Apple iCloud Comes to Android Devices: What, Where, and How to’s

Most services by Apple remained a closed territory with no legal ways to enter unless you own a pass — a device designed in Cupertino. While Windows users had their ways to handle it (at least, there has been iTunes all that time), Android only had two apps by Apple, one of them being Apple Music, and another helping users migrate from Android to iPhone or iPad. Not much, heh? Well, with iCloud reworked, Android users will feel at greater ease with it.

It’s especially useful if the iPhone is your primary device, backed with an Android one. Then you may need to access Apple-exclusive docs, notes, cloud storage, and so on. Partly this problem is solved with services like Google Photos (that backs up pictures from your iPhone unlimitedly), but sometimes there isn’t such a service.

No, Apple didn’t release an iCloud app for Android. Instead, it reworked its web interface for mobile devices. So you can launch your favorite browser on your Samsung, Moto, LG, or whatever, and enter iCloud in it. Not that it’s the best possible way, but at least it’s possible after recent updates.

Using iCloud on Android

It’s quite obvious (like most things done by Apple), so we won’t need a detailed tutorial. Most of the things required you do every day. So:

  1. Launch your browser;
  2. Go to icloud.com;
  3. Enter your Apple username and password (or create a new account if you wish, but it rather makes sense with an existing one);
  4. Access iCloud via browser.

Yes, it can all be so simple. When you’re in, you can see shortcuts in your browser, namely Photos, Notes, Reminders, and – the most logical of it – Find iPhone. At least, so it looks, with just four icons, the most reasonable choice.

Experience Described

To provide the most relevant experience most users can encounter, we tried the service with Samsung A30, one of the most popular lower-middle-class Android smartphones of 2019. Quite fresh and productive for its class, it remains quite an average device, so the experience with it can be extrapolated for a broader selection.

We used Google Chrome as the browser. Logging in took almost no time beyond typing in the name. First, we started loading Photos, and it took about 15 seconds for the online gallery to load. The response is quite fast, given that the device is way beyond the flagship ones.

With iCloud, you can download photos to your device, share them via email, or let other users access it right on the cloud (by entering their email). Most operations, though, require downloading the photo. And, of course, there is no online editor.
It was harder with Notes, though. It doesn’t let you edit notes; as soon as you open one for editing, the virtual keyboard appears and closes immediately, before it even displays symbols. No good, Apple.

Find the iPhone is probably the most crucial of the services, and it works fine. You need to re-enter your AppleID password for that, and if two-factor authentication is on, you’ll also need a 6-digit code. Then the built-in map shows you all your Apple devices that are currently online. For those lost, it will display the last detected location.

There are no problems with Reminders just because the service doesn’t even show up. Hope it will be here soon, as well as reworked and finally usable Notes. So far, they are only accessible for reading; it’s not a beta, but it’s just better than nothing.

Access Them Like Apps

It can be a great Pro option if your browser supports direct bookmarks on the home screen and treats them like web apps. Thus, the experience gets the closest to the native Apple one. Google Chrome, for example, does support it.

To create a shortcut, open the page in your Chrome, tap the three-dot menu button in the upper right corner, and in the drop-down menu, select “Add to Home Screen.” Then specify the size of the icon. It will be enough to tap it to proceed directly to photos, notes, or whatever.

The Impression

It’s a good start, though there are many steps to make yet. Make Notes usable, add Reminders, link it to iCloud mail (for those using it), and so on. But it’s better than what mobile users had before. And what do you think about using iCloud on non-Apple devices? Tried it? Wish it had something? Tell your opinion in comments, as sharing your thought is good.