Apple gives iCloud users 5 GB of iCloud storage space.  At first, 5 GB does not seem like a lot of storage space, however it is. For a majority of users it is plenty. For others, it isn’t. This storage space is for backups, documents and data, and email only if you are using a @mac.com, @me.com, or @icloud.com address…

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To look at your iCloud settings to see what you are syncing and backing up, on your iOS device, open up settings, then tap on iCloud. In terms of storage space, if you have Contacts, Calendars, Reminders, Safari, Notes, Passbook (on iPhone) and Photo Stream turned on, these items do not take up any of the 5 GB of storage space. It is a good idea to have these on, as it allows the content to be synced to another iOS device, icloud.com, a Mac or a PC.  It is also a good idea to turn these on, because what if you don’t have an iCloud backup or an iTunes backup of your iOS device and something bad happens to your device? Backing up and syncing your Contacts, Calendars, Reminders, Safari, Notes, and Passbook is free. Photo Stream is a different ball game.

Photo Stream doesn’t take up part of the iCloud storage space, but you are NOT able to access it on icloud.com. Photo Stream pushes any new pictures you take or import to your other devices for a total of thirty days.  Photo Stream stores your last thousand pictures, in which you can then save them permanently to your other device.

Now let’s discuss how to check and see your iCloud storage. Tap on Storage & Backup.

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On this screen, you will see your Total Storage and how much storage is available. I have used 3.7 GB. Down at the bottom it will ask you if you want to back up to iCloud. I highly recommend doing that, because for the most part it is very hassle free. he iCloud backup will:

Automatically back up your camera roll, accounts, documents and setting when this iPod Touch [iOS device] is plugged in, locked, and connected to Wi-Fi.

If you scroll all the way down towards the bottom it will show you when the device was last backed up to iCloud.

To determine the size of the backup files press the manage storage button.

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If you have multiple iOS devices backing up on iCloud, it will list all of them.  I have “THREE” devices backing up to iCloud.  It will also show you how much space Documents & Data are taking up.  If you are using Pages, Numbers, and Keynote, by tapping on each one, it will show you the size and break down for you how big each file is, and gives you access to delete the file.

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Also down at the bottom, if you are using a @mac.com, @me.com, or @icloud.com email address it will show you how much space your Mail takes.

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Note my mail is on the bigger side of 1.6 GB. This makes sense. I have and been using my account for ten years, have five hundred emails in my inbox, have never deleted my sent email for the past five years, and still have my original welcome to .Mac emails. For a majority of users, their mail size is typically a handful of MB.

If you click on one of the devices that is not the one you are currently using, all you will see is when the Latest Backup occurred, the Backup Size, and will have the option to delete the backup.

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If you tap on the device you are actually using, you will see when the Latest Backup occurred, the Backup size, will have the option to delete the backup but now you also have backup options.

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Here it shows you what on your device is backing up and how big the file is for that app. For the majority of the apps they are rather small. A couple of MB or KB. You can leave everything on. They are so small and insignificant (in terms of storage, maybe not data) that by turning each one off in the hopes of saving room in your iCloud is a waste of time.  What is going to eat up the majority of the room is the Camera Roll.  The Camera Roll is the place on your device where the pictures are being saved after you take them. If that number is close to 5 GB, you will have to make room so that way iCloud can back up your device. Backing up your photos through iCloud is a good idea and it works great, but it isn’t as ideal as one would like it to be. You cannot see the backup file itself. You cannot go into the backup file and just take the pictures out.

However, there are other options for backing up the photos that you take:

1.  In iCloud, if you have the switch turned on for backing up the Camera Roll, it is going to back up EVERYTHING in your camera roll, the photos you backed up to your computer or Dropbox and your new pictures.  iCloud doesn’t know which pictures are saved elsewhere or not.  iCloud is just going to back up all of the pictures in your Camera Roll.  If you then want to continue to use iCloud to back up your device, you would have to delete the photos out of your camera roll.  Then you should be able to do a backup.  If not, delete the ENTIRE backup that contained the huge camera roll, and then redo a backup with nothing in your camera roll.

2.  You can always turn the switch off for backing up the Camera Roll in iCloud, and then you will be able to back up the rest of the files and data on your iOS device.

3.  Use Dropbox to back up your pictures on your iOS device. Next week’s article will be about how to set up and use Dropbox.

4.  Do not use iCloud.  Back up your device the old fashion way.  Plug it into your computer through iTunes. Press the Backup button.

5.  Purchase more iCloud storage space.  To do that you would press on the Change Storage Plan.

The iCloud packages are a yearly subscription.  iCloud will charge the credit card you have on file associated with your Apple ID, or an iTunes gift card you have on file associated with your Apple ID.

My recommendations would be to do scenario 3 and scenario 5, as they are probably the easiest and most worry free.

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