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How to set up iCloud on Windows 10

iCloud on Windows 10
iCloud on Windows 10 (Image credit: Windows Central)

It's perfectly reasonable to expect a large number of iPhone and iPad owners to also use a Windows computer. The same was true back in the early days of the iPod and led to the development of iTunes for Windows. It's never been the greatest piece of software ever, but Apple, albeit less so than Microsoft, does recognize the necessity to make services cross-platform.

It's also perfectly reasonable that you may have never been aware that you could use iCloud on your Windows PC. It's not exactly shouted about since Apple would prefer that you use its own PC hardware and software together. But, if you're using a mix of iOS and Windows, here's the basics on how to get set up with iCloud on Windows 10.

Where to download iCloud for Windows

iCloud for Windows

It sounds silly, but Apple doesn't exactly shout about iCloud for Windows on its homepage. If you didn't know it even existed, you may also not know where to find it.

All you need to do is visit the link below and download the iCloud for Windows installer.

Download iCloud for Windows (opens in new tab)

Signing in to iCloud for Windows

iCloud for Windows

Once you've followed the instructions to install the package, the very first thing you have to do is sign-in. Use the same Apple ID username and password that you're signed into on your Apple devices.

Choosing what to sync

iCloud for Windows

iCloud covers a few different bases, and you might not want to sync all of them to your PC. Select the ones you want by checking the relevant boxes and then click "Apply."

The program you've installed support iCloud Photos, iCloud Drive and bookmark syncing from Safari to Internet Explorer. It can also integrate your calendars, contacts and more with Outlook on Windows.

How to add to iCloud to File Explorer Quick Access panel

iCloud Drive in Windows 10

Unlike Dropbox, iCloud Drive will not automatically add to your Quick Access panel in File Explorer. But it's easy enough to do yourself. Here's how:

  1. By default, your iCloud Drive folder will be in your main User folder. For example, in C:/Users/Richard/iCloud Drive, as it is on my PC.
  2. Navigate to the director's location in File Explorer.
  3. Find the folder "iCloud Drive" and right click on it.
  4. Select Pin to Quick Access to have a shortcut permanently in the left-hand pane in File Explorer as seen in the image above.

iCloud Drive in Windows 10

That covers off the very basics. We'll be looking in more detail at each feature offered by iCloud for Windows in specific guides.

For more on iCloud be sure to stop by and see our buddies at iMore.

Updated August 2, 2018: Guide checked to make sure you still have all the best information on setting up iCloud on Windows 10 right now!

Richard Devine is an Editor at Windows Central. A former Project Manager and long-term tech addict, he joined Mobile Nations in 2011 and has been found on Android Central and iMore as well as Windows Central. Currently you'll find him covering all manner of PC hardware and gaming, and you can follow him on Twitter and Instagram.

