Apple launched its cloud computing service, iCloud, in 2011. It replaced old syncing methods like manually plugging your iPhone into your Mac or PC to back up your data. Nowadays, users can just turn on iCloud and let their iPhone do the rest.
All Apple devices come with iCloud accessibility. Although you get 5GB of free storage, you’ll have to upgrade your storage to iCloud+ to utilize Apple’s cloud computing services wholly. So is iCloud worth your time and money?
Don’t worry if you’re still on the fence. We’ve compared the pros and cons of iCloud+ so you can make an informed, objective decision on whether to upgrade your account.
The Pros of iCloud+
iCloud stands as the most widely used cloud service on Apple devices, thanks to its accessibility and functionality. Here’s a run down of all the biggest pros to choosing iCloud as your cloud service.
1. It’s Easy to Use
Apple has always focused on ease of use. It creates devices with straightforward user interfaces that take very little time to master. For instance, let’s look at the iPhone. There are several built-in features to make iPhones more senior-friendly, so you don’t even have to download third-party apps to make it useful for anyone.
Fortunately, Apple’s focus on accessibility extends to its cloud computing services. iCloud encapsulates all the cloud-based features that users will need to synchronize and back up documents, photos, calendar events, messages, and videos, among other data from your device.
Also, you don’t have to fret over manually updating your cloud library. For instance, with iCloud Photos, your iPhone automatically uploads all your photos and videos to the cloud, so you won’t have to do anything. Just leave the uploads running in the background.
2. It Integrates Well With the Apple Ecosystem
iCloud’s services also work on non-iOS devices, but they integrate exceptionally well with the Apple ecosystem. You can access your iCloud storage from your iPhone, MacBook, iMac, or Apple Watch and synchronize over Wi-Fi any time you want. You won’t need to go to the trouble of transferring data through your PC anymore.
For instance, let’s say your business primarily uses iOS devices and relies on iWork. If you didn’t have iCloud, you’d have to back up your data manually through on-site hardware and storage solutions, thus spiking your overhead. On the other hand, you can just turn on the sync option if you have iCloud. You and your authorized employees can access the company’s iCloud Drive whenever needed and share iWork files to several devices simultaneously.
Individual users typically only need backups for their phones or laptops. However, business owners with multiple iWork platforms might want to play it safe by backing up all their employees’ devices, even if doing so will eat up significant iCloud Storage space.
Apple includes additional services with its iCloud+ package. Upon upgrading, you’ll get access to these unique features like:
- iCloud Private Relay (Beta): iCloud Private Relay lets users browse Safari privately. It connects you to two relays. The first relay receives requests from your IP address, while the second relay generates a temporary IP address to hide your identity. However, don’t use it as a VPN. The iCloud Private Relay only encrypts traffic from Safari, and it can’t obfuscate data like VPN does.
- Hide My Email: The new Hide My Email feature lets you generate temporary email addresses so that your real personal email stays hidden. You can use this email address in place of your real one. The other party won’t know your real email account, but the emails will still get forwarded to your primary email inbox.
- Custom Email Domain: Personalize your iCloud+ account with a domain name that you already own. You can use the domain of your company, personal brand, or startup website. This feature is a must if you primarily operate using iWork.
- HomeKit Secure Video Support: You can connect one security camera to your Home app. Record the footage, then access it later on your iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, or iMac, among other iCloud-enabled devices.
Of course, all these features are just add-ons to iCloud’s original services, like app syncs, Backup, Drive, and Photos.
The Disadvantages of iCloud+
Despite the accessibility and functionality of iCloud+ services, some users still argue that it’s an impractical, unnecessary expense.
4. iCloud+ Charges Steep Monthly Fees
Perhaps the most widely discussed disadvantage of iCloud+ involves its fees. Yes, you get 5GB free. But considering that the average user eats up around 11GB of their phone’s storage, 5GB is hardly enough.
On the Apple Support iCloud+ plans and pricing page, it states that users from the US can pay the following monthly rates for an upgrade:
- 50 GB: $0.99/month
- 200 GB: $2.99/month
- 2 TB: $9.99/month
Admittedly, these fees won’t make you go bankrupt. However, they’re an unnecessary expense if you can access alternative ways to sync and back up your data. For instance, let’s talk about the iCloud Photos. It lets you store your videos and photos on iCloud, which you can access and download on any device. The feature has its upsides. However, you can also back up your media to a computer for free.
5. You Need a Lot of Storage to Use Every iCloud+ Service
As we mentioned above, iCloud includes several useful services like Backup, Photos, Calendars, Keychain, Notes, and Safari. However, you’ll likely end up using a lot of paid storage space if you want to maximize iCloud+.
For instance, let’s check the iCloud Photos and iCloud Backup options. Although both services synchronize your videos and photos through iCloud, they don’t consume the same storage space and iCloud Storage classifies them as separate data. If you have a lot of content on your iPhone, these two services can take up tens or hundreds of GBs of data.
And that’s not to mention any documents you may want to keep in iCloud Drive or any other iCloud services.
6. iCloud Can Be Slow to Sync
You’ll notice that iCloud Sync sometimes takes a while to load. iCloud often experiences this issue when its servers are at capacity, and it needs some time to catch up with the incoming demand. Fortunately, the system fixes this issue pretty quickly. However, considering the growing user base of iCloud, you might have to deal with slow syncing a bit often until Apple creates a more permanent solution.
Are iCloud+ Services Worth It?
Whether you should upgrade your iCloud+ account depends on your device usage and storage needs. For instance, if you store a lot of data and transfer it between multiple Apple devices, you’ll benefit from the services of iCloud+. At the very least, you won’t waste time backing up your data manually.
However, let’s say you only have one iPhone and rarely use it for anything other than surfing the internet. Sure, you can still upgrade your iCloud account, the fees won’t make you bankrupt. But it’s an unnecessary expense since you don’t have additional syncing, backup, and storage needs.