Apple iCloud Drive Review – Updated November 2019

iCloud

$9.99/month 2000 GB
5.8

Pricing & Plans

8.0/10

Ease of Use

8.0/10

File Syncing

5.0/10

File Sharing

2.0/10

Retrieving Files

4.0/10

Security

6.0/10

Support

7.5/10

Additional Features

6.0/10

Pros

  • Great integration with apple devices
  • Decent prices
  • Good syncing speeds
  • Phone call support

Cons

  • Not suitable for users without apple devices
  • No sharing links
  • No real file versioning system
  • Prone to interference from U.S. government
  • No email support
  • Bare-bones sync desktop client

Apple iCloud Drive Review – Summary

As you probably already know the iCloud Drive is an Apple product. And as that it’s meant for users that own Apple devices. iCloud Drive pricing&plans are similar to other top cloud storages with the exception of the 2TB plan which is a tad cheaper. The whole system is easy to use but lacks some advanced options like file sharing and file versioning. The security is good, however not the best possible. Keep in mind that Apple offers no protection against warrants and will disclose all your information if required to.

If you’re searching for safe cloud storage check out this list.

Read the full iCloud Drive review down below.


iCloud Drive Alternatives

# Service Rating Paid Plan Go To
1

pCloud

Read review

$4.99/month 500 GB

Go to pCloud
2

Sync.com

Read review

$8/month 2000 GB

Go to Sync.com
3

Tresorit

Read review

€8.33/month 200 GB

Go to Tresorit
4

MEGA

Read review

€4.99/month 200 GB

Go to MEGA
5

Koofr

Read review

€10/month 1000 GB

Go To Koofr

Jump to:

Pricing & Plans
Who is it for?
Ease of use
File syncing
File sharing
Retrieving files
Security
Online support
Additional features
Conclusion


Pricing & Plans

iCloud has taken a very simple approach regarding their plans. You don’t get any additional features if you upgrade, there are no yearly discounts and so on. If you decide to go for the upgrade, you’ll get additional storage, and that’s pretty much it. Everything else is available to you without upgrading.

iCloud offers a free permanent solution with 5 GB of cloud storage.

Prices vary depending on which country you live in. When compared with other top cloud storages the prices are very similar, perhaps a tad more expensive. A very decent 2TB cloud storage can be found for less than $10 at pCloud or Sync.com.


Currency50 GB200 GB2000 GB
USD$0.99 $2.99 $9.99
Euro€0.99€2.99€9.99
GBP£0.79 £2.49 £6.99

You can find the full list of pricing & plans for all the countries at support.apple.com.


Who is it for?

I think it’s pretty obvious that this cloud storage isn’t meant for anyone else than the people that have Apple products. Even if you’re an Apple user yourself, you’ll still need to get a hold of additional cloud storage that will allow you to perform more complex and advanced actions such as sharing your files, having a real versioning system, etc.

If you’re looking for cloud storage that does that check our Best Cloud Storage List and find the one that suits you best.


Ease of use

If you own an Apple device, you already have everything that you need to just login into your iCloud Drive. You just need the Apple ID & password, and you’re in. The registration process is relatively simple if you don’t own an Apple account.

The interface itself is probably one of the easiest ones I have ever seen. Too simple, perhaps. While I was using the system, I felt like certain advanced settings were missing like uploading entire folders, sharing them through links, versioning system, etc.

iCloud Drive Interface
File previews & edits

iCloud Drive allows you to preview PDF documents directly from the browser but you aren’t able to preview or edit Office documents.

You can listen to music and preview images but aren’t able to watch videos directly in the browser.


File syncing

iCloud Drive application is available for Windows and Mac systems.

The iCloud app allows you to access your files from the desktop by creating an imaginary drive. It also gives you the ability to sync your contacts, calendars with Outlook, Photos and Bookmarks. The application stores all of your iCloud Drive files locally as well which takes up local storage space.

The results from speed tests were very surprising. Uploading a file directly to the browser was incredibly slow and downloading it from there wasn’t much different. After I installed the application that changed completely. If you upload the file through your application, it gets synced across all your devices with decent speed.

iCloud Drive Syncing

It also installs a separate imaginary drive called “iCloud Photos”. You can use that for all your photos. They are then synced across all your devices.

iCloud Drive does not support block-level sync which would enable you to upload updates files at faster speeds. It also doesn’t provide selective sync and doesn’t enable you to sync any folder on your computer.

The file size is limited to 50GB.


File sharing

iCloud Drive isn’t your standard cloud storage. It’s possible to share photos and videos with people that have Apple accounts by creating shared folders, but that is pretty much all there is. Even that can get annoying sometimes due to the fact that the other side needs an Apple account as well.

Sharing links are not available which is a huge downside. At least not directly from the iCloud Drive. You can share certain documents through iWork.

