iCloud storage graph

The situation with iCloud storage would be funny if it wasn’t so ridiculous, and we’ve already made our feelings clear on whether Apple should offer more storage for free. But if you really must pay, why not save some money?

Even though Apple’s pricing of iCloud storage has improved, that doesn’t excuse the fact that it should be offering more of it for free, and there’s a school of thought that it should give away enough to fully back up any iPhone or iPad they sell. That’s problematic in many ways, not least the fact that with iPhone sales slowing, Apple is relying more than ever on its services as a way of making money.

It’s true that Apple’s iCloud storage pricing is more competitive than some, but that doesn’t excuse it from offering a paltry 5 GB of storage when it’s sat on Scrooge McDuck levels of cash. It’s for that reason that we have no qualms about sharing a couple of ways you might be able to save some money, should you absolutely need some more storage for your photos etc.

So with that said, let’s get started.

Buy Discounted Gift Cards

Apple has sold App Store and iTunes gift cards for many years, and despite the names, they’re ostensibly the same. No matter what it’s called, the card’s balance is ultimately added to your Apple ID which in turn means that you can use it for purchasing any of Apple’s services or software products. That means you can buy apps, music, or even pay for an in-app subscription if you like. And you can even pay for more iCloud storage, too.

That in itself isn’t going to save you any money, but big stores sometimes put iTunes gift cards on sale for a discount, so there may be an opportunity for saving a few dollars here and there. Remember, every little bit helps.

How Much Storage Do You Really Need?

Sometimes we’re all guilty of panic buying. Storage is one area where that can creep up, especially if you’re not really sure how much space you need. It can sometimes be easier to just pay for the highest storage tier just to never have to worry about storage again, but if you don’t quite need that much, you can save a few dollars per month by making sure you’re on the right tier.

Head into Settings, followed by tapping your name at the top of the screen.

Click your name

Next, tap “iCloud” and marvel at the visual representation of how much iCloud storage you are using, as well as how much is currently available.

Click iCloud

If you’re using a small portion of what’s available, it might be time to downgrade.

Check your iCloud usage

Use Family Sharing to Share Storage

Family Sharing is an often-overlooked feature that Apple offers. It lets people from within the same family share resources such as apps and services. Thankfully, iCloud storage is one of those things you can share, so instead of having multiple people all using individual buckets of data, having them all dip into the same bucket can save you some money.

To enable iCloud storage sharing, open Settings and tap on your name at the top of the screen,

Click your name

Next, tap on Family Sharing.

Click Family Sharing

Tap iCloud Storage.

Click iCloud Storage

Now simply follow the steps to share your existing storage or, if needed, upgrade to the 200 GB or 2 TB tier.

How to Save Space in iCloud

If all else fails, there are some ways that you can reduce how much iCloud storage you use. For example, you can use Google Photos to store an unlimited number of photos for free and avoid iCloud Photo Library. Some of them may require some creative storage management, but it may just be enough to save you spending money if you don’t have to.

Oliver Haslam Oliver Haslam
Oliver Haslam is a professional freelance writer with nearly ten years of experience. His work has been published on Macworld, PCMag, 1Password's blog, and other websites. He writes about all things Apple.
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