The use of cloud storage has become more popular than any other form of storage. It is convenient, efficient, affordable, and easy to use.
Many Mac users swear by iCloud. However, more software companies are coming up with similar tools. While this is a good thing, it has also become a challenge to identify and separate good cloud storage from bad ones.
In this article, we review the best cloud storage software for mac in 2023 and help you decide which one to pick by comparing the costs, features, pros, and cons. You will also learn the most important aspects that make a great cloud storage software. Read on.
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Cloud storage: what it is and why it matters
Cloud storage is a storage model that allows you to store your data and files on the internet through cloud computing service providers. Typically, you connect to the cloud storage with the internet via an app or a website.
You can then access your data and files from anywhere, anytime, and from any device, as long as you have an internet connection.
Whether you are a large enterprise or using it for individual purposes, Cloud storage has multiple advantages.
- Cost Effectiveness– You don’t have to purchase hardware, provide more storage, or invest extra capital in cloud storage. It gives you the flexibility to add or remove storage capacity as you need, and only pay for what you use.
- Efficient Data Management– Cloud storage has features and functionality that make data management efficient. For example, you can lock down your data, or create a global storage/ multi-region storage for your team using features such as replication.
- Faster, Easier, and More Convenient Access– As long as you have an internet connection, you can access your files and data from anywhere at any time. You don’t even need to have your device at hand. Even if you lose your computer or phone, you are sure your data and files are safe and you still can access them anytime.
- Limited File Attachment– You can send any files and documents without having to attach the actual document to your message. It also lets you send multiple files to multiple people in one go, making things fast, easy, and more convenient.
5 best cloud storage software for Mac
- iCloud – Best For All of Your Apple Gear
- Sync – Best Cloud Storage Overall
- Google One Drive – Best for Integration
- Microsoft OneDrive – Best for Microsoft Users
- Dropbox – Best for Simplicity
iCloud – Best For All of Your Apple Gear
Why it made the cut: There are multiple reasons iCloud makes the best cloud storage for Mac. Besides just storage, you can also sync all your Apple gear and native apps. This includes mail, calendar, books, maps, reminders, and messages.
- It is specifically made by Apple for Mac users.
- It is more than just file storage for your videos, photos, files, and other content. It also syncs with other apps and serves as reminders, notes, contacts, iBooks, and browser bookmarks
- You get 5GB free of memory storage
- It is relatively affordable
- Paid plans come with multiple advanced features
- Has features that let you track your device in case it gets lost
- Although it is possible to access it through a browser, iCloud is not compatible with other platforms like Android
- You must be connected to Wi-Fi
- Most features are only for Apple
Do not confuse iCloud with device storage. They both have the same purpose (storage) but work differently. The latter refers to storage within your iPhone, Mac, or iPad, while the former is where you save your files and documents, and keep them updated, and available online.
iCloud is perfect for Mac users because it is specifically designed for the Apple ecosystem, integrates with other native apps, and offers a variety of features, including paid expandable storage, file and non-app-related storage, family sharing, Apple device synchronization, and storage backup.
Being an Apple product, iCloud Drive is heavily geared toward user privacy. It provides excellent privacy-related features, such as signing in with your Apple ID or fingerprint on newer Macs. If you want an alternative service, you should check out Sync below.
Sync – Best Cloud Storage Overall
Why it made the cut: Sync is a great tool for file sharing and file storage on Mac. It allows you to easily and securely upload, download, and share files with both internal members and external users. With features such as automated backups, offline access, and access restrictions, you can be sure your files are secure and your collaborators can access the latest version of the file.
- Securely send files
- Unlimited team size on some plans
- Value-driven free plan
- Intuitive interface
- Accessible via web browser
- Free trials available
- Need to upgrade for more storage and users
- Some complex features
Sync offers a variety of features to help Mac users securely share and store files. Automated backups are one of the most useful features, as it allows you to easily access their files at any time. Additionally, version control lets you control the version of a file that is being shared, ensuring everyone is working with the latest version. Access control allows you to set permissions for who can view and access shared files, providing an extra layer of security.
Sync provides secure file sharing, ensuring that files remain confidential and safe on your Mac. In addition to these features, Sync also offers features such as file encryption, file transfer, and file sharing.
Sync stands out from iCloud because of its collaborative design, allowing for complex project and task management, routing content for approval, and collecting assets and feedback in the same place. It also separates from the competition by offering unlimited users for paid plans.
Why it made the cut: Google is a reliable company and so are all of its products, especially Google One Drive. This is their cloud computing service that you automatically get when you create a Google account. On Mac, it provides the ability to use features easily, and you get plenty of free storage.
- Simple interface easy to use
- Compatible with Microsoft Office
- Create a custom link to share your files
- Multiple apps and templates that give you multiple options to customize your work (Google Docs, Google Sheets, slides, etc.)
- Easily access your files from anywhere, at any time, with any device
- Potential security risks – if you openly share a link to your file and this person gives the link to someone else, there is no stopping the third person from accessing the file
- Must have an internet connection to access Google One Drive
- It gives Google access to analyze your content which may be a loophole for cybersecurity attacks
Google One Drive is great for business with Mac or when doing some teamwork with Mac as you can create and share spreadsheets and documents for collaborative working, unlike on iCloud. You can also use it to back up files on your device for security, privacy, and convenient access.
Getting started on Mac is easy. All you need is to create a Google account and you automatically get a Google One Drive account too. This means you are automatically signed in to the software. In case you are using another device that is not yours, you can log in using the same credentials you would use to log in to your Google account.
