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Six Colors

by Jason Snell & Dan Moren

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By Dan Moren

Where’s the iCloud storage bump for the rest of us?

Note: This story has not been updated for several years.

Look, it’s lovely that Apple has decided to give 200GB of free iCloud storage to any Apple ID associated with a teacher or student. It’s a nice gesture, and one that probably makes things a lot easier for those in school environments.

But, come on, Apple–you’re really going to leave the rest of us at 5GB?

The standard 5GB of free iCloud storage has been in place for years now, and, frankly, it’s starting to wear thin. When most iOS devices come in 32GB configurations at the smallest, and many start at 64GB, 5GB feels pretty paltry. Especially when the next step in the upgrade tier is to pay $0.99 for 50GB of storage space. I realize Services has become a moneymaker for Apple, but it just feels cheap.

And that’s not a feeling I often get from Apple. This is a company that has prided itself on making luxurious, high-end devices, and touts its desire to surprise and delight its customers. You know what would surprise and delight me? Enough room to back up my photos without having to pay more money every month.

Yes, competitors like Microsoft and Amazon still offer just 5GB of free storage, too–but has Apple’s approach ever been “what’s good enough for our competitors is good enough for us”? (And Google, for what it’s worth, offers 15GB of free storage.)

I’ve made the argument before, but I still think Apple could go a long way to engendering even more brand loyalty by offering free storage for iCloud Photo Libraries. Photos and videos are by far the most irreplaceable things on most people’s digital devices, and the ones they care the most about.

I see too many people who don’t want to back up their data because they are worried about being hostage to additional fees for the rest of their lives. Think of the time and effort saved by not having to devote Genius Bar resources to break it to people that their photos weren’t backed up. Heck, think of how much easier it will be to convince people to upgrade their devices when they have the assurance that all their data will be there immediately–not just what they can back up without spending extra money.

Storage is cheap–even in the high volumes that Apple is working with. I’m not suggesting that Apple hand out unlimited iCloud storage, or even a terabyte to every customer. But would bumping people up to that 50GB storage tier be so bad? Some people will still end up paying more for more storage on top of that. And at least most of Apple’s customers won’t feel like they’re being nickel-and-dimed on top of the hundreds of dollars they just spent on a new phone or tablet.

[Dan Moren is the East Coast Bureau Chief of Six Colors. You can find him on Mastodon at or reach him by email at His latest novel, the supernatural detective story All Souls Lost, is now available for pre-order.]

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