Wednesday, August 5, 2020

iCloud.com receives native support for Android/iOS mobile web browsers

iCloud Photo Library on Android!

Apple has silently begun allowing native support for iCloud.com on mobile browsers for both iOS and (most importantly) Android. The new web app update allows four of iCloud.com’s most popular features (Photos, Notes, Reminders, and Find iPhone) to natively work smoothly on mobile web browsers, without having to switch to “desktop site” for a janky version of the app on a verticle screen.

After personally going through some of the features on both iOS and Android, I noticed some issues that doesn’t allow Android to fully support the Notes app. Here is a breakdown of all four features, including what’s working and what’s not working.

Notes

The Notes app on the web browser works perfectly on iOS. You can create notes, edit them, and delete them. Syncing between iOS/macOS and iCloud.com on the mobile browser sometimes doesn’t happen unless you move back a page.

On Chrome for Android, there are a few features that are not working. Though I was able to create a new note, I was not able to type in this note. I was still able to delete the note, but couldn’t scroll in my list of notes. This seems to be a bug, not a feature restriction on Android, as all of this worked on Safari for iOS. The keyboard also worked in the search bar to search my notes on Chrome for Android. As expected, sharing options were not available for iCloud.com notes on both mobile browsers.

Reminders

The Reminders app was smooth in both Safari for iOS and Chrome for Android. I was able to add reminders to my list, and even change the “Name & Appearance” settings on both operating systems. However, both devices did not allow me to create a new list. Reminders can only be added to existing lists.

Photos

The Photos app is probably the best part of iCloud.com’s new native support for mobile web browsers, especially for Android. You can view all your entire iCloud Photo Library, delete photos, like photos, add photos to albums, download photos, and even copy the iCloud share link. You can even view live photos on Android now, which is pretty cool.

The most impressive feature, however, is not working. The Photos app shows the option to upload photos, but whenever I try uploading it from Chrome for Android, I get an error message and the photo doesn’t appear in the library. Uploading photos directly to iCloud Photo Library on Chrome for Android would’ve been the best part of using iCloud.com for Android, but sadly it isn’t working.

A fun fact to note is that you can actually “swipe down” when an image is fully opened up to go back to all photos. It’s especially satisfying to see this in action on an Android device.

Find My iPhone

Though the app is named Find My iPhone, it allows you to track all your Apple devices connected to your Apple ID or any device in your family. I tried playing a sound on my Mac from Find My iPhone, and it worked perfectly. The app allows you to play a sound on your device, view in on a map, erase it, check its battery level, and put it in lost mode. Everything that you would expect on the full desktop version of iCloud.com or the iOS/macOS “Find My” app is present.

Account Settings

There is also “Account Settings” available on iCloud.com’s mobile web version. It just shows you how much storage you have left, and external links for Apple ID, Language, and Formats. You cannot view the devices signed into iCloud or use data recovery features in the mobile version of iCloud.com.

Conclusion

I wish that Apple had added Calendar and Contacts, as I see myself struggling to take out my MacBook for an iCloud contact. There are still some issues to be worked out, particularly with the Notes app. iCloud Photo Library uploading is a major feature, and I hope they fix that soon as well. We obviously cannot expect Pages, Numbers, and Keynote to make it to the mobile web browser. It is actually surprising that Apple natively supported these four apps at all. Also, I forgot to mention that Samsung Internet and Firefox work well with iCloud.com on Android.

I’m still wishing for Contacts and Calendar, but meanwhile, I will continue to enjoy the native mobile web browser experience that Apple has surprisingly provided us. It would also be nice if they could add the respective app icons to the “Add to Home Screen” options, so that people can save certain apps on their Android home screens, without an ugly “I” app icon for iCloud.com.

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