Time for Apple to rethink iCloud storage?

“There’s no shortage of predictions over what Apple will discuss at its upcoming September event, but here’s one thing that the company probably won’t spend any time on, even though perhaps it should: iCloud storage,” Dan Moren reports for Macworld.

“On Wednesday, Apple quietly added a new storage tier to its iCloud offerings: 2TB of storage for $20 per month,” Moren reports. “That has prompted plenty of speculation, some suggesting that a 256GB iPhone might appear to join the 256GB iPad Pro, or that the base storage for iPhones will be bumped up to 32GB. Of course, there are other potential reasons for the storage bump, such as a new feature of macOS Sierra that lets you store your Documents and Desktop folders in iCloud, to be synced between all your Macs.”

“nevitably, when my friends and family talk to me about tech problems, iCloud is among the most prominent culprit in their tales of woes and frustration. Of late, I’ve especially heard several friends’ tales of being constantly bugged by messages that there’s not enough space in iCloud to store their backup, along with a wheeling dialog box encouraging them to upgrade their storage plan,” Moren reports. “For something that’s supposed to give customers a little peace of mind, iCloud seems to cause an undue amount of stress instead… As Apple is so fond of saying, perhaps there’s more to be gained from providing an experience that surprises and delights users, instead of irritating them.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: The number one iOS-related question we get from friends and family is, “My iPhone is always telling me I need more storage. Should I buy more iCloud storage?” It’s an unnecessary — and, for many, confusing — friction point that Apple really should rethink.

Is Apple’s iCloud storage worth $239.88 per year? – September 1, 2016
Apple adds new 2TB iCloud storage tier for $19.99 per month – August 31, 2016


  1. From time to time people have to look at their devices and see what apps or data they no longer need and get rid of it. I do that several times a year and I have been surviving with 50gb with three devices and plenty of room to spare. Get or buy the right about of storage you need and you won’t even notice iCloud.

  2. The problem for me with iCloud and photos on my iOS devices is that you can’t delete a photo from your device to free up storage without the photo being deleted from iCloud. So buying more storage to accommodate the iOS device’s photo libraries is essentially an ineffective way to accumulate a photo library and save it to the cloud.

    The only way to save/preserve photos you intend to delete from your devices is to go to iCloud.com, go to your photos, select the ones you plan on deleting from your devices, then physically download them to your computer. From there, ostensibly, you could then transfer them to a photos folder on your expanded iCloud storage where your could access them from the iCloud app on your devices.

    Or get Dropbox, OneDrive, Amazon, etc that upload your photos but retain them if you delete them on your devices.

    It’s circuitous and frustrating.

    1. You could turn on Optimize Storage… which helps, but doesn’t fully solve this problem.

      Honestly though, it’s a tough problem to fully resolve for both casual and power users.

      The way it stands now, you can have full original photos only on your iPhone, you can have optimized photos only on your iPhone, or you can have optimized photos and manually select which albums or photos you want to be full originals.

      The problem is that the definition of “Optimized” is inconsistent (for valid reasons) and for a lot of people this is not only confusing, but ends up with photos that a person simply doesn’t want in any manner on their iPhone.

      What Apple should do is at the Album/Folder level allow photos to be Listed, Optimized, or Full Originals.

      Listed lets you know that the album or folder exists, but it’s not currently on your iPhone in any form. These can be downloaded as Optimized or Full Originals at any time.

      This allows people to do things like have photos in iCloud say for work projects, but not have them on their iPhone… or just photos that are say from family reunions or whatever that you wouldn’t want to delete permanently, but have no interest in keeping in any form on your iPhone (even if space wasn’t an issue).

      This would be really easy to implement and wouldn’t affect casual consumers at all.

  3. I’d like to see iCloud have Selective Sync or Reverse Selective Syn like every other cloud service. “Optimize Storage” doesn’t cut it.

    This is why I’m still using Dropbox/OneDrive even though I have an iCloud subscription.

  4. I have never understood the current scheme..
    If I buy a 32GB iphone with built in icloud backup. They should give me at least 32GB of storage. For my sake it could be dedicated to backup only.
    If I then buy a 64GB iPad they should give me enough storage to back that up as well.
    Today it is kind of a negative pusher strategy.
    I buy an iphone wtih bulit in automatic icloud backup. Oh! You want to usethe feature you bought sorry that costs extra.

  5. iOS 10 will go far in addressing a lot of these issues. I’m using it along with Sierra, and while it’s still got hiccups, Apple’s basic direction is good. The OS updates will largely create a seamless working environment on all your Apple devices: whatever I do on my iMac is automatically reflected on my MacBook Pro, iPad, and iPhone, which is also true with any of the other devices. This ecosystem essentially creates a comprehensive cloud file manager for all your data, with the hardware simply being work devices.

    But as others point out Apple still hasn’t gotten the optimization down yet, I also get the ‘your storage is full’ message regularly.

  6. I’ve had the “not enough storage” message frustration enough that I finally bought the 50gb $0.99/month plan. The phantom backups varied in size from 30-60GB, even though I turned off everything besides settings and docs (no photos, vids, etc.). At least it works now, but it’s annoying to pay for what I don’t need. I tried deleting old backups only to get the message again. I’m not interested in being in limbo where I have NO backup and my device won’t create a new one.

  7. Am I the only one that pays for the larger (1 TB) iCloud package? I have over 95,000 photos and almost 5,000 videos associated with Photos and I LOVE that I can access them all at any time on my iPad, iPhone or Mac. I use iCloud Drive as my portable filing cabinet and often log in to my iCloud on other peoples computers (PC and Mac) to refer to or show them things. Those of you who are requesting enough space to back up a specific device have not fully perused the iCloud parameters – the backups are “compressed”. My (almost full) 64 GB iPhone has an iCloud backup of 15.2 GB, my (half full) 128 GB iPad Air has an iCloud backup of 7.7 GB and my entire photos library exists on the cloud in the size of 564.9 GB. Thanks to the magic of “search” in Photos and my use of Keywords, album names, faces, moments and places – I can find almost any photo that I am searching for on any device st any time – my friends are constantly amazed when I can immediately refer to and share a photo re a story we are talking about or “what that used to look like” or “remember when” … So easy and so cool! I am VERY happy with iCloud and all of its services and highly recommend it as being very worthwhile. I should mention as well that I hardly use my loaded 27″ iMac – my devices of choice are iOS and they do everything that I need.

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