iCloud vs. Google Drive vs. Microsoft OneDrive vs. Carbonite: Which Cloud Storage Service is Right for You?
By Dennis Shelly
Cloud storage solutions and offerings are rapidly evolving into one of the technology industry’s buzzwords. It has the advantage of clearing up valuable storage space on your mobile device while providing access to your data at any time and from anywhere with an internet connection. By using a cloud storage and backup service, you may save yourself a lot of trouble if your data is lost or mistakenly deleted. Most of the main cloud storage services offer a variety of free, personal, premium, and business plans, giving you a wide range of choices. It might be difficult to select the best cloud storage solution for your specific requirements, especially if you don’t know what to search for. That is why this article will explain exactly what cloud storage is, why you might want to save your files in the cloud, and what you should consider before using one of the listed options.
Comparing Cloud Storage Solutions: Apple iCloud, Carbonite Endpoint, Google Drive, and Microsoft OneDrive
- Apple iCloud is a document management software service provided by Apple. It offers access to music, photographs, calendars, contacts, and documents, and it comes standard with every new Apple device.
- Carbonite Endpoint is an enterprise-grade backup solution for all endpoints, including mobile devices and devices distributed across a distributed enterprise network or downloaded independently and used with personal devices.
- Google Drive is a platform and service for online file storage, file synchronization, and collaboration that includes Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides for document editing and presentation.
- Microsoft OneDrive allows users to store and sync files across devices, access them from anywhere, and collaborate with others. OneDrive is tightly integrated with Microsoft’s ecosystem of products and services.
Storage and Pricing:
The most important factor is without a doubt the amount of storage space available to you and at what cost.
Apple iCloud provides 5GB of free storage space. This free storage includes iCloud Mail, Documents in the Cloud, and backups of iOS devices. Purchased items from the iTunes/App Store, as well as photo streams, do not count against this.
Apart from a 15-day trial, Carbonite does not offer a free alternative.
Google Drive provides 15GB of free storage. If you outgrow your free storage, you must pay for either monthly or yearly subscription plans.
OneDrive offers 5GB of free storage space to all users. This free storage can be used for storing files, photos, and other data.
- Apple iCloud: Provides a variety of storage plans to meet the demands of all users. Their most popular plan costs $0.99 per month for 50 GB. Other plans include 200 GB for $2.99 monthly and 1 TB for $9.99 monthly.
- Carbonite: Provides numerous unlimited storage plans, including one computer for $6 per month, multiple computers for $24 per month, and computers plus servers for $50 per month. All plans are billed on an annual basis.
- Google Drive: For 100 GB, 200 GB, and 2 TB plans, you can choose between annual and monthly pricing. Subscriptions start at $4.99 per month, $59.88 per year.
- Microsoft: Provides various paid subscription plans for users who need more storage. These plans include 100GB for $1.99 per month, 1TB for $6.99 per month (or $69.99 per year), and larger storage options for business and enterprise users.
Because of its closed environment, Apple iCloud only works on specific Apple devices, such as iPhones and iPods running iOS 5 or later, Macs running OS X Lion 10.7.5 or later, and Apple TV. There is a Windows app, but it primarily serves a single purpose: to sync data to your Apple device(s).
Carbonite, on the other hand, works with both iOS and Android devices. It supports Windows across all plans but does not support Macs on certain.
Google Drive is accessible for Android devices running Android 6.0 “Marshmallow” or later, as well as iPhones and iPads running iOS 14 or later. Windows ARM-based devices are not supported by Drive for Desktop.
OneDrive is designed to work seamlessly across multiple platforms and devices. It is available for Windows and Mac computers, as well as for iOS and Android. There are dedicated OneDrive apps for these platforms, allowing users to easily access and manage their files on the go.
Even though all mentioned companies are cloud providers, their primary goals and objectives are rather different. It is critical to understand what each company wants to accomplish because this influences the products they provide.
Apple iCloud was created to deliver the best user experience possible within the Apple ecosystem. It embodies Apple’s standard design ideas, which are to make things simple and elegant. As a result, in comparison to Carbonite or Google Drive, you have relatively less control over your files. Everything in iCloud is accessible via a web-based interface. Everything is instantaneously synced between your iOS device and your Mac, so there is nothing for you to upload or download.
Carbonite’s bread and butter, on the other hand, is being a full-service backup provider. It allows you to keep track of folders and files that are automatically backed up on their servers. Carbonite primarily serves enterprises, which is why their service emphasizes security and privacy aspects. Carbonite, unlike iCloud, OneDrive, or Google Drive, does not support sharing or collaboration.
Users can use Google Drive to store data in the cloud (on Google’s servers), sync files between devices, and share files. Google Drive provides offline programs for Windows and macOS, as well as Android and iOS smartphones and tablets, in addition to a web interface. Google Docs, Google Sheets, and Google Slides are all part of the Google Docs Editors Office suite, which allows for the collaborative editing of documents, spreadsheets, presentations, drawings, forms, and more. Google Drive stores files generated and updated with the Google Docs suite.
OneDrive offers several features to enhance file storage, organization, and collaboration. Users can upload files, create folders, and organize their data in a hierarchical structure. OneDrive supports file synchronization, allowing changes made on one device to be automatically reflected on other connected devices. It also provides sharing and collaboration features, enabling users to share files and folders with others, set permissions, and collaborate on documents in real time using Microsoft Teams and Office 365.
This section explores how each provider’s applications and services interact with their host system.
As previously stated, Apple iCloud serves exclusively Apple users and strives to give the most frictionless experience possible. All iWork documents, as well as images, contacts, and application data, can be automatically backed up to the cloud. iCloud is embedded into every modern iOS device and is so tightly integrated that users are unlikely to want to turn off it because it is included for free with the device.
While not as integrated as Apple iCloud and Microsoft’s OneDrive, Carbonite offers various integrated capabilities that simplify backups. By default, it offers to back up the whole C: Users folder, which is where most Windows users keep their papers, images, and music. Full-resolution images and videos are automatically backed up to the server on Android and iOS devices. It also has extra security features, such as a locate and destroy mechanism in case your device is stolen.
Google Drive has the best integration with both Windows and other Google services. You can connect your existing Gmail account to their service. Almost everyone has a Google Drive account because it is generated automatically when you sign up for Gmail. Google Drive works with several of Google’s existing services, including Picasa, Blogger, Gmail, and Google Docs. Google Drive was previously known as Google Docs.
Microsoft has integrated OneDrive deeply into its ecosystem of products and services. OneDrive is tightly integrated with Windows 10 and Windows 11, allowing users to access their files directly from File
Explorer. It seamlessly integrates with Microsoft Office 365 applications such as Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, enabling users to save and open files directly from OneDrive. OneDrive also integrates with Outlook, making it easy to attach and share files via email.
To decide which of the four cloud providers to use, you should first assess your requirements. If you use current Apple products, Apple iCloud is a no-brainer alternative because the cost of your ‘free’ storage is probably already built into your purchase price, plus iCloud offers the most integration for Apple products. Carbonite is a more comprehensive backup provider because it allows you to back up from anywhere. Microsoft OneDrive is a compelling choice for users who are already invested in the Microsoft ecosystem. Its seamless integration with Windows, Office, and other Microsoft services provides a cohesive experience. However, Google Drive’s collaboration capabilities (via its sharing functionality) are likely unparalleled. It is less expensive and offers better integration.
These cloud backup and sync options can be challenging to choose from and may need some assistance with making the choice. Have questions regarding making the right backup and sync solution for you or your business? Or how to calculate the data you need to back up to the cloud? Our Eggsperts are eggcellent at data backup solutions!