Have You Tried the New iCloud Beta?


A new look for an old favorite.

Screenshot by Jonathan Wylie

The new iPad and iPad Pro may have been the highlight of Apple’s Fall product launches this year, but there was another new release that largely flew in under most people’s radar.

Apple has quietly updated the web interface for iCloud.com with a new beta website that is much easier on the eye. Here’s what you need to know.

How to Access the iCloud Beta

The new iCloud Beta is available now for anyone with an Apple ID. You can find it at beta.icloud.com. It’s an interesting refresh of a service Apple has not given a lot of love to in recent years.

The new website is much more visual and is reminiscent of the widget-laden home screens on a modern iPhone or iPad. But they are not widgets; Apple calls them tiles. You can add or subtract as many tiles as you need to make your iCloud web experience more customized.

Screenshot by Jonathan Wylie

How to Customize the iCloud Beta Website

When you first log in to beta.icloud.com, you will be greeted with a default layout of tiles that may or may not be of much use to you, depending on which iCloud apps and services you take advantage of. However, that’s easy to fix.

To change the look of your home screen, scroll down to the bottom of the page and click the Customize Home Page button. This puts the tiles in jiggle mode and gives you some options for changing their position and appearance.

To move a tile around the screen, click and drag it to a new location. Tiles can only be a single or double width, so they may resize depending on what size of tile you put them next to.

To remove a tile, click the minus button in the corner of the tile. You can also click Edit to swap the tile for another iCloud app. Once you are finished, click Done.

Screenshot by Jonathan Wylie

Has the iCloud Beta Changed Anything Else?

As of today, the beta website looks like a purely aesthetic update. The apps themselves have very similar functions and very similar limitations.

Some of the toolbar icons have been rearranged in apps like Notes, but if you were frustrated by the previous functionality, the new beta website will do nothing to quell your angst. More’s the pity.

However, this could be the start of a new era, and new features could be on the way. This is, after all, just a beta, so a lot can still change.


What About iCloud.com?

The previous iCloud website is still there. You can access it the same way you always used to. However, there is a banner at the top of the screen that says, “A new iCloud is on the way!” Clicking that banner will also take you to the new iCloud Beta website.

Right now, you can choose the classic look or the new look. Personally, I prefer the new look, but I don’t visit iCloud on the web all that often. What about you? Do you like the new iCloud Beta?

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