You need a paid iCloud subscription to access some of the features introduced in the latest versions of iOS and iPadOS.
Unveiled with iOS/iPadOS 15, iCloud+ is an enhanced upgrade to iCloud that adds privacy and security options such as iCloud Private Relay and Hide My Email. But to get iCloud+ on your iPhone or iPad, you need to be on a paid iCloud plan or an Apple One subscription. Here's how to upgrade your account to receive the benefits of iCloud+.
SEE: Apple iCloud: A cheat sheet (free PDF) (TechRepublic)
iCloud+ offers several options worth considering. iCloud Private Relay replaces your regular IP address with an anonymous one based on your region to prevent companies from monitoring your online activities. Hide My Email lets you use a random and anonymous Apple ID to register with apps and websites as a way to spare your regular address from more spam. And Custom Email Domain allows you to send and receive iCloud Mail using your own domain name instead of an icloud.com address.
To upgrade you to iCloud+, Apple offers a few different tiers for a paid iCloud subscription. Choose among 50GB of data for 99 cents a month, 200GB for $2.99 a month and 2TB for $9.99 a month.
An Apple One subscription also includes iCloud+. For $14.95 a month, an individual Apple One plan provides Apple Music, Apple TV+, Apple Arcade, and iCloud+ with 50GB of storage. For $19.95 a month, a family plan kicks in the same four services but ups the iCloud+ storage to 200GB. And for $29.95 per month, a Premier plan adds News+ and Fitness+ and increases the iCloud+ storage to 2TB.
Individual storage on iCloud+
You can jump to iCloud+ either before or after you upgrade to iOS/iPadOS 15 or higher. To switch from your current free iCloud plan via your iPhone or iPad, go to Settings and tap your name at the top of the screen. Select iCloud and then tap the option for Manage Storage. If you're still on the free plan, your current storage will show 5GB as the amount of data. Tap the option for Change Storage Plan (Figure A).
At the next screen, choose your preferred plan—50GB, 200GB, or 2TB—and then tap Buy. Tap the Subscribe button and authenticate your purchase with Touch ID, Face ID, or your password. The purchase goes through and a message tells you that your storage has been upgraded (Figure B).
Family Storage on iCloud+
If you're part of an Apple Family sharing account, you can share an iCloud+ subscription with up to five other family members. To use iCloud+ as part of an existing family account, go to the iCloud screen under Settings on your iPhone or iPad. Tap the entry for Manage Storage and then select the option for Use Family Storage. You're immediately added to the iCloud+ plan under your family storage (Figure C).
If you wish to use other Apple services such as Apple Music, Apple TV+, and Apple News+, then an Apple One subscription is another option. To try this out via your device, go to Settings and tap your name. At the next screen, select Subscriptions. Tap the option for Get Apple One. Choose Individual, Family or Premier. The latter two offer the first month free. Then tap the Subscribe or Start Free Trial button (Figure D).
After you've upgraded to a paid iCloud plan either directly or through Apple One, you'll see the options for Private Relay (Beta) and Hide My Email in the iCloud Settings screen. Tap each option and follow the steps to activate it (Figure E).