Video: As Dropbox IPO goes live, should you consider switching to iCloud Drive?

Posted:
in General Discussion
As Dropbox goes public, AppleInsider examines if it is time to consider whether you should stay put with iCloud Drive, or fully embrace Dropbox for your cloud storage needs.





They both have their perks and differentiating features, but each is clearly suited for a different user. Let's dive in and take a look at what iCloud Drive has to offer, and whether you should finally ditch dropbox for good.

iCloud Drive

iCloud Drive has made sizable improvements in the last year, particularly with iOS 11 and macOS High Sierra. When it debuted in 2014, it let you store files, but it was pretty shallow and lacked many features we see i other cloud storage platforms.




Now, iCloud Drive does much more than syncs your files between your Mac, iPhone, and iPad. It can automatically sync your Desktop and Documents folders, as well as everything inside of the iCloud Drive folder itself.

Many applications now natively support iCloud Drive, saving all files within the iCloud Drive folder for easy synchronization. You can scan a document in Scanbot, or edit a photo with Affinity Photo, and have it accessible within each app on any Apple platform.




The iPhone and iPad also received the new Files application which makes it extremely easy to grab files from iCloud Drive. It also integrates with many cloud platforms such as Dropbox, Amazon Drive, Google Drive, Box, OneDrive, and more.

Windows support is still not amazing, but there is an iCloud Drive utility available. If you just need occasional access or are on a shared computer, iCloud Drive is now accessible via the web. The new web interface is also where you can recover any files that have been deleted in the last 30 days. Dropbox still has the edge when it comes to web tools, but Apple's iCloud website has slowly been picking up features over time.




Sharing files within iCloud has historically been problematic, but Apple introduced a new way to share with iOS 11 and High Sierra. You can use the Share Sheet to add people to a file or copy the link to share any way you'd like.

One of the biggest benefits of iCloud Drive is that you are able to share storage with your family. Using Apple's Family Sharing, your other family members are able to use the same storage, without having to pay per user.

Dropbox




On the flip side, Dropbox offers up a more open platform, at the cost of not being quite so tightly integrated into the OS. It more equally supports both Mac and PC and allows you to sync any folders you'd like.

When sharing links to files, you are also able to password protect them, offering greater security. iCloud limits you to only gating access to people you've invited and choosing read or write access.




The Basic version of Dropbox also includes 30 days of file recovery, though if you go Pro, you get 120 days. The Pro tier is something that really sets Dropbox apart. It has much more granular permissions, expiring links, Smart Sync, full text search, viewing history, and more.

Even though iCloud Drive has fantastic integration with iOS and Mac apps, Dropbox has integrations with Office 365 and other business-focused applications. Those integrations can be very helpful for the professional user.

Professional use is clearly one of Dropbox's strong suits. Another relatively new feature is aimed towards them as well, File Request. This allows you to allow others to upload files to your Dropbox storage, whether or not they have an account.

They also offer use of Dropbox Paper which is a handy platform for collaboration. Speaking of collaboration, Dropbox also offers commenting on shared files, which makes working together in Dropbox significantly easier.

Pricing and storage

For some, pricing may be the biggest deciding factor.

iCloud has the bargain pricing locked in, with storage options of 50GB and 200GB available for $.99 and $2.99 respectively. iCloud is also cheaper when it comes to the 2TB option, costing the same as Dropbox does for 1TB.

However, iCloud doesn't offer anything above 2TB, while Dropbox has an unlimited option.


Should you switch?

So the question is, should you switch to iCloud Drive or should you stay with Dropbox, or vice versa?

The answer really depends on your situation. iCloud Drive has matured to be a much more compelling option that in the past, and as it is developed by Apple it has a much higher chance to be integrated more into the OS, to take advantage of the newest features, and to be less reliant on shareholders.

Dropbox, being as the whole business is built on their cloud storage, has devoted a lot of resources into adding additional features and perks in an attempt to justify its pricing. Some of these may be too tough to live without.

So which is right for you?

If you are using this in a more business environment, or need better integration with a Windows PC, Dropbox may be better suited.

If you are looking for the most amount of storage for your dollar, again, Dropbox is probably the answer.

If you just want the cheapest option or have a family to share it with, iCloud Drive is your go-to.

If you are looking for primarily personal use, and have all Apple devices, iCloud Drive is by far the best fit.

