How to enable and use the iCloud Drive app on iOS 9

BY Osas Obaizamomwan

Published 14 Sep 2015

iCloud Drive lets you store documents in the virtual cloud, so that you can access all those files on multiple Apple devices. Before iOS 9, we could only access iCloud files through specific apps that supported iCloud Drive. Now, we can access those same files through a dedicated iCloud Drive app and I’m going to show you exactly how that’s done. 

How to enable and use the iCloud Drive app on iOS 9

Step 1:

Open Settings and tap on the iCloud section and select iCloud Drive. iCloud Drive gives apps the ability to save documents and data to the Drive, which can be accessed anytime on other iOS (8+) or OS X (Yosemite or higher) devices.

iCloud Drive


Step 2:

Log into your iCloud account if you haven’t already.

Sign in - iCloud

Step 3:

Make sure iCloud Drive is enabled if you haven’t done so already.  Then, toggle the switch for Show on Home Screen ON.

Show on home screen

Step 4.

A new iCloud Drive icon will be added to your Home Screen. Tap on the icon to open up iCloud Drive and access the files you have uploaded there.

iCloud Drive Options

Now what can you do with iCloud Drive?

Opening files

Inside of the iCloud Drive app, you’ll see files and folders of items. The app automatically makes folders for applications that it supports. So if you use apps like Pages, TextEdit, or Napkin, those folders will automatically be added. Tap on any item or folder to reveal the file. From the file’s page, you can share, delete, and move the file using the options located at the bottom of the screen.

iCloud Drive - View

Editing Files

While you cannot edit directly from the iCloud Drive app, you can export or move files to applications that do allow editing. For example, if you own Pages, you can tap and hold on a Pages file in iCloud, Copy it to the Pages app and begin editing it directly from the device. Again, you cannot actually edit the file in iCloud Drive, but must copy it to Pages or another available application to make any edits.

Copy - Pages

Moving, Deleting, and Renaming Files 

Tap and hold on a folder or to bring up the option to delete it. Tap and hold on an individual file to unveil the pop-up menu for options to Delete, Rename, view Info (file size, kind, etc), and More (rename, share, and move). You may also choose multiple items at once, using the select option in the top-right and selecting what you want to do with those files in the bottom menu.

iCloud Drive - Options

Since I am not an avid user of iCloud Drive I don’t have that many files uploaded there. But for power users, the addition of a standalone app makes it a lot quicker and easier to access files stored there. While editing files does require a little extra legwork, it’s better than nothing. Moreover, the iCloud Drive app allow you to preview files, download, and share with ease.

Let us know what you think of the new iCloud Drive app for iOS 9 in the comment section.

Don’t forget to check out our iOS 9 page for our comprehensive coverage of all the new features and improvements in iOS 9.