iCloud: iCloud storage and backup overview

iCloud storage and backup overview

When you sign up for iCloud, you automatically get 5 GB of free storage. Your iCloud storage is used for iOS device backup, iCloud Drive, iCloud Photo Library, app data and documents stored in iCloud, and iCloud Mail (your @icloud.com email account).

If you run out of space, you can upgrade your storage. You can also remove stored items to make more space available.

What iCloud backs up

iCloud automatically backs up the information on your devices—iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch—over Wi-Fi every day when they are turned on, locked, and connected to a power source. When your iOS device information is backed up in iCloud, you can easily set up a new device or restore information on one you already have.

Here’s what iCloud backs up:

  • Purchase history for music, movies, TV shows, apps, and books

    Your iCloud backup includes information about the content you purchased, but not the purchased content itself. When you restore from an iCloud backup, your purchased content is automatically downloaded from the iTunes Store, App Store, or iBooks Store. Some types of content aren’t downloaded automatically in all countries, and previous purchases may be unavailable if they have been refunded or are no longer available in the store. For more information, see the Apple Support article iTunes in the Cloud, iTunes Match, and iTunes Radio availability. Some types of content aren’t available in all countries. For more information, see the Apple Support article What can I buy from the iTunes Store in my country?.

  • Photos and videos on your iOS devices

    However, if you turn on iCloud Photo Library on your iOS device (iOS 8.1 or later) or Mac (OS X v10.10.3 or later), your photos and videos are already stored in iCloud, so they aren’t included in your iCloud backup.

  • Device settings

  • App data

  • Home screen and app organization

  • iMessage, text (SMS), and MMS messages

  • Ringtones

  • Visual Voicemail

  • Health data

  • HomeKit configuration

Your iOS device backup only includes data and settings stored on your device. It doesn’t include data already stored in iCloud. That includes contacts, calendars, bookmarks, mail messages, notes, shared photo albums, iCloud Photo Library, My Photo Stream, and documents you store in iCloud Drive. If your iOS device isn’t set up for iCloud Drive, but is set up for iCloud Documents & Data, your documents stored in iCloud are backed up.

Last Modified: Oct 9, 2015
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