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How to use Apple iCloud on your Android device

By
October 17, 2021
Apple iCloud on Google Pixel 4XL

Apple is known for actively keeping Android users out of its “walled garden.” Apple only has a handful of official apps in the Google Play store: Beats, Apple Music, Apple TV, and Move to iOS. Though, Android users can still 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.

First: How to switch from iPhone to Android


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 Mail, Photos, iCloud Drive, Notes, and Find iPhone. You can also manage your iCloud account by going into Account Settings. Here, you can also see how much storage you have available all in one easy-to-navigate website.

Read also: Apple can’t stay in the ivory tower forever


How to add iCloud shortcuts to your Android home screen

If you want something that gets closer to a native experience, it’s effortless to create browser shortcuts to iCloud web apps and access them from your home screen. Just follow the steps below!

  1. Open the Chrome browser on your Android device.
  2. Go to iCloud.com.
  3. Sign into your Apple account.
  4. Open one of the available web apps.
  5. Tap on the 3-dot menu button on the top-right.
  6. Select Add to Home screen.
  7. Type in a shortcut title and hit Add.
  8. Select Add automatically.

Note: These instructions were put together using a Pixel 4a running Android 11. Keep in mind steps might be slightly different on other hardware and software.

Related: Chrome tips and tricks that will improve your mobile browsing


What can and can’t you do?

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.

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.

Next: Find the right iPhone for your needs

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. 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. Still, hopefully, it will expand on this iCloud mobile web experience to create a more well-rounded — and less buggy — user experience.