You might be confused about deciding on which cloud storage to use among the multitude of services available. You may have a hybrid cloud workflow, using one service for personal use, while another for work emails and document backups. Most users prefer to use Apple’s iCloud Drive service, as it’s well-integrated with the Apple ecosystem. However, there are other options also available, including Google Drive, Dropbox, and so on.
Since Apple’s and Google’s offerings are the most popular, we’ve covered a comparison between Apple’s iCloud Drive and Google’s One services for your Mac below.
What Are iCloud Drive and Google One?
Both Apple and Google offer superb cloud storage features through their online services. Apple’s iCloud Drive offers online cloud storage primarily meant for Apple users. However, the service can also be accessed and used from the Windows and Android platforms.
Google recently rebranded its online cloud services from Google Drive to Google One, in an effort to clarify that the space is shared between its different services (such as Gmail, Photos, Docs, and so on). Google Drive now only refers to the Google Drive app, which is used for managing your online files.
iCloud Drive and Google One have similar features in terms of cloud storage, Both services allow you to upload, sync, and keep your data in their cloud storage. You can choose to enable file syncing, which automatically syncs your online folders with your Mac, allowing real-time data backups.
Similarly, both services share integration with productivity apps, family sharing, file versioning, and custom file sharing links.
However, an additional benefit of Google One is that allows you to log in to several accounts and swap between them easily. This makes collaborative working and working on multiple accounts much easier.
Apple takes the win security-wise, with the platform being much more secure than Google One. Nearly all data stored on iCloud’s servers are encrypted both in transit and at rest to 128-bit AES standard. iCloud also has several security features that can be very helpful, including iCloud Keychain, Safari History, Wi-Fi passwords that are encrypted end-to-end.
Google also encrypts data both in transit and at rest, but it doesn’t offer end-to-end encryption. This means that your data could potentially be accessed by Google employees or anyone that Google provides your data to (including law enforcement). While the chances of this happening are very slim, it’s still a possibility.
Apple’s iCloud Drive is naturally more integrated into the Apple ecosystem than Google Drive. All your synced files are available across all your Apple devices (through the Files app). Photos, eBooks, Music, and more are also available through iCloud Sync, which can be a blessing for many.
Everything functions almost entirely in the background, which makes using it a breeze. All your iCloud Drive files are also available through a web browser, so you can choose to log in and access them from another PC if required.
Google One does offer integration and sync to your Mac through its Google Drive for the desktop app. While it works well, it isn’t as well integrated as iCloud Drive, which is why Apple is the clear winner in this category.
Both iCloud Drive and Google One provide good performance, with good upload/download speeds and other features. Personally, I’ve never run into an issue with either of them, with both of the services working perfectly whenever I need them to do.
However, some users have complained that Google One can be a bit slow at uploading data at times, which is something I have also encountered. It’s not a frequent occurrence, but it’s something you should keep in mind.
Pricing is the category where these services differ greatly. iCloud offers only 5GB of free storage by default. While this is fine if you need to store a few files and documents, it’s ridiculously small if you want to store photos or videos. This 5GB also includes any iPhone or iPad backups you may have, so you can imagine how restricted you are.
If you want to upgrade, it’s $0.99 per month for 50GB, $2.99 for 200GB, or $9.99 for 2TB. Family sharing can also be enabled on the latter two plans, which means your total storage size can be shared with your family members (don’t worry, your data still remains private.)
If you do choose to upgrade your iCloud storage, you get additional features as well, termed as iCloud+. These include iCloud Private Relay, free storage for HomeKit enabled security cameras, a Hide My Email feature, and more.
On the other hand, Google offers a free 15GB to start for all users, which is much better than the 5GB that Apple offers. Should you still find yourself wanting to upgrade, it’s 100GB for $1.99 per month, 200GB for $2.99, 2TB for $9.99, and 10TB for $99.99.
Google One storage plans can also be shared between a maximum of five family members as well, which might make sense if you’re looking to divide your storage. However, for normal usage, 15GB might be enough, and chances are you won’t have to spend extra at all.
If you’re looking to use cloud storage exclusively for your Mac, there’s no doubt that iCloud Drive is the better option. The fact that it is developed by Apple and so well-integrated into macOS makes it the winner in this case.
However, if you’re looking to use it across devices, then it’s a whole different matter. You may struggle with iCloud’s services outside the Apple ecosystem since they don’t work quite as well as Google One works across devices.
I personally use a hybrid workflow using both cloud services. All my personal data (documents, photos, and so on) that are present on my Mac are synced with my iCloud Drive, allowing me to access them across my iPhone or iPad if needed.
For any collaborative files or files I need to share with others, Google One is the way to go since it’s much easier to share files with others using the platform. The free 15GB of storage means I don’t need to invest money in it as well.
iCloud Drive and Google One: Use the Best of Both Worlds
As is the case with nearly everything these days, no service is ever perfect, and everything has its pros and cons. It makes sense to use each service for its pros if you can, maintaining a hybrid workflow integrating the best of both worlds. In this case, it’s using both iCloud Drive and Google One for your cloud storage services.
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