Apple are very quick to downgrade paid iCloud storage accounts when billing fails. Data are then deleted indiscriminately within 15 days of payment failure.

The monthly fees for upgraded iCloud accounts are nominal, yet Apple only accept payment one month at a time by credit card. I would gladly pay five hundred dollars right now to secure my data for the better part of a decade. However as far as I know, this is no way to prepay.

How can I hedge my bets against losing my iCloud data without relying upon recurring credit card payments?


If I understand your question correctly, you are worried that a rejected payment will cause you to lose all of your iCloud-stored data within 15 days.

Instead of prepaying for something whose price drops on a regular basis (which might not even be possible), I would advise you to purchase iTunes gift cards. If you search around, you can find some deals on them from time to time (eg. $5 off a $50 card). That way, you protect your iCloud data against rejected payments, while keeping the ability to take advantage of the occasional cloud-storage price drop.

Your iTunes balance will always be used before your credit card (at least in the US). Load up your account with $150, and you’ve got yourself a year of prepaid 1TB storage on iCloud, with enough leftover for an iTunes Match subscription.

The risk, of course, is you might start spending more on iTunes and apps since you’ve got a balance there, but that is entirely up to you.

Note: App Store cards are equivalent to iTunes cards, but NOT Apple Store cards. Apple Store cards can ONLY be used at an Apple Store or the Apple Online Store.

A good way to think about it is: iTunes/App Store cards = software & services, whereas Apple Store cards = physical goods.

  • 3
    This is precisely the correct answer! You are also spot-on regarding the "risk" of increased spending on apps and music, which, funnily enough, turns out to be a much more rewarding avenue for the money I had already expected to lose to falling storage costs! :) – ProductionValues Sep 17 '16 at 16:36

For most people and most data classes- data syncs to iOS or macOS so you can back that up locally or to a second cloud provider.

Just like RAID storage allows one drive to fail and you not lose access to your data, you could back up your data twice. Then if iCloud fails you - you would be covered as long as the second mechanism didn't fail at the same time.

Thus far, prices for storage have gone down, so prepaying might have you over paying but you can load a balance on your account and have the monthly amounts deduct from the balance you carry over, but I'd probably start with a shorter period than 5 years or set up sync to a different vendor if you needed that sort of time frame to enter into a service contract.


Since iCloud is wholly controlled by Apple, the only two things you can do (other than relying on monthly credit card payments) is asking Apple if a pre-payment is possible (I, however, doubt that they would say yes, but it does not hurt asking them) or use a different storage (different cloud or local portable storage).

While the following is just speculation, I have reasons to doubt that even Apple knows where it stands (or how MobileMe/iCloud/future_name_here will change) in ten years.

Considering that we are talking about a company, which frequently pioneers with new technology and services, I am not sure if making such an advance payment is a good idea anyway for a specific service, which may look entirely different in just two or five years.

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