81 Comments
  • Neat! Cross -platform services benefit everyone!
  • It's because of Google and Apple not making their services cross-platform have they reached the level they are at these years, unlike Microsoft who are constantly preferring rivals platforms with their top apps and thus undermining the user base of their own Windows platform and at the same time wondering why people are not adopting Windows Phone like they are Android and iOS phones.
  • No, that is not the reason. That is flawed logic. Besides the fact MS do not "prefer" rival platforms. Stupid statement.
  • Good article. iCloud is useful for everyone. But it's not easy to view iCloud backup. As I know some recovery tool can solve this problem.
  • iCloud is overpriced trash. I disable it on every iOS device I own. Which, incidentally, is about to decrease by one, as I'm listing my iPhone 7+ on eBay tomorrow. Totally garbage phone.
  • iCloud is very competitively priced.
  • The evidence to the contrary is clear: when it comes to mobile, Microsoft GREATLY prefers Android and iOS.
  • The marketplace voted, Microsoft is working to have a presence on the winner’s platforms. You know acceptance of reality.
  • You're in the minority on this one. Those of us that have said this have been down voted and bashed forever now. But everyone is swaying their opinion to this side now. You'll be one of the few still trying to deny this fact.
  • We all know this is not true. Do we have office suite for linux??? Nope! And while mostly a serious developer(not a designer) is likely to use linux as the main machine why dont we have ms services there?? Posted via the Windows Central App
  • I use Linux and Windows 10, and in my opinion, Linux doesn't need MS's software, the open source alternatives are just as good, and also many people go to Linux because they want to escape from Microsoft.
  • Who are these many? Because that desktop market share says few. Not many.
  • Developers do you think normal users use linux?? May be the one escaping Posted via the Windows Central App
  • Not really escping. Developing in linux is pretty straight forward. Everything you need you get with less hustle . Gui naf terminal parts away Posted via the Windows Central App
  • That depends.  If you're developing FOR Linux Client or Servers that run Apache, Python, PHP, etc. then yea...  Linux is great. If you're developing for Windows or OS X Client, or you're an ASP.NET Developing targeting Windows Server then it's pretty laughable to think Linux is going to be a better development platform than Windows 10 or OS X - cause that's simply not true. Linux is great for students becasue of how the Development Tools are given 1st class citizenship in many distros (basically installed as a component of the OS in many cases), which makes it very easy to get up and running.  However, I don't think it's all that great NOW, since Visual Studio Community is a thing on Windows, and XCode is available from the Mac App Store on Yosemite. It's great for server development because Linux doesn't SKU their OSes (at least not non-Enterprise distros) like Windows.  So, you can set up a true server environment on a development machine easily (you can't really do that *as easily* on Windows, and on the Mac it still isn't as straight forward).  You cannot really do that on Windows without using Windows server as a development platform, and the costs for that is substantial unless you're doing it predominantly via a VM running trial versions. For anything else, it's pretty hillarious to assume Linux is just better.  Most people say Linux is better simply because it comes bundled with Development tools, when you get even better development tools easily from Apple or Microsoft for free these days.  It's not hard to Install XCode (two clicks in the Mac App Store) or Visual Studio (two clicks, one on the download link and one on the "Run" button to start the installation) and both of those are kept up to date easily via OS-level update mechanics. /shrugs As far as the F/OSS software being as good as Microsoft's Windows Software.  That's objectively untrue.  it may be good enough for many people to use, but it isn't "as good" as Office 2013, and things like Photo Manager, Music Editors and Video Editors on Linux aren't as good as what Apple Preloads on their Macs - nevermind the Pro Tools you can buy from them (Logic Pro, Final Cut, etc.).  Even the ones that are "pretty damn good," are pretty much usability nightmares that ignore OS conventions and User Inteface Guidelines (i.e. GIMP, Blender), and are less optimized than equivalent software from competitors (i.e. optimizations for Multi-Core CPUs, OpenCL, Nvidia/Intel/AMD SDKs, etc. that Commercial Software Houses implement in equivalent software for Windows and Mac). Look deeper than the epidermis when comparing software, there are some significant different that affect things once you move beyondo the basics. The only reason why the disparity in design, platform integration, robustness, optimization, and feature set is accepted and ignored is because the software is free (which is, somewhat understandable).  