Cloud Provider Recommendations and Workflow

hey MPU,

Just curious what everyone uses for Cloud Storage/File Sharing services? Here are my storage areas and their situations.

  • Google Drive - Used mainly for sharing with people outside my household.
  • iCloud Drive - Cautiously considering moving files into it. (possibly out of OneDrive/Dropbox)
  • OneDrive - Archive storage that comes with 365, I have no real use for it, it’s too clunky. Anything that exists in there I could care less about. It’s the garbage heap. Not existent in my life.
  • Dropbox - Almost out of space, trying to see if I can move everything to iCloud. The big hog on there is my DevonThink database. But I am cringing about having to subscribe (to another service) for the purpose of DevonThink.
  • Synology Drive - similar concept like Dropbox, but files sync to my NAS. Doesn’t really count as “cloud provider”

Does anyone have different experiences? Is anyone “all-in” on a particular provider?

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FWIW - it appears that the new version of DevonThink To Go will be out in early 2021 and will be a subscription service. You might want to wait and see what sync service(s) is/are supported by that before making any decisions or moving things elsewhere.

That’s assuming you use, or might want to use in the future, DTTG.

I use Google Drive only because organizations I interact with use it. Otherwise I wouldn’t. Although, over the years I’ve accreted a lot of cruft there that I never pay attention to.

Mainly I’ve used Dropbox, and would move it all to iCloud, except that more mobile apps seem to interact with Dropbox than iCloud. However, that’s an old assumption I should revisit to see if it is still true.

I have no use for OneDrive – my O365 subscription includes it, but I keep nothing there. My Synology is never exposed to the internet, so it’s just local store. (Which is probably another assumption to challenge: why do I still have a Synology device.)

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O365 is used by the University, so I use OneDrive for work files and have it installed to access Sharepoint folders as well direct from Finder (otherwise I have to access via Teams or via Word itself, both of which are nightmares).

Currently use Resilo Sync with my Synology to sync all my files, though trialling Synology Drive before I move to it fully. I have also realised that I probably don’t need to have real time sync for various folders (i.e. my Music folder) and could probably just do a twice daily sync of these folders using Freefilesync or similar and this might save me some RAM/CPU cycles. The synology makes for an ideal always on Resilo node and lets me access via SFTP if needed, and importantly allows wife to use Photostation.

I have the iCloud 200GB file storage I share with my wife, but that’s only used for photo sync and device backups. A few files that I need on the iPad are in iCloud but that’s it. I’m a bit wary of using iCloud, as it’s a bit more opaque than Dropbox etc, which has a sync indicator in the menu bar.

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Been all in with icloud for 4 years now.
Steady as a rock, haven’t looked back since

  • Dropbox – My main cloud service. My Dropbox folder is where all of my files go (the Documents folder only gets stuff I don’t want to sync).
  • iCloud Drive – Right now this is only for apps that sync via iCloud Drive by default. However, I would like to make this my main cloud service since I now get 2tb for free with Apple One. I’m using it as my main folder for one project at the moment as a test.
  • SFTP server on my Mac mini Home Server – Storage for big stuff, backup files, etc. Will probably play a role in moving away from Dropbox due to iCloud Drive’s lack of fine grained control over selective sync.
  • WebDAV on my Mac mini Home Server – Sync DEVONthink databases. Used to use it to move documents back and forth to a Windows PC at a former job since they blocked SFTP over the VPN.
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This has been on my mind lately and I’m looking to consolidate some of the services

  • google drive
    • I love the free 15 gb for Sharing and sync. However, since I share files with my assistant, I’ve run into two issues which are 1. the shared files are now shortcuts and it’s been difficult to get them to sync properly and 2. because of permissions or maybe a timing issue, I find duplicates where google drive keeps trying to create copies.
    • I have access to an unlimited google drive that I use only for arq backup and photos. I know that google is starting to put limits on that
  • icloud drive - only for quick file access between devices and backup of devices. I don’t use it for photos.
  • dropbox - I’m on the free plan and will move away from because of the 3 device limit on the free plan. I think it’s the best from a sync and API access for apps.
  • Synology - I don’t access externally, but am thinking about setting up VPN access
  • Box - I have an old account that has 50 gb free and am thinking of switching dropbox and google drive files there.

I sync DevonThink by bonjour

@drezha How do you like Resilio Sync? I’ve heard a lot about it and am thinking that might be a good way to access synology and other shared files.

To me, the biggest question in selection of a cloud service is “what are your needs as far as security / privacy?”

If you plan to store only data that requires minimal security, then Dropbox is certainly the 500 lb gorilla and has, as far as I am aware, the most and best integration with various third party apps and services and has excellent integration into MacOS / iOS.

My big problem with Dropbox is that there is no real security, because files are stored at the Dropbox end in a manner that allows Dropbox to decrypt/access them. While I am not storing the secret of cold nuclear fusion (obviously I keep that on local storage), I do have things in my shared folders that I don’t want to risk becoming accessible outside of my control.

My solution has been SynologyDrive, which I have found to be highly reliable and I have been using if for some time. ResilioSync is also very reliable, and I own a lifetime license and used it for quite some time as well. If I did not have a Synology I would use ResilioSync. If you want to roll your own cloud, you can easily use ResilioSync with a Raspberyy Pi or just with your desktop and portable Macs.

There is a downside to the use of roll your own cloud approaches. The very fact that you “own” your service also means that there is no real cloud server - for example, if your house burns down and your Synology, desktop, and laptop are al in the house, you lose everything, while if you had your data on Dropbox you would have the cloud version for backup. I address this by having BackBlaze running on my iMac Pro, and all folders that are synced with SynolgyDrive are backed up to BackBlaze so I have an offsite backup of everyihing.

