(Credit: Apple)

If you are getting a new iPhone, Apple has begun offering a free 60-day trial of the 200GB tier of iCloud, which will be auto-renewed at $2.99 a month after the trial has expired. This is an upgrade from the 30-day trials that have existed since this spring. This news comes courtesy of Apple blog 9to5Mac, which spotted a discussion thread on Reddit.

SEE: Google Drive won't count backups from WhatsApp toward your storage cap

The 60-day trial is currently limited to U.S. customers, and it does not mention iPads or Macs. Every iPhone and iPad user gets a free 5GB iCloud stash, but the majority of that space can be taken up by a single device backup.

If you are also regularly taking photos with your phone or tablet, that will also eat into your storage space relatively quickly. You can upgrade to 50GB for 99 cents a month, and 200GB is the next tier of iCloud storage after that.

iCloud also has a number of features beyond storing files in the cloud. For example, anything you've purchased from iTunes can be accessed in iCloud as well, even if you never explicitly placed that content into your iCloud storage.

Documents that you're working on in Pages, Numbers, or Keynote can also be kept up-to-date across devices automatically, via iCloud syncing. So you can begin work on a Keynote presentation on a Mac, then pick up where you left on your iPhone or iPad.

iCloud can also locate a lost Apple device and help you find your friends nearby.

How does this compare to Google Drive?

For reference, Google Drive offers 15GB of free storage for every account in the U.S., though your Gmail counts towards this total -- as do Google Photos images, if you opt to keep your pictures at their original quality level instead of letting Google optimize them. You can upgrade to 100GB for $1.99 a month, and the next step up is 1TB (1,024GB) for $9.99 a month.

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Google also recently opened up Google One to everyone in the U.S., enticing cloud storage customers with perks like travel discounts, Google Play credits, and direct access to premium tech support that applies to all of the company's consumer products. Free Google Drive users can't get into Google One, however; it requires a subscription to one of Google Drive's paid tiers.

Unlike Google Drive, Google One has a 200GB tier at $2.99 a month or $30 a year, and a 2TB tier that's priced exactly the same as Google Drive's 1TB tier -- even less if you pay $100 annually, an option that you also won't get from Drive.

If you're looking for pure capacity, however, Microsoft OneDrive actually has one of the most economical options: 1TB for $70 a year (which works out to $5.33 a month), and it bundles a subscription to Office 365 Personal. That's nearly half the price of Google Drive's 1TB tier, and Google One does not offer a 1TB tier at all. Instead, One jumps from 200GB to 2TB.

The differences in pricing and tiers between Google Drive and Google One will probably get aligned in the run-up to the release of the company's Pixel 3 phones, which will reportedly be unveiled on October 9. In the meantime, iCloud's 50GB tier is your most economical option at 99 cents a month.

The takeaways

  1. Apple is offering a free 60-day trial for 200GB of iCloud storage, limited to new customers in the U.S.
  2. At the expiration of the trial, you'll automatically be charged $2.99 a month thereafter.
  3. Google Drive, Google One, and Microsoft OneDrive are popular alternatives.

Also see

Tom McNamara is a Senior Editor for CNET's Download.com. He mainly covers Windows, mobile and desktop security, games, Google, streaming services, and social media. Tom was also an editor at Maximum PC and IGN, and his work has appeared on CNET, PC Gamer, MSN.com, and Salon.com. He's also unreasonably proud that he's kept the same phone for more than two years.