updated 09:19 pm EDT, Fri October 5, 2012
Surprise move gives users 25GB storage for another year
In a surprise move earlier on Friday, Apple's iCloud team has opted to extend the time period for a free allotment of 25GB of storage given to former members of Mobile Me. The bonus storage, which was set to expire on September 30 and for which the company had sent emails to users warning them of the change, will now continue until September 30, 2013. The move could be due to feedback from iCloud members that didn't feel they had sufficient time or warning of the change, though the extra storage came with clear caveats.
Most iCloud users aren't likely to be taking great advantage of the extra storage, which was given to former Mobile Me members because their previous iDisk contents had stored 20GB of content. Under iCloud, users only get 5GB of storage for free -- but many things users have automatically "stored" in their iCloud accounts, such as iTunes purchase backups and Photo Stream photos, don't count against the total. The 5GB provided is used by most members primarily for their iCloud email account and stored documents, which are mostly iWork files. Apple only recently took the Documents in the Cloud section of iCloud out of beta, so usage of the feature may still be limited.
The move will come as a relief to those who were using the extra space, however, such as members who backed up their iOS devices on iCloud or those who used the space to preserve their former iDisk contents. The extra space would normally cost $40 per year, and former Mobile Me members have been enjoying the perk since transitioning over to iCloud, which opened in October of last year. The former iTools and .Mac web service finally closed its doors for good on June 30, and at the time Apple said that the extra 20GB of space would end on September 30 unless members paid to continue it. Users who need extra space and weren't former Mobile Me members can also buy 15GB (20GB total) for $25 per year, 25GB (total) for $40 per year, or 55GB (total) space for $100 per year -- the latter being the former price of Mobile Me.
A hint that the company was planning to retreat from the original September 30 suspension of the bonus space came when many members found instead that their storage level had been increased, extended to the year 2050, or both.