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iCloud FAQ: Why Apple's online service will matter more than ever

Dan Moren, Dan Frakes | June 4, 2014
While the focus of Monday's WWDC keynote was on Apple's two operating systems, iCloud was a strong supporting player. That's because, if iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite will represent the two sides of an Oreo cookie, then iCloud will be the creamy filling that keeps them glued together.

While the focus of Monday's WWDC keynote was on Apple's two operating systems, iCloud was a strong supporting player. That's because, if iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite will represent the two sides of an Oreo cookie, then iCloud will be the creamy filling that keeps them glued together.

Among other things, Apple demoed a number of new features in both iOS and OS X under the general heading of "Continuity" — ways that Macs and iOS devices will be able to work together to offer new services, in many cases using iCloud as the link. Here's everything you need to know about the new connection services coming to Apple devices this fall.

Let's cut to the chase: How much online storage will I get for free?

5GB is yours, free! That much won't change. That will include your documents stored in iCloud Drive, your photos in your iCloud Library, your device backups, and so on. It's a little on the paltry side, but the good news is ...

How much will it cost if I want more storage?

Cheap-cheap, as the bird says. For just $1 a month, you'll get 20GB. (It's unclear if that is on top of the existing 5GB or including it.) Jack that up to $4 per month and you'll get 200GB. As a point of comparison, that $48 a year is just slightly more than the $40 a year you currently pay for 20GB. Apple says it will have tiers all the way up to 1TB of storage.

How do iCloud's new pricing/capacity options compare to, say, Dropbox?

Pretty favorably, actually. Dropbox gives you 2GB free when you sign up, and though it does offer you additional ways to pick up extra space (uploading photos, for example, or referring other users), the service's next paid tier is 100GB for $10 per month (or $100 per year if you prepay). 200GB costs you $20 per month (or $200 per year), and 500GB is $50 per month (or $500 per year).

By comparison, Microsoft's OneDrive offers 7GB free, with up to 8GB extra for uploading photos or referring users; paid plans come in at 50GB extra for $25 per year, 100GB extra for $50 per year, or 200GB extra for $100 per year. Meanwhile, Google Drive hands out 15GB free, with 100GB for $2 per month or a terabyte for $10 per month.

When will those new iCloud prices go into effect?

Apple hasn't given us a precise launch date, but we're presuming it'll be in the fall, when the new operating systems are released.

Will I be able to share files in my iCloud Drive with other people?

 

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