iCloud is a great way to keep your e-mail, contacts, calendar, tasks, and photos synced across your Apple devices. But what if you decide to switch from an iPhone to an Android phone? Or if you get a Mac for work? Apple doesn’t always play nice with other ecosystems, but you can access iCloud from your Android with the right apps.
Every Android device comes with the Gmail app as well as an app called Email, and this is the app that we’ll be using to access your iCloud e-mail. You can also use an alternative e-mail app, if you so choose. If you’ve set up an IMAP or POP3 e-mail address before, this process will be familiar to you. If not, don’t worry—it’s quite easy.
- Open the Email app and tap the menu button in the top-right corner. (If you’ve never used the Email app before, just open it and go to step #3.)
- Tap Add Account.
- Enter your iCloud e-mail address and password, then tap Next.
- Select IMAP and tap Next.
- When you see the Incoming Server Settings page, remove the “@icloud.com” from your username.
- Change the IMAP server to “imap.mail.me.com.”
- Set the security field to SSL/TLS (Accept all certificates).
- Make sure the port is set to 993, then tap Next.
- On the Outgoing Server Settings page, change the SMTP server to “smtp.mail.me.com.”
- Change the security setting to STARTTLS and make sure the port is set to 587 and “Require sign-in” is checked.
- Tap Next to complete the process.
Once you’ve gone through this list of steps and saved your changes, you’ll be able to access your iCloud mail via the Email app on your Android phone. Pretty simple!
If you have any difficulties with this, you can try changing the security type in the incoming or outgoing server settings. The combination of security settings that I mention above is the one that worked for me, but you might find that you need to use a different one.
Syncing your contacts between iCloud and Android isn’t quite as simple as adding your iCloud e-mail address. However, some developers have created apps that will help you out and make the process a lot easier. The easiest way to go is to install SmoothSync for Cloud Contacts ($3.99), which was created specifically for syncing your iCloud contacts with your Android phone.
To use the app, just download it and enter your iCloud username and password. Your iCloud contacts will now be synced with your Android ones! Note, however, that you should probably install and run the JB Workaround Cloud Contacts app (free) first.
If you’d rather use a free option, you can download CardDAV-Sync beta (free) and use the instructions below.
Note: the workaround apps for SmoothSync and CardDAV-Sync Beta are different apps. You don’t need the CardDAV-Sync workaround app for the free version, but there’s a paid version of CardDAV-Sync Beta that requires the workaround.
- Install and open CardDAV-Sync Free Beta.
- In the server name or URL field, enter “contacts.icloud.com.”
- Enter your Apple ID and password in the username and password fields then tap Next.
- Enter a name for the account, and decide whether you’d like one-way or two-way sync.
- Tap Finish to complete the process.
Your contacts will now be synced between your iCloud account and your Android device — and if you’ve already synced your iCloud contacts with your iPhone or iPad, you’ll be able to access them wherever you are.
Just as with the contacts, there are two different apps that I’ll recommend. The first is SmoothSync for Cloud Calendar ($2.98) — it’s created by the same developer as SmoothSync for Cloud Contacts. Using it is just as simple. Download and install it, enter your username and password, and let it go to work. Easy!
This developer has also published CalDAV-Sync ($2.89), an app that allows you to sync any CalDAV or Webcal calendar to your Android device. While it’s not free, it’s well worth the price tag if you want to sync up iCloud and your Android. The setup is exactly the same as above, but uses the JB Workaround CalDAV-Sync (free) workaround app and a different server name.
- Install the workaround app and run it.
- Install and open CalDAV-Sync.
- In the server name / URL field, enter “calendar.icloud.com.”
- Enter your Apple ID and password in the username and password fields, then tap Next.
- Select the calendars to sync, then tap Finish.
Once you’ve done this, you’ll see your iCloud calendars show up in whichever calendar app you normally use.
If you’d rather use a free app, you can use Caldav Sync Free Beta, which is confusingly not created by the same developer as the apps listed above. Instead of providing an app in which you can enter your information, it simply adds a CalDav Sync Adapter option in the Add Accounts pane of the settings.
Fortunately, syncing your notes from Apple’s very useful Notes app with your Android account is simple, though it does come with some limitations.
To sync your notes, open up System Preferences from your Apple computer and click on Internet Accounts. Select the Google account that’s associated with your Android.
Here, you’ll see a number of things that you can sync with your phone. By selecting Notes, everything that you add to your Notes app will be sent to your phone. Where will it show up? In your Gmail app, in a new label called Notes. This is a bit counterintuitive.
This has the disadvantage that when you sync your notes with your phone, they won’t sync with iCloud. In your desktop Notes app, you’ll see that you have notes under the Google heading and notes under the iCloud heading—they don’t get pushed to both. This is annoying, but if you have certain notes that you think might be good to have on your phone, you can push them there, while others can get backed up to iCloud.
The main limitation of this method is that you can’t edit your notes from your phone. The easy solution to this is to use iNotes [no longer available]. Note that this app looks like it was made by Apple, but it wasn’t, and it will let you edit your notes from your phone.
If you use Apple’s Reminders app to keep track of your tasks, you can get access to them on your Android through a few different apps on your phone. If you’re using CalDAV-Sync or SmoothSync, you can do this quite easily by downloading Tasks (free) from the same developer. Because CalDAV provides support for task sync, Tasks simply piggybacks on the CalDAV connection set up by the other app to get your reminders.
Tasks is very simple and doesn’t provide a lot of extra functionality, giving it a similar feel to the Reminders app on your Mac, iPad, or iPhone. It’s also free, which makes it a very appealing option.
If you’re not planning on using CalDAV-Sync or SmoothSync, or you just want a different app, you can download Reminder for iCloud/iOS/iPhone ($2.99) [No longer available]. It provides the same functionality and syncs with iCloud. Unfortunately, Reminder for iCloud/iOS/iPhone isn’t free, and at $3 it’s tough to justify it over a free alternative.
Connecting to iCloud From Android
Syncing iCloud and your Android can take some time to get set up, but it’s well worth the effort if you have e-mail, contacts, calendars, and other data that you want to sync between your various devices.
Have you found any other good ways of getting access to iCloud from your Android? Share them below!
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