Microsoft downgrades free OneDrive storage to 5GB, ends unlimited storage for Office 365 customers

Microsoft has announced radical changes to its OneDrive cloud storage service, ending unlimited storage for Office 365 users. Free storage is also being decreased from 15GB to 5GB for all users. The reason for the scaling back of storage comes after Microsoft found that a few customers were using up to 75TB of cloud storage from a single account:

Since we started to roll out unlimited cloud storage to Office 365 consumer subscribers, a small number of users backed up numerous PCs and stored entire movie collections and DVR recordings. In some instances, this exceeded 75 TB per user or 14,000 times the average.

These are the changes prescribed by Microsoft:

  • We're no longer planning to offer unlimited storage to Office 365 Home, Personal, or University subscribers. Starting now, those subscriptions will include 1 TB of OneDrive storage.
  • 100 GB and 200 GB paid plans are going away as an option for new users and will be replaced with a 50 GB plan for $1.99 per month in early 2016.
  • Free OneDrive storage will decrease from 15 GB to 5 GB for all users, current and new. The 15 GB camera roll storage bonus will also be discontinued. These changes will start rolling out in early 2016.

The Redmond giant has mentioned that customers that exceed the new quotas will have access to their files for at least 12 months, following which it will scale back the storage:

  • If you are an Office 365 consumer subscriber and have stored in excess of 1 TB, you will be notified of this change and will be able to keep your increased storage for at least 12 months.
  • If you are an Office 365 consumer subscriber and find that Office 365 no longer meets your needs, a pro-rated refund will be given. To learn more visit the FAQ.
  • If you are using more than 5 GB of free storage, you will continue to have access to all files for at least 12 months after these changes go into effect in early 2016. In addition, you can redeem a free one-year Office 365 - Personal subscription (credit card required), which includes 1 TB of OneDrive storage.
  • Current customers of standalone OneDrive storage plans (such as a 100 or 200 GB plans) are not affected by these changes.

Microsoft has additional information regarding the changes here (opens in new tab).

Source: OneDrive blog (opens in new tab)

Harish Jonnalagadda
Senior Editor - Asia

Harish Jonnalagadda is a Senior Editor overseeing Asia at Android Central. He leads the site's coverage of Chinese phone brands, contributing to reviews, features, and buying guides. He also writes about storage servers, audio products, and the semiconductor industry. Contact him on Twitter at @chunkynerd.

