iCloud’s Paltry 5GB Free Storage Plan.

This is a continuation of my previous post, ‘I’ve Fallen out of love with Apple. Let me explain.

“iCloud Storage is full.” This is the most frustrating notification on an Apple product. It’s a reminder of how little storage Apple gives you as a default — a paltry 5GB.

Since the launch of iCloud in 2011, the default amount of storage hasn’t changed. Technology has moved on in that time, 4K video is now the norm and taking hundreds of photo’s every year is commonplace. Most people would agree that backing up those photos is important, after all, you wouldn’t want to lose the memory of the burger you ate at five guys, and a cloud backup solution is perfect for this. Granted, iCloud Drive allows you to save files within apps and stores backups of your phone for easy recovery if you lose or buy a new one, but photos and video will be a significant chunk of any iOS or Mac users iCloud data.

And yet, Apple, a company that charges a premium for their products, has been content with charging you to update the iCloud storage to a usable capacity. 5GB allows you to upload 30 minutes of 30fps 4K video using the highly efficient HEVC codec. You could easily shoot this much video on holiday and that’s without factoring in the photos. Photo and video library tend to get larger over time as we accumulate years and years of memories, so you can see how quickly 5GB can fill up.

The obvious answer is to upgrade the storage limit of your iCloud Drive. In the UK, upgrading to 50GB of storage costs £9.48 annually, the 200GB plan is £29.88, and the 2TB plan will set you back £83.88. These prices are competitive compared to Google Drive, but Google offers a free 15GB tier which, for a lot of people, is more reasonable even before Google Photos, Google’s free unlimited photo and video upload service is factored in. Of course, you could use the Google Photos on your iPhone, but it’s not as integrated as iCloud, and it means trusting your data with Google. And why should you pay? Sure, £9.48 a year isn’t expensive, but you just spend £1000 on your new iPhone X! Apple should be more reasonable with their free tier.

Of course, this is great for Apple. Charging people for storage adds to their services revenue, something Apple wants to increase. It’s estimated that in 2017 there were 1 billion active iPhone users if just a quarter of iPhone users buy extra iCloud storage, that’s an extra £197,500,000 of revenue a month. So, Apple has a choice; between extra revenue or helping customers by giving them a reasonable amount of data for 2018. That’s a hard decision for Apple, but surely Apple should be putting the customer first?