In the past, if you wanted more than the free 5 GB of iCloud storage for iCloud mail, backups, and documents, you could add 10 GB for $20 per year, 20 GB for $40 per year, or 50 GB for $100 per year. Those prices and storage quantities sound downright quaint today, given the forthcoming iCloud Drive that will provide personal cloud storage in OS X Yosemite and iOS 8, and the competitive landscape for online file sharing services like Dropbox and Google Drive.
Apple’s new plans are:
- 5 GB for free (no change)
- 20 GB for $0.99 per month
- 200 GB for $3.99 per month
- 500 GB for $9.99 per month
- 1 TB for $19.99 per month
Those who previously paid for more storage have had their accounts automatically upgraded to a new tier, complete with prorated refunds. Since those previous plans were annual, Apple is grandfathering them in at that frequency; if you change to a new plan, it will be billed monthly and you can’t switch back to annual billing.
You can upgrade the storage levels from your Mac (in the iCloud pane of System Preferences, click Manage Details, and then Buy More Storage) or your iOS device (tap Settings > iCloud > Storage & Backup > Buy More Storage).
Although these changes are welcome, especially for those who anticipate using iCloud Drive heavily, Apple still isn’t particularly competitive with other major cloud storage providers. Dropbox offers only 2 GB of free space to start, but provides free ways of increasing that to 18 GB or more. In addition, the company’s 1 TB Dropbox Pro account costs only $9.99 per month. Google Drive provides 15 GB of free space, and also offers 1 TB of space for $9.99 per month.
It’s also worth remembering that Dropbox and Google Drive are not only cheaper, but far more useful for online file sharing and collaboration.