iCloud was launched in 2011 as the successor to MobileMe and is Apple’s current cloud service that allows iOS and Mac users to save and synchronize information. Apple includes 5GB of iCloud storage for free with all accounts and has paid options starting at $0.99/month for 50GB.
iCloud is built into every Apple device. That means all your stuff — photos, files, notes, and more — is safe, up to date, and available wherever you are. And it works automatically, so all you have to do is keep doing what you love. Everyone gets 5GB of free iCloud storage to start, and it’s easy to add more at any time.
What is iCloud?
iCloud solved a problem that we were facing in 2011. Originally, Apple pitched the Mac as the digital hub to our life. Our iPods (and then iPhones) would sync over a cable to transfer information. As we added iPads, it became a mess. Steve demoted the Mac back to just a device and made the “cloud” the center of our digital life. Using the service, users could sync all of their data over the air. As an example, a Keynote document edited on your Mac would automatically be up to date with the latest changes on your iPad or iPhone. iCloud also allowed you to back up your iOS device for an easy path to change devices without having to set everything up manually.
The problem with this original iCloud pitch is it didn’t cover all of our photos. We didn’t get that until iCloud Photos came in iOS 8. It didn’t cover iMessage, as that didn’t come until a few years ago with messages in the cloud. It didn’t cover all of our files, but only those in the iCloud folder stored inside of app folders. We didn’t get seamless syncing of files until Apple added Desktop and Document folder syncing a few years ago.
Over time, Apple has continued to add features to iCloud, and it’s turned out to be a really robust and reliable service. Users can sync files, photos, notes, reminders, and Safari bookmarks to their Mac, iPhone, iPad, and even Apple TV (photos).
If you’re having trouble using iCloud, you may want to make sure it isn’t affected by downtime. Check Apple’s iCloud Status page here.
How much does iCloud cost?
Pricing can change at anytime (view Apple’s latest pricing page), but here are the current rates for a few countries.
United States 50GB: $0.99 200GB: $2.99 2TB: $9.99
Canada 50GB: $1.29 200GB: $3.99 2TB: $12.99
United Kingdom 50GB: £0.79 200GB: £2.49 2TB: £6.99
European Union 50GB: 0.99 € 200GB: 2.99 € 2TB: 9.99 €