iCloud’s 5GB Free Storage Limit Hasn’t Changed Since 2011

More than a decade since launched in 2011, iCloud continues to offer a mere 5GB of free storage to its users. This limitation has become a focal point of discussion and frustration among Apple users and experts. What is Apple doing—or not doing—to address this issue.

The Inadequacy of 5GB in Today’s Digital Age

The Growing Need for More Storage

As technology advances, the amount of data we generate is growing exponentially. High-resolution photos, videos, and large applications are becoming the norm, making the 5GB limit increasingly inadequate.

Even a single minute of 4K footage can take up to 6GB of space, rendering the free storage insufficient for even short vacations.

The Impact on Users

The limited storage affects regular backups and data management, especially for users with multiple Apple devices. Users often find themselves having to choose which data to back up, leaving them vulnerable to data loss. The constant notifications to upgrade their storage plan add to the inconvenience.

Apple’s Paid Plans: Are They Enough?

iCloud+ Plans

Apple has recently introduced new iCloud+ plans, offering up to 12TB of storage for $59.99 per month. These plans come with premium features like Private Relay and HomeKit Secure Video. However, the free tier remains at 5GB, which many users find insufficient for their needs.

Comparison with Competitors

Google offers 15GB of free storage through Google One, which is three times what Apple provides. Even the paid plans from Google offer more flexibility, with four different options to cater to various needs. Apple’s cheapest plan starts at 50GB for $1 per month, escalating to 200GB for $3 and 2TB for $10 per month.

Google One, OneDrive, iCloud, and Dropbox Free Storage and Pricing Comparison Table

Table 1: Free Storage

FeatureGoogle OneOneDriveiCloudDropbox
Free storage15 GB5 GB5 GB2 GB

Table 2: Pricing

FeatureGoogle OneOneDriveiCloudDropbox
100 GB$1.99/month$1.99/month$0.99/month$9.99/month
200 GB$2.99/month$2.99/month$2.99/month$16.99/month
1 TB$9.99/month$6.99/month$9.99/month$12.5/month

Table 3: Additional Features

FeatureApple iCloudGoogle OneDropbox
Free Storage5GB15GB2GB
Cheapest Paid Plan50GB for $1/month100GB for $2/month2TB for $9.99/month
Premium FeaturesYes (iCloud+)NoYes


  • Google One is the new name for Google’s paid storage plans.
  • OneDrive for Business is a subscription plan for businesses that offers additional features such as increased storage capacity, security features, and compliance tools.
  • iCloud Backup is a feature that automatically backs up your iPhone, iPad, or Mac to iCloud.
  • Dropbox is a cloud storage service that offers a variety of features, including file sharing, real-time collaboration, and offline document view.

Possible Solutions and the Road Ahead

What Apple Could Do

Possible Solutions for AppleDescription
Increase Default StorageIncrease the free storage limit
Tiered Storage PlansOffer different levels of storage at varying price points
iCloud+ IntegrationInclude more storage as part of the iCloud+ bundle

Apple could consider increasing the default storage limit or introducing tiered storage plans. They could also offer storage bonuses for certain actions or milestones, such as inviting friends to join iCloud. Another option could be to integrate more storage as part of the iCloud+ subscription bundle.

The Urgency of the Matter

As we move further into the digital age, the demand for more storage space is only going to increase. Apple needs to address this issue soon to maintain its reputation and user base, especially when competitors are offering more generous storage options.

Do I Lose All My Files If I Cancel Paid iCloud Service

No, you will not lose all of your files if you cancel your paid iCloud storage plan. However, you will only be able to store 5 GB of data in iCloud for free. If you have more than 5 GB of data stored in iCloud, you will need to either purchase more storage space or download your files to your computer or other devices.

If you do not download your files before canceling your paid iCloud storage plan, they will still be stored on Apple’s servers for 30 days. During this time, you can access and download your files by logging into your iCloud account on any device.

After 30 days, your files will be deleted from Apple’s servers. If you want to keep your files, you will need to download them to your computer or other devices before canceling your paid iCloud storage plan.

Here are some tips for managing your iCloud storage space:

  • Regularly review your iCloud storage usage and delete any files that you no longer need.
  • Use iCloud Photos to optimize your photos and videos for storage.
  • Use iCloud Drive to store only the files that you need to access from multiple devices.
  • Purchase a paid iCloud storage plan if you need more storage space.

How Do I Transfer Large Amount (1TB) of Data Off of iCloud?

There are a few ways to transfer a large amount of data off of iCloud. Here are two options:

1. Download your files to your computer

This is the simplest way to transfer a large amount of data off of iCloud, but it can be time-consuming if you have a lot of data.

To download your files to your computer:

  1. Go to iCloud.com and sign in with your Apple ID.
  2. Click on the app that contains the files you want to download (e.g., iCloud Drive, Photos, Mail, etc.).
  3. Select the files you want to download and click on the download button.
  4. Choose a location on your computer to save the files.

2. Use a third-party cloud storage service

There are a number of third-party cloud storage services that offer free or low-cost storage plans. You can use one of these services to transfer your data off of iCloud and onto another cloud storage service.

To transfer your data off of iCloud using a third-party cloud storage service:

  1. Create an account with a third-party cloud storage service.
  2. Download the cloud storage service’s app to your computer.
  3. Open the cloud storage service’s app and sign in with your account.
  4. Select the files you want to transfer from iCloud and click on the upload button.
  5. Choose a location in the cloud storage service to save the files.

Once your files have been transferred to the third-party cloud storage service, you can download them to your computer or access them from any device with an internet connection.

Additional tips:

  • If you have a large amount of data to transfer, it is recommended to use a wired internet connection instead of a Wi-Fi connection.
  • You can also use a file compression tool to compress your files before transferring them. This will reduce the amount of time it takes to transfer the files.
  • If you are transferring a large amount of data to a third-party cloud storage service, be sure to read the service’s terms of service carefully to make sure that you understand the service’s storage limits and other restrictions.

How does the 5GB free storage limit affect your usage of Apple devices and services?

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