Starting with macOS Catalina, Apple has made some changes to iCloud and its associated settings for MacBook. In this overview guide, we will explore some of these changes and evaluate some of the new features and functions.
We want to first answer a common user question around iOS 13 and macOS Catalina before diving into the details of iCloud changes in macOS Catalina. Yes, iOS 13 works without any issues with macOS Mojave or High Sierra. If you update your iPhone or iPad to the latest iOS and want to keep your Mac on an older macOS for some more time, you can choose to do so.
Let’s dive into the iCloud related changes in macOS Catalina.
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Where are iCloud preferences in macOS Catalina?
This is the first and foremost change you will notice when you open macOS Catalina on your Mac.
Earlier iCloud preferences could be accessed from > System Preferences. Starting with macOS Catalina, your iCloud account has been integrated into your Apple account.
There is no ‘iCloud’ separate icon on System Preferences
- Start by clicking on > System Preferences and then click on your Apple Account
- Click on iCloud on the left pane of the window
- This will show all the apps using your iCloud account along with an overview of your iCloud storage
The Optimize Mac storage feature that was introduced in Sierra is also available on the bottom of the screen along with ‘Manage’ iCloud storage and plans.
Managing iCloud Storage on macOS Catalina
You can manage your available and used iCloud storage directly from the centralized iCloud settings. Changes in this section are minimal.
Once you are in your Apple account and click on iCloud on the left pane, choose ‘Manage’ at the bottom of your screen.
This shows the usage summary at the top of the screen and lists all the apps that are using your iCloud storage. Select any app from here and you will be prompted to manage space by ‘Deleting’ available iCloud files for that app.
Be mindful, that the ‘Delete’ option does not let you select individual files associated with that App. The only option here is to delete all the files for that particular app from your iCloud storage, which is rarely helpful unless you are not going to use the app at all.
There are a couple of exceptions to this delete function:
- You can save iCloud storage by deleting some of your older device backups and these are available when you click on Backups. You can choose which backup you want to delete.
- You can selectively delete documents from the ‘Other Documents’ folder by going to your iCloud drive and then deleting older documents to reclaim space.
Using macOS Catalina’s iCloud settings, you can upgrade or downgrade your iCloud storage plan by clicking on ‘Buy More Storage’ on this screen.
Find My preferences require iCloud storage on macOS Catalina
Find my App is the new feature that Apple rolled out this year replacing ‘Find my Mac’ and ‘Find my Friends’.
The Find My setting uses iCloud.
On macOS Catalina, you can be review this from your iCloud Preferences as well. After updating to macOS Catalina, we recommend that you take a look at this setting to make sure it is set up correctly.
If you had turned off ‘Location Services’ on your MacBook, you will find the notification here on this screen. Click on details and set up permissions for Location services for Find my feature.
Click on ‘Open Security & Privacy’ and make sure that you have provided location access to Find My app in order to track a lost or stolen device.
How to use the iCloud Backup function in macOS Catalina
Since iTunes has been removed from macOS Catalina, most of the older iTunes features related to Restore and Backup have now been integrated into the Finder App.
Once you connect your iPhone using a cable to your MacBook, your device shows up as a folder under ‘Locations’ in the Finder App.
Using the General tab, you can access the iCloud Backup Functions.
This is where you can set up automatic iCloud backups for your iPhone or iPad using macOS Catalina. You can also review your backups by clicking on ‘Manage backups’.
This is also the section in Finder, where you can backup your device directly to your MacBook.
The main changes to iCloud management on macOS Catalina are about accessing iCloud preferences. The other primary features introduced in prior macOS versions such as ‘Optimize Mac storage’ are still available in the new version without too many changes.
Stay tuned and let us know if you have any questions using the comments below.
Obsessed with tech since the early arrival of A/UX on Apple, Sudz (SK) is responsible for the original editorial direction of AppleToolBox. He is based out of Los Angeles, CA.
Sudz specializes in covering all things macOS, having reviewed dozens of OS X and macOS developments over the years.
In a former life, Sudz worked helping Fortune 100 companies with their technology and business transformation aspirations.
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