  • Well that sucks. Posted via the Android Central App
  • This is why we cannot have nice things. And unlimited data for the most part __________________________________________________________________________________-_________________________-____________________
  • This was an excuse to do what they already wanted to do. This move is way too drastic to respond to a few excessive cases. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Right. Posted via the Android Central App
  • SMH some people are assholes. Give an inch they'll take a mile. Reminds me of last week: At a soup restaurant with unlimited bradsticks while you're dining. Then this asshole couple cut the line and filled a bag with all but 4 of the bradsticks in the pan. "The sign say unlimited" was the excuse they verbalized.
  • The problem is using "unlimited" as an advertising term. If you're not going to provide that, don't call it that. With that said, dropping 15GB free down to 5GB free seems like strange move. Surely they could handle people using that space?
  • You still get 15GB free for just using their Photo uploading feature once. So that's still 20GB( or 5GB more than any other free option).
  • Google Photos is unlimited.
  • If you opt for the unlimited storage, Google recompresses your photos to a lower quality.
  • Which only applies to photos higher than 16 MP, and videos higher than 1080p. Anything below that won't be re-compressed. The restrictions don't apply to 99.9% of people.
  • Are you sure? Everything I upload is recompressed. Or, at least, the file I download is not the same file I uploaded (and is smaller). I personally don't care as it's not really noticeable for what I'm using it for, but not sure if we can say it is uncompressed for stuff under 16MP.
  • nvm
  • Is that different than the camera roll bonus? That is being removed as well.
  • AOSPrevails.....Incorrect according to the article....The 15 GB camera roll storage bonus will also be discontinued. These changes will start rolling out in early 2016.
  • Actually if you go to the more info page the 15GB camera upload bonus is going away as well.
  • Most things I've seen say the camera roll bonus is going away.
  • I agree. If they give you unlimited cloud storage, they should be prepared for the people who will actually take their word for it and make the most of their unlimited storage. Same goes with that unlimited data plan that that one US telco was discontinuing because people were using it as advertised. They tell you it's unlimited and get all uppity when you treat it as such. It's stupid. Sony Xperia Z2
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  • What's stupid is thinking that gross misuse of a service is the same thing as "making the most" of something. I am sick and tired of people like you in my generation who look at things the way you do. We go around feeling like we're entitled to everything and not taking accountability for anything. Using 75TB would take EFFORT. No way someone just happens to have 75 TB of data lying around. And if somehow they did, they need to go buy a huge hard drive and store it on their hard drive, or pay a company if they expect them to hold it all in one place. I get the point you're attempting to make, but it's pretty freaking unreasonable. Your point would hold more weight if we were talking about 50 GB or 1 TB even. Heck, maybe 5 TB. But 75 is retarded.
  • No, it isn't unreasonable. If they advertise unlimited, then they mean precisely that: unlimited. Don't act all surprised and/or mad when people actually use the "unlimited" plan. Oh, and FYI: there are no hard drives that big. Odds are is that MS just made this up as an excuse to end the unlimited program.
  • So you're saying that MS lied about it? Moto X 2013 (U.S. Cellular)
  • Although I agree with your overall sentiment, I think it was very stupid of them to advertise unlimited. If there's one thing I've learned, if you offer unlimited anything, you're going to attract the moochers like moths to a flame.
  • If they didn't want you to use unlimited data then don't market it as unlimited. I'm not saying someone probably didn't notice they had 75TB of data but I also know businesses that run there whole backup system to Dropbox because its cheaper and Dropbox doesn't complain.
    If you want to argue the definition of UNLIMITED then congratulations; your corporate America's best friend
  • No, the problem is jacka$$es who do crap like this. I'm sick of people saying the company should have chosen their words differently. That's why we have to have warnings on coffee and hot chocolate that says it's hot. Our stupid generation ruins everything for everyone else, and then goes on to blame someone else for it. It's not the companies fault that spoiled pieces of dog sh** can't use some common courtesy anymore.
  • Coffee is known to be hot. Microsoft said unlimited. You cannot just say that and expect no one to put that to the test. That still doesn't explain cutting back to 5GB. That is the bigger jack ass move as I had a feeling unlimited was "unlimited."
  • Yes coffee is known to be hot. But there are certain jackass McDonald's customers that simply have no common sense. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Was it the McDonald's customers that have no common sense or the judge that awarded the law suit to the plantiff?? Posted via the Android Central App
  • Both! Posted via the Android Central App
  • Agreed. Moto X 2013 (U.S. Cellular)
