How To Upgrade, Downgrade, and Manage Your iCloud Storage

If you’re using iCloud backup and storage (which you should be), you’ll know that Apple provides you with 5 free GBs of storage. This amount is useful, but you will use it up quickly.

As iPhone cameras improve, our apps get more complicated, and as Apple expands the amount of files that sync up with iCloud, you’ll find yourself wanting more storage.

There are a few ways to make your iCloud work better. In this guide we’ll cover how you can manage iCloud Storage, and how you can both upgrade it, and downgrade it.

How To Upgrade Your iCloud Storage

If you’ve run out of storage, you’ll probably start receiving a notification saying that your iPhone has run out of storage or that your iPhone hasn’t been backed up in x amount of days. If this is the case, it’s probably worth upgrading your storage.

The pricing works out to be $0.99/month for 50 GBs, $2.99 for 200 GB, 9.99 for 1TB, and 19.99 for 2 TB.

In most cases, if your iPhone has under 50 GBs of storage on it as it is, then you’ll be fine with the $0.99/month for 50 GBs. At the very least, it’s a good place to start.

Should your 50 GBs be insufficient, you can always upgrade. Upgrading means your iPhone will continue to automatically back up your data. You don’t have to remember to plug it in to your Mac or PC, it will just continue doing it automatically.

If you want to check on what you’re currently paying and potentially upgrade, follow these steps:

Open up the Settings app on your iPhone.

Tap your Apple ID card at the top of the screen.

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Tap on iCloud.

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Tap on the Storage chart.

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This will bring you to a screen that tells you how much storage you have, and what is available.

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To change or upgrade your storage plan, tap on Change Storage Plan.

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Here you’ll be presented with options that will allow you to upgrade. I have the 200 GB plan, so my only upgrade options are 1 TB and 2 TB. To upgrade, simply tap another option.

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Downgrading Your iPhone Storage

If you’ve taken a look at your iCloud storage plan and realized that you’re actually paying too much and not using all of your storage, you may want to downgrade. You can downgrade at any time, and Apple will reflect that on your bill.

To downgrade, follow all the same steps as above, but when you get to the storage plan screen, tap on Downgrade.

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You’ll have to enter your iCloud password.

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Then, you can select from the downgrade options.

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If you’re within 15 days of you billing cycle, then you’ll be billed the same for that month. If not, then you’ll get a refund.

Managing Your Existing iCloud Storage

If you’re not interested in upgrading, you may be interested in ways you can make your iCloud storage work harder for you. iCloud is mostly designed to back up your data, it’s less so to replace your internal data.

iCloud Backup simply mirrors whatever is already on your phone. Thus, the best way to increase the space you have on your iCloud Backup is to decrease the amount of data you’ve got on your phone. Whether this means deleting photos or apps.

However, there are a few places within your iCloud backup, that you can look at to free up room on your iCloud backup. Follow these steps to check it out:

Open up the Settings app on your iPhone.

Tap your Apple ID card at the top of the screen.

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Tap on iCloud.

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Tap on the Storage chart.

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Tap on Manage Storage.

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Now, take a look at your olds backups. There may be old ones that you don’t need. If you see a back up that does not say ‘This iPhone’, tap on it. (I’ve already cleaned up my iCloud, so this doesn’t apply to me)

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Within the backup itself, scroll down to the bottom. Here, you can tap on Delete Backup, and it will free up the space taken up by the backup.

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You can also take a look under Documents & Data. If you notice that one app in particular is taking up a lot of room, feel free to go into that app and delete things.

In particular, watch out for Mail. Sometimes, large attachments and images that are sent in Mail are then backed up, and take up a lot of room on your iCloud account. To combat this, delete these emails within the Mail app itself.

iCloud Photo Library

To save you room on your phone itself, iCloud Photo Library stores your photos in the cloud instead of on your phone. This usually eats up a fair bit of storage, but it also saves you physical storage on your phone.

To reduce the amount of space the photo library takes up on your iCloud account, you must delete photos from your phone. Unfortunately, that’s the only way to do it, barring turning off the iCloud Photo Library, which means that your pictures won’t be synced across devices.

If you want to keep all your pictures, it’s probably worth the $0.99/month, so that you can have all your pictures, everywhere, all the time.

Managing iCloud Drive

In my iCloud, the iCloud Drive takes up a huge amount of space. You can use iCloud Drive to sync data across devices, and also save space on your physical device. I store a ton of documents, data, videos, and music in iCloud Drive.

Tap on Other Documents to check out what you’ve got stored on iCloud Drive.

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If you have several folders syncing with iCloud Drive, tap the folder you want to look inside.

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Swipe left on any documents that you don’t want to sync with iCloud.

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If after all of this you still don’t have enough room to backup with iCloud, consider upgrading your storage plan, or simply backing up manually.

If you have concerns regarding billing, dial 800-APL-CARE. Apple Support will help you out!

May 17, 2017

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