I tried, which is a Dropbox type of service with end-to-end encryption and all data on their servers is encrypted with a key you hold, so they cannot access your data. The problem with Sync is that it does not handle MacOS metadata such as tags, and that was a dealbreaker for me, so even though I got a really good deal on a 2 TB storage deal, I had to cancel my account with them.

In addition to SynologyDrive, I also do run a WebDAV server on my Synology which I can use for syncing DEVONThink. Right now, OmniFocus syncs with the Omni servers. I suppose I could look into moving that to the Synology as well.


Pretty much going all in with iCloud. Our Dropbox subscription comes up next month and will probably cancel. I’ve been off it for months and my wife is just about off. Tried the OneDrive with my Office subscription but never liked it. Dropping MS Office when it expires in the spring. Pages and Numbers does everything I need. Don’t want to open my Synology up to the internet.

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I’ve been using for a number of years now and it works flawlessly.
The only reason I’m looking to move away and over to Synology Drive is that Resilio is blocked on work WiFi but Synology Drive is not.

I purchased the Home Pro license soon after it was introduced, as I sync a number of folders. Just checking, I have approximately 54,000 files being synced (Documents, Videos, music files etc)

I like the fact that I don’t have to rearrange or hack my files into a folder system that suits my sync software (like the use of symlinks etc). Note that I don’t use the iOS apps so can’t comment on those.


Worth knowing that SynoligyDrive allows you to sync more than one folder just as you can do with ResilioSync.

The technique for adding more folders is a bit different than setting up the standard SynologyDrive folder, but it works just fine.

I have more than one folder as an independent sync task in SynologyDrive just as I did with ResilioSync before I switched.

Another consideration: Ole Begemann via Michael Tsai:

Is that with Team folders in Drive?

Google Drive I’m moving away from, but keep it around in case I need to share with others. Used the Photos service as a backup. I do like Photos, but they are changing how that works in June 2021, so I will move away from this entirely.

Dropbox I was a paying member, but now back on the free plan. It just works with everything, everywhere. But as mentioned, loosey-goosey with privacy and the 3 device limit, just stinks. I get they have to draw the line somewhere, so it’s just not for me.

iCloud is where the Photos live and device backups. I just can’t drink myself to trust everything there just yet. Been a long time user of the Apple drive service (and all the different names) and have been burned in the past (although it is getting better).

Resilio Sync is the service I’ve used since it was BitTorrent Sync and it works great. My Mac mini server is running it and the devices (Ma, Windows and iOS) just sync. It’s a great alternative to Dropbox, but there is very little app integration.

OneDrive I get for free from the college where I work and only use it when I have to. It’s just too clunky on iOS for me.

I’ve settled on to paying for Nextloud Storage Share at Hetzner Online (non-referral link) it’s $6/month for 500GB and they handle everything. Nextcloud is integrated in some apps, plus there is WebDAV access.

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Yes. You can add any other folder using Team folders. Once added, those folders work exactly the same as the standard SynologyDrive folder, but you do need to select the folder on the Synology that the Team folder syncs to. Create that folder first so the SynologyDrive client can find it.

I think I’ll be the outlier in this thread. My experiences have been different.

  • Microsoft 365

    • I migrated myself from GSuite to a Microsoft 365 Business Basic subscription that I pay $60/year for. I’ve found O365 works better for me.
      • I use Shared Mailboxes and I’m a fan of Power Automate/Flow. In my experience, the OneDrive app has been less buggy than either Google Backup and Sync or Google Drive File Stream.
    • I use OneDrive for my personal stuff and SharePoint for my “side-gig” stuff.
    • The university is also a Microsoft 365 subscriber, but no one really uses it outside of Exchange and Teams.
      • I use Power Automate and Microsoft To-Do.
  • GSuite

    • The university also subscribes to GSuite and it’s what most people use, so my work files are there as well as team notes.
  • iCloud

    • I use it mostly app-specific stuff and the few files I want on both work and personal machines. For example, I use Apple Notes as my personal note-taking app.
  • Amazon S3 Glacier

    • It’s my long-term archives of “side-gig” stuff.

I’ve moved out of Dropbox and Box since neither provided me with anything special.

Edit: I have a Microsoft 365 Business Basic subscription because I don’t need the desktop apps on my personal machine; I use LibreOffice, Pages/Keynote/Numbers, and various third-party email apps.

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I replaced Dropbox with Nextcloud when DB instituted the device limits. I love it.

Google Drive: no, don’t trust Google with data.
Dropbox: I have an account and only use it to share stuff (link to a folder), still the easiest and quickest way to send out a bunch of files.
OneDrive: I use it to move stuff between my work PC and my Mac.
iCloud: this is the one I use most. It has it’s quirks, but works. Because of it’s integration with macOS/iOS it works best for me.
Resilio Sync: when working on huge projects, the best way to sync them between my PC and my Mac.

I’m using

  • iCloud Drive:
    • for my documents, photos etc. & having them available on the go
  • Wasabi:
    • for offsite backup of several MacBooks in the Family using Arq.
    • for offsite backup of Synology NAS using HyperBackup
  • Dropbox:
    • for sharing files once or twice a year

I am interested in your comments, as I have tried to move from G Suite to Microsoft O365 as well. However I have found the very high resource usage from both OneDrive and Office apps always drove me back to G Suite. Are you not experiencing any of these?

One difference is that I have desktop apps on all of my devices.