  • Well said! Except for the unlimited part. If they advertise as unlimited then it's unlimited. If they advertise as unlimited with a cap, then it's not unlimited. You bet your ass if i go into a coffee house that advertises unlimited coffee refills then cap me at 3, their coffee carafe will be permanently imbeded in their wall..... Posted via the Android Central App
  • But is it really reasonable to expect that by saying unlimited they really mean the opposite, limited? Don't get me wrong, 75TB is extreme and more than a little bit stupid but if they are allowed to use as much as they want (unlimited) then I don't see why they are in the wrong. Sony Xperia Z2
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  • Don't infantilize a major corporation. Don't compare bread sticks to a major tech company. It's disgusting when a major company acts like they are the victims. Dam It Feels Good To Be A Google Gangster
  • The corporate shills are strong here
  • The shills are with him.....and he's correct. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Yeah but that situation is different. You wouldn't have cared if they took 100 breadsticks if it hadn't been for them cutting everyone else. That's where they went wrong. Breadsticks, are by nature limited, at the very least by the capacity at which their bakers can make them. Digital storage is also somewhat limited (by the servers a company has to store everyone's personal data). A company like Microsoft, or any company nowadays, should realize they are going to have people that do this if they say they offer unlimited storage. It's just a matter of them determining how many people they can handle doing it. Can they handle 5-10% of the people going crazy with TBs of data? Sure. But what about 50 or 75%? I don't think ANY cloud company could.
  • This sucks big time. Definitely going to have to look at my cloud storage accounts and see about moving stuff over to another one. I don't use a lot of storage but just enough that this cut will make it hard for me to keep using onedrive as my primary solution. Time to shut off the camera uploads too and just rely on Google Photo backup. Posted via the Android Central App
  • 2 bucks a month gets you twice as much storage on Google Drive as it does on OneDrive now, putting Microsoft's solution way behind the competition. I guess their only advantage is Office 365 thrown in. Sony Xperia Z2
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  • Damn! There are always some as5holes who ruin things for everyone else World is not a good place at all. I hope they have a miserable death
  • I assume you are talking about Microsoft? The reason they provided doesn't explain why our free 15GB accounts suddenly become 5gb.
  • Exactly. Posted via the Android Central App
  • You want people to die because they use what they paid for? MS clearly said unlimited storage, and not as much as the average user... And why cut the free space for all users because of this? It makes no sense. And inteoducing a new paid plan for only 50gb... MS is the assholes here, not the users, who i again remind you only used exactly what they paid for...
  • If they didn't want unlimited, don't say unlimited. Otherwise, the word loses meaning. It's one thing if I'm using "all you can eat" at a restaurant for all my friends and family. It's another if I'm expecting to be able to eat all I want at said restaurant. Second, that 75tb is basically impossible for most users at the moment. Assuming most people have 20meg up:
    20megabits/8=2.5 megabytes per second
    75,000,000megabytes / 2.5 megabytes per second = 30,000,000 seconds / 60 seconds per minute = 500000 minutes / 60 minutes per hour = 8333.33 hours / 24 hours per day = 347.22 days Assuming a 24/7 stream of data at 20megabits, it'd take about 347.22 days to upload 75tb. Even if you had gfiber the same math (assuming constant 125 megabytes up), it'd *still* take just under a week of constant uploading. The only nice part of this is that Microsoft isn't hiding what they're doing here. Updates/Windows 10 spying on *everything* you do, is another story. They admitted in a Forbes article that they can't disable the stuff that sends everything you type back to them.
  • I think you forgot to read the article. It says that multiple people were using the same account to upload up to 75 TB. Your math calculation is meaningless. Posted via the Android Central App
  • I doubt what their numbers to be honest. I don't think multiple people used 75tb. I don't know if you read my comment... I did say something about sharing the all you can eat being bad. It should be *very* easy for Microsoft to disable account sharing. "Only one PC can upload at a time" or implement some BTSync style sharing, as in all PC's send to one, and that one uploads. 1 PC having 75tb is very, very, unlikely... Outside a datacenter that is. Even beyond that, why do people defend "unlimited not being unlimited". It's defending a lie. Microsoft wanted the benefit of saying "unlimited" without the cost of actually giving people unlimited.
  • I believe it one, of my friends between photos and movies has around 5 terabytes. Another friend has unlimited Verizon still. And his download a month is anywhere 300 to 400 gb so yea. And this is why we can't have nice things. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Yes, heaven forbid someone actually has to live up to their contracts anymore. If it says UNLIMITED, it is UNLIMITED. "Nice things" are things that live to what they say they live to. They don't offer something, then get mad when people do said thing.
  • Don't believe anybody signed a contract saying unlimited for their lifetime. But if you're that butt hurt over it don't use Microsoft products. Posted via the Android Central App