How iCloud Drive will change with this year's suite of upgrades is still unknown. As is how Dropbox will develop once it goes public.
«1

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 32
    MacProMacPro Posts: 18,372member
    IMHO Apple should look into adding more features to iCloud storage as well as looking at price.
    DAalseth
  • Reply 2 of 32
    plovellplovell Posts: 804member
    The answer is simple: I trust Apple and I do not trust Dropbox.
    mac_dogchasmwatto_cobramattinozjony0
  • Reply 3 of 32
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,907member
    I prefer Box to Dropbox. I also use iCloud. But Apple has problems with this. IBooks is a good example. I download a lot of manuals from the internet, in the form of PDFs, and save them in iBooks. But most of the time when Apple updates the OS, with iBooks being updated as well, a lot of these PDFs just go poof. I have to redownload them, and rename a lot of them again.

    box is reliable. I save to both ibooks and to Box. Makes life a lot easier. I just wish that Box was as integrated as Dropbox is.
  • Reply 4 of 32
    arcanineguyarcanineguy Posts: 7unconfirmed, member
    Apple needs to bump their free tier to 50gb (it should at least match a standard new phone's storage for backups and photos). So many people get frustrated with iPhone because they get the "iCloud storage full, back up not completed", etc, and turn to other services to offload app data or file storage. By giving everyone more space for the necessities of using an iPhone (backup, photo storage, etc), they'll drive up usage of iCloud in general, which should spill over to their other icloud services. Everyone pretty much gets 64GB on their phone nowadays anyway so they won't be cannibalizing their storage upgrades like in days past would. And keep 200gb for 3$ and 2tb for 10$ for power users who can/do pay for storage. Disclaimer: I pay .99/month for the 50gb storage.
    edited March 2018 Anachr0nwatto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 32
    wiseywisey Posts: 27member
    For me, the choice is clear and that is to use both iCloud and Dropbox.  I pay $10/month for the 2Tb iCloud.  It has all my documents from the Mac, iPad, iPhone, including pictures, music, videos, etc.  I pay $10/month for Dropbox for files that I share with colleagues for work purposes. At the present, iCloud is just not well suited for sharing files and I don’t want my personal files to be on Dropbox.  So, the best solution is to separate the two.  I can work on local files without having to be in internet.  
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 32
    plovell said:
    The answer is simple: I trust Apple and I do not trust Dropbox.
    I would agree Apple is perhaps the only company I would trust with my data. That being said, for work we use Dropbox and an app called Sookasa. Sookasa encrypts/decrypts the files on the fly as they are upload/download from Dropbox. That way we don't have to worry about any nefarious activity done by our cloud provider (or those who would breach them) ... to be clear Dropbox has never given me cause for concern but it's nice to know my data is secure even in a worst case scenario. It is hard to beat the up time and reliability of Dropbox, though I have not directly compared them to others.

    I use iCloud drive for personal and it seems to work fine as well.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 32
    78Bandit78Bandit Posts: 234member
    OneDrive works for me.  Office 365 is $7 a month for 1TB of storage and access to the entire suite of Office applications on one desktop device as well as one mobile device.  Their iOS app works well for my purposes too.  iCloud also works good, but given the utility I get out of OneDrive across all my devices that is the one I would choose to pay for.
  • Reply 8 of 32
    moonbeamkcmoonbeamkc Posts: 2unconfirmed, member
    @plovell - iCloud is run on Google servers, search for it. So do you trust Google or Dropbox?
  • Reply 9 of 32
    moonbeamkcmoonbeamkc Posts: 2unconfirmed, member
    plovell said:
    The answer is simple: I trust Apple and I do not trust Dropbox.
    I would agree Apple is perhaps the only company I would trust with my data. That being said, for work we use Dropbox and an app called Sookasa. Sookasa encrypts/decrypts the files on the fly as they are upload/download from Dropbox. That way we don't have to worry about any nefarious activity done by our cloud provider (or those who would breach them) ... to be clear Dropbox has never given me cause for concern but it's nice to know my data is secure even in a worst case scenario. It is hard to beat the up time and reliability of Dropbox, though I have not directly compared them to others.

    I use iCloud drive for personal and it seems to work fine as well.
    iCloud is run on Google servers (Google Cloud Platform). They should probably use Google for improving Siri as well.
    edited March 2018
  • Reply 10 of 32
    HooHoo Posts: 1unconfirmed, member
    plovell said:
    The answer is simple: I trust Apple and I do not trust Dropbox.
    Nor do I, on a couple of levels. Condoleezza Rice, who argued in favor of warrantless wiretaps by the NSA during her tenure in the Bush administration sits on the Dropbox board. That Drew Houston was tone deaf enough to court her for a seat on the board says something about his judgment, too. 

