Apple wowed the tech press and users with the introduction of iCloud at WWDC in June, and when it rolled out in October alongside the iPhone 4S and iOS 5, we were still excited.
Sadly, the iCloud parade gets rained on by stingy storage limits for users who buy multiple iOS devices and link them to the same account. This is puzzling, because if you have multiple devices, you stand to gain the most from iCloud’s online backup and photo syncing tools.
(Read: What is iCloud)
Every iCloud accounts comes with 5GB of free online storage for backing up your iPhone, iPad and app game saves. In practice, these backups will take up most of the online storage. Here’s where it gets confusing.
iCloud is iStingy with Storage
If you pay Apple $499 for an iPad and $199 for an iPhone, you still only get 5GB of online storage for free. Which means you will fill up your storage and need to pay Apple $20 to $100 a year for additional storage.
If you buy just an iPhone, you get 5GB of free storage.
If your wife buys an iPad, she will get 5GB of storage for free.
But if you buy both an iPhone and an iPad, you still only get 5GB of free storage. It’s as if Apple is saying, “Hey, thanks for buying more of our devices. Give us some more money or piss off.”
The iCloud storage limitation is especially troubling, since it doesn’t fit in with Apple’s ideology of going all in with Mac. You can get just one iOS device and use it with Windows, but if you get a MacBook Air, an iPad and an iPhone, you expect to enjoy a more streamlined experience.
Add in the fact that the iPhone 4S is pitched as a great camera, and the ability to record in HD and you’re sure to hit this limit faster than you think. Just two days after we picked up twin puppies, I started to receive nightly emails from Apple telling me that my iCloud storage was running low. I’m sure other pet owners and parents will soon hit the same iCloud ceiling as I have.
I’m not against paying for additional storage in most cases, but the fact that Apple is sticking it to customers who buy into the whole Apple ecosystem is confusing and frustrating. Perhaps they will see the error of their ways and offer those of us who purchased an iPad and an iPhone a larger amount of free storage. I couldn’t imagine adding an iPod Touch to the mix!
One solution is to backup over WiFi to your local computer instead of backing up to iCloud.
This will free up space, and is what I intend to do, but still offers an unusual disparity for multiple iOS device owners.
Have you topped out on your iCloud backup limits?