With MacOS High Sierra and iOS 11, iCloud Drive is finally catching up with Dropbox and Google Drive in terms of sharing ability. You will need to convince your collaborators to start using iCloud Drive, however, if you want to share files on Apple's cloud service, a dubious proposition given the head start that both Dropbox and Google Drive enjoy.
Still, if you've got friends and family all using Macs and iPhones, there's lots to like about the new and improved iCloud Drive. Plus, you can now share an iCloud account with your family for more than just app and iTunes purchases.
What's the new iCloud Drive sharing feature?
With MacOS High Sierra, you'll see a new sharing option called Add People that lets you send a link to your file instead of attaching it to an email or text message. This way, your file stays put and allows for real-time collaboration instead of emailing or texting versions back and forth.
How does it work?
On a Mac, open Finder, choose iCloud Drive or asuch as Desktop or Documents, select a file and click the share button at the top of the window. Or just right-click a file and then click Share. Either way, you will see the new Add People option in the share menu.
The Add People menu provides the usual sharing suspects -- Mail, Messages, Twitter, Facebook, AirDrop -- but when you select one, it will send a link to your file instead of an attachment.
There's also a Copy Link button on the Add People menu. It lets you copy the link to a file to your clipboard to paste at your leisure.
Does it work with folders, too?
Sadly, no. You can only share files. Actually, that should read file and not files; you can share only one file at a time with the new Add People sharing function.
What about permissions?
Yep, got 'em. For files you share, you can set permissions on who can access the file (only those you invite or anyone that it might get forwarded to) and what they can do with it (make changes or view only).
Can I unshare a file?
But of course! You can see which files have been shared because it'll say in gray letters under or next to the file name (depending on your view) Shared by Me or the name of the person who shared the file with you. To revoke access to a shared file, select it, open the share menu and you'll see that the Add People menu item now says Show People. Choose a person from the list, click the triple-dot button on the right and then select Remove Access. You can also change a file's permissions here, too.
Does this new sharing work on iOS devices, too?
It sure does. You'll see the same Add People option when you go to share a file from.
What's this about sharing an iCloud plan with my family?
iCloud Family Sharing was introduced with iOS 8, but it let you share only purchases from the App Store, iTunes and iBooks along with syncing calendars and reminders. Now, iCloud Drive gets in on the Family Sharing action and lets you share cloud space for files, photos, backups and more.
You can spring for a single iCloud storage plan to be shared with up to six family members instead of paying for individual plans. Only the two largest iCloud plans are shareable, the 200GB plan for $2.99 (£2.49 or AU$4.49) a month or the 2TB plan for $9.99 (£6.99 or AU$14.99) a month. To set up family sharing on a Mac, go to System Preferences > iCloud and click the Set Up Family button. On an iOS device, open Settings, tap your Apple ID profile at the top and then tap Set Up Family Sharing.