How to Set up and Use iCloud on the iPad

Sync your iOS devices, back up and restore, and more

What to Know

  • Setup: Open iPad Settings > select iCloud > Account > enter Apple ID and password.
  • Add an email address to read iCloud emails through the Mail app. Sync contact lists and calendars.
  • Switch between devices when browsing in Safari. Share notes and passwords across devices.

This article explains how to set up and use iCloud on an iPad from an iPhone, iPad, or web browser.

How to Set up iCloud on Your iPad

iCloud is one of the key features connecting multiple iOS devices. Not only does it allow you to back up and restore your iPad without plugging it into your PC, but you can also share documents in the iWork suite and share photos via Photo Stream.

Normally, you would set up iCloud when setting up your iPad, but if you skipped that step, it's easy to set up iCloud at any time.

  1. Go into the iPad's settings (it's the icon that looks gears turning).

  2. Scroll down the left side menu, locate iCloud, and tap on it.

  3. If iCloud is already set up, you will see your Apple ID next to Account.

  4. If iCloud isn't set up, tap on Account and set up iCloud by typing in your Apple ID and password. You will also be able to choose an email address for your iCloud email account.

iCloud's Features and Abilities

Here are a few important iCloud functions. Enabled features will show up with a green switch. Turn features on or off by tapping the switch.


If you chose an email address for your iCloud account, you've enabled iCloud mail for your iPad. With this turned on, you can read iCloud email through the Mail app. Verify whether or not an email address has been set up by tapping on Account.

Even though your Apple ID may be your email address, the iCloud email is different from your Apple ID. Your iCloud email address will end in ""


Your contacts list will be stored on, and if you have Contacts turned on for any other iOS devices (iPhone, etc.), it will sync your contacts list between devices.


The calendar will let you mark events and meetings and keep them in sync across your devices. You can even set up meetings using Siri.


Turning on Safari in iCloud will let you open up a web page on your iPad and then move to another device like your laptop or iPhone and easily open up the same page.


The notes app is a great way to share information between devices. Set up multiple notes, and when this is turned on, access notes from as well as on other devices.


One of the newer features of iCloud is the ability to store your passwords and credit cards in the cloud, making it easier to sign in to your accounts regardless of device.

If you choose to turn this feature on, you may have to verify access on your other devices, so make sure you have your iPhone and any other device connected to Keychain ready.


Photo Stream is a great way to share photos with your friends and family. It will also keep your most recent photos synced between your iOS devices. 

Documents & Data

A key feature of iCloud is the ability to share information between devices. In this setting, you can choose whether or not the iPad uses iCloud to store documents on the Internet.

If you want to keep your documents private, turn off this setting. You can also choose specific apps to share data with iCloud, though the app must support iCloud sharing.

Find My iPad

Another key feature of iCloud, Find My iPad will allow you to (1) locate your iPad via GPS or Location Services, (2) Play a sound on the iPad, which is useful if you are trying to locate it within your house, (3) turn on Lost Mode, which will lock your iPad, and (4) erase all the data on your iPad.

Storage and Backup

Another key iCloud feature is the ability to back up the data on your iPad. Going into this setting will let you set up the automatic backup, which happens when you plug your iPad in to recharge it.

You can also manually back up your iPad, which is a good idea if you are just now turning on backups. When you buy a new iPad or if you need to restore the current iPad to factory default, you will be prompted on whether or not you want to restore from a backup when setting up the iPad.

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