Apple is known for actively keeping Android users out of its “walled garden.” In fact, the only Apple-developed app that’s available on the Android platform is Apple Music. Though that’s still true, Android users can now take advantage of several iCloud services with nothing more than a mobile browser. It isn’t a flawless experience, but here’s how you can use iCloud for Android smartphones.
How to use iCloud for Android
Using iCloud on your Android device is pretty straightforward. All you need to do is navigate to iCloud.com, either put in your existing Apple ID credentials or create a new account, and voila, you can now access iCloud on your Android smartphone.
From here you should see shortcuts to the available iCloud web apps, including Photos, Notes, Reminders, and even Find iPhone. You can also manage your iCloud account and see how much storage you have available all in one easy to navigate website.
Sounds easy enough, right? Unfortunately, it wasn’t that simple in my testing.
Pro tip: If your browser of choice supports it, you can even make iCloud sort of feel like a first-class citizen on your Android device by adding the web apps to your home screen. You can do this in Google Chrome by navigating to iCloud.com or one of its subsequent apps, tapping the three dots on the top right of your browser, and then select Add to Home screen.
What can and can’t iCloud do on Android
In my testing, iCloud functionality on Android was a little shoddy. In theory, you should be able to access all of the aforementioned web apps just as you would from any desktop browser. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case for me.
I wasn’t able to access Reminders on my account, and Notes was unusable. In the Notes app, the keyboard would immediately disappear after it popped up so I couldn’t type anything, and Reminders wouldn’t even show up as an option. I’m not sure if this is because of something I did with the settings when I owned an iPad years ago, but regardless, both of these features are rendered useless for me.
On the other hand, I could view, upload, download, and share photos from iCloud just fine. Grouping photos into albums also worked seamlessly, and I could easily hide and unhide photos, just like normal. Presumably, the Find iPhone feature works as expected, but I don’t currently have access to any Apple products to test this out.
All in all, there is still plenty of ground to cover, but it’s a good start. If you use an Android device alongside your Mac, iPad, or iPhone and want to take advantage of Apple’s iCloud services, this is your best shot for the foreseeable future. I don’t see Apple developing a native Android app anytime soon, but hopefully it will expand on this iCloud mobile web experience to create a more well-rounded — and less buggy — user experience.