iPhone and iPad owners are painfully aware that Apple only offers 5GB of iCloud storage for free. If you need additional cloud storage, you’ll need to pay Apple at least $0.99 a month. If you are one of the many iPhone owners that paid for an iCloud Plus subscription, you might receive a partial refund in the very near future. Apple recently settled a class action lawsuit, and if you had an iCloud subscription in late 2015, Apple owes you money.
Apple’s $14.8 million iCloud storage settlement
Apple agreed to a $14.8 million settlement for the lawsuit alleging that “Apple breached its contract with users by storing iCloud data on third-party servers.” The company denies any wrongdoing, but opted to settle rather than go to court.
If you paid for an iCloud subscription at any point between September 16, 2015 and January 31, 2016, you may be included in this settlement. If you’re a class member, you will receive a pro rata distribution based on the amount you paid during the dates above.
Best of all, you might get your refund without taking any action at all.
If you subscribe to an iCloud plan when the class payment is distributed, and you have a US mailing address associated with your plan, you will automatically receive the payment on the Apple account that pays for your iCloud subscription. If you are no longer a subscriber, you’ll get a check instead. As always, you give up the right to sue Apple for similar subject matter if you stay in the class. You have until May 23, 2022 to opt out.
There will be a final approval hearing on August 4, 2022. We still don’t know quite how large the payouts will be or when they will start to go out.
Apple’s iCloud plans
The 5GB of free cloud storage that Apple offers has always been comically low. Now, with larger apps and higher-quality photos and videos, it’s almost insulting. Unless you shell out for a device with 256GB or more of internal storage, you are likely going to need iCloud Plus. The cheapest option is the 50GB plan, which costs $0.99 a month. If you want more, you can upgrade to 200GB of $2.99 a month or 2TB for $9.99 a month.
As the name suggests, an iCloud Plus subscription does offer more than just storage. Subscribers also get access to iCloud Private Relay, Hide My Email, a custom email domain, and HomeKit Secure Video support for up to an unlimited number of cameras.
Admittedly, this lawsuit has nothing to do with the value proposition of iCloud. Apple can charge whatever it wants for cloud storage, and you can either choose to pay up or find somewhere else to store your files. In the meantime, if you’ve been paying for iCloud for years, you might have a surprise refund coming your way later this year.
More iPhone coverage: For more iPhone news, visit our iPhone 13 guide.