It’s a common enough problem for iOS users: you’re backing up your phone’s pictures, when suddenly, that dreaded pop-up message appears: “You do not have enough space in iCloud to back up your iPhone.”
But don’t worry, Apple is here to help. It’s offering a free month of iCloud storage to customers who have run out of room on their paltry free 5GB plan, as noted by AppleInsider. And by “help,” I mean “shamelessly trying to trick you into paying more money for storage, thus boosting Apple’s services revenue and improving its quarterly earnings numbers.”
You don’t need me to explain how obvious this ploy is. Much like any free trial, Apple is hoping that you’ll sign up, and either forget to cancel or enjoy the extra space so much that you’ll want to continue paying. But what’s offensive is how Apple treats cloud storage as a whole. It only needs to offer this trial because it doesn’t offer enough storage to consumers to begin with.
It’s no secret that the 5GB of free storage that Apple offers on iCloud — an amount that has gone unchanged since its introduction in 2011 — is laughably small. And it’s an especially egregious issue since that same 5GB is for all your cloud storage on Apple, from backups to application data to photos. Take too many pictures of that cute dog at the park, and suddenly your phone will stop backing up unless you shell out more cash to Apple.
Competitors like Google offer photo storage for free. So, at the bare minimum, it should be reasonable for a company that sells $1,000 smartphones to offer some kind of cloud backup for basic OS-level things like the apps you have installed and the messages you’ve sent. Sure, Apple gets the chance to make some extra money, but it comes at the expense of a vastly worse user experience for its customers. Basically, you have to decide between the constant micromanaging of what amounts to less storage than an iPod Nano from 2006 or risk losing all your files when your phone falls into a pool.
A free month of storage is a good start, but Apple needs to seriously consider making backups better for its users — regardless of cost.