Get your head round the cloud: 15 tricks for DropBox, iCloud and more


1. Secure the cloud

Two-step verification is one of the most effective ways of keeping your data secure. To activate, sign in to your Apple ID in your web browser, click Password and Security and follow the on-screen instructions. When activated, you must input both your password and a randomly generated code provided by Apple whenever you make changes to your Apple ID or make purchases from a new device.

iCloud photo privacy screengrab
Tip 2: Securing photos in iCloud

2. Keep your nudes hidden

If you don’t feel secure enough with your private photos on iCloud even after you’ve enabled two-step authentication, here’s how to make sure your photostream is never uploaded to Apple’s servers in the first place. On iOS 8, go to Settings > iCloud > Photos and deselect “My Photo Stream” and “Photo Sharing.”

3. Back it up

Thanks to the cloud, it’s possible to automatically backup your pictures, accounts, documents, and settings when your iPhone or iPad is plugged in, locked, and connected to Wi-Fi. On iOS 8 go to Settings > iCloud > Backup and turn on iCloud Backup. You can even delete some of your local files, such as pictures, to save space on your device.

Save space iCloud screengrab
Tip 4: Switching off iCloud backup for specific apps

4. Save space

Save space by turning off backup storage on applications you rarely use or do not need to be backed up on the cloud. For instance, it’s important to back up your contact list, but do you really need to back up your WhatsApp chat logs? On iOS 8 go to Settings > iCloud > Storage > Manage Storage > Your iPhone > and select which apps you wish to back up World Scoop.


5. Google contacts to iCloud

Easily migrate your Google contacts over to iCloud by logging in to your Gmail account, clicking the red Gmail text just above the red compose button on the left-hand side of the screen, and selecting contacts. Now click the “More” button in the toolbar at the top and select “Export.” A new window will emerge; select the contacts you wish to save and export as a vCard format. Log into your iCloud account on your computer and drag and drop the exported vCard into your Contacts folder. To see these contacts on your iOS device, head to Settings > iCloud and ensure “Contacts” is enabled.


Signing out of iCloud screengrab
Tip 6: Signing out of iCloud

6. Go off-grid

Hate iCloud and everything it stands for? It’s OK; you don’t have to use it. On iOS 8, go to Settings > iCloud and select SignOut. You can still back up all of your data, except you’ll have to do it the old-fashioned manual way by actually plugging your Apple device into your computer and backing up via iTunes.

Google Drive

7. Store any file

You don’t just have to store specific Google files on Drive. If you download the desktop app, it will create a folder where you can drag and drop any file you like. Want to transfer many Word files, mp3s, or even a video from one computer to another, but you don’t have a dongle to hand? No problem, use Google Drive.

Sharing in google drive screengrab
Tip 8: Sharing documents in Google Drive

8. Share your documents

Google Drive allows you to make your document public, private, or available to a select few. Click the blue share button in the top right corner of your document and type the names of the individuals you’d like to share it with under “Share with others.” If you want to create a public link, click the small chainlink icon in the top right corner.

9. Defend your Drive

Google has its own two-step verification – in fact, it was one of the earliest adopters of the system – and it’s a breeze to use. While logged into your Google account, click your name in the top right corner, then click Account > Security. Under “Password,” click the option to enable two-step verification before following the on-screen instructions.

google drive attachments screengrab
Tip 10: Attaching files from Google Drive

10. Huge email attachments

You can use the power of the cloud to essentially bypass the 25MB limit that Google imposes on all Gmail accounts. After creating both a Gmail and a Google Drive account (both are free), click the “Insert files using Drive” button at the bottom of your Gmail compose screen. Congratulations, you can now attach up to 10GB of data.

11. Know your shortcuts

You may not know it, but Google Drive comes with a whole list of handy shortcuts to help speed up and streamline your experience with the software. Type “Ctrl+/” if you’re on a PC or “Cmd+/” if you’re on a Mac in any area of Google Drive, and a black screen will pop up, listing all the helpful commands available.

Apps in google drive screengrab
Tip 12: Adding apps to Google Drive

12. Apps and add-ons

If you’re not using apps and add-ons, you’re not getting the most out of Google’s cloud service. Add-ons can be found in the top bar of any drive document you are editing, and apps can be found on the Chrome Webstore. These extras add extra functionality to Google Drive, including useful must-haves like track changes or PicMonkey, a free photo editor.


13. Offline viewing

Sometimes you can’t always stay connected to the cloud, which means you can’t access your documents. However, if you favorite your files in Dropbox while using a mobile device, they’re not only added to a special “Favourites” folder – sort of like a bookmarks folder – but they’re also saved locally, allowing you to access them even when you can’t connect to the cloud.

14. Secure your box

Dropbox has its own two-step verification system that will keep potential hackers at bay. To turn it on, go to the Dropbox website, sign in, click your name in the top right corner and select “Settings.” Then navigate to “Security” and enable the option that says “Two-step verification.” Although it can initially be a nuisance, this is the best way to keep your account significantly more secure.

dropbox save space screengrab
Tip 15: Saving space in Dropbox with Selective Sync

15. Save space

Dropbox’s selective sync feature allows you to save space by syncing only a list of specific files to the machine you’re working on. Click the Dropbox icon on the menu bar in the desktop version of the software, click the gear icon and navigate to Preferences > Account > Selective Sync > Change Settings. Now select the folders you would like to sync.


Writer. Pop culture buff. Certified alcohol trailblazer. Tv nerd. Music fanatic. Professional problem solver. Explorer. Uniquely-equipped for working on Easter candy in Las Vegas, NV. Uniquely-equipped for analyzing toy monkeys for the government. Spent a year testing the market for action figures in Minneapolis, MN. Spent high school summers donating walnuts in Phoenix, AZ. Earned praised for my work researching human brains in Orlando, FL. Spent college summers writing about pubic lice in Washington, DC.