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Apple and Microsoft's odd couple collab on iCloud for Windows is more Hall & Oates than Walter and Jesse
OK, it has Files On-Demand, but haven't the people suffered enough?
Uneasy bedfellows Apple and Microsoft have hooked up to update the PC client for the fruity firm's cloudy storage service.
Those excited to see another example of Apple's push into the enterprise world with improvements to its Google Drive also-ran, iCloud, will be in for a disappointment.
The app, which turned up in Microsoft's moribund Store as an inexplicably large 131MB download, has been around for a while, allowing Windows users to access the contents of their iCloud drive. The theory was that users can simply dump documents, such as photos or saved attachments, from their Mac or iThing in their iCloud drive, and access them from a PC.
A bit like DropBox, Google Drive or OneDrive. Just not quite as good.
The twist with the latest version is that competing service OneDrive's Files On-Demand feature has put in an appearance, meaning that documents can be downloaded only when needed, saving disk space.
We took the update for a spin and found it to be its usual clunky self. Yes, Files On-Demand worked as expected, but getting access to Photos had iCloud vomiting its contents directly into the iCloud Photos folder helpfully created by the software.
As one would expect of an Apple application running in Windows, the interface is a messy, inconsistent experience, seemingly unsure of whether it belongs in macOS or Microsoft's finest. Still, it does at least show storage usage, synchronise bookmarks between Firefox, IE, Chrome and Safari, and permit some basic sharing with an eye to collaboration. Apps such as Keynote or Pages also get their own folders.
Naturally, you'll need an Apple ID to sign into iCloud, although users of Managed Apple IDs are out of luck. According to kindly Cupertino, the cuddling with Redmond only stretches so far: Managed Apple IDs aren't supported for iCloud for Windows.
Support-wise, Apple recommends Windows 10 and includes a link to the Microsoft Store for download purposes. A separate download link is available for Windows 7 and 8.
While it's interesting to see the Files-On-Demand functionality found in OneDrive make an appearance in iCloud thanks to Microsoft's Cloud Sync API, the service does not measure up to those of DropBox or the Windows giant.
Apple's storage dream remains a service that still needs work if Cupertino is to sell it beyond its army of fans. ®