Apple announced new pricing plans for iCloud storage along with the introduction of iOS 8 at its Worldwide Developer Conference in June, and it’s preparing to roll out the new plans with the launch of its new mobile operating system update next week.
The new plans represent a massive expansion in storage for Apple’s cloud storage service (up to 1 terabyte), along with a huge price cut. 25 GB of storage used to cost $40 a year, and now costs 99 cents a month.
People who have paid for additional iCloud storage have begun receiving emails from Apple informing them that they will have a portion of their subscription fee refunded based on how much storage they purchased, the price of the new subscription and how much time is remaining on their subscription. (I got a whopping $6.22 back from Apple, because my subscription is set to renew in November.)
People who had previous plans will see their new plans billed annually at the new rates. However, if they change plans to increase their storage, Apple will bill them on a monthly cycle instead.
The new plans are a key part of the company’s cloud storage strategy with iCloud Drive, which allows people to store files and folders in Apple’s cloud in addition to data from applications. That puts Apple in closer competition with other companies like Microsoft, Google and Dropbox which offer similar capabilities at very similar prices.
The new selection of plans and pricing will probably be attractive to users of Macs and iOS devices who aren’t married to a particular cloud storage provider. Apple’s pricing is competitive, and it works with both iOS 8 and the forthcoming OS X Yosemite out of the box.