In 2020, we find ourselves in a digital world like no other. From sharing photos with loved ones to entire office teams working collaboratively – remotely; accessing and sharing documents and files online is more prevalent than ever, so finding the right platform to use has never been more important.
Chances are you are familiar with one, if not both, of the cloud-based storage giants iCloud and Google Drive. Choosing which platform is right for you can be daunting at first, but with the right information, you can be confident in finding the right option for your needs.
Consider the Software
An important step is to take into consideration what software you are currently using Apple or Microsoft. iPhone or Android? Mac or PC? Determine if it is important to you that you use the same operating system for all your devices as your cloud storage. Doing so can bring cohesion to everything you do cloud-based and can make synching a lot easier for things like auto backup and sharing features.
Now, that’s not to say using Google Drive for your storage and remote needs while having an iPhone lessens the experience; many people are “bi-lingual” when it comes to their technology. It will really depend on your personal preference of the user face, functionality, and the capacity of which you plan on using your storage.
Before you can figure out which one to use, you’ll need to figure out how you want to use your cloud storage.
Using Cloud Storage
Each platform has its own strong points; iCloud offers seemingly endless customization options when it comes to synching and backing up apps, music, contacts, photos, and more. Whereas Google Drive boasts versatility in not only sharing capabilities but abilities to access and collaborate on documents with multiple people.
During the last months of school, when Covid-19 shut everything down, and our kids were learning remotely, teachers were using Google Classroom with students to teach. It utilized the Drive for students to access, download, and submit their assignments, even attend weekly class calls with Google Meet, accessed within the Drive and Google Classroom.
Being able to sync and back up your devices can be paramount, especially if you are someone who finds themselves working while on the go frequently, switching between devices throughout your day and tasks. iCloud allows you to customize your sync and backup settings for all your devices, everything from contacts and personal information to music, documents, and even payment methods.
So it doesn’t matter if you start a task on your iPad at your kitchen table, you will be able to seamlessly pick back up where you left off when you sit down to your Mac at the office. Having all your data and information synched will also give you added organization to your everyday tasks and schedules, in both personal and business life. Looking at tips for Your iCloud Storage (AppleToolBox, 2019) can give you a better look at what you can do with iCloud.
Google Drive offers back up options for Android devices that allow users to save photos, calendar events, and contacts. You are also able to access GoogleOne, which helps with automatically backing up and restoring things that are on your phone, like contacts, photos, videos, messages, and more. From here, users will be able to easily manage their account with the Google One App.
As well as backup solutions for your Android devices, Google Drive can store documents and share them with multiple users, offering effortless collaboration capability. Adding users to shared documents quickly by using synched contacts increases efficiency in teams and makes for mobile working just as easy – if not easier – than with iCloud.
Google Drive also offers Google’s version of Word and Excel programs, Google Docs, and Google Sheets. Documents made with these apps, along with the user’s own uploaded shared documents, allow multiple users to access, edit, and update these docs in real-time. Of course, all these settings are customizable within Google Drive.
Cost vs Space
Perhaps one of the biggest differences between these two platforms is the cost vs space. With the financial uncertainty that many people are facing right now, money isn’t easily spent these days. iCloud Storage offers users 5 GB of free storage automatically when they sign up.
After that, Apple offers multiple different plans to increase your storage amount, with plans starting as low as $0.99 per month for 50 GB of storage and go up to 2 TB for $19.99 per month. 9to5mac.com suggests that most users should be fine with 50 GB ‘for a good amount of time’(Potuck, 2017) if they find themselves hitting their max capacity of 5GBs.
(The article is worth a read if you are looking for a good, in-depth look at what Apple has to offer regarding storage plans, and how to easily manage your iCloud storage options)
Apple also offers users a quick and easy view on their iPhone or Mac of what is taking up storage space. With Family Sharing options as well, the whole family can get their own access to iCloud Storage without having to use each other’s log in.
Google Drive offers its users 15 GB of free storage right off the bat, with plans for additional storage starting at $2.79 per month for 100 GB and maxing at 2 TB for $13.99 per month (Google, n.d.); triple the amount users are offered through iCloud.
The space offered is shared across Google Drive, Gmail, and Google Photos. Through GoogleOne, the system gives a user-friendly guide on how you can back up data, manage account storage, and learn about member benefits of increasing your Google Drive storage, as well as what you can do for free with your 15 GB of storage space. Other useful apps are linked through Google Drive, such as Google Photos, Duo, Slides, and much more.
Whether you choose iCloud or Google Drive, both of these platforms offer you a reliable and trusted cloud storage option.