Apple’s brand for their Cloud Services is iCloud.
When you set up an Apple device, Apple requires you to create a Apple ID account using an email address in order to use iCloud. You can use either an existing email address (like Gmail) or create a new one using an Apple domain (icloud.com).
A free Apple iCloud account has access to the following free services:
All these services are fully functional however iCloud storage is limited to 5GB. This is going to quickly run out since iCloud is used for both your photos and devices backups.
Upgrading your iCloud service to iCloud+
Apple offers three plans for iCloud+. All can be shared with five other family members. The smallest at 50GB is not likely to be enough for a family so you’ll probably need to look at the 200GB plan which is a good fit for a family of three like ours.
To upgrade your plan on your iPhone, open the settings app and follow the steps below.
Sharing iCloud and Subscriptions with your family
Click on Family Sharing under Apple ID. There you can see your family and what has been shared with them. In this instance I am sharing the Apple TV+ subscription and iCloud+ service. All purchases are shared between us and Tom needs to ask to buy any item (even the free ones).
Choose what elements to activate in iCloud
This is how you make sure that your important stuff is backup in iCloud:
- iCloud Photos on/off: when turned on, any picture that you take on this device will automatically be uploaded in iCloud, AND downloaded to all your other devices that have this setting turned on. This is great if you have a Mac because you can access your photos straight away but if you have an iPad this could fill it very quickly so you might want to turn it off on the iPad.
- iCloud Photos optimisation: Optimise iPhone storage will keep smaller versions of the photos on the device and full versions in iCloud.
- Warning about iCloud Photos: iCloud photos are actually synchronised with your iPhone. Any photo that you remove from your phone WILL be deleted from iCloud as well. Keep this in mind if you decide to clean up some photos on your phone thinking that they are safe in iCloud. They’re not. This is why I also use Google photos as secondary backup for my photos and videos.
- iCloud backup: this will create a backup your phone to iCloud (excluding photos that are treated separately). This is important if you need to restore your phone in case of problem.
- iCloud Keychain: creates a secure repository of confidential data such as passwords and credit cards. This is how wifi passwords can be shared between your devices for example.
- Other items: turn on any element that you would like to share between your devices. In my case I want my calendars and reminders shared but not my Messages as I don’t want them to show on my iPad.
Other Apple subscriptions that can be shared with your family
Apple offers additional subscriptions that can be purchased separately or as a single bundle branded Apple One. All can be shared with your family.
The killer service here is Apple Music which is a direct competitor to Spotify. At currently A$25.95/month for Apple One Family (6 people) it is only A$7 more expensive than Spotify Family and offers all the other services, including 200GB of iCloud+ and Apple TV+.