents in iCloud folder icon.
  3. Using the + button, import the photos, videos, documents, or other files you want to sync across your iPhone and iPad.
  4. The files you import will be imported and synced to the cloud via your free iCloud account.
  5. By selectively adding files to the Documents in iCloud folder, you retain full control over which files are uploaded and synced, thus avoiding the risk of exceeding the 5GB limit.
  6. If you no longer need a file to be synced, you can move it out of the synced folder.
  7. Documents also give you access to a plethora of incredible features for working with your files and allows you to connect to other cloud storage services such as Google Drive, Dropbox, OneDrive, etc.

Documents is a must-have app for iPhones and iPads, and many of its incredible features are available for Free. Head to the App Store and download Documents now!


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