Hawaii Macintosh & Apple Users' Society…connecting people and technology since 1979.

Doctor Kokua – I have used up all my iCloud Storage

Doctor Kokua

From Donna Miller:

“I received a notice that I will be charged for iCloud storage next month.  It states I am about to exceed my plan of 20GB. Seeking advice as I don’t recall the purpose for needing this service.

A review of my usage:

Backups (iPhone and iPad): 14.9 GB
Photos:   1.4 Gb
1Password: 31 KB
Pages: 40 MB

5 GB is free.

Do you think if I backup via my iMac I could resolve ‘exceeding service plan?’

And do you use the iTunes Family sharing plan?  What is your opinion of it?  Pros? Cons?”


Dear Donna,

iCloud can be confusing as well as useful.

And it is a topic we intend to explore, perhaps at a future HI TLC, as part of a look at digital cameras, managing photos, archiving and storage.

In the meantime…

If your storage needs exceed your current  iCloud capacity, increase it.

Compared to the cost of a Dot Mac account (the precursor of iCloud) which was $99, including 5GB storage, iCloud storage is rather inexpensive:

20GB – $12 per year
200GB – $36 per year
500GB – $120 per year
1TB – $240 per year

Of course we are assuming that you want to store stuff in the cloud.

You can avoid recurring charges for cloud-storage by using your own local hard drives.

A 500GB external hard drive can be had for less than $100; and it’s a one-time cost.

I use several external drives for my storage/backups, and don’t archive anything in the cloud — I prefer managing my storage locally.

I believe the main iCloud advantage is making files available simultaneously on multiple devices. Turn on iCloud syncing and you don’t need to manage stuff manually on each and every device.

For me, it works great for email messages, and Calendar entries; not so good for Contacts.

And since I don’t usually need to access my photos everywhere, I don’t use PhotoStream.

Bottom Line

It is cheaper to use your own hard drives for long term storage and archiving, and is practical if you don’t require mobile access to your stuff all the time.

As for iTunes Family or Home Sharing…

The advantage is that you can purchase an item on one computer, using one iTunes account, and everyone on your home network can enjoy it.

Sharing can be turned On or Off according to each device user’s discretion.

It is sort of like using iCloud to synch stuff to multiple devices.

– Doctor Kokua

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