Before you might notice, the iCloud storage stars running out and pretty fast for some people.

You are uploading stuff, taking backups, and many things that iOS is doing in the background also affects the space allocated to youSince iCloud acts as the central repository for all your needs here is a list of steps that you can take to expand that storage.

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Check Your iCloud Storage

Before you know about increasing or decreasing the storage, you would want to know how to see and tell if you have done so. You must be able to view the iCloud usage by some means and reliably tell that you have so much left or so much left or not.

  • You will need to do so from your iPad or iPhone, of course from Macbooks.
  • Bring your mobile device, and go to the Settings app on your device.
  • There you will find the Apple ID banner on the top.
  • Next, tap on iCloud. Then you can find a colored graph which will show you what kind of data is consuming the space such as how much is consumed by photos, how much by songs and etc.

Which Plan is Right for You?

You definitely have to think ahead so that you don’t end up spending too much of time in this.

  • iCloud is used by people to hold everything like a central repository. You can have your contacts, calendars, photos, MP3, backups and more on iCloud Drive.
  • If you use iCloud, you can have access to these from anywhere and at any time. Of course, through various kinds of apps too, for example, upload an image to Instagram.
  • Having that said, it is a monthly plan, meaning you have to pay monthly to keep it active.

Cleaning up Files

One easiest way to keep your iCloud ready and free is to constantly delete things that you do not need. These can be photos, documents, media like videos and MP3 or anything at all.

  • Apple will assign by default 5GB of online storage for backups, sync data, and your media.
  • By any means, this is like a joke. People use SSD and hard-drives of 1TB capacity to take manual backups of their media and stuff.

It should be done Regularly

Doing it once a week is a good practice before you have a bunch of it with no route to go. This avoids accumulation.

  • Cleaning up your files is a good idea to take up and doing it regularly every weekend taking like 15 minutes or so is the right thing to do.
  • This will help you increase your iCloud storage without buying a new additional plan.
  • Even, you can delete old backups for clearing more space.

Delete Old Backups to Free Space

Now that we have mentioned about backups, we must go into it in detail. People usually don’t want to mess with all these things because who knows what might happen and your apps might stop working. Well, this is not the case if you try to learn the process.

  • iCloud is designed mostly and primarily to store your device backups, like iPhone and iPad backups regularly.
  • Device backups are not overwritten but added with a date stamp taking up valuable space.
  • Go to the “Settings” app, and tap on the “Apple ID” banner.

Go to Manage Settings

The Apple ID is nothing but the name or the organization that has given you the device. This is the ID of the device itself.

  • Tap on “iCloud” and go to “Manage Settings”, and tap on “Backup”, and now you can find all backups right here. Simple!
  • Next, tap on the device listed there to see the backups of that particular device. For example, tap on your iPhone. Your all devices are listed here.
  • You can find the “Delete Backup” and then “Turn Off and Delete” to confirm the same.

Select Which Items You Want to Backup

One of the good things that you can do early on when getting your new iPhone or iPad is that change the backup items under the Settings you just saw above. If you do that, you can select which things to take a backup and what not to.

  • If you go to Settings, and all the way to Backup and select a device from under the list, you can check for various things.
  • You will get a list of items with the heading saying, “Choose Data to Backup”. And, below that you have “Photos Library”, “Chrome” and various other apps too.

Check and Uncheck Carefully

You can check or uncheck here what you want to back up, and that way you can avoid your iCloud from filling up too soon.

  • You will be given a warning, but don’t panic as nothing will be lost.
  • And will be asked to “Turn Off and Delete” to confirm turning off sync henceforth of that particular app.
  • Here are some official methods to manage your space.

The Pricing of Plans

Before you choose to increase the storage by getting a new plan, you must understand that these are monthly and vary from location to location. In the US, the storage plans currently vary from 50GB all the way to 2TB.

  • The pricing is not terribly expensive compared to 2011 when it was first introduced.
  • The pricing in India, where iPhones are roughly double than that of the US, is just $10 per month. In the US, it is also the same, $9.99 per month, and that is for the 2TB option.
  • You can very well live with the 50GB option with under a dollar per month if you go by all the above ways to trim your space only for the essential stuff.

Upgrade Via the Website

Apple has their website that you can access from any browser. Here is the link – for the same.

  • You have to first select the type of devices you want to upgrade it from, such as using an iPad or PC.
  • This will take you below to the list of steps that we have mentioned above, often under the “Manage Storage” option.
  • You have to use your Apple ID password, the Apple ID is usually your name for a personal device.
  • You can share your plan with your family too so all 200GB or 50 GB can be shared with all the devices.
  • Usually on iPad, you will get “Buy More Storage or Change Storage Plan”, so tap on it.

