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Apple’s all-new iCloud for Windows app, now available in the Microsoft Store (windows.com)
63 points by teddyfrozevelt 14 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 79 comments

Dear Apple: please make an iMessage client for Windows/Linux/web users. I find it really inconvenient that, unlike other iCloud services, I can't get to my iMessages from my other devices.

Isn't there a running joke about iMessage users talking trash about messaging people with green text?

Its not a joke, this is a "serious concern" of youth these days. I've received comments about anxiety just chatting with an android/other phone user.

I was being facetious. I know women who have real superiority disorders with iPhone vs. Android, and I know plenty of tech nerd guys with the same disorder.

Would that be a spam vector, though?

Maybe. But I think if it required an iMessage account with an authenticated iPhone, it wouldn't be much of a problem.

Still not a perfect solution, but AFAIK, it's also possible to pass iMessage authentication with a hackintosh. So the same spam vector is technically still open, albeit with a bit more work.

> Possible to pass iMessage authentication with a hackintosh

Hackintosh user here, you can get iMessage working but it takes some effort. You have to choose a serial number that seems plausible to Apple given other information, and then also hope you get a bit lucky.

I really don't think this would be a useful outlet for a spammer trying to set up iMessage accounts en messe.

There's already an OSX version though.

Might as well make an Android app for iMessage while were at it (I doubt it will ever happen though).

Looks like I'll be ending my dropbox subscription then. I only use like 18gb on dropbox so the $0.99 / month for 50gb iCloud plan is perfect for me.

Well, Jobs warned Dropbox years ago that they aren’t a product they are a feature.


I can pay $100 a year for Office 365 which includes all of the Office apps and 6TB of storage or pay the same price for just Dropbox.

And like you said, I’m fine with 50GB of storage.

I keep holding my breath for a linux client, but so far no dice.

I did a ghetto solution that syncs my iCloud Drive to my linux box:

1- Install SyncThing on both your Mac and Linux box.

2- Point Mac client to ~/Library/Mobile Documents/com~apple~CloudDocs

3- Optional, for extra privacy run your own discovery/relay server.

4- Enjoy iCloud Drive on Linux.

You could push it much further by running the native app in a Windows VM and sync more than just your files.

> Point Mac client to ~/Library/Mobile Documents/com~apple~CloudDocs

I forgot where I saw this (a tweet?) but iCloud Drive may have moved in Catalina. It should only be a matter of pointing SyncThing to the new location, but it’s something to be aware of to keep your solution working.

Sadly, i don't have a 24/7 mac; i'm an iOS/laptop-only user.

Who would have thought that Apple would be releasing software for Windows in the Windows Store that from the looks of it is pretty good - better than iTunes? Also, who would have thought that the announcement would be on the official windows blog?

"Better than iTunes", particularly the Windows version of iTunes, is admittedly a very low bar.

True. The only lower bar is the Slack app - anywhere.

I'm more than happy to jump on a Slack/Electron hate train, but if that's what you consider the lowest bar for software, I think you've lived a somewhat sheltered life. :P

Yes I have. But I was 12 writing AppleSoft Basic programs. You can’t hold that against me....

At least it looks fine on HiDPI displays, which is more than a lot of old native apps can say.


I think the windows store is kind of just the most user-friendly way to distribute software now. And at the end of the day, that is something that Apple usually strives for.

App Stores serve a lot of the same functionality as package managers, basically

Safari for Windows was pretty good for a little while.

I downloaded it when it first came out. Like iTunes it still felt like a Mac app. That isn’t saying there is anything wrong with Mac apps - on a Mac.

> Like iTunes it still felt like a Mac app.

It had Mac font-rendering on a Windows-desktop. It was jarring.

It really stood out, and not in a good way.

It also felt pokey as a result. I really wanted to like it (I switched to Safari on my Mac when it came out) but the Windows version wasn’t worth using outside of development. At least as I remember it.

I'm wondering what my 17-year-old self would have thought...

May you live in interesting times.

Apple still jests a little at Microsoft with the photo at the top of https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT204301 (a really chunky old Windows machine next to a nice new iPhone and iPad). Still, a step in the right direction for both parties.

At least that laptop almost guarantees having more than 1 USB ports

That was a low blow. I didn’t know whether to upvote it or downvote it. The Apple fanboy in me want to downvote it. But truth is truth - upvoted....

