Build a Better Apple One Bundle with Apps You Actually Use
Apple One bundles all the company’s services into one monthly payment, but is it a good deal? Let’s take a look! You can likely save some cash by creating your own bundle and avoiding Apple’s less popular services.
What’s in Apple One?
Apple One includes services like iCloud, Apple Music, Apple TV+, Apple Arcade, and (if you’re in the Premier tier), Apple News+ and Apple Fitness+.
The Individual and Family plans are $14.95 and $19.95 per month, respectively, while the Premier Plan will set you back $29.95. In terms of value, the Individual Plan saves you $6.01 per month, while the Family Plan will save you $7.97. The Premier Plan is the best deal of the bunch. It’s roughly half the price of each bundled service when purchased separately—a savings of $24.95.
It’s a great deal on paper. Chances are, though, you’re not saving much of anything once you factor in the services you aren’t already using or don’t plan to use.
Apple Arcade, for example, hasn’t been quite as successful as Apple had hoped. Apple TV+, meanwhile, is being propped up by the free annual subscriptions the company hands out with qualifying purchases.
Deals start to look less budget-friendly when you factor in the unused services you’re paying for. When you consider switching from other platforms you use for the same cost (like from Spotify to Apple Music), the deal starts to look like less of an opportunity and more of a headache.
But how much could you save if you bundled only the services you need and went outside of Apple’s ecosystem when necessary?
The world’s two most popular music streaming services cost the same, so this is the easiest category. An individual plan at both Spotify and Apple Music will set you back $10 per month.
If you’re a student, Spotify’s a no-brainer. For $5 a month (and three months for free), you can get Spotify, Hulu, and Showtime in a promotional bundle. You’re also getting two competing services, both of which offer more value than Apple’s streaming television platform.
With the $10 individual or $15 family plan, it comes down to personal preference. For what it’s worth, Spotify has approximately twice as many paying subscribers as Apple Music. We’ve used both and have no problem recommending either service.
In individual plans, Apple offers 50 GB of iCloud storage, which costs $1 if purchased outside the bundle. We suggest you skip the bundle there and just pay your dollar. This would make your total for the Individual Plan $6 or $11, depending on whether you qualify for the student discount.
We’d make the same recommendation across the board. For the Family Plan, the included 200 GB of included storage would cost $2.99 if purchased separately. The Premier Plan, and its 2 TB of storage, is $9.99 when purchased separately.
Here’s an inventory of where we’re at when rolling our bundles:
- $11 for an Individual Plan ($4 monthly savings).
- $18 for a Family Plan ($2 monthly savings).
- $25 for a Premier Plan ($5 monthly savings).
Chances are, though, you don’t need as much storage as you think. If you can get by on less, the costs of the Family and Premier plans will drop considerably.
Do Your Digital Files Spark Joy?
Cloud storage should be secondary to physical storage. An actual drive is cheaper and gives you full control over what you’re storing, and who can see it. Aside from security concerns, local storage is also usually faster and more reliable. Use the cloud to store secondary copies of photos, videos, and device backups.
You’re probably paying far too much for cloud storage if you only use it primarily to store photos and videos. There’s a better way!
Both Google and Amazon offer unlimited photo storage. The former is free with a Google Photos account, and the latter requires an Amazon Prime subscription. Both permit video uploads, as well, with some caveats.
Google compresses your videos and photos to save space, and Amazon only gives you 5 GB. Google is a great option, and you probably won’t notice the compression. Here’s a comparison for those who are unsure.
If you’re streaming your music and backing up your photo library elsewhere, you really shouldn’t need more than 50 GB of iCloud storage for an individual, and 200 GB for a family. That will cost $1 or $3, depending on your needs.
If you’re a bit of a digital hoarder and need a Premier Plan, Apple isn’t the best option. IDrive and Zoolz both offer 5 TB for about $50 a year, or just over $4 per month. That’s less than half of what Apple charges for 2 TB.
Building a Better Bundle
If you won’t use Apple TV+ or Apple Arcade, rolling your own bundle makes more sense. For the Individual and Family Plans, this will save you 26% on the former and 10% on the latter.
The math starts to get a little foggy with Apple’s Premier Plan, at approximately $30 a month. Here, it makes sense to go with the bundle if you use at least three of the more expensive ($10+) services, like the Apple Music Family Plan, iCloud storage, Fitness+, or News+.
If you won’t use Apple Arcade or Apple TV+, you’ll want to be sure you’ll get considerable use out of at least three of the services listed above. Even then, it’s still likely that options outside of Apple’s ecosystem could save you a healthy chunk of change.
For example, there are some excellent free apps on both iOS and Android for fitness enthusiasts, like FitOn, PEAR, and Nike Training Club. There are premium upgrades available that offer additional workouts, but the free versions should be more than enough for most folks.
For news junkies, a handful of email newsletters would probably serve you just as well, if not better, than News+, as would apps like Flipboard, or a list of your favorite RSS feeds in Feedly. The ability to customize feeds offers you granular control you won’t get with News+. In our opinion, these apps offer better content than Apple’s curators, too.
If you ditch both News+ and Fitness+ for free options, the monthly cost of an Apple One bundle (or the services we’d use, anyway) drops to $19. This includes either an Apple Music or Spotify Family Plan and 5 TB of cloud storage. With the $9 you save each month, you can even bundle Netflix in your plan, which offers you superior value to Apple TV+.
More Than You Need
The reality of bundles is they’re designed to entice. Packaging popular services with some that are mostly ignored is a win-win for companies. They can squeeze a few extra dollars out of you and pad their subscriber numbers for apps that might be struggling.
From the consumer’s perspective, many of these bundles exist solely to extract more cash by making you think you’ll use apps and services you probably never will.
Apple One, in this case, is no exception.