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How To Video: Stream music from the cloud on iOS devices

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How To Video: Stream music from the cloud on iOS devices

4:05 /

Amazon's Cloud Drive and Cloud Player don't really do iOS users any favors. But if you want to stream music to your iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch, SugarSync and Dropbox are much better alternatives.

-Storing and streaming music from the cloud is the nice alternative to storing it locally on your phone or computer. It gives you more storage space on your devices and allows you to access your music from anywhere. But when Amazon launched its Cloud Drive and Cloud Player, it gave iOS users no love. I'm Sharon Vaknin for CNET.com with the guide for iOS users who want to stream music from the cloud. When Amazon's Cloud Drive and Player were first announced, we quickly figured out that even though there isn't a dedicated app for iOS, you can still stream music to your iPhone, iPod, or iPad. It's sort of clumsy, but here's how it works. Head to amazon.com/cloudplayer. You'll be warned that your browser does not support it, but you already knew that. Hit "continue" and you'll see the Cloud Player dashboard. To play a song, tap it and hit the blue arrow on the right. You'll see a drop down menu. Select "download" and Safari will open the song with QuickTime. The first time you do this, Amazon will ask you to get the MP3 Downloader. Your song will start playing and will play in the background if you exit Safari, which is fine. But as you can see, you can't skip songs, save them, or do any of the cool things that the Amazon MP3 App for Android can. Personally, I would skip this option. It's too sloppy and I can't find any practical use for this method. Instead, I use SugarSync--a similar service which is actually iOS compatible. Like Amazon, SugarSync gives you 5 gigabytes of storage for free. But the best part is that for every friend who signs up for SugarSync through a referral you made, you get 500 megabytes of extra storage to keep forever, and there's no maximum. Right now, the promotion is only offered until May 31st, 2011. So, now is the time to start spamming your friends. To setup the cloud, go to sugarsync.com and hit "try SugarSync free." You'll see several pricing options. For now, let's get the 5 free gigabytes of storage by scrolling down and hitting "sign up" next to the fine print. After that, follow the sign up and download instructions, and get SugarSync on your computer. Once it's there, open the SugarSync file manager. To add music to your cloud, hit "add sync folder" and select all the folders you want to sync. If you have iTunes, you can choose to sync your entire iTunes library if it fits. Now, download the SugarSync app on your iOS device. Once you're signed in, open the icon for your computer. You'll see all the files you backed up to your cloud. To stream your music, just open a folder and tap a song. If you're on a slow connection, it'll take some time to buffer. SugarSync supports multitasking, so music will play even when you exit. From this player window, you can skip songs within the folder. So, if you want to be able to skip through all of your music, make sure to put all your files into one folder. Unlike the Amazon MP3 App, there's no support for playlist creation or shuffling. But according to SugarSync, these features should be coming soon. Remember, you need to be connected to the Internet to stream music from your cloud. But if you know you'll be offline, cache songs by tapping the arrow next to a file and selecting "sync to iPhone." SugarSync is my chosen alternative to Amazon Cloud Player, but Dropbox can offer you a similar deal. the difference is that you only get 2 gigabytes free and the app won't let you skip songs. In other words, it's pointless for media streaming. But if you're stuck on Dropbox, you can download a $2 app called BoxyTunes. It lets you skip songs, create playlists, and cache your library. At this point, SugarSync and Dropbox are probably your best bet for streaming music from the cloud. But since the Amazon MP3 App would directly compete with iTunes, and the fact that Apple is rumored to be developing its own cloud service, it might be a while before we see an Amazon Cloud Player show up in the App Store. If you have any How To requests of your own, e-mail them to howto@cnet.com. For CNET, I'm Sharon Vaknin and I'll see you on the interwebs.

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