Google One Drive offers many helpful features for Mac users including, team collaboration, multiple add-on functionalities, automatic back-ups, multiple language options, offline access, and version control.
Google One Drive makes for a great pick compared to the rest of the list because it works great with native Apple applications, while also offering application integration abilities of its own, like Docs, Slides, and Sheets, which allows you to increase and diversify your output on your Mac.
Why it made the cut: Microsoft OneDrive is one of the many Microsoft Office products that perform excellently in the Mac ecosystem. It has been around for a long time and has seen an evolution and change in technology. The Microsoft OneDrive today has the best functionality and slick usability, and it works especially well on Mac. Whether you are using it via the web or an app, you still get an excellent interface and compatibility with other apps and tools including Microsoft 365.
- Strong security
- Easy file sharing
- Restrict file access – you decide whom you share the files with, whom they can share the files with, and what kind of file sharing they can do (internal only, email domains, etc.)
- Access your data anytime, anywhere
- While security is not a problem, privacy can be breached. This is because while the company has policies to keep their employees from accessing your data, there isn’t a technological barrier
- Limits on file sizes and synchronization
You get Microsoft OneDrive when you set up your Microsoft account on Mac. You can save and store your pictures, documents, files, music, videos, and other data you don’t want to lose.
Some of the best features of OneDrive are 5GB of free storage, which is the same amount that iCloud offers, online editing, app compatibility with iOS, Android, and Windows, file versioning, and multiple Microsoft Office applications.
OneDrive is a great pick for Mac users who are familiar with the Microsoft ecosystem because it integrates well with native Apple applications, as well as with Microsoft applications.
Dropbox – Best for Simplicity
Why it made the cut: If you are looking for a simple interface and easy-to-use software on your Mac, Dropbox takes the lead. The features are easy to access and customize, and they offer great functionality throughout. It also has some integration tools that always come in handy.
- Compatible with Google and Microsoft 365
- Block-level transfer
- Free storage for new users to get you started
- Easy to use
- Access it anywhere using any device
- Offline access
- The free storage is too limited
- Costly compared to its alternative
- Requires plenty of space for proper file syncing
Dropbox is perfect for Mac because it offers a variety of features including file management, device syncing between your PC, computers, and mobiles, a web interface allows you to access your data via the internet without installing the app, easy collaboration through file sharing, simultaneous editing, and file following, and user and role management where you can add or remove users on and from your files.
Dropbox separates itself from the competition, and iCloud in particular, with its collaboration and file-sharing abilities. Dropbox makes it easy to compress and share large files like videos and documents, and even though it is not native to the Apple ecosystem, it still makes for a great pick.
Cost comparison of cloud storage services
From the comparison table above, Google One Drive offers the most affordable cloud storage with the most generous storage size for free. You get 15GB just by signing up with no extra charges. If you wish to expand, you can subscribe to any of their packages to suit your needs.
Microsoft OneDrive and iCloud both offer 5GB of free storage for their new users. Anything more than that, you have to subscribe to their premium packages, which are also quite affordable
Microsoft OneDrive allows up to 6 users for their premium plans, with 1TB per user in the Microsoft 365 Family plan.
Dropbox is a little more costly than the rest. New users only get up to 2GB of free storage. You then get 2TB for $9.99 (for individuals), 2TB for $16.99 (households), and 3TB for $16.58 (professionals).
Sync is the most expensive option on this list for Mac users. While it offers 5GB of storage for free, the real benefit comes with the unlimited storage unlocked with paid team plans.
What to look for a good cloud storage
Here are what you should be looking for a good cloud storage software for Mac.
One of the main reasons to use cloud storage is just so you can make sure your files and data are safe. Security issues have never ceased to be a concern. Different cloud storage service providers have placed different measures to address security issues. So, before you choose your own service provider, make sure you are satisfied and confident with their security terms.
Just as in security, you want to make sure only authorized personnel can access your data. Check for features like built-in firewalls, consistent security updates, third-party security testing, and powerful data encryption.
Another factor to consider is reliability. Choose cloud storage that uses server collocation facilities and has backup power. The last thing you want is to lose data because the server in your location lost power.
The best thing about cloud storage is that you get to choose and pay for the amount of storage size you need. Storage limits also depend on the cloud service company you are using. Not to forget that most of them provide a generous supply of free data.
You may want a different version of the same files and that calls for software that makes this practice easy. The best cloud storage will provide file versioning policies that allow for multiple file versions for the longest time (as long as you need them).
Ease of use
Look for an easy-to-use interface, where you can easily upload your data and files, save them, and easily and quickly access them. You also want to look for functionalities such as comprehensive search options and easy file-sharing options.
Chances are you are using other tools and software that you would like to work with together with your cloud storage. This makes integration an important factor to consider. For example, if you choose OneDrive, you are sure to have easy integration with office 365, Microsoft Windows, and office.
There’s neither a perfect service nor a one-size-fits-all. You have to first determine your requirements, how much storage you need, and your budget, and then determine the one that suits you the best.
You also may need to compromise. For example, if you choose iCloud because it’s best for Mac, then you will only get 5GB of free storage. You may also go for Google One Drive which is not specially made for Mac but offers tremendous storage for free.
All of the mentioned cloud storage software are great options for Mac users because they all work well with the Apple ecosystem, with Google One Drive and Microsoft OneDrive going a step further to offer their own integrations.