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Apple's 5 GB of free iCloud space isn't nearly enough

Craig Grannell | Nov. 8, 2013
When you've splashed out on yet another iOS device, you should at least be able to back it up without paying Apple more money.

Gosh, what a what's the opposite word for 'bargain' again?

I recently bought an iPhone 5s. After a Mexican stand-off between me, iTunes and the device, all my apps finally transferred over, and I set about doing the first thing any sane person does on acquiring a new computer or mobile device: getting the back-up running.

Having been bitten by data loss a few times now, I'm a touch paranoid about keeping everything safe. My Macs have local and remote back-ups in place, but the process should in theory be even simpler with an iOS device, because you can back-up to iCloud. If your iPhone is, say, mysteriously catapulted out of the window by forces unknown, into the clutches of a passing bald eagle, who them swoops majestically into the sunset, talons gripping its shiny new prize, you should be able to painlessly restore from iCloud to the replacement device sold to you by a slightly puzzled Apple Store employee.

I say 'in theory' very deliberately, because the reality is Apple's decided in the case of remote storage that it wants to be Dropbox rather than Flickr. Dropbox, as you might be aware, is a paid-for online file-sync service, which gives anyone who signs up a relatively small amount of storage (2 GB); if you want more, you pay. Flickr, on the other hand, gleefully flings a massive 1 TB in your general direction, providing a potential online home for all of your photographs; charges only enter the equation when someone needs more than that colossal amount of storage.

With iCloud, Apple gives you 5 GB for free. If you want more, you can change your plan: £14 per year gets you an extra 10 GB; £28 per year gets you 20 GB; and 50 GB is a snip at just £70 per year. And, yes, that was a soupon of sarcasm you detected drizzled over that factoid, not least because Apple's prices are insanely high compared to other online storage companies; additionally, 50 GB is your maximum limit regardless of your needs.

Which all leads me back to my new iPhone, bought for the kind of money that made my credit card yelp. The initial back-up failed, because I already had other devices and other back-ups. I deleted one for my old iPhone. Still not enough. I then sat there in the Settings app, pruning things from my back-up that could be easily restored from elsewhere: Camera Roll; iBooks; a couple of video apps. Eventually, the back-up took. Naturally, three days later I got an email from Apple saying that my iCloud storage was almost full (again); I read it like an email from a mafia goon: "Hey, pal: you can always pay up to keep your documents safe! It'd be an awful shame if anything happened to them!"

 

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