  • "Don't use Microsoft products" Already done. However, disagreement != trivializing someone else's opinion with "butt hurt". A contract is just that, an agreement until one side or the other can break it. If they can't then yes, it's for their lifetime.
  • Oh some where in thier ToS agreement where you have to scroll down and hit accept where no one reads it. Most likely it says they can switch the unlimited part anytime they feel like it. Don't see why people get upset upset there's a plethora of other cloud storage options out there. But yea first world problems where am I going to store all my crap. Posted via the Android Central App
  • I don't think anyone is saying they can't change the plan. What I was lamenting is that they can't get upset when someone does what is offered. Verizon likely can't change it, otherwise they would have.
  • You don't see it? You don't see why people get upset when they don't get what they paid for? And furthermore ms using this excuse to downgrade all members storage, and taking away bonus storage that had no end date... you actually think that that is not a problem? And please stop with that first world problem nonsense, ofc. it's first world problems... so is a lot of things, doesn't mean we should take it though.
  • The unlimited storage was a value add on to Office 365 with no increase in subscription price. The "contract" is valid through the end of the subscription term at which time you can choose whether to renew your subscription under the new terms, which will no longer have that unlimited value add on. Microsoft is even allowing people to cancel their current subscription and get a prorated refund, so no, no one is being deprived of anything that they paid for. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Microsoft actually did live up to their part of the agreement. They didn't stop anyone from storing 75TB, nor did they delete anything nor did they ban accounts. They are simply not going to offer the unlimited option, moving forward. Posted via the Android Central App
  • You should punch those friends in the faces for being stupid idiots and being part of the problem.
  • Disabling account sharing would be by far a worse move than scaling back storage. It would mean that I couldn't have Onedrive on my PC, smartphone and tablet all at the same time. I also couldn't have it running on my work computer, nor my work phone. It would mean that I couldn't back up my annual reports from my work phone and have them automatically download to my computer. This would basically make Onedrive a separate service and it could no longer be integrated into Windows or any other system. Posted via the Android Central App on the Sony Xperia Z3 Compact
  • Cloud storage is all about convenient access to all your files wherever you are. It'd basically undermine the whole premise of it all Sony Xperia Z2
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  • Yet another company who got what they deserved when they "said" unlimited, but "meant" not unlimited. Quit using these dumb ass buzz words. Unlimited ALWAYS means a small subset of users is going to consume a tremendous amount. If you can't handle it, you shouldn't have offered it in the first place. Posted via the Android Central App powered by Droid Turbo
  • The way I see it, if you offer unlimited access you'd have to be pretty stupid to not anticipate people using it as advertised. Sony Xperia Z2
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  • I bet they're cheering in Mountain View. They'll soon get a bunch of GoogleDrive users back. Myself included. Stupid Microsoft is stupid.
  • Same here, will be thinking long and hard about my affinity with MS services.
    I can sense an N97 type moment for MS Posted via the Android Central App
  • It sucks but it makes sense. Microsoft was using One drive's promotion as a loss leader to other Microsoft products and services. So this wasn't working for them. Google Drive's various time bounded promotions get eyeballs for Google because that's their primary business. They sell eyeballs for targeted ads. So yeah, Mountain View wins.
  • 1 TB for $10 a month, very happy with that plan. I have had it for a couple years, no data corruption either in my Vids or pics. Just with I had used it more before my PC crashed and lost a bunch of my stuff
  • Go to hell, Microsoft. You lowering storage caps for ALL users is worse than how AT&T handles data caps and throttling and overcharging.
  • Lol this is in no way the same thing.
  • ...except when people think both are fundamentally awful ideas. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Seems a bit drastic just to control the abusers... Not quite buying the excuse. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Exactly. Why not just reprimand the abusers? Posted via the Android Central App
  • The excuse is these companies use drug dealer models. Give people a taste for free then start charging them after they're hooked. If you have GB of data stored it's a pain to transfer download, and re-upload to another server.
  • I'm glad you said that; MS has been doing that for more than 20 years. I remember when every version of Windows (from 95 to NT4.0) required a license... and you could (illegally) use the same license infinitely. Same for Office. Oh, sure, MS would audit companies every now and again, but by and large they looked the other way... until everyone was using their products. By then, you (be it people or companies) were hooked to their products, and usually the competition was dead (funny how WinNT didn't need activation until Novell was dead). This is MS's SOP -- it's why I left their products behind (with one Win7 exception) long ago.
