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How to upgrade your iCloud storage on any device

If you want to store a lot in iCloud, you need to pay for it.
March 13, 2023

For unknown reasons, Apple only gives their customers 5GB of free iCloud space. If you compare that to what other cloud services offer, 5GB is extremely lousy and tight-fisted. This means that if you use your Apple devices to take many photos and videos (especially at high-resolution), then that 5GB will disappear faster than Rick Astley’s singing career. Therefore, you will have to upgrade your iCloud storage to a paid plan (unless you really want to spend your whole life constantly deleting stuff to crawl back a few megabytes.) Here are the options and how you upgrade, depending on what platform you’re on.


To upgrade your iCloud storage, access the iCloud section on your device. Click Manage or Manage Storage, and you will see an option to change your storage plan. Choose the plan you want and pay for it using a credit card or Apple credit. Changes to the storage quota should be more or less instant.


The different iCloud upgrade options

Apple offers three different iCloud upgrade plans. Each plan has the same options — the only differences between them are the amount of iCloud storage given and how many cameras are supported by Homekit Secure Video.

iCloud+ (50GB storage) — $0.99 a monthiCloud+ (200GB storage) — $2.99 a monthiCloud+ (2TB storage) — $9.99 a month
  • 50GB of storage.
  • iCloud Private Relay (beta).
  • Hide My Email.
  • Custom email domain.
  • HomeKit Secure Video support for one camera.
  • Share everything with up to five other family members.
  • 200GB of storage.
  • iCloud Private Relay (beta).
  • Hide My Email.
  • Custom email domain.
  • HomeKit Secure Video support for up to five cameras.
  • Share everything with up to five other family members.
  • 2TB of storage.
  • iCloud Private Relay (beta).
  • Hide My Email.
  • Custom email domain.
  • HomeKit Secure Video support for an unlimited number of cameras.
  • Share everything with up to five other family members.

Before we look at how to actually upgrade to one of the paid plans, let’s take a brief look at each of the features in the plans.

Extra storage

Apple iCloud stock photo 7
Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority

The main advantage of upgrading, of course, is the extra storage. For most people, the 50GB plan will be more than enough, unless you do a lot of high-definition photography and video. But if you confine yourself to standard definition, then 50GB will last you a long time. I take a lot of photos and videos, and I have used just under 30GB of my 50GB. This plan comes in at an extremely affordable, no-brainer, 99 cents a month.

Even the next tier up — 200GB — is only $2.99 a month. Considering how much you likely spend in a month on Starbucks coffee, $2.99 for iCloud is peanuts.

As well as photos and videos, the storage will also be used to store and sync app data, Safari browser data, device backups, documents, active subscriptions, contacts, your calendar, and much more.

iCloud Private Relay

iphone private relay

This is basically a VPN. All internet traffic leaving your device is encrypted, and all requests are sent through two separate relays. This ensures that no one, including Apple, can see what you’re browsing.

To quote Apple:

When Private Relay is enabled, your requests are sent through two separate, secure internet relays. Your IP address is visible to your network provider and to the first relay, which is operated by Apple. Your DNS records are encrypted, so neither party can see the address of the website you’re trying to visit. The second relay, which is operated by a third-party content provider, generates a temporary IP address, decrypts the name of the website you requested and connects you to the site.

It should be pointed out, though, that if you have another VPN enabled on your device, Private Relay will be disabled by Apple. The two would not be compatible together.

Hide My Email

In the past, if you didn’t want to reveal your actual email address for fear of spam, you would turn to a free temporary email service, such as Guerrilla Mail. This would forward the emails to your actual address and keep your real email secret. With Hide My Email, Apple has taken the temporary email concept and baked it right into their system, such as “Sign in with Apple.”

sign in with apple

You can also generate instant temporary addresses in any email field using the Safari browser.

hide my email apple

In both cases, the temporary email address remains in effect until you cancel it, and all emails are automatically rerouted to the email of your choice.

Custom email domain

GSuite Google Workspace apps not supported 1
Dhruv Bhutani / Android Authority

Virtually identical to Google Workspace, this allows you to reroute all of your personal domain emails through iCloud. Nothing really more needs to be said about this one. If you know how Google Workspace works, you’ll get the gist of this.

HomeKit Secure Video support

A Logitech Circle View security camera, compatible with Apple HomeKit

HomeKit Secure Video enables you to add your home security cameras in the encrypted Home app, record your footage, and view it from anywhere. None of the videos count toward your iCloud storage, and you can access the footage on your iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Mac, or Apple TV. The number of cameras supported depends on which iCloud plan you sign up to.

Share with other family members

More than likely, another family member (spouse, son, daughter, dog) also has an Apple device, and the paid iCloud plans allow you to share the features with them. It’s exactly like sharing your streaming music subscription with them. You pay for it, and they get to use it for free.

Everyone gets their own iCloud account, though, so you wouldn’t be able to monitor their photos, videos, and anything else they have. It does make it extremely easy, though, from a financial and productivity point of view, to only manage one account.

Now that you know what’s in the plans, let’s take a look at how to upgrade your iCloud storage.

Upgrade iCloud storage on an iPhone or iPad

If you’re on an iOS device, go to Settings >Apple ID >iCloud >Manage Storage.

apple id manage store icloud

Tap Change Storage Plan.

change icloud storage plan ios

Now select your preferred plan and save. You’ll be guided through the payment process, so make sure you have a credit card or Apple credit attached to your iCloud account.

The upgrade should happen more or less instantly. If not, close and reopen the Settings app, and then look at the iCloud section. Sometimes, it just needs a little push.

Upgrade iCloud storage on a Mac

Upgrading your iCloud storage is just as easy on a Mac. Click System Preferences in the Apple menu.

macos system preferences menu

Now, click Apple ID in the top right-hand corner.

Mac System Preferences

In the iCloud tab, look to the bottom and click Manage.

optimize mac storage icloud

Now, click Change Storage Plan. Select the plan you want and pay for it, either with a credit card or Apple credit.

mac icloud change storage plan

Upgrade iCloud storage on Windows

icloud for windows

If you have an Apple device, you are most likely not going to upgrade your iCloud plan on a Windows computer. But for the sake of completeness, here’s how you would do it on Windows.

  • Open iCloud for Windows.
  • Click Storage.
  • Click Change Storage Plan.
  • Choose a plan, then click Next.
  • Enter your Apple ID password, then click Buy.