There are many ways to store your data, including on an external hard disk, on a flash drive, and in cloud storage. iCloud and Google Drive belong to the latter group. But what exactly is cloud storage? Cloud storage is simply a storage space that you can access from anywhere, as long as you have internet connection.
Here’s a comparison between iCloud and Google Drive. The main difference between them is that iCloud is designed with Apple users in mind, whereas anyone can use Google Drive.
|Cost||Between $0.99 and $9.99||Between $1.99 and $9.99|
|Storage||5GB (free) / 50GB / 200GB / 2TB||15GB (free)/ 100GB / 200GB / 2TB|
|Security||Secure. Data encrypted in transit and in storage.||Secure. 2 step verification offered; data encrypted in transit and while being stored.|
|Integrations||iCloud Photo Library, iCloud Drive, email, calendar, notes, reminders; device backup and sync; family sharing; business systems and applications like Microsoft Office, iCalendar, and more.||Google Photos, Google Docs, Gmail; device backup and sync; family sharing; third-party creative suites like Adobe Creative Cloud and other business systems including Microsoft Office, Salesforce, Slack, etc; easy to share files and systems on any device or OS.|
As you can see, they are both pretty similar, but iCloud is Apple native. Although you’ll be able to access it from non-Apple hardware, it won’t be as interactive. On the other hand, you have full access to Google Drive and all its integrations from an Apple device. Let’s dig into the details.
In October 2011 Apple launched its cloud storage offering – iCloud – allowing Apple users to back up all the data on their Mac, iPhone, iPad, Apple TV and even Apple Watch. You can actually access your data from any device – even from non-Apple devices – through the iCloud website or the app with the same name. The types of data you can see is limited on the website, however, and you can expect a clunkier experience from non-native devices.
The system requirements you need in order to access iCloud and back up your data are as follows:
- For Mac: OS X Lion v10.7.5 or later
- For iOS devices (eg iPhone or iPad): iOS 5 or later
- For Windows users: Windows 7 or higher is required
There are three different paid plans. Apple gives 5GB for free to every user, but with the amount of data that a regular user consumes each day, that doesn’t go very far.
All four monthly plans offer exactly the same features; the only thing that differs is the size of the storage:
- 5GB for free
- 50GB for $0.99
- 200GB for $2.99
- 2TB for $9.99
iCloud is completely safe to use. Apple encrypts everything that the user or their iPhone stores in iCloud, both in transit and in storage, helping to maintain the user’s privacy.
Developed by Google and launched in 2012, Google Drive allows users to store files on their servers, synchronize files across devices and share files. It comes as either a web service or an app, downloadable from the Apple Store or Play Store. It has integrations with Google’s search engine, Google Chrome. An easy way to access it is through your Gmail.
In terms of system requirements, you can use it in any browser, such as Google Chrome, Safari or Opera, as long as you have internet connection. As far as devices are concerned, you can use either Apple, Windows or Android.
When it comes to plans, Google Drive also offers a free service – bigger than iCloud – of up to 15GB. The monthly paid plans are as follows:
- 100GB for $1.99
- 200GB for $2.99
- 2TB for $9.99
One of the standout benefits of Google Drive is that it enables you to collaborate on documents with colleagues and friends, making teamwork that much easier; many other features, like keeping track of changes, or the ability to leave comments, are also built-in.
Google Drive uses encryption to keep your data safe while in transit, and offers 2 factor verification to help you protect your account.
The main cloud storage alternatives to iCloud and Google Drive are Dropbox and Microsoft OneDrive; the latter being more tailored towards working professionals. For everyday storage we highly recommend both iCloud and Google Drive as excellent Cloud storage tools – but Google Drive has the edge, thanks to its greater accessibility and compatibility.
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