Is it possible to access Microsoft’s SkyDrive service from a Mac system, either my iMac in the office or my MacBook Pro? I could use Dropbox, but SkyDrive is so well integrated into Windows 8, it’d just be a lot easier if I could access my files on my Mac too.
While Microsoft has its own, um, operating system axe to grind with Microsoft Windows, the company has been working with Apple and developing Mac OS X applications and software for many years, and the Mac team does a great job with things. Whether it’s Office for Mac (which, yes, is still a solid suite of programs even in the face of Apple iWorks and cloud-based suites like Google Office) or things like ensuring compatibility of the cloud-based SkyDrive service, they’ve got it covered.
Better, though, is that there’s not only a SkyDrive app for your Mac systems, but that it’s really well designed and a breeze to work with, making file exchange between Mac and PC (and more importantly, between Windows tablets and your Mac) a complete no-brainer. Dare I say it, it’s easier to work with than iCloud or DropBox. You’ll see what I mean.
Of course, it’s possibly I am too connected to the cloud, with four cloud drive systems (Google Drive, Dropbox, iCloud and SkyDrive) along with a cloud-based backup system (Crashplan), but that’s just 5x redundancy to ensure zero data loss, right?
To get the SkyDrive software for your Mac, start in the App Store. Easiest: From the Apple Menu choose “App Store…”
Now type in “Skydrive” on the top right search box and press return. The results are few:
The app we want is the first one, from Microsoft. No need to pay for anything when it’s free and from the SkyDrive team itself, right?
Click on the icon and you’ll learn more about the application itself:
That’s the one! Click on the blue “Free” button, then on the green “Install” button:
Probably, you’ll hit the same tiny speedbump I did, the need to log in to your iTunes App Store account:
Easily done, and once you’ve entered your credentials correctly, the green button changes to blue:
Once it’s installed, double click on the new icon in the Applications folder:
The SkyDrive app launches and welcomes you. All very civilized, yes?
Nice. Okay. But where to go? Click on “Get Started” to, well, get started.
Basically all you need to do at this point is enter your Microsoft Live account information, as you can see:
If you try to use your iTunes Apple ID, it’s going to fail. Confusing, logging into two different services to get this rolling, but if you think about it, there’s some sense: the Apple ID login is for the app to download, then once you’re running Sky Drive, the Microsoft ID is so you can connect to your existing shared folder and content.
Enter your credentials, click “Sign in” and you’ll see a nice welcome screen:
To proceed, decide if you want the program to launch at startup (Apple calls this “Open at Login”) — and I recommend that you do select that option — and whether you want the Dock icon for SkyDrive hidden — again, I recommend you do hide it.
Then even though it just showed you the SkyDrive folder on your top level folder, to proceed you need to “Choose SkyDrive Folder Location”.
Click on that, then choose the default, assuming you want it in the default location.
Now here’s where SkyDrive for Mac does a nice thing: it asks if you want to keep all folders in sync within the SkyDrive “virtual drive”, or specific ones:
Most likely you’ll want to sync all folders, but just in case there are Windows-specific folders in your cloud storage, you can skip having copies on your Mac. Pick one, click “Done”.
And you’re done. Congrats, now you have SkyDrive on your iMac, MacBook, MacBook Pro, whatever Mac OS X system or systems you’d like.
Before we leave, be alert to the new icon on the top menu bar for SkyDrive:
Oh, and choose “Open SkyDrive Folder” to see what’s happened:
Notice on the left the number of cloud drives I have. It’s a bit overwhelming, I admit.
In any case, there you go, SkyDrive is now up and running, making it ridiculously easy to share files, photographs, data, documents, and anything else you’d like between your Windows systems – including tablets – and your Mac system.