All iCloud users get 5 GB of free storage space for Backups, Documents, and Mail.

Last week we looked at Exactly What Gets Backed Up To The iCloud?

In this post, we’re going to examine how much space you use in the iCloud, what you use it for, and if you have enough or need to buy more.

How To Access iCloud Storage Information Using The iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch

On any iOS device with an active iCloud account:

  • Tap on Settings
  • Scroll down and tap on iCloud.
  • Scroll to the bottom and tap on Storage and Backup.

Apple iOS iCloud Preferences

  • The next page shows the total space you have and the current amount you are using.
  • Tap Manage Storage.

Apple iOS iCloud Storage and Backup Preferences

  • On the page that opens you get a full breakdown of all space used by Backups, Documents and Data, and Mail.
  • Tap any item for a more detailed breakdown.

If you need to purchase more iCloud space, scroll to the bottom of the page and click on the Change Storage Plan button. This option is discussed below.

Note: On the Backup and Storage page, there is an iCloud Backup toggle switch. In the image above the toggle is currently set to Off.

If you want to backup your iOS device to the iCloud, I recommend reading the section at the bottom of this post first – Exactly What Gets Backed Up To The iCloud?

How To Access iCloud Storage Information Using The Mac

On any Mac with an active iCloud account:

  • Click on the black Apple in the top left-hand corner and select System Preferences.
  • In the Internet and Wireless section, click on iCloud.

Apple OSX System Preferences

  • On the bottom of the iCloud preferences box a gauge shows how much space you have and how much space you’re using.

Apple OSX iCloud Preferences

  • To get more detailed information, click Manage…
  • A new window appears. On the right-hand side is a list of all Apps and Devices that are using space on the iCloud.

Apple OSX iCloud Manage Storage

  • Clicking on any of these items will provide more detail or show tips on how to conserve storage space.

If you need to purchase more iCloud space click on the Change Storage Plan button. This option is discussed below.

Using iCloud Space Wisely

  1. You’ll probably find most of your iCloud space is being used by Mail. The culprit… large email attachments. It’s common to keep attachments even though they’re no longer needed or are saved in another location on your Mac.
  2. If you backup devices to the iCloud: delete backups that are not current and delete backups from devices that you no longer own.
  3. iCloud backups include the camera roll. This file can be huge. Empty the camera roll on your iPhone into iPhoto.
    Instructions on the correct way to manage photos on your iPhone can be found here – To Delete Or Not To Delete… iPhoto And Your iPhone
  4. If you use Pages, Keynote or Numbers it worth looking at what documents you are storing in the iCloud. Keynote presentations, in particular, can take up a lot of room. If they don’t need to be on the iCloud, move them onto your Mac.

What If I Exceed The 5 GB Limit?

As you get close to the 5 GB limit, you will get a warning message on your device or on your Mac.

Apple iOS iCloud Storage Warning

Until you make space or buy more space, some iCloud services will temporarily be disrupted.

The biggest problem… iCloud email routing is suspended until the storage problem is resolved.

My advice is to take a look at your iCloud storage situation now and avoid these unnecessary headaches.

How Much Does It Cost To Buy More Space?

Currently upgrade costs are:

  • 10 additional GB (15 GB total): $20/year
  • 20 additional GB (25 GB total): $40/year
  • 50 additional GB (55 GB total): $100/year

Hope this helps make the iCloud a little less… nebulous 🙂

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