iCloud+: features, storage, costs and benefits

What is iCloud+?

We recently discussed... Sir Applerot Forum about Apple’s new “Private Relay” feature. I also became aware of iCloud+, which has been available since fall 2021. Since I booked the “Apple One” package myself, iCloud+ is included for me and I didn’t bother with it any further. But what exactly is behind iCloud+, what is the difference to iCloud without Plus and what advantages does the subscription bring with it? We'll clarify that here now.

iCloud+ is a service that includes practical functions such as Private Relay and the like (Graphic: Midjourney).
iCloud+ is a service that includes practical functions such as Private Relay and the like (Graphic: Midjourney).

The most important thing about iCloud+

  • iCloud+ is an extension of Apple's iCloud service with additional features and more storage space
  • New features of iCloud+:
    • iCloud Private Relay: VPN-like service to protect privacy while browsing with Safari
    • Hidden email addresses: Create temporary email addresses to protect against spam
    • Custom domain for iCloud email: Set up a personalized domain for iCloud email addresses
    • HomeKit Secure Video: Integrate security cameras into the Home app with end-to-end encryption
  • Additional storage space: Depending on the tariff, up to 12 TB of storage space in iCloud
  • Prices for iCloud+: From 0,99 euros (50 GB) to 59,99 euros (12 TB) per month
  • Family Sharing: Share iCloud+ features and storage with up to five family members at no additional cost
  • iCloud+ activation: Upgrade existing iCloud storage plan on iPhone, iPad, Mac or Windows PC

What is iCloud+?

iCloud+ is an extension of Apple's well-known iCloud service, introduced in fall 2021 along with iOS 15 and iPadOS 15. The Plus model adds some exciting functions to iCloud, which are primarily intended to improve data protection and privacy for users.

At the launch of the new iPhone 15 series in September 2023, Apple also announced two new tariff options for iCloud+. As of September 18, 2023, there is now up to 12 TB of additional storage space in iCloud. The price for this largest option is 59,99 euros per month.

With iCloud+, Apple emphasizes its commitment to protecting personal data. The upgrade not only offers more storage, but also practical privacy features, which I would like to introduce to you now.

The 5 most important features of iCloud+

iCloud+ expands the functionality of iCloud with some useful features that protect your privacy on the Internet and make using the cloud more convenient:

1. iCloud Private Relay

With iCloud Private Relay, Apple is introducing a VPN-like function that is activated when surfing with Safari. The service disguises your IP address in the browser so that website operators can no longer precisely assign your visit. For example, this prevents advertisers from showing you targeted ads that are based on your surfing behavior.

2. Hidden email addresses

To protect yourself from spam, you can create so-called “disposable” email addresses with iCloud+. You can then use these temporary addresses, for example, to register for online services or newsletters without having to reveal your real email address. All messages will still be forwarded to your correct address.

3. Own domain for iCloud email

iCloud+ allows you to set up your own domain for your iCloud email address. You can then invite family members to use this domain so that everyone has an email address with the same extension.

4. HomeKit Secure Video

With HomeKit Secure Video, compatible security cameras can be integrated directly into Apple's Home app. There you can also access the live stream and recordings from your cameras while you are on the go. The advantage: The data is end-to-end encrypted and stored securely in the iCloud.

5. More storage space

Depending on the tariff you choose, you get additional storage space in Apple's cloud with iCloud+. The extra storage can be used for backups, photos, documents and other data and is available to you on all devices.

Prices and costs for the iCloud+ upgrade

The cost of iCloud+ depends on the storage space you choose. The more gigabytes you book, the higher the monthly price will be. Apple offers the following tariff options:

Storage price per month
50 GB 0,99 Euros
200 GB 2,99 Euros
2 TB 9,99 Euros
6 TB 29,99 Euros
12 TB 59,99 Euros

In addition to the additional storage space, all iCloud+ plans include the above-mentioned privacy features such as iCloud Private Relay, hidden email addresses and HomeKit Secure Video.

