Many computers today come with less hard drive space than PCs did back in the “olden days.” Though this can be limiting, it saves on cost and is rarely an issue, given the vast amount of cloud storage options out there.
Manufacturers know that users are increasingly moving their files and documents to the cloud. It makes sense both in terms of backup (nobody can steal the cloud), post-disaster restoration (a flood won’t drown the cloud) and convenience (you can’t forget your new CD at home if it’s always accessible on the cloud). These are the best options for those who plan to abandon local storage.
With the power, clout and vast user base of Google behind it, Drive is a great option for anyone. If you’re signed into Gmail, you’re already signed into Drive, so for many people that integration factor is enough to make it the obvious choice.
It also offers 15 gigabytes of free storage, which you can increase to 100 GBs for just $2 per month or to a whopping 1 terabyte for $10 per month. And there is also virtually no file size restriction (5 TB is the technical limit, but almost nothing is that large).
The only downside — for some — is that it is part of the Google empire. Though they don’t represent a large segment of the online world, there are people who find the company’s activity monitoring and all-encompassing reach to be overly pervasive and a bit suffocating. But if you aren’t among those, and you already find yourself using Gmail, Hangouts, Calendar, Docs, Sheets or any of their other nearly ubiquitous services, it’s hard to find much reason not use Drive.
There is one great reason to forgo Drive, however: iCloud. Apple’s cloud-storage service may be the best known of all, and its best attribute is how it syncs everything across Apple devices. Without hassle, users can ensure everything on their iPhone, for example, will match up with their iPad or MacBook Air.
For out-of-the-box convenience, it doesn’t get any easier than just turning on your phone and already being ready to go. This could be seen as a negative for people without Apple products, but if you’re thinking about making a change to the Apple side, you can get a great deal on the iPhone 6 at T-Mobile.
The other downside of iCloud is its 5 GBs of storage. While that is plenty for the some, it is just a third of what Google offers and, depending on the file size, may not even hold two high-definition movies. Many users find it annoying to have to monitor their usage so much.
The upgrade options are also peculiar, with 20 GBs coming in at a reasonable $0.99 per month, but the next available option requiring a huge jump to 200 GBs at $3.99 per month. There are no cheaper options for those who want more than 20 GBs but don’t need the full and relatively expensive 200 GBs.
Still, it is Apple, and it keeps you synced on the go. So whether it’s your music or your photos you want with you at all times, iTunes and iPhoto can easily accommodate your lifestyle.
Dropbox was one of the first well-known options, and it is still popular today – especially among early adopters. Once you pick a service, the bother of moving files is often not worth the hassle, so it still has a dedicated, loyal user base.
The downside is that Dropbox only offers 2 GBs of free storage. But this is only a surface-level concern, really. There are many ways to increase this dramatically by completing a few small tasks. If you invite enough friends, you can get some 16 GBs free, and promotional offers through Samsung have been known to allow nearly 50 GBs, which is about as good as anyone could ever hope for without paying a cent.