    And then politics aside, in my experience Dropbox has never been as reliable as iCloud or Google Drive. Upload failures, sync failures, and disappearing files happen too frequently. I don’t see any point in paying more to get less storage and less reliability. 
    chasmtoysandmeStrangeDayswatto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 32
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 4,894administrator
    @plovell - iCloud is run on Google servers, search for it. So do you trust Google or Dropbox?
    Run on Amazon, Microsoft, or Google servers is not the same as having the data harvested by those companies.
    edited March 2018 StrangeDayswatto_cobrabonobob
  • Reply 12 of 32
    wg45678wg45678 Posts: 17member
    I've tried or used iCloud, Cubby (no longer in existence), SugarSync, Dropbox, and OneDrive. 

    I like iCloud because it's tightly integrated and my iPhone backs up seamlessly. For portable systems with SSDs, the option that files are stored off disk until demanded helps manage storage. However, I don't see file versioning supported on the server at least and I had a scare recently when files disappeared from a local computer due to a disk issue. There were still in iCloud. I was afraid they'd sync'd and disappeared.  I also find annoying that most apps that work with iCloud have a top level folder in cloud drive. I would prefer that then be a structure called /Appdata or something and not a folder be cloud friendly app at the top level. 

    I liked Cubby because it seemed to work seamlessly (although not tightly integrated), allowed you to designate any folder as a Cubby (not just one location in the filesystem) and had versioning and recovery of deleted files (for a period depending upon your subscription). I also can tell it which Cubby to Sync with what system. Unfortunately I had an experience where I accidentally deleted a Cubby instead of telling it not to sync with a particular computer—which wiped it out entirely. I called Cubby's support and they told me that they had no way of recovering it from backups. I

    I liked SugarSync because for the same reasons as Cubby - sync any folder and versioning. However, SugarSync 1.0->2.0 caused me confusion and issues, particularly with speed. SugarSync would allow you to use it across the 'net as a mounted drive instead of replicating everything locally. However, that functionality was slow at the time. I also had problems with SugarSync with a file syncing while it was open and being changed which resulted in warning messages on saves or while working on a file. 

    I use Dropbox, initially, because syncing 1Password vaults required it and SugarSync was not supported. Around that time Dropbox had had either hack or it was disclosed that Dropbox staff could access your files which made me initially reluctant to use it.  Dropbox has versioning (retention period varies with pro (6 months) vs consumer subscription (3 months)). You can also use Dropbox's native client to tell it which folder to sync with a particular system so that, for instance, my personal files don't appear at work on my work computer—just my project ones. I have created in Dropbox an 'app data' folder underwhich my apps use as a default. 

    OneDrive is cheap if you have a personal Home365 subscription which includes 5 users with up to 1TB of storage each—for $100/year. However, OneDrive has limitations of Windows naming convention. Recent behavior will not sync files that contain illegal characters—which is better than old system which changed file names and did not restore them upon copying them down from the cloud. So a number of files, which consisted of multiple files hiding a single folder, broke irreparably and had to be recovered from older archives. I had one set of apps, from Belight Software, that consistently used an illegal Windows name on a file contained in the folder presented as a file. Every one was broken. I have not had that problem with any other service I've used.

    My recommendation to Apple is to add versioning, accessibility from mobile platforms by a Web interface (which the others support) and Apple doesn't, make it cheaper, and make it selective (like most of the others). I still trust Apple more than anyone else. For the present I still use iCloud for backup of my phone and some local work. 

    Otherwise, I prefer Dropbox. You can also use a spare bundle image file that is encrypted (with most of the services) to further secure your files. I still, tho, like the convenience of designating folders in a file structure that I control to be cloud sync'd and not just a single location. 
    edited March 2018 watto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 32
    auxioauxio Posts: 2,016member
    If you're truly paranoid about who has access to your data, there's always ownCloud.  It gives you full control of where your files are hosted, encryption details, etc.  And, if you pay for the iOS app, it integrates with the Files app.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 14 of 32
    The information about Dropbox pricing is quite misleading.

    I'm an individual user of Dropbox and consider the service great value. HOWEVER, ideally I'd like more storage than the 1TB that's offered to individuals.

    This is where Dropbox lets me down badly. In terms of what I get, the standard individual service is fine for me, and great value at £6.58 per month. I could upgrade to Pro for an extra £10 per month (i.e. £16.58), but I don't need the Pro features, so that would be pointless. But unfortunately, the Pro option is still just 1TB – exactly the same amount of storage as the non-Pro option.

