200GB of Free iCloud Storage for Students, but What About Everyone Else?

Posted by Matt Birchler
— 2 min read

200 GB iCloud Storage for Students; What About the Rest of Us? - Kirkville

In Apple’s educational event yesterday, the company said that students would get 200 GB iCloud storage for free. I own – let’s see… – seven iOS devices and Macs, and I only get 5 GB.

I get it, iCloud storage is a pain for a lot of people. As I’ve written before, iCloud’s paid tiers are very competitively priced. Here’s how much you need to pay get get different amounts of data on the major cloud storage platforms:

But cloud storage isn’t Apple’s business, and many would argue (including me) that Apple should be able to make their free tier more useful to more people. Whether it’s good enough for some segment of the user base or not, the 5GB iCloud tier is the new 16GB iPhone.

My take

Apple doesn’t have a cloud storage problem as much as they have a problem with what services are tied to that storage. iOS device backups and Apple Photos take up your precious iCloud storage and I don’t think they should. iOS device backups should be free and have zero impact on your Drive storage and should “just work.” iCloud Photo Library should be totally sectioned off from your Drive storage as well, and all photos and videos shot on your iPhone should be saved to the cloud for free1.

The idea that Apple should scale your free iCloud storage based on how many Apple devices you have sounds like madness to me. I’ve seen numerous people ask or this, but it seems like a needlessly complex way to solve a problem that doesn’t need to be that hard.

Then again Apple may just punt and give 100-200GB of free storage to all iCloud accounts and say that’s good enough. I don’t think it is, but it’s the least effort fix they could make.

If Apple was going to make a change like this, I’m not surprised we didn’t see it yesterday. That was an education event and non-education iCloud accounts had nothing to do with their message. I do feel like something is going to change and WWDC is a much more likely time for that to happen.

  1. Maybe require other photos to be backed up to require a paid upgrade, but saving everything shot on iOS would solve the problem for most people, and the ones who it wouldn’t would likely be more happy to pay a flat fee for unlimited storage rather than a variable fee based on how many photos they’re backing up.