It's no different than people here ignoring bugs in Windows 10 and using "It's a free upgrade, just give it some time." as an excuse to turn a blind eye to the quality of the release so far.  "Free" tends to make people lower their expectations for quality, stability, robustness, and feature set. Bad seemingly becomes good enough simply because they didn't have to pay for it. When you pay $299 for Final Cut, you *expect* it to just work.  When you download Blender for free, shortcomings and feature disparity are deemed acceptable.  When you pay for $200 for Logic Pro X, you expect it to just work.  When you download Audacity for free, shortcomings and feature disparity are deemed acceptable.  Why?  Cause, FREE! I think releasing Win 10 as a free upgrade saved this release from being destoyed like Vista.  Honestly, brilliant marketing by Microsoft. Most people aren't unbiased enough to objectively compare F/OSS with Commercial Software.  Most people naturally tend to err on the site of sympathy towards the F/OSS simply due to the price.  The Price is always used as a way to justify deficiencies in comparison to commercial counterparts, even when those deficiencies are significant.
  • What do you mean by Linux? The Linux kernel or Linux distribution? Andorid is built on the Linux kernel, and MS Office is available on it. But for Linux distributions there is no MS Office.
  • it's because of Google and Apple not making their services cross-platform have they reached the level they are at these years, unlike Microsoft
    I hope the irony is not lost on you, making that comment in an article about Apple making their service cross platform. Also, I guess you are so caught up in jealousy that you miss the obvious fact in this article; if someone is installing iCloud in Windows 10, it means they OWN WINDOWS 10. Remember, this is Windowscentral and no longer wP(HONE)central. 
  • Shouldn't this be posted in the mac blog?
  • People who use iPhones and Windows 10 are friends too.
  • I forgot it's not a Windows Phone community anymore.
  • Actually it is. Most of us have matured though..
  • Try to keep up.
  • Yeah. Nadella is my best friend. Really love the guy.😛🙄👿
  • shouldnt you have posted on your own comment instead of hijacking mine for more downvotes?
  • It should be on both because it requires both for the article to apply
  • Remember when OneDrive was integrated into Explorer. Yeah, I miss that in Windows 10.
  • dude it is integrated in windows 10!
  • Yeah seriously dude
  • Is icloud not the reason for all those celebs private photos leaking or maybe I am mistaken.
  • I think you're right.
  • Your right and wrong. A hacker was the reason some celebs personal photos were leaked. Their iCloud accounts were hacked. iCloud want the reason, the hacker was.
  • Your right and wrong. A hacker was the reason some celebs personal photos were leaked. Their iCloud accounts were hacked. iCloud want the reason, the hacker was.
  • Apple's slack security for iCloud, their refusal to admit those flaws and their refusal to fix them is why it was hacked.
  • Research it further, to find the truth.
  • LOL.
    No. Absolutely not.
    What ad money?
  • Don't think so...read a few articles that say quite the opposite...
  • Those celebrity nudes leaking from icloud say otherwise
  • The nudes weren't "leaked" from iCloud. There was an issue with the login system and it allowed the accounts to be brute forced (which probably meant their passwords were weak, anyways, but that's tangent to the discussion).  That's a bit different than the FUD you people are spouting.  That issue is gone, however, and both 2 Factor Authentication and App-Specific Passwords have been implemented. That being said, Microsoft has had far wider reaching issues with security on their services (like Hotmail) than Apple has had.  The only reason why this Apple thing was such big news (and still cited like it's big news) is because it's Apple (everyone is desperate for leaders to fail) and those were celebrities.  People get hacked on Hotmail/Windows Live/Outlook.com all the damn time and no one cares because they're unimportant and Hotmail was already known from some pretty high profile security breeches in the past (which is why a lot of people don't want to use it, and why Microsoft rebranded it to Outlook.com). http://www.sfgate.com/technology/article/Yahoo-breach-reaches-Gmail-Hotm... Additionally, Microsoft has had the same issue Apple had with their Password Reset function: http://techlogon.com/2012/04/29/hotmail-accounts-hacked-no-matter-how-st... So I'm wondering why you are still caring about this B.S.  Most of us have moved on from it, the same way you apparently moved on from the probably 5+ times Hotmail (not Outlook.com) has had widespread hacking incidents in the past!
  • ...