If you are using iCloud Drive and would still like to share files with links, you will have to integrate two cloud services. I would recommend pCloud or Sync.com for the job.


Retrieving files

Versioning system is necessary to have, especially if you’re dealing with documents that are relevant to your job. The problem with iCloud is that it lacks the compatibility with Microsoft programs which makes everything that you do harder. There is no real versioning system for files within the iCloud Drive.

Deleted files stay in the trash bin for up to 30 days after which they are permanently removed.

iCloud Drive Trash Bin

Security

Apple has its iCloud servers located across the US, Denmark and Asia.

Apple protects your data while in transit and on the server with a minimum of 128-bit AES encryption. Bear in mind that the encryption is available only when you use the latest iOS or macOS. Apple uses end-to-end encryption on certain services, iCloud Drive is not one of them. The decryption keys are stored on Apple servers in the U.S which means that somebody could steal them or the government could have a look into your files whenever needed. For true security, you should opt-in for a zero-knowledge cloud storage provider. They use client-side encryption which means that only you hold the encryption keys that are used to decrypt your files.

Their privacy policy states that they can disclose your personal information to third parties in order to improve Apple’s products and services but will never share the personal information for the marketing purposes of third parties.

Two-factor authentication: If you choose to enable this you’ll add another layer of security to your account. Whenever you want to sign in with your Apple ID on a new device, you’ll be asked for a 6-digit code which will be displayed on a separate Apple device that you trust. I would suggest enabling this feature since it does help if your password gets hacked.


Subpoena:

Law enforcement can retrieve basic iCloud subscriber information, such as name, mailing address, email address, and telephone number. Connection logs for the iCloud account, including IP addresses, are available and retained for up to 30 days. The list about subpoena goes on and on but in essence: If they get a warrant for somebodies information, files or anything they will disclose everything they have to the authorities. That is the disadvantage of not being part of cloud storage that uses Zero-Knowledge privacy.

If you wish to know more about iCloud Drive security, read it here.


Online support

Apple offers an FAQ section that provides answers to the most simple questions. If you’re having any problems with their service, you have the option to call them directly from 09:00 to 16:00 (Monday through Friday). They don’t provide any email or live chat support though. A large number of folks prefer to use support that doesn’t require a phone call. It’s quite strange that Apple opted-in for live calls but fails to provide the very basic support options.

iCloud Drive FAQ

Additional features


Apple Apps

By joining iCloud Drive, you also get access to a number of applications that are all part of the Apple circle. Bear in mind that these apps really come to use if you own an iPhone, iPad or Mac.

iCloud Drive Apps

Mobile Application

The mobile application is available only on Apple products such as iPhone and iPad. It’s integrated into the whole system. iCloud is used to back up pretty much everything on your phone.

iCloud Drive can be used to access all of the files that you synced across your devices. The application is plain and simple but without all the advanced features that someone would want for decent cloud storage.


Conclusion

iCloud Drive is a decent cloud storage and will satisfy you if you’re the most basic user that needs just some space to upload a few files. When we get to more complicated stuff like file sharing and retrieving iCloud fails to provide what any other cloud storage already does. Cloud storages like pCloud, Dropbox, Sync.com, Google Drive are ahead of iCloud by miles. Due to the lack of these features, I would seriously advise you not to use iCloud Drive for business needs.

You can find the best cloud storage in our Top 10 Cloud Storage Providers list.



Hopefully, we’ve gone through everything that you wanted to know about iCloud Drive within this iCloud Drive review. If you have any unanswered questions feel free to ask them in the comments section down below and I’ll answer them shortly!

Dejan Miladinović

Hey! Welcome to Cloudstorageinfo.org. My website is dedicated to people that are interested in cloud services and anything related to them. Hopefully, you found the post written above useful and intuitive. I would be happy to discuss it more in the comments section. If you have any questions ask them down below and I'll answer them shortly.

2 thoughts on “Apple iCloud Drive Review – Updated November 2019

  • July 15, 2017 at 06:24
    Permalink

    A fact I like about the apple products is that they are very classic and of high quality. Personally, I’ve never used an iPhone, iPad or MacBook laptops but I’ve always wanted to. So that tells you that I don’t know much about the iCloud too so that means your article is quite informative to me, since I am searching for a cloud storage.

    I’ll check your Best cloud storage list to find a more suitable cloud storage.

    One thing I don’t like about Apple products is that all software and applications are strictly for their gadgets and the prize is too high. I hope in future they will try to upgrade and come up with universal applications and software that can be shared with other gadgets.

    Reply
    • July 17, 2017 at 05:42
      Permalink

      Hello there,

      I doubt they will ever move in the direction of having applications more open and universal. Apple likes to keep everything within their reach and under control.

      And as you said, check out my cloud storage list and try to find something suitable for you.

      Dejan

      Reply

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