Maybe, but most people buy windows laptops that look like that - or worse. The cool good-looking laptops are usually more expensive while not really doing anything extra that the customer would want.

You mean laptops that can be serviced without a heat gun? Where's the problem?

The only thing I hate is the lack of removable drives. I didn’t appreciate that until the last time I worked at BigCorp and the screen “went bad” (okay honestly I dropped it) and the help desk just swapped out the hard drive to a spare and sent it to HP for repair.

I had almost forgotten what computers use to be like.

On an unrelated note. I love HPs drop jaw Ethernet port. It keeps the laptop thin but you still have a regular built in Ethernet port.

I don't think that is a factor the general consumer can even dream up. People rather 'consume' a laptop and then throw it away after a few years. It's why there are so many low-end models sold and why so many manufacturers make them (usually based on the same blueprint from the CPU manufacturer + laptop design from the likes of Compal or Foxconn, nobody wants to waste money on designing those internally).

At the same time, the use case where manual 'servicing' of a laptop was more relevant has mostly passed. This came about because of post-imaging-once lifecycle management in the business sectors (which isn't universal just yet...) combined with the cattle vs. pets approach when it comes to business laptops. A lot of personal use has moved to mobile devices and clouds, making the laptop less and less of a special thing to be preserved.

To me, this all is a bit sad and wasteful, if we were to make it easier to swap out modules while keeping the form factor, that would be a good thing. But that costs money, and unless the mass market sees a use in it, they are not going to pay for it.

During the spinning hard drive -> SSD transition, a lot of old laptops had their lifetimes increased by replacing the hard drives. I don’t see an easy increase like that in the future. True, you can’t replace the battery yourself and you have to pay the markup to getting it replaced and you have to max out the RAM from day one, but RAM prices have been relatively stable for years. It wasn’t like back in the day when RAM prices fluctuated by 30-50%.

Makes sense. I have to say I haven't had the need to upgrade any laptop for the last few years. Probably since 2015 or something like that.

Sadly that’s true. I see so many Engadget laptop deals with decently spec’d hardware - SSD, Core I5’s —— and a low resolution 1366x768 displays.

Yeah that laptop with the huge bezels looks like something from a decade ago.

Well there was ClarisWorks for Windows in 1993....

Given that they're building on Microsoft's syncing APIs, I expect this will also be much more reliable than iCloud on MacOS!

Can someone with experience using iCloud for family photo management pitch me on it? My devices are two iPhones, one MacBook, a Windows 10 laptop, and two occasionally-used digital cameras. So I feel like this might be a good fit, but it's also a problem a lot of companies have tried to crack and failed at. I'm a little nervous about vendor lock-in, for example not having a good story for a future Android phone, but potentially willing to pay that price if the cost and features are otherwise right.

If you use and like iCloud for photo management between multiple people, how is it?

I'd tried to make iCloud work in a shared setup and gave up after several libraries decided to corrupt themselves.

PhotoStructure is designed exactly with this sort of heterogenous family setup in mind.

My wife uses a Chromebook and MBP, I'm on Ubuntu, Windows and macOS, we have a NAS, and we can mount the library directly with CIFS/samba/AFS/NFS, or use the PhotoStructure web interface that's hosted by any of the computers that are running.

Photos and videos get to the NAS via SyncThing or Resilio Sync. Duplicate and downsampled files (like via Google photos) are handled gracefully by PhotoStructure's sync process.

Most importantly, I retain control of my own files.

Disclaimer: I'm the author of PhotoStructure, and I'm eager to get user feedback during the closed beta. More info on my HN profile.

Just signed up and so excited. I need a solution so badly.

I can’t answer that question and while I’m not concerned with vendor lock in, I still don’t completely trust Apple when it comes to services. I have photos syncing to Google Photos, iCloud and OneDrive. Sooner or later I’m going to setup desktop syncing with iCloud for Windows and backup with Backblaze.

I have my parents and siblings on my iCloud family with 1tb and we have yet to use 60% of the total space. This is with backups turned on and photos as well. I think it is worth the money.

I'm not super price sensitive though; I'm specifically interested in features that make managing multiple photo streams not be ridiculous.

The ios 13 features and even ios 12 show that Apple has continually made sharing and photo streams better. I think it is worth it and you can even share photo streams via urls to people that don't have ios. _I know multiple platforms have this already, just pointing out that Apple is really interested in making this experience a good one_

Google Photos?