  • Well, when I read this post, I think you mean Windows Mobile 6 oder Windows Phone 7. But I'm sure you never used Windows 10 Mobile when I read your stupid answer. Btw. W10M is still Beta.
  • Re: Matton???,
    Ridiculous statement!
  • Lol well this interesting I'm guessing google drive has something like this or no?
  • Yes....  https://www.google.com/drive/download/
  • No garbage cloud for me
  • Soooo edgy!! :)
  • It won't get my interest, Windows Phone is life now!
  • If you are worried about the NSA getting at your data then you probably have something to hide.
  • LOL
    You're such an idiot. It's amazing that when all this NSA stuff came out fanboys from all sides attacked the other by saying they were complicit while claiming their preferred service was not. News flash - they all complied. Apple, Google and others encrypt the data stored on their servers... or so they say... but what does that matter when they also provide the encryption keys to the agencies you're concerned about.
  • Honestly, sometimes you just don't know how it can affect you.  What if you performed specific web searches to research an issue (maybe something you heard on the news, maybe something a friend was talking about, who knows) and got flagged by them somehow.  Suddenly you're getting shown the room for a deep search when you go through security at airports, for example.  You might be running late due to extenuating circumstances, and miss your fight because of it... It's not about whether or not someone is guilty or has something to hide.  It's about the fact that even if we don't have anything to hide, we do not know how their interpretation of the information they gather from our accounts behind the scenes will affect our lives. Plus, it is a gray area in terms of information ownership. While I do agree that much of this is FUD, you'd have to think that the Government Agencies like the FBI, NSA, etc. love the fact that companies like Microsoft are literally setting people's default save locations to Online Storage Services.  They don't even have to serve you a warrant and/oir beg you to decrypt your hard drive.  They simply serve it to Microsoft and the corporations basically bend over for them and you literally never hear about it becasue they're under Gag Orders to not talk about it, and not even report it to you. And now even if you use Bitlocker, the key is stored in your Microsoft Account if you don't have a TPM or don't use the USB Thumb Drive method.  Just a huge security faux pas with this feature.  "Don't want to give us the code?  We'll just supoena Microsoft!" The reason why the FUD is laughable (hysterical, really) is because people seem to believe the NSA needs a back door to get almost everything they want from these corporations.  They don't.  They just need a Court Order with stiff penalties if the Company in question doesn't obey it, which they apparently almost always get.  And, of course, you don't hear about that (cause they can't talk about it when it happens).
  • Now why on earth would I want to be an iTard?
  • So shut up and go away!
  • you can go and kiss my behind for one /S
  • Now why the hell do you gotta go into the offensive? Now why the hell do you have enough hate and fanboyism to even give a shitt about this articule and write a dumb question?
    .
    .
    But, the most important question. Why the hell do I care about you comment? Why would I waste my time, right? Well, I'm walking to home arm. Had time to kill.
  • Re: MaxyBley,
    I understand that you are ranting too. May I ask, who you are ranting to? Which "side" are you taking?
  • First of all. This "taking side" thing, is not my kind of thing. I love Windows and Windows phone and all. But, I'm against all fanboysm. I'm "attacking" W3ST3RN INFID3L for being a dumb fanboy. He's the kind of fanboy that make WP users bad. Not just with WP but Android and iOS.
    .
    .
    There are people like this guy. I hate 'em. Even if they happen to like the same thing as me. I will still hate them and despise them if they act in this kind of behavior. Is just pure childish behavior. Calling people stupid FOR choosing Android, iOS or even Windows is not cool at all. Why should it hurt you so much on how/what people spend their money, anyways?
  • Read somewhere that iCloud only recently added the ability to restore a deleted file...guess they were just deleted before? Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • Its great, just lets respect to device that we dont have..
  • I attended a group session at Microsoft's London office regarding azure where I found out that the largest customer of the azure platform was none other than apple's icloud service. Yep, I was stunned too!
  • The world has gone full circle!
  • So why no sync between Windows calendar and Calendar on the Mac?  
  • It does sync. And you can use IMAP for mail and that will sync too. Also contacts are synced. I store my photos in Google photos, so despite being an iPhone user I have no reason to install iCloud software on my PC.
