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How to avoid paying Apple for extra iCloud storage

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No matter how many iOS or macOS devices you own, Apple offers just 5GB of free storage to iCloud users – a paltry amount given what rivals offer. But there are ways you can avoid paying for more storage space, or at least limit how much extra you pay.

Here are easy-to-follow tips on how to put some of the biggest iCloud data-consuming features on a diet and save money on iCloud storage.

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No matter how many iPhones, iPads or Macs you buy, Apple only provides 5GB of free iCloud storage. 

Why do you need to manage iCloud storage?

Apple has made iCloud storage a seemingly essential element for all its products, from Macs to iPads, iPhones and even Apple TV. There are four principal elements to the service. These include:

  • iCloud Backup: It’s used for all the iPad, iPhone and iPod backups you’ve made without using iTunes.
  • iCloud Drive: This is for all your documents and data from third-party apps on Macs and iOS devices that store data in the cloud. Apple’s iCloud Documents and Data service was combined with iCloud Drive in 2022.
  • iCloud Mail: Naturally, this is storage for all the emails and attachments you’ve ever received through your iCloud account.
  • iCloud Photo Library: This is storage for all the pictures and videos you’ve ever taken.

That’s an extensive list of items to squeeze inside Apple’s ever-so-tiny 5GB free allocation. To get the most out of it, you may want to regularly check how much storage you’re already using and take steps to migrate some of those storage tasks to non-Apple products and services.

How much does iCloud storage cost?

Apple offers four storage options: 5GB (free); 50GB (99 cents/month); 200GB ($2.99/month); and 2TB ($9.99/month).

If you use other services, such as Apple Music or Apple TV+, then you may find it makes sense to subscribe to the Apple One service, which may save a few bucks.