Apple unveiled two new iCloud Plus digital storage plans for users this week: one that holds up to 6TB and one that holds up to 12TB. The new plans are scheduled to be available for purchase beginning Monday, Sept. 18, and greatly expand the amount of storage space a user can purchase from Apple.
These plans offer the most extra space to Apple users — and come with the most expensive price tags. For US-based Apple users, the 6TB plan will cost $29.99 per month and the 12TB plan will cost $59.99 per month. Apple said via press release that the new plans will be “great for users with large photo and video libraries or those using Family Sharing.”
Understanding just how much digital storage you need can be tricky. Each iCloud account is automatically given 5GB of space before you’ll have to pay for extra room, billed in the form of a monthly subscription. If you have most of your photos or videos saved on your Apple devices, you’ve likely gotten warnings that you’re about to run out of space and thought about upgrading. But how do you know how much storage you need and when it’s time to finally buy into a paid plan?
The short answer: It’s going to depend on how much extra space you need and how much you’re willing to pay. Taking photos and videos uses storage, and the higher the quality of those photos and videos, the more storage they take up. With iPhones now offering the ability to record 4K video at 60 frames per second, you can use up your digital storage at an alarming rate. Luckily, with these two new plans, Apple is giving people even more options for their storage needs.
Of course, when it comes to digital storage, Apple isn’t the only game in town. Google, Microsoft, Amazon and Dropbox all offer popular digital storage solutions. For example, Google’s prices for its 200GB and 2TB plans are identical to Apple’s, but its lowest level plan offers 100GB for $1.99 per month, and its free plan offers three times the amount of free space compared with Apple’s.
But if you’ve got all or mostly Apple devices, you’re probably going to want to stick with iCloud. Its compatibility across devices makes it easy to spread the extra space across your iPhone, Watch and Mac, and it makes it easy to update and find the most recent version of your files across devices. Plus, if you’ve already got all your files on your Apple devices, moving those photos and files to another service might be a headache worth avoiding.
Apple’s lowest level tier gives you 50GB — 10 times the amount of free space for 99 cents per month for US users. Typically, this plan is popular for users who need a bit of extra wiggle room in their digital file cabinets, or don’t want to have to worry about running out of space anytime soon. The next level plan is a big jump up to 200GB, a midtier plan for $2.99 per month. This plan is a good choice for families sharing storage space under one Apple ID, as it offers quite a bit of room.
The jump from the middle level plan of 200GB to the 2TB level plan is massive. For reference, one terabyte is 1,000 gigabytes — so the 2TB plan is a huge leap forward in terms of available space. This plan, currently priced at $9.99 per month, is another option for families or accounts with multiple users on it, especially for people who like to take lots of videos.
We don’t yet know what effect, if any, the new 6TB and 12TB plans will have on the three existing plans, particularly on prices. For now Apple presented these new options as a way to keep raising the digital ceiling of your iCloud’s storage room — options that might make the steeper price worth it for folks who work with a lot of media.