It was on June 06, 2011 - Apple introduced iCloud, their renowned cloud service model. For your knowledge, let me say this first – iCloud wasn’t Apple’s first cloud service. It was merely the continuation of their cloud models such as iTools, Mac, MobileMe, etc.
But, there was something quite special about iCloud from its forerunners. It was Apple’s first online service that reached consumers for free – at least the first 5GB of storage space.
It’s been 5 years since the arrival of iCloud. Can you spot any change in this free 5 GB offering from Apple?
Do you really think, there should be a change?
Why not? From its starting itself, there were a number of services as part of iCloud including the former MobileMe (Contacts, Mail, Calendar), AppStore, iBookStore, iCloud Backup, iTunes and iPhoto Library. Now, these space-consuming services can be brought up under four major categories
iCloud Drive: It’s a cloud-based file storage service that helps to sync files across your different devices like Macs, iPhones, iPads, etc. A file on your iCloud drive can be accessed from any of your Apple devices using same Apple ID.
iCloud Backup: Contains all the backups of your iPhones, Mac, iPhones, etc. saved into cloud. By default, accounts, documents, Health data, Home configuration and settings” are the services on your iPhone/iPad that get backed up.
iCloud Mail – Whoever, having an Apple ID must also have an iCloud email account. iCloud Mail consists of all the emails from your iCloud email account along with attachments.
iCloud Photo Library – All your photos and videos across your Macs and iOS devices will be synchronized to iCloud Photo Library.
Let me assume, you’re no longer a newbie to Macs/iPhones. Maybe my assumption is wrong. But, it doesn’t matter in such a situation where multiple devices have to make use of an absolutely negligible 5 GB space to store - device backups, various documents, large media libraries and so on.
How much GB of iCloud Space An Average Apple User Needs?
Well, let’s take a rough estimation. A typical Apple user who has been using an iPhone for 5 years would have at least 3 GB in his/her iCloud as the iCloud backup. If the same person has been using an iPad for 3 years, adds up 1 to 2 GB in iCloud. That sums up the maximum free iCloud storage given by Apple.
See, we have only taken backups, still it reached the free storage limit. What if, the data from iCloud documents and iCloud Photo Library is being taken under consideration?
So, I am ready to say - even we choose 100 GB as ideal free storage limit for Apple users, it won’t be too much.
How Much More is Space you can buy from Apple?
Like any other cloud storage provider, Apple allows you to upgrade your iCloud storage plan where you will be charged monthly for each subscription. These are the latest iCloud pricing for North America.
While compared to any other cloud service model, this planning won’t seems too pricey (Not neglecting the fact that Google Drive offers 15 GB free storage). But, is this enough for an average Mac user? They can expect more free storage option as they have paid enough for the hardware.
In my view, Apple can minimize the extent of iCloud storage issue by taking any of these actions
- Increasing the free 5GB storage limit to 50 GB for every user
- Allowing 5GB for each new Mac device a user buy
Interestingly, some Apple users won’t think even about the free 5GB offering from Apple and they turn off iCloud backup from their devices. Mac users are not an exception. For them, it’s not a feasible option to back up all the files in their Mac to iCloud. So, they use external drives to have faster access to their data. In a world where connectivity is not ubiquitous, local storage of data will still persist, whether the data is accessed by PCs or Macs.
Conversely, as long you depend on local storage for data backup, it’s an undeniable fact that you may lose data by mistake. Sometimes, the lost data would not be important to you while sometimes, it’d be so vital to you.
Also Read: The Best Data Recovery Solution for Mac
One more – if you are a person whose data storage needs lies within 5 GB, I can’t argue (hardly, it won’t be the case). There're no questions on iCloud’s reliability and scalability. Your most important files will be safe there. But, if you to back up more than 100GB of data, external drives are most cost effective solution. Studies reveal the chances for a hard drive failure in the first three years is less than 10 percent. So, if your free iCloud storage space is over, it’s good to get an external hard disk from a reliable brand and backup your data.
Senior Editor, Content Analyst and a fan of exceptional customer service. John develops and publishes instructional and informational content regarding partition management, Windows hot-fixes, data management and computer troubleshooting.
As a tenured data recovery specialist, John shares exceptional insights and blog posts about data loss and data recovery across any storage device. With 8+ years’ experience in writing for Data Recovery for both Mac OS and Windows OS computers, he is an avid learner who always wants to polish and simplify the data recovery process. John passes his free time playing Chess and reading Science Fiction novels.