Definitely another option under consideration. It just creates one more giant thing to have to export if I ever divorce from Google.

Excellent, I like that both platforms are working together doing the right thing for consumers.

A little off topic, but I also wish that GCP, Azure, and AWS would cooperate by having a few data centers collocated with very low bandwidth costs to make multi-cloud easier and cheaper. That would really put the consumer first.

And as long as I am wishing for things that probably won’t happen: I wish Apple would support custom email domains for a low cost (perhaps a few dollars a month).

This shouldn't be a surprise. If you want to be a services company, you need to be where the users are. And any place you are not, you limit your users.

I wonder if this means iMessage will be coming to Android and other mobile OS?

Doubtful, Apple seems to want to keep iMessage as an iOS/MacOS exclusive as part of their moat to bring people into the full ecosystem.

iCloud was accessible through the web browser before this app was available.

The "app" (aka iCloud Control Panel) was available at iCloud launch, that is alongside the web apps.

That’s a HUGE strategic advantage they’d be giving up.

This just lets you access your files. As others have said you could already do it via the web.

As an iPhone user who has a Windows laptop at work, I would be more than happy to be able to use iMessage through the web.

One can hope

They need to buy a social network now (twitter?)

The iCloud for Windows app has been around for years: the earliest I can find an article on it is 2014. https://www.pcworld.com/article/2686017/apple-releases-iclou...

This is likely an update for deeper compatibility.

By "all-new" it means that this is a major rewrite, not that there has never been any support for Windows. I might just switch back to iCloud--I am about to get a Mac mini and it would greatly increase convenience with my iPhone, but I still need a decent client for my Windows laptop.

It must be using a brand-new API, because I just installed v1903 and I still had to install an update to be able to install it.

Yes. I know. It pops up on my screen waiting for me to sign in and you can’t close it....

From the write up this actually looks good and like it ties in more tightly with Windows. I’m thinking about downloading it just so it will sync my pictures to my Windows PC. I can then back them up with Backblaze.

I think this is actually a major revision - I think before it was purely syncing, the on-demand stuff sounds new.

Even better than dealing with the Microsoft Store is to download it directly from Apple's servers: https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT204283

I'm curious about the upgrade path for folks who have been using the existing iCloud for Windows. Is the Microsoft Store version somehow different than the version Apple offers on their site? What's involved with moving to the newer version?

How is that better?

I hope they also can fix the Your Phone app also working with iOS, not just Android.

That is more of a platform limitation from my understanding, sort of like complaining that the x button to close the window is not on the left in this app.

Not just a platform limitation; an intentional one. The API surface that Your Phone takes advantage of on Android, has no equivalent on iOS, because those particular APIs would essentially be used by 1. sync frameworks like Your Phone; 2. spyware; and nothing else. (That's what happens on Android!) And, in Apple's opinion, allowing #1 isn't really worth allowing #2.

Intentional or not, it is just a platform limitation. If Apple really cared, it isn't impossible to have user verify what an app is requesting should be granted. Infact, Apple caught up with Android on having App permissions.

Google's implementation isn't perfect, but they're not the role model for privacy anyway.

What is the Your Phone app?

This iCloud app doesn't look new, unless I'm missing something, it just appears to be available in the Microsoft Store now?

iCloud Drive looks like it takes better advantage of MS’s syncing APIs and lets you download files on demand more like every other modern equivalent.

I think this may have been part of a deal where Microsoft agreed to put Office on the Apple store...

I wasn't totally paying attention to the last WWDC news:

Is this part of a bigger strategy? Will there also be an Andriod version of Photos?

I can't find anything and am not holding my breath, but it would be so compelling for many scenarios. As an apple fanboy I frequently am using third-party apps to share photos with relatives and colleagues who aren't on the platform.

I would say its definitely part of a bigger strategy. Simply put, now that Apple is focused on being a Services company over a Hardware company, it doesn't make financial sense to limit its availability to only Apple device users.

I don't doubt for a second that they will make the services behave in a way to drive users towards adopting their hardware too - such as gating certain functionalities.

I love that my iOS devices backup to iCloud.

I really wish iCloud would support macOS (Time Machine) too.

Isn't this just because win32 apps are not hostable in the MS Store?

This joins OneDrive in offering onDemand files as standard. While Dropbox and Google Drive keep them behind paywalls.

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