  • Getting setup with iCloud on your PC: Install OneDrive and sign into your MSA on your iDevice. Oh wait...
  • I think you have to install Parallels.... Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • Some of us have iMacs and only want to have to manage one whole ecosystem.  Since Microsoft's Terms of Service are laughably bad for data you store there, Apple it is. Also, some of us don't want Microsoft Accounts at all.  If you have a Google Account (Apple ID) and iCloud Account, the Microsoft Account is use more useless $#!^ to manage.  Windows doesn't require it, so why have it.  It's not like there's anything useful in the Windows Store, Lol...
  • 200 GB iCloud!
  • It's stupid, why I say it's stupid...well I had an iPhone over a year ago with all my pics and videos being syn to iCloud. I downloaded it thinking I could access my photos from then, WRONG you have to use an Apple device to turn that option on so you can use it in Windows. It's a useless data collecting pile of shit!
  • Photo Stream and iCloud Photo Sharing work on Windows.  No, iCloud Photo Library won't work.  It requires Apple's Photos app (iOS or OS X) and I doubt they want to waste that much bandwidth sending full resolution videos and photos to devices they didn't make.  You can keep Photo Stream on on your iPhone and still get those Sync'd down to your Windows Machine. Also your comment about it being a useless data collecting pile of shit is rich comedy... especially coming from a Windows 10 user...  The OS that blasts ads to your Start Menu and Lock Screen by default.  The OS that has more data collection defaults set to ON than anything Google has ever developed.  Seriously, don't embarass yourself.
  • meant as a reply not a new top level post...
  • Typo: The posting states: Select the ones you want my checking the relevant boxes and then click "Apply." That should be corrected to be: Select the ones you want by checking the relevant boxes and then click "Apply."
  • The embedded ads in this post were deceiving and looked like they were part of the post itself.  Rather annoying.
  • I hate that these articles are increasingly frequent in this site. Sorry but I don't like this.
  • You do know that a lot of people have a Windows PC and an iPhone/iPad? So they will want to know this stuff and WCentral will want them to visit.
  • I personally don't, and that's just all I said.
  • I had that iCloud sync thing going on, it kept activating contact sync by itself, duplicating contacts and making a general mess of it.
  • The last time I tried iCloud for windows it was a mess. Bookmark sync for Firefox didn’t work. Half my photos would sync maybe a quarter of the time. I gave up, installed OneDrive on my iPhone and haven’t looked back. It would be nice to have bookmarks and history synced from desktop Firefox to iOS safari ( since iOS Firefox is a joke) but you can’t have everything I suppose. Maybe one of these days I will give edge for windows and iOS another try.
  • This is all good and awesome BUT if you use iTunes from the Microsoft Store it renders iCloud for Windows completely useless. When I try to install it, it install but nothing works at all.
  • Awful, this is awful.
  • Last time I used anything Apple was iTunes some years ago. I live in the UK and one day someone in the US managed to install a game from the App store using my account. It was only the fact that my UK credit card prevented them from buying $100 of DLC otherwise I'd be fighting for my money back. That day I uninstalled iTunes after removing all my details from my Apple account (including payment card), and have never used it since, or will again.
  • This makes no sesne, given you cannot install apps from iTunes on Winodes and buy DLC. ITunes only allowed you to download packages for installation on an iOS device. macOS has had its own app store for years. You aren't even making any sense, I less you mean you handed your phone to someone and didn't even have password protection for downloads and IAPs turned on - which means you're pretty stupid. What you're describing just doesn't happen, except to pretty dumb people. Safeguards for this have been in place for several years. The only ecosystem that made this "too easy" was Amazon with their One-click Purchase system, and the way creating a Family Account automatically gives everyone access to your payment options (something they largely remedied after law suits, etc. Due to children charging up their parent's cards on smartphones and Kindle Fires).
  • Another three year old recycled article, fell for it again /SMH
  • one thing i changed from icloud control panel for outlook to evo collaborator for outlook is because entries can only be created in "iCloud" folder. and i cannot assign outlook's default folder to sync with icloud. this will cause issue when invitation comes in from my e-mail that such invitations will only go to outlook's default folder. with the new outlook add-in, i get to select outlook's default folder. if you come across with the same issue, you can give it a try.