  • They seem to be blaming the heaviest users for this change yet they have gone to the extreme when they could have just limited everyone to 1TB.
  • Oh cry me a river............ I hate when companies try to act like victims. Sickening Dam It Feels Good To Be A Google Gangster
  • As if they couldn't foresee mistakes and possible scenarios. That shit gets looked at by more than 10 highly paid heads.
  • I guess Drive, Dropbox etc. isn't exactly crying over this..
  • Hahaha. Google's gonna take every bit of advantage of this moment to plaster Drive ads everywhere to exploit the free OneDrive users Posted via the Android Central App
  • I don't see what the free tier users have to do with users abusing the unlimited Office 365 tier. This is a classic bait and switch. I don't know if I've ever heard of a company taking back free storage storage like they're doing. I suspect Microsoft will be forced to reverse course after the inevitable outcry.
  • Because Microsoft is blaming these high storage users for their mistake. It's an easy way to cover up the truth that Microsoft didn't think that it's Onedrive service would explode like this. Which is silly because it is integrated into every Windows 10 and 8.1 computer and every Office subscription. Considering that accounts for currently over 300 million PCs and potentially over twice as many devices, that's a lot of free cloud storage. Currently it's almost 5 billion gigabytes or 5 million terabytes and that's just calculating the free 15 gigabyte storage for 300 million PCs, not including all the Androids, Apples, and servers that use Onedrive. I bet heads are rolling over at Redmond over this screwup. Posted via the Android Central App on the Sony Xperia Z3 Compact
  • Just when my university swaps over to all Microsoft from our previous email. Of course. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Sooo what you are saying is our content isn't really private as you are peeping on our files?!? Then go after those users that are abusing your terms, durrr! Time for me to transfer my stuff to google.
  • Well, they could easily tell how much space each account is using, even without looking at the file level details. The terms of service you agree when using OneDrive also allows Microsoft to collect information about the files you upload and to index the files so you can search them online. You'll find basically every other service has similar terms, including Google. I don't think Microsoft really pokes through everyone's files, they have better things to do. Using 75TB of storage would be enough to get attention and have someone actually look at what's being stored and taking up that space. All that said, I think Microsoft is using the abuse by a few accounts as an excuse to lower their storage limits and cut their costs.
  • But didn't they actually name in detail what types of files were being stored? Movies, etc.? Posted via the Android Central App
  • HAH, I'm surprised the tinfoil hats didn't show up sooner :D All jokes aside, I think they only know what was in it because of the inevitable investigation into why someone was using 75 TERABYTES of space. I think it's a perfectly legitimate reason in this case because of the extremely unusual circumstances. Sony Xperia Z2
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  • Why the hell would anyone have trusted Microsoft anyway? Posted via the Android Central App
  • The same reason anyone would have trusted Google, Apple, etc? Posted via the Android Central App
  • damn...whats gonna happen when you've signed up back in the day when they were doubling the space for free? I got a 30gb account and got 7gb of pics on it. Will I also go back to 5gb of free storage?
  • You can no longer upload stuff to that drive, but your data is safe. You will be able to upload again after you remove enough stuff from the drive.
  • Wtf thats such a dick move from Microsoft!! And to all the idiots who say people are abusing the system, please stfu..Microsoft are the ones abusing the system by advertising UNLIMITED space. Guess its back to Dropbox n Google drive for me. Posted via the Android Central App
  • You can 'stfu'. 75TB is freaking ridiculous. I hate Microsoft, but I'd like a few minutes with the idiots who ruined this for everyone by using 75 TB of storage.
  • Dropbox ftw Posted via the Android Central App
  • Drive ftw I use both lol. Drive for all my 70 or so gigabytes of photos, and Dropbox for uni related stuff and miscellaneous stuff. I must say, Dropbox and their integration into Windows is by far the coolest thing about the service. I've gotten to the point where it's on both my computers and I save almost nothing locally (apart from the stuff in the Dropbox folder which is synced across my computers, obviously). Sony Xperia Z2
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  • Ending the camera roll storage bonus it's not going to help selling any Lumia phone.. if anything else..
  • Was the unlimited storage for Office 365 customers only in the USA? In Oz and the UK I've only ever seen 1TB on offer. I still find that Dropbox offers a slicker service and app anyway but this 1TB doesn't seem a new thing from the time I signed up a few months ago anyway.
  • I think I saw unlimited storage advertised down here in Oz. Never really paid attention though because Dropbox and Google Drive have my heart lol Sony Xperia Z2
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