Will Apple Ever Give More Than 5GB iCloud Storage For Free?

Steve Jobs unveiled iCloud in June 2011 and, a decade on, the amount of free storage offered has still not increased beyond 5GB. 9to5Mac has published a good history lesson of the service, including speculation on how the paid tiers could change to help both Apple and users.

There is an argument to be made that Apple’s services revenue would actually benefit from giving away slightly more upfront to reel people in and entice customers into paid plans. 5 GB isn’t enough to even try out iCloud Photos in any meaningful capacity. If instead the free tier was matching Google’s at 15 GB, it would enable Apple users to get a reasonable amount of photos backing up to iCloud, experience some of the benefits of cloud sync, and then be more likely persuaded into committing to a paid plan. To pull this off, you’d have to adjust the paid tiers accordingly. Maybe a lineup of 15 GB free, 100 GB for $0.99/month, 300 GB for $2.99/month and 2 TB for $9.99/month could be compelling. An even cheekier approach could be to only increase the storage offered as part of Apple One, making the higher-value subscriptions more attractive for consumers migrating from the free plan.

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4 thoughts on “Will Apple Ever Give More Than 5GB iCloud Storage For Free?

  • What Apple fails to do with the free tier is acknowledge users who own more than one Apple device.

    5GB for one device can be manageable, but not suitable for two or more.

  • I like the idea. I’ve thought the tiers were low for a while.
    As important though, how about one additional tier between 200GB and 2TB?
    This year I went up to the 200GB level because of all the documents I’m storing out there. However I still can’t do iCloud Photos. However I have no use at all for 2TB at $12/mo. That’s way more than I need for more than I want to pay. Something in the 750-1TB range would be perfect. Price it at $7/mo and I’d be there.
    Also if we could run TimeMachine backups to the cloud I might be willing to go to the 2TB tier.

    1. @geoduck:

      I am amazed at how quickly my family have begun to fill up our iCloud storage space (we do have the 2TB plan, but we also have a steady stream of photos and video content going to the cloud), and although we have plenty of cushion now, it’s just a matter of time before even that will get tight.

      The idea of Time Machine backups to iCloud is intriguing. I think that this would require substantial infrastructural development and commitment on Apple’s part, were they to enable this feature. All of the cloud backup solutions I am aware of are dedicated services, likely with a substantially smaller subscriber base than the global Apple user community. Not being in that field, I don’t pretend to know the protocols and resources that would be required, but would expect that Apple would require greater storage capacity than that to which they have already committed, and, a feature that most of these services provide, a physical media shipping option for data recovery/restoration; and that’s even before we get to the bandwidth issues.

      If any consumer company could pull this off, Apple could, at least in terms of resources. Then there is the constant drumbeat of complaint about how well Apple’s cloud backup solutions work, or do not, depending on which side of that fence you live.

      Given the dedicated options already out there, I’m just not sure that Apple would prioritise this at this time, or even conclude that there is a need, much less a cost effective path for both Apple and their user base.

      Still, an intriguing idea.

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