The trick to getting an extra 15GB of free OneDrive storage

There is plenty of competition in the cloud storage space, but, unfortunately, for the most part any massive changes are limited to paid plans. They get bigger, they get cheaper, but the free tier, which most users get first, remains largely as limiting as it has always been.

Sure, we get a couple of extra gigs for free here and there, but it's all smoke after all, meant to lead us right to the money grabbers. (And who could blame providers for trying to make money?)

Now, Microsoft is doing something rather interesting, as it gives OneDrive users nearly twice as much storage in the free plan, bumping the limit from a so-so 15GB to a respectable 30GB. The reason?

Well, it's a damn clever one - the extra freebie is meant to help Apple users who are having trouble with iOS 8 upgrades due to low available storage. Because this is an oft-discussed issue, it is bound to generate some free advertising for Microsoft and OneDrive.

However, Microsoft is not restricting the offer to iOS users, as it is valid for Android, Windows and Windows Phone users too, who can also thank Apple for being cheap (well, you get the gist).

There is a caveat - Microsoft says that this is a limited time offer, lasting only until the month ends. And all you have to do, to take advantage of it, is enable the auto upload feature in any of the OneDrive apps (for Android, iOS, Windows and Windows Phone; OneDrive for BlackBerry 10 OS was not mentioned). What if the feature is already enabled? Well, then you won't have to do a thing as you are given the extra space automatically.

Look at OneDrive's Storage page and you will see 15GB listed next to "Camera roll bonus" - that's how the extra free storage is accounted, and added to your plan. That bonus would normally be much smaller, just 3GB, after enabling the auto upload feature, bringing the tally to 18 GB (not quite double the free storage for every OneDrive user, as Microsoft claims in the blog post announcing the offer).

Users who were grandfathered into the 25GB free plan - back when OneDrive was called SkyDrive - can also take advantage of this offer. Being one myself, I quickly went to the Storage page to verify this and, indeed, it shows I have 40GB of free storage in total (excluding the so-called "Enthusiast bonus" and the "Referral bonus").