    Ideally, I'd like at least 2TB of storage (though an unlimited option would be ideal so that I don't have to worry at all). But that's simply not an option. If you're an individual user, it's 1TB or nothing. There are no other options, which seems a real missed opportunity to me.

    Why not call myself a 'team' and buy the business option? That looks to be really good value, at £10 per user per month for 2TB storage or £15 per user per month for unlimited. And yes, it's great… except that what they don't make very obvious is that you have to buy a MINIMUM of THREE USERS! So if you're an individual and you want the 2TB or unlimited storage options, the only way forward is to buy, in effect, THREE business user subscriptions at once to Dropbox.

    That would certainly give a very useful service, but in reality it'd cost a minimum of £30 per month for 2TB or £45 per month for unlimited storage – which is a fairly high price for most individuals. OK, it's not completely unaffordable, but it's more than I personally can afford to pay, and it's more than Dropbox's advertising leads you to think at first sight.

    I'd very happily pay £15 to £20 per month for unlimited storage, so I could back up my entire system online and have peace of mind. But £45 is more than I could justify.
  • Reply 15 of 32
    chasmchasm Posts: 1,672member
    @plovell - iCloud is run on Google servers, search for it. So do you trust Google or Dropbox?
    The fact that some of iCloud is on Google servers means nothing -- the contents are encrypted, and Google does not have the key. So your comment is, essentially, meaningless.

    When it comes to Dropbox:
    1. They are entirely too stingy in their free tier. That said, i agree with those who say Apple should increase its own free tier. I think 10GB is a good level for an ad-free, no-data-selling FREE tier.
    2. Putting aside for the moment the poor judgement of the CEO referenced by Hoo above in having a war criminal on the board, Dropbox going public means a shift in focus from users to shareholders, and a drive to make more money to please the latter group. This means (inevitably) ads or data-selling, raising storage prices, or all three. So even if you felt they were trustworthy before, those days are rapidly coming to an end.

    I think that makes the choices pretty obvious: Apple or Microsoft or a truly trustworthy third party. Not going to do storage business with companies that depend on advertising/data collection for income (Google), and Dropbox appears to be headed in that direction.
    toysandmeStrangeDays
  • Reply 16 of 32
    DAalsethDAalseth Posts: 732member
    I have both. But to be honest I've been using iCloud almost exclusively for the last year. My Apps sync through it seamlessly. I used DropBox for sharing files with other people, but iCloud has this now. Not really sure if I need Dropbox any more. EDIT: But let me add one thing.They need to add something between 200GB and 2TB. Not that the storage is an issue, but $2.99/mo to $9.99/mo is a big jump, especially when, while 200GB would be tight if I wanted to make use of all the options, I don't need 2TB. How about a 1TB option for $5.99.
    edited March 2018 toysandmewatto_cobra
  • Reply 17 of 32
    xbitxbit Posts: 244member
    I’m a longtime user of Dropbox and I tried ditching it recently. I’m already signed up to iCloud’s 2TB tier for other reasons and I have 1TB of OneDrive storage through my Office365 subscription. So why not try and save $10 a month if I can, right?

    Only when I tried switching did I fully appreciate Dropbox’s greatness. iCloud is missing some features that I can’t live without (e.g. selective sync) and OneDrive isn’t reliable enough. My OneDrive sync stopped working halfway through the first upload and no-one at Microsoft could work out why. 


    toysandme
  • Reply 18 of 32
    iCloud free tier should at least match its basic phone capacities; 32 Gb.  I know that the phones whole device doesn’t need to be backed up, but it would allow some wiggle room with desktop and document sync as well. Besides, it’s a logical threshold that is easy to understand for consumers. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 19 of 32
    abolishabolish Posts: 14member
    You missed one HUGE and under-appreciated iCloud Drive advantage: Power Nap support. It can sync *while your mac is asleep*. You can just shut your laptop without waiting for syncing to complete. Likewise when you open it up, changes made on other machines may have already arrived.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 20 of 32
    normmnormm Posts: 575member
    xbit said:
    iCloud is missing some features that I can’t live without (e.g. selective sync) and OneDrive isn’t reliable enough.
    If you select "optimize mac storage" in iCloud Drive preferences, it treats everything that's synced as a cache, and will remove it from local storage on a least-recently-used basis.  That isn't the same as selective sync, but it does mean that you can freely use iCloud Drive to sync big items with other devices, and you don't have to manage their removal from local storage.  
    edited March 2018 watto_cobra
Sign In or Register to comment.