If you've used an Apple device for any extended period of time, you're probably already familiar with iCloud, Apple's content storage and syncing solution. However, you might be less au fait with iCloud+.
Revealed at WWDC 2021, iCloud+ is a both a rebrand of the iCloud service you know and love, plus some neat new additional features. And we're here to tell you everything you need to know about it.
What is iCloud+?
At WWDC 2021, Apple announced something of a rebrand for its iCloud service with iCloud+. The newly-named service rolled out alongside iOS 15 and iPadOS 15, though you might not have realized unless you were looking out for it.
Though its name is similar to Apple's other paid services, iCloud+ actually doesn't change too much about what you knew about iCloud before. It's not an extra tier or a premium add-on. It's mainly just a new name for paid iCloud accounts, as Apple states:
iCloud+ brings with it some new features, though, namely the privacy-focused Hide My Email and Private Relay, plus enhanced HomeKit Secure Video storage. It's also noted in Apple's iOS 15 preview that iCloud+ will come with custom email domains for iCloud Mail accounts.
If you are on a paid iCloud plan, you will be moved to iCloud+ automatically when you upgrade to iOS 15 and you'll get these extra features at no additional cost.
How is iCloud+ different from iCloud?
Apple described iCloud+ as "everything you love about iCloud, with some great new features." For many users, the experience of using iCloud+ will be no different — it's simply a new name for paid iCloud accounts with pricing and storage tiers remaining the same.
iCloud+ does, however, bring with it some new features in addition to its new name, including the Hide My Email and Private Relay features for improved privacy, enhanced HomeKit Secure Video storage, and custom email domains for iCloud Mail.
When can I get iCloud+?
Apple officially launched iCloud+ with the release of iOS 15 and iPadOS 15 on September 20 meaning it's available right now. All you need to do is update your devices to the latest software.
Mac users will see the iCloud+ nomenclature on macOS Monterey when it launches later this fall.
How much does iCloud+ cost?
iCloud previously had a few different storage plans to choose from and the arrival of iCloud+ has not changed the prices or storage tiers. Here's how they break down:
- 50GB - $0.99 per month
- 200GB - $2.99 per month
- 2TB - $9.99 per month
Of course, there will still be the free iCloud plan detailed below.
Is iCloud+ be free to use?
While Apple has rebranded its paid accounts as iCloud+ plans, you can still use iCloud for free. You'll get 5GB of storage at no cost. If you need more space, upgrade to an iCloud+ account.
If you are using the free 5GB plan, you won't get access to new iCloud+-exclusive features like Hide My Email, Private Relay, custom iCloud Mail domains, or expanded HomeKit Secure Video storage.
Is iCloud+ included with Apple One?
Yes. Apple's services bundle, Apple One, includes iCloud+ storage alongside other offerings like Apple Music, Apple TV+, Apple News+, Apple Arcade, and Apple Fitness+.
The amount of storage included will depend on the Apple One bundle you go for: Individual, Family, or Premier. These offer 50GB, 200GB, and 2TB of iCloud+ storage, respectively. If you already use one or two paid Apple services, it may well make sense to upgrade to Apple One to save on your subscriptions.
Where can I use iCloud+?
Since iCloud+ is essentially just a rebrand of Apple's paid-for cloud storage tiers, the places you can use it remain unchanged. Support for iCloud, and therefore iCloud+, is built into every modern Apple device running iOS, iPadOS, macOS, watchOS, or tvOS.
As well as using the best iPhone and iPad devices with iCloud+, you can also use iCloud.com to manage your account, find lost items, and even restore certain types of content.
Can I share my iCloud+ storage with family?
Yes, Apple's Family Sharing feature allows you to share your iCloud+ storage with family members just like you could with iCloud before.
Your photos and documents will still remain private, meaning family members won't be able to snoop on each other's stuff, but you'll all eat into the same storage amount with the content you save.
How do I sign up for iCloud+?
Existing iCloud subscribers will be upgraded to iCloud+ automatically when updating devices to iOS 15 or iPadOS 15. If you're already on a paid iCloud account or subscribe to the Apple One bundle, there will be no action required beyond updating your devices.
If you're on the free 5GB iCloud plan, you can upgrade your iCloud storage at any point in the Settings or System Preferences app on your iOS device or Mac.
You can create a new iCloud account on any iPhone, iPad, or Mac during setup with your Apple ID. If your devices are already up and running and you skipped this step, you can easily create a new Apple ID on your iPhone or iPad or set up new Apple ID on your Mac if you don't already have one to use iCloud.
Still have burning questions about iCloud+? Let us know in the comments down below.
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Adam Oram is a Senior Writer at iMore. He studied Media at Newcastle University and has been writing about technology since 2013. He previously worked as an Apple Genius and as a Deals Editor at Thrifter. His spare time is spent watching football (both kinds), playing Pokémon games, and eating vegan food. Follow him on Twitter at @adamoram.
“Existing iCloud subscribers will be upgraded to iCloud+ automatically when updating devices to iOS 15 or iPadOS 15.” “If you are on a paid iCloud plan, you will be moved to iCloud+ automatically when you upgrade to iOS 15 and you'll get these extra features at no additional cost.” Not true. iOS 15 is not required. I received an email from Apple yesterday, stating that I have been automatically been upgraded to iCloud+. I am still on 14.7.1. I have the 50GB paid plan.
Since iCloud+ is a rebrand of paid iCloud accounts, you are technically on iCloud+ (in name alone) if you have the paid-for 50GB plan. However, the new iCloud+ features require iOS 15 - as that email from Apple states - so you don’t really benefit from iCloud+ unless you update your devices.
The email states no such thing. “Great news! We’ve automatically upgraded your 50 GB iCloud storage plan to iCloud+ at no additional charge, and you can now share your subscription with your family.”
In the fine print: “Some features require iOS 15 and macOS Monterey.”
Remember if you activate the Family Share option (especially on the 50 GB plan) then you're now sharing the 50 GB with however many family members you have out there. If they were using the basic 5GB and you were on the 50 GB watch out, that storage gets gobbled up fast.
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