Tech Tip: This (Server) Space for Rent
Q. I’m getting warnings about my iCloud drive’s being full, and Apple wants to sell me more space. Are there other options that are easier and cheaper? I don’t need to back up my whole computer, just random stuff.
A. Apple gives every iCloud account holder five free gigabytes of space on its servers to store online copies of documents, photos and videos, as well as device backups. The files can all be reached from iOS devices, Macs and PCs running the iCloud software. Messages from iCloud mail accounts (and Apple’s older mail services using @me.com and @mac.com) are also stored within that space.
If you get warning messages, Apple suggests either buying more iCloud storage — or deleting old messages, files and iOS device backups to free up space within your original five gigabytes. Buying more storage directly from Apple is relatively easy because you do not have to download or install any new software — and the company may already have your credit card on file if you buy media content and apps from its iTunes, iBooks or App Stores. Prices start at 99 cents a month to tack on 50 gigabytes of storage space; 200 gigabytes costs $2.99 a month, and two terabytes of server space is $9.99 a month.
While Apple’s offer may be convenient, other companies have their own deals that get you more bytes for your buck, especially if you are just looking for file storage and don’t have a lot of space invested in Apple’s mail or iCloud Photos service. For example, Amazon Drive cloud storage also gives five free gigabytes when you sign up, but Amazon Prime members get unlimited photo storage on top of that; 100 gigabytes of extra space is $11.99 a year, and one terabyte is $59.99 annually.
The Box storage service gives its individual users a free 10 gigabytes of space, and its Personal Pro plan raises that to 100 gigabytes for $10 a month. Dropbox provides two gigabytes of storage for its free Basic plan, upgradeable to one terabyte with Dropbox Plus for $8.25 a month. The iDrive service starts with five gigabytes of free storage, and upgrades start at $69.50 a year for two terabytes of space.
You can also cobble together a network of free or inexpensive storage locations to stash your files by using the services provided by Microsoft and Google. Microsoft OneDrive includes five free gigabytes, and an upgrade to 50 gigabytes is $1.99 a month; Microsoft Office 365 subscribers get additional space with their plans.
Google Drive file storage currently starts with 15 gigabytes of free space, which can be expanded to one terabyte for $9.99 a month, or 10 terabytes for a monthly $99.99.
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