Annual Plans Good, but Not Available

If you are willing to upgrade for a more long-term basis without having to pay every month, you can’t do that anymore.  For example, taking 50GB by paying $1 per month can be easily extended to 2 years by paying them $12 annually.

  • Apple has offered the following monthly iCloud storage plans in the US.
  • As usual, the 5GB is free, and 2TB costs you $10 per month, in USD.
  • Before going to make any change you must check which plan you are currently on.
  • Whenever you buy any plan, it is billed to the Apple ID by default.

Check Your Current Plan

You can check which plan you are using right now from any of your Apple devices. You have to go to the same places by tapping on the same stuff mentioned above many times.

  • Under Manage Storage, you can find the same in iPhone and iPad.
  • On a Mac, this will be in Apple menu, System Preferences, iCloud, and manage.
  • On PC, open iCloud for Windows, Storage, and click on more storage.

Going Annual to Monthly

The iCloud was announced in 2011, but they were annual by default. The monthly plans were announced in September of 2015.

  • They are ultra cheap and if you want to convert to another plan, just use the above-mentioned steps.
  • Here is the official announcement –
  • This article tells that Annual is discontinued, and cannot be used anymore.

Ways to Increase the iCloud Storage

There are several ways to help expand your iCloud storage, even without paying any money.

  • Go to above settings.
  • When you check these stats, you can choose to delete some things to free up and increase your space for important things.
  • You can also choose a plan to upgrade it, downgrade it.
  • Use a combination of the above methods.

Check All Your Devices for Backup

In the Mac OS Sierra, several features were introduced which relied heavily on the iCloud storage.

  • Go to System Preferences, and check under the iCloud.
  • You can find a list of checkboxes that are listed, and iCloud Drive is the first one to be checked.
  • This means that some of your Mac backups are also stored on the drive, and many do not need them.

Delete the Mac Backups

You can free up space by deleting or un-checking the items that are getting added to the iCloud Drive. You use Mac all the time, and at times that is the most space consuming junk.

  • If you don’t want to use iCloud, uncheck this box there.
  • A warning appears saying these will be removed, but you can save your backups now.
  • Click on “Keep a Copy” and they will be downloaded to your computer.

Fine Tuning the Storage Used

As mentioned above, you can always check which things you need to back up and make available to you anytime from anywhere (as in Step 5).

  • Check early on the Mac settings under System Preferences for iCloud Drive backup.
  • Fine tune it, if you want to by un-checking the items you do not need.
  • Click on iCloud drive and options.
  • On sierra, you also have optimized storage option to save iCloud space.

Sync Data Between the Devices

The only central repo where you can keep everything synced is the iCloud. You can keep all the photos right in one place.

  • To sync data between your iPad, for example, and iCloud, first go to the Settings app.
  • Tap on the Apple ID, go to iCloud and tap on the switches next to the app you want to turn off.
  • You can decide what you want to do with the existing data, such as keep them or delete.

Keep Existing Data on iPhone

Mostly you would want to do a safe thing because of panic. The apps are listed below the iCloud Drive being the first entry. They will be listed in descending order.

  • All apps like Safari, Reminders, etc. are listed so you will be missing on nothing hidden.
  • Tap on the switch, and you get a box saying “Keep on my iPhone” or “Delete from My iPhone”.
  • There is a “Cancel” button too.
  • But, this will not upgrade your storage, and that we do below from 5 GB to 50 GB as an example.

Buy and Verify a Plan

As stated above, you can choose from any of the monthly plans that you think is suitable. Once inside Manage Storage, you can find even greater details about how your device is using the data. It will list things like Backup, Photos with GBs on the right side.

  • This is on an iPhone. Click on “Change Storage Plan” that lists now 5GB if new.
  • This 5GB is marked “Free” as everyone that buys one, gets one.
  • Below that you can see a list of options, as mentioned above, in the US; you have three, 50GB, 200GB and 2TB.
  • Tap on the 50GB for instance, and tap on “Buy” on the top-right corner of the screen.
  • This pops up a box asking to enter “Apple ID Password”. You can even hit “Cancel” or “Sign In”.
  • Enter the password.
  • You may have to set up a payment type if doing for the first time. Here is the official link  how to do so?


  • The instructions like deleting backups have been shown for a particular iOS version, in this case, iOS 10.3.

Think ahead of iCloud storage just like you think before getting a new iPad.

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