A practical advantage is that thanks to family sharing, the additional functions and storage space can be shared with up to five other people without incurring any additional costs. For example, all family members can share the 2 TB of an iCloud+ subscription.

Here you can see my iCloud+ settings on the Mac under macOS Sonoma.
Here you can see my iCloud+ settings on the Mac under macOS Sonoma.

Activate iCloud+: Here's how

To activate iCloud+ and unlock the additional features, you must upgrade your existing iCloud storage plan. This is possible on iPhone, iPad, Mac and even Windows.

Upgrade iCloud+ on iPhone, iPad and iPod touch

  1. Opens the Settings and tap your name at the top to access your Apple ID settings.
  2. Chooses "ICloud" and then “Manage storage” or “iCloud Storage” .
  3. Tap on “Change storage plan” or “Buy more storage”, if the options are called something different for you.
  4. Select the desired iCloud+ tariff and confirm the booking.

Upgrade your Mac

  1. Click on that Apple menu and choose “System Settings” .
  2. Click on your name and then on "ICloud".
  3. Scroll down and click "Administer…" next to the memory display.
  4. Click now “Change storage plan” or “Buy more storage”.
  5. Select the appropriate iCloud+ tariff and complete the booking.

Book iCloud+ on Windows

  1. Opens the iCloud for Windows app and log in with your Apple ID.
  2. Click in the sidebar "Storage".
  3. Click under “Storage Plan”. "Change" and select the desired tariff.
  4. Confirms the booking and completes the process.

Once you have completed the upgrade, iCloud+ features such as expanded storage, iCloud Private Relay and hidden email addresses will be available on all your devices.

Questions about iCloud and iCloud+ are answered here in our FAQs (Graphic: Midjourney).
Questions about iCloud and iCloud+ are answered here in our FAQs (Graphic: Midjourney).

Frequently asked questions (FAQs) about iCloud and iCloud+

iCloud is Apple's cloud service that has become indispensable for many iPhone, iPad and Mac users. But what are the costs for using it, how exactly does iCloud work and who is the service worthwhile for? In this section, we answer the most important questions about iCloud and the iCloud+ upgrade so that you can decide whether the service is right for you.

How much does iCloud cost per month?

The cost of iCloud depends on the storage space you choose. Apple offers 5GB of free storage for all iCloud users. Monthly fees apply for more storage space: 0,99 euros for 50 GB, 2,99 euros for 200 GB, 9,99 euros for 2 TB, 29,99 euros for 6 TB and 59,99 euros for 12 TB.

How does iCloud and iCloud+ work?

iCloud is Apple's cloud service that allows data such as photos, documents, notes and backups to be stored online and synchronized between different devices. iCloud+ is an extension of iCloud with additional features such as iCloud Private Relay for more privacy when browsing, hidden email addresses and security camera integration via HomeKit Secure Video.

How can I view my data in iCloud?

You can view your data stored in iCloud in several ways: in the corresponding apps on your Apple devices (e.g. Photos, Notes, Reminders), in Finder on Mac, in the iCloud for Windows app on PC, or via the iCloud app. website in any web browser.

How do I get my photos from iCloud Photo Library?

To download photos from iCloud Photo Library, open the Photos app on your iPhone, iPad, or Mac. Select the photos you want and tap or click the share icon. Select “Download” or “Download Originals” to save the photos locally on your device.

What happens when iCloud is full?

If your iCloud storage space is full, you will no longer be able to upload new data and syncing between your devices will stop. You then have several options: delete unnecessary data, upgrade to a larger storage plan, or create a separate iCloud backup for your iPhone or iPad to free up storage space.

Does it make sense to use iCloud?

Using iCloud makes sense for most Apple users because it provides an easy way to backup, sync, and access data from anywhere. iCloud is particularly useful for users who own multiple Apple devices or want to keep their data secure. iCloud may be less useful for users who primarily work with other cloud services such as Google Drive or Dropbox or who have concerns about data security in the cloud.

Further information about iCloud and iCloud+ from Apple: https://www.apple.com/icloud/

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