Apple has filed a class action lawsuit over iCloud's 5GB capacity limit

A newly proposed class action lawsuit alleges that Apple has “raised iCloud prices to the point where the service is nearly net profitable.” As mentioned first before Bloomberg LawThe plaintiffs accuse Apple of “rigging the competitive playing field” by only letting iCloud manage device backups and other storage needs.

“Apple device owners are given 5GB of free iCloud storage, but as Apple's iCloud revenue attests, most users find this insufficient for their storage needs and purchase an additional iCloud storage plan,” the lawsuit says.

It is known that the free tier of iCloud has been limited to 5GB of storage space since it was introduced by Steve Jobs at WWDC 2011.

Much of the focus of the lawsuit is on the fact that iPhone users only have one option when it comes to fully backing up the device, and that option is Apple's iCloud service. As we all know, iCloud only gives you 5GB free.

However, Apple arbitrarily requires that holders of its mobile devices use iCloud to back up certain types of files — primarily, device settings as well as apps and app data (“Restricted Files”). For other file types – for example, photos and videos (“accessible files”) – Apple mobile device owners can choose from other cloud storage providers serving the market, including Google Drive, Sync.com, pCloud and others.

By doing so, plaintiffs say Apple “prevents competing cloud platforms from offering a full-service cloud solution that can effectively compete against iCloud.” As such, Apple could choose to limit free iCloud storage to 5GB and know that most people will need to sign up and pay for more storage just to back up their devices.

Apple's restrictions eliminate this choice, effectively forcing Apple device owners to use iCloud for cloud storage. Technically, Apple imposes what economists refer to as “requirements.” That is, if iPhone or iPad owners want to use cloud storage for restricted files — and most do — then iCloud is their only option for fulfilling this requirement. And anyone who needs more than 5GB of storage space, which means most Apple customers, will have to pay for it

“There is no technological or security justification for Apple to mandate the use of iCloud for restricted files,” the lawsuit said. “Apple only draws this distinction to limit competition and advantage its iCloud product over competing cloud platforms.”

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The full lawsuit can be found In more than Bloomberg Law. The lead plaintiff is represented by the law firm Hagens Berman, the same law firm behind a number of different class action lawsuits against Apple. Notably, the company handled a $560 million class action lawsuit for Apple Books pricing against Apple.

People who have purchased iCloud storage and are interested in potentially joining the lawsuit can do so via a form at Hagens Berman website.

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