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iCloud+ plans max out at 2TB. Apple needs to offer more.

More than 3 trillion.

That’s the number of photos taken with iPhones around the world last year, according to to Apple. The company announced that milestone earlier this week at its latest Apple Event.

While many were amazed at that number, all I could think of was “damn, that’s going to take a lot of storage space.” And Apple lacks that.

The year is 2022 and Apple is still offering a maximum iCloud+ storage plan of 2TB. It makes no sense.

Three trillion photos taken on iPhones last year prove that 2TB of iCloud+ storage isn’t enough.
Credit: Apple

Every year Apple announces a new iPhone, a major focus is the upgrade of camera hardware that offers significant improvements in photo and video quality. That means better photos. It also means larger files. According to Apple itself, a single minute of 4K video recorded on an iPhone can take up as much as 400MB of space. This year, at its Apple event, the company paid a lot of attention to the insane 48mp camera of the new iPhone 14 Pro. One photo taken with this iPhone camera, in the high-quality ProRAW format, can be approximately 75MB in size.

You’re going to fill your measly 2TB iCloud storage plan with photos and videos of that size very quickly. So what does Apple want you to do?


If you’ve ever paid for extra iCloud storage, Apple can send you money for free

The latest Apple Event proves once and for all that 2TB just isn’t enough,

The riddle of iCloud storage

It’s unclear why Apple doesn’t iCloud+ storage plan greater than 2TB. Seems easy to do! More money for Apple, right? The company offers much, much smaller storage options. All iCloud users are offered 5 GB for free (lol). There are upgrade options for 99 cents per month for 50 GB and $2.99 ​​per month for 200 GB. Then, of course, there’s the largest plan at $9.99 per month for 2 TB.

“You already have the largest iCloud+ plan available,” the iCloud settings reads once you look at the upgrade options page if you’re on the 2TB plan.

iPhone iCloud+ Storage Plan

2TB is currently the largest iCloud+ plan offered.
Credit: Mashable screenshot

You could argue that most users probably don’t need 2TB of cloud storage for their photos. Maybe it will be for a while. But again, over 3 trillion iPhone photos in 365 days. People are taking more photos than ever before. And that doesn’t even count videos! If you’re a lifelong iPhone user, many will definitely max out that 2TB of storage eventually.

Apple itself also markets the iPhone for users that go beyond the “average” iPhone consumer. At recent Apple events, the company has regularly praised how the iPhone can be used by professional filmmakers and photographers, as the device can create high-quality media, which in turn means large files.

And remember, storage space is for everything, not just your iPhone photos and videos. Your music and movies, documents and other files, app data, your iCloud backups all count towards your iCloud storage. If you’re also a Mac user, Apple encourages you to connect your iCloud drive to your laptop or desktop computer and share that entire 2TB of iCloud storage with those devices as well. insanity!

Much of the advice you’d find online if they max out their iCloud+ storage is to just move older media from iCloud to physical storage. Sure, that’s a solution. Those users should also give up the other selling point for iCloud+, which is the software Apple uses to mark photos and memories on iCloud.

But even if that loss isn’t a deal breaker, it will complicate things for the average iPhone user. And that’s because users should back up their photos to a local, physical hard drive anyway. After they’ve been removed from iCloud, those photos still need to be backed up to a second cloud or local storage location. Simply moving those photos from iCloud to a hard drive would mean no backup of those files would exist.

The solution (but it sucks)

There is a workaround that allows you to upgrade the maximum iCloud+ 2TB plan to 4TB storage: Sign up for Apple OneApple’s bundled subscription solution.

By signing up for Apple One’s largest subscription, Premium, iPhone users can get 2TB of iCloud+ storage and also access Apple Music, Apple TV+, Apple Arcade, Apple News+, and Apple Fitness+. Subscribe to it on top of your standalone iCloud+ 2TB plan and users can double their storage space to 4TB.

But here’s the problem. An Apple Premium Plus subscription costs $29.95 per month. And if you want that 4TB total, users will have to keep paying for that $9.99 iCloud+ plan as well. So, basically, to just double your 2TB of storage, you have to pay 4 times the price.

Apple One Subscriptions

The current offering of Apple One.
Credit: Mashable screenshot

Let’s compare this workaround to a similar service from Google, Apple’s biggest smartphone competitor. Google calls their storage service, interestingly enough, Google One. A Google One subscription provides storage space that can be shared with a user’s Gmail, Google Photos, and Google Drive. Android users can even backup their devices. It’s pretty much like iCloud+ based on the offerings. Even the plans are nearly identical: $1.99 per month for 100 GB, $2.99 ​​per month for 200 GB, and $9.99 for 2 TB.

But here’s the thing: Google One isn’t maxing out 2TB. Large plans are available (with the largest up to 30TB!). But let’s take a look at the next plan after the 2TB plan.


Create a Shared iCloud Photo Library with iOS 16

For $24.99 per month, Google One subscribers can get 5 TB of storage per month. That’s a whole extra 1TB for Apple’s 4TB solution… at a price that’s over 37 percent cheaper. If you paid Google One $49.99 per month, the service would give you a whopping 10TB of storage per month. That’s just $10 more per month than Apple’s $40 4TB and you get 2.5 times the storage.

So, in short, while there is a solution for more than 2 TB of iCloud+ storage, Apple’s math is wrong.

Will Apple eventually offer iCloud+ plans larger than 2 TB, and at reasonable prices? It seems likely. But the fact that they still haven’t is mind-boggling, especially as they keep upgrading their iPhones to produce higher quality media that takes up more and more storage space.

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