iCloud Plus 101: Everything You Need to Know

Learn about everything that iCloud+ includes and how much it costs.

iCloud is a cloud storage and cloud computing service from Apple that enables users to back up data and sync it between all their devices. iCloud Plus is an upgraded version that offers more features to existing subscriptions at no extra cost. Let's get into what is iCloud Plus, the different iCloud plans, and iCloud Plus pricing.

Related: Everything Apple Announced at the WWDC 2021 Keynote

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iCloud Plus Basics: When, Where, & How Much?

The iCloud Plus release date was September 20, 2021, with the public launch of iOS 15 and iPadOS 15, and is available across your Apple devices. iCloud works with your iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Mac, Apple TV, and Apple Watch; plus, it is PC compatible. It is not a new service but rather an upgrade of Apple iCloud storage, and it will be available to iCloud subscribers (meaning you already have to be paying for the iCloud service) free of additional charge.

Most features of iCloud Plus will be available worldwide; however, Private Relay will not be available in China, Belarus, Colombia, Egypt, Kazakhstan, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkmenistan, Uganda, and the Philippines. You can find out more about iCloud pricing here.

How to Check if You Have iCloud+ 

Anyone with a paid iCloud subscription will get the iCloud+ upgrade when they update to iOS 15 or iPadOS 15. To check if you have an iCloud subscription:

  1. Open the App store on your phone.

    Open the App store on your phone.
  2. Tap your photo, Memoji or initials in the top right corner.

    Tap your photo or initials in the top right corner.
  3. Tap Subscription.

    Tap Subscription.
  4. If you see iCloud under Active, you have a paid iCloud subscription. 

    If you see iCloud under Active, you have a paid iCloud subscription. 
  5. If you have Apple One, your iCloud subscription will be included in it.

    If you have Apple One, your iCloud subscription will be included in it.
  6. To view which plan you have, tap iCloud or Apple One to see the Plan Details.

    To view which plan you have, tap iCloud or Apple One to see the Plan Details.

If you want to sign up for iCloud Plus, follow these instructions. To learn more about iCloud, sign up for our free Tip of the Day newsletter.

How to Get iCloud Plus

Once you update to iOS 15 or iPadOS 15, you can follow these steps to get iCloud+:

  1. Open Settings.

    Open Settings.
  2. Tap your name at the very top.

    Tap your name at the very top.
  3. Tap iCloud.

    Tap iCloud.
  4. Tap Manage Storage.

    Tap Manage Storage.
  5. Tap Change Storage Plan.

    Tap Change Storage Plan.
  6. Select the plan you want. 

    Tap Change Storage Plan.
  7. Tap Buy and follow any on screen directions to complete the purchase.

    Select the plan you want. 
  8. If you have an Apple One, you can change your iCloud storage by tapping Change Apple One Plan.

    Tap Buy and follow any on screen directions to complete the purchase.

The iCloud+ Features

Private Relay

One of the biggest upgrades that comes with iCloud Plus is Private Relay. This is Apple's VPN-like that helps protect your internet tracking, but it isn't your typical VPN. VPN stands for virtual private network, which can be used to encrypt your data, mask your IP address, and let you bypass country-specific internet restrictions by making it look like you are located somewhere else. 

What Private Relay does is a little different because it routes your internet traffic through two relays rather than one. This keeps information such as who is browsing and where the data is coming from private. Using a second relay prevents even Apple from seeing your browsing history, which means you'll experience fewer targeted ads and other privacy benefits.

Pro tip: Private Relay will only be available on Apple’s Safari browser. For complete protection, you will need a real VPN for iPhone and iPad.

Hide My Email for Less Spam

Spam email is a problem that we all struggle with, and Hide My Email is a great solution to keep less relevant emails from your inbox. This is basically a burner email feature that automatically generates single-use email addresses that will forward to your existing account. 

This is useful when you don’t trust a website and want to protect it from spamming you. Sign In With Apple already does something similar, but this puts even more control into your hands. 

Unlimited HomeKit-Enabled Video

HomeKit allows you to set up and manage a smart home. However, sorting and storing footage from home security cameras can be tricky, especially with higher-quality cameras. The iCloud+ upgrade allows you to store unlimited videos from your security cameras. These videos will be stored on the cloud, and they won't take away from the storage you pay for.

The downside to this is that the tiers of your iCloud storage make a difference. If you have the highest 2 TB plan, you can connect an unlimited number of cameras. If you have 200 GB, you can only connect up to five. If you have the 50 GB plan, you can only connect one.

Digital Legacy: A Will for Your Digital Data

Do you know what will happen to all your data after you pass? The Digital Legacy program is the iCloud Plus feature that will help you rest in peace. It lets you arrange for your friends or family to access the security codes and files after you die. Plus, trusted contacts will be able to help you access your lost device in an emergency.

iCloud Plus is an exciting upgrade that aims to keep user data safe, private, and easier to manage. It also makes having a smart home easier to manage by offering unlimited storage to HomeKit-enabled security cameras. The best part is that it won’t increase iCloud storage fees!

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Author Details

Olena Kagui's picture

Author Details

Olena Kagui

Olena Kagui is a Feature Writer at iPhone Life who lives in Hawaii. With a BA in International Relations from Anglo American University, Olena traveled the world. She has lived in Ukraine, the Czech Republic, China, and the USA. Olena won an excellence award for a controversial article, got a grant to blog from a war-zone, and published a short fictional story. She hopes to publish a full-length novel and continue writing up a storm on her blog The Travel Bug Bite! When she’s not typing or flying, she is loving on animals, crafting bizarre creations, and devouring all-you-can-eat sushi.