iCloud backs up our iOS devices, keeps all our photos and videos safe and now even syncs our macOS desktop between Macs. But all those files have to take up space, right? Thankfully, Apple has a number of storage options available for iCloud, and in our guide to iCloud subscriptions and pricing we explain which is the right one for you, along with how to upgrade or downgrade your iCloud storage.
iCloud storage plan options and pricing
Before we go any further, we should probably first discuss the options available, and the corresponding prices for those of us in the UK. Currently, Apple offers five different tiers of storage for iCloud, which is shared between all your devices, including iPhones, iPads and Macs. Your storage space will account for any files that you store in the cloud, via apps or otherwise, and the cloud backups of all your devices too.
Apple currently has the following iCloud storage subscriptions available:
- 5GB storage: Free
- 50GB storage: £0.79
- 200GB storage: £2.49
- 1TB storage: £6.99
- 2TB storage: £13.99
Read more: Best alternatives to iCloud
Which iCloud subscription should you buy?
Now you know the different storage options available to you, which is the best for you? There’s no point in paying £13.99 a month for 2TB of storage if you only use it to back up your iPhone, after all. You should consider factors like whether you’re already getting iCloud storage full notifications, whether you use iCloud Drive to store your documents or whether you primarily use another service like Google Drive or Dropbox, and whether you’re using iCloud Drive Desktop and Documents to sync documents between multiple Macs.
The above are all very important factors when considering iCloud storage options, but there’s more to it to than that. We break it down below.
If you’ve only got a single iOS device that you use and you don’t take many photos or videos, the free storage tier should be enough for you. The free iCloud storage tier can also be used by those that primarily use another cloud storage service (like Dropbox or Google Drive) for storing documents, photos and videos.
If you do opt for the free tier, make sure you disable iCloud syncing in any apps that you frequently use to avoid filling up the storage unnecessarily.
Those of you that own more than one iOS device will probably have to bump up the storage option to 50GB, as a standard iOS backup can be anywhere from 1-5GB or even more, depending on how much is stored on your device. It’s also better for those that like to take photos and videos on their iOS devices and want to keep a secure backup of them – the option is still available for those on the free tier, although they wouldn’t be able to store many before the storage becomes full.
The 200GB plan is the standard option for those that have multiple iOS devices and a Mac, as it allows for enough room to store the backups of each device, along with space for a fairly substantial iCloud Photo Library and other documents to be stored online. It’ll give you the freedom to use iCloud as you see fit, without too much of a worry about filling up the storage.
It’s also recommended for those looking to use iCloud Drive as their primary cloud storage service.
The 1TB storage option should only really be used by pro-level Apple users – but you probably didn’t need us to tell you that, right? The 1TB option is ideal for those that have a collection of iOS devices and Macs, and switches between them regularly. It’ll provide more than enough space for iOS backups, an iCloud Photo Library spanning thousands of photos and videos, documents and other app data.
If you want the freedom to use iCloud as you desire without any worry about space, and if money is no option, 1TB is ideal.
The 2TB plan should be reserved for those that share an account between multiple users, such as families, with a plethora of devices to keep backed up, and images, videos and other documents to be stored. It’s the largest storage option offered by Apple, and the most expensive too, so really consider whether you really need that much space before you part with £13.99 a month.
How to upgrade or downgrade your iCloud storage
So, you’ve finally decided to make the plunge and upgrade from the free tier of iCloud storage, have you? Or have you bought the 2TB tier and realised it’s more than you need? Don’t worry, as it’s extremely to up- or downgrade the size of your iCloud storage via your iOS device.
1) On your iOS device, head to Settings > iCloud.
2) Select Storage, and select either Buy More Storage or Downgrade Options depending on what you want to do.
3) Scroll through the available options, and tap on the plan you want to opt for.
4) Click Buy in the upper right-hand corner. You’ll be prompted to enter your Apple ID to verify the purchase – once that’s done, the changes should take effect.
If you’ve downgraded, you’ll still have access to the larger storage tier until your next billing cycle. Don’t worry about Apple deleting your data though, as it’ll still hold 55GB of data on a 50GB plan, but you won’t be able to back up your devices or add any new files until you make space or upgrade.