What iCloud storage plan should you get?

How to pick the perfect iCloud storage plan for you!

Update April 17, 2017: Updated with new plan upgrade and downgrade instructions to reflect changes in iOS 10.3.

iCloud provides a host of features, including mail, calendar, contacts, reminders, notes, sync, and much, much, more. A lot of it comes for free, but if you find yourself storing a lot of iCloud Drive documents, iCloud Photo Library content, or multiple device backups, you may need more than the 5 GB free plan provides. If you're close to the limits or have already run out, you have several other tiers to consider, from $1/m for 50GB to $20/m for 2TB. Here are your options!

iCloud storage plan options

iCloud currently offers five different subscription options. The storage that you get will be split between any and all devices you're using. This includes iPhones, iPads, Macs, and access on supported Windows computers. Your iCloud storage space will account for any files you store in any apps and your iCloud backups for all your devices.

  • 5GB of storage - Free
  • 50GB of storage - $0.99 per month
  • 200GB of storage - $2.99 per month
  • 1TB of storage - $9.99 per month
  • 2TB of storage - $19.99 per month

What to consider before picking an iCloud storage plan

Before making a decision, it's always important to consider a few things. These are the questions you should consider before deciding on an iCloud storage plan:

  • Are backups already making you run out of iCloud storage space?
  • Do you use iCloud Drive to store your documents or are they mainly in Dropbox, Google Drive, or somewhere else?
  • Do you use iCloud Photo Library to store your pictures and videos or are they mainly in Dropbox, Google Photos, or somewhere else?
  • Are you using iCloud Drive Desktop and Documents to sync multiple Macs in macOS Sierra?

If your answers indicate you're going to be using iCloud a lot, you'll likely need the storage space to match.

Who should stick with the free iCloud option?

If you own only one iPhone or iPad and don't store a ton of things on it, or if you're already heavily invested in Dropbox or Google or another storage provider, you can likely get away with the free iCloud tier, at least for a while.

Who should get the 50GB iCloud subscription?

If you want to make sure your iPhone and/or iPad is backed up without worries, if you use a reasonable amount of documents and take some photos an videos you want to sync and otherwise keep available, or if you use Dropbox or Google or another storage provider but also want the security of multiple backups with Apple, the 50 GB plan is a good place to start.

Who should get 200GB iCloud storage plans?

If you have multiple Apple devices and want to keep them all backed up, if you use iCloud Drive regularly or are building up a substantial iCloud Photo Library, or if you simply want to use iCloud as your starting point for storage, you'll likely need the 200 GB plan.

Who should get the 1TB iCloud storage plan?

If you need 1TB of iCloud storage, you probably don't need me to tell you that. You're all in. You want all your devices always backed up, all your documents on Apple's servers, and all your photos and videos up on the iCloud. If money is less important to you than the knowledge all your stuff is taken care of, the 1TB plan is there for you.

Who should get the 2TB iCloud storage plan?

Basically, this plan is designed for groups of people, like families, that have multiple iPhone, iPad, and Mac devices and use multiple services like iCloud Photo Library, iCloud Music Library, and iCloud Drive. The 2TB plan is big, but there are some of you out there that are already thinking that you wish you could get 3TB.

How to buy more iCloud storage

If you find that you need more iCloud storage, it's pretty easy to upgrade on your iPhone or iPad.

  1. Open Settingson your iPhone or iPad.
  2. Tap on the Apple ID banner.
  3. Tap iCloud.

    Open Settings, tap Apple ID banner, tap iCloud

  4. Tap on the storage graph.

  5. Tap Change Storage Plan.
  6. Tap on an available plan to upgrade your storage.

    Tap storage, tap Change Storage Plan, tap a plan

  7. Tap Buy.

  8. Enter your iCloud account password
  9. Tap OK.

    Tap Buy, enter password, tap OK

How to downgrade your iCloud Storage

If you don't need as much storage as you thought, you can downgrade your iCloud storage in much the same way that you can upgrade.

  1. Open Settingson your iPhone or iPad.
  2. Tap on the Apple ID banner.
  3. Tap iCloud.

    Open Settings, tap Apple ID banner, tap iCloud

  4. Tap on the storage graph.

  5. Tap Change Storage Plan.
  6. Tap Downgrade Options.

    Tap storage, tap Change Storage Plan, tap Downgrade Options

  7. Choose which plan you want to downgrade to.

  8. Tap Done.
  9. Tap Downgrade.

    Choose plan, tap Done, tap Downgrade

Which iCloud storage plan did you pick?

After you've made your decision, let me know in the comments what you picked and why! Are you abandoning any existing cloud storage subscriptions to make the switch? Be sure to let me know that too!