Help me choose? Google Drive or OneDrive?

As I mentioned on Twitter:

I figured it would be a good idea to have a place for people to share the “why” of their vote (if they wanted to).

However, please note…

The only two options are… Google Drive or OneDrive.

Personally, I’d prefer Dropbox, but we’d have to pay for that, whereas Google Drive and OneDrive would not cost us anything extra.

I haven’t used either of them long enough to know which is better or worse.

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This is completely anecdotal, and based off of vague memories, so take it with a grain of salt, but a couple of years ago both my MacBook Pro and iMac were running dog slow, fans going, etc. I forget how I tracked down the problem, but believe it had to do with the Console and also Activity Monitor, and then a Google search of a message in Console leading me to a multi page thread on the Microsoft OneDrive forums. Again, I don’t remember the specifics and even hesitate to throw aspersions in the direction of OneDrive, but there was some sort of serious bug with OneDrive for the Mac (but only in certain setups) that modified something in the file system on the Mac (write attributes or something like that?). The only way I ever got things back to normal was through a clean install.

I would hope the bug is gone by now, but despite getting 1 TB of OneDrive storage through the office, I only use it through the web interface.

So, how was that for a bunch of disclaimers?

Unfortunately, it doesn’t sound like it has gotten much better:

I’m already searching for ways to use Google Drive on my M1 MacBook Air since GD doesn’t work with Apple Silicon yet.

I have Transmit and ExpanDrive, and both should be able to work with GD. I don’t really want a kernel extension from Google on my Mac anyway!

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There is a windows client for iCloud as well as the web interface if you’d prefer not to trust data to google?

Personally I use the web version of OneDrive as a document container and backup of my preferred citation manager software and find it fine for what I use it for.

Sometimes I feel like the only person who isn’t completely creeped out by Google, lol. I have a Gmail account but that’s the line for me, it’s a capture place for all my junk mail.

If you only need to share documents or accessing the documents through the browser, the whole Google Drive/OneDrive thing is probably a wash. Both support native editing for Microsoft Office documents.

If you’re going to be collaborating — e.g. working on the same document at the same time – Google Drive is definitely the more mature product. Collaboration using Microsoft Office apps on the web is not bad, but is messy if you’re using the computer-based Microsoft Office apps.

My antidotal experience with Google’s syncing apps, both File Stream and Backup and Sync, was horrible — similar to @Evan’s OneDrive experience. Admittedly, I work with 500 mb TIFF files, so that probably didn’t help. OneDrive has been solid for me.

I use OneDrive with at least 3 accounts (persona / own company / clients) in synch on a 2018 mbp and 2015 iMac. (Also have a windows laptop from the current client using their onedrive which is fine)
All working fine.
The only time I have had issues is when LaunchBar tried to index all the files when some weren’t download. That caused my mbp to go nuts.
Using Alfred haven’t had the same issues.

Google Drive. Sync is fast, search is great, and I’ve never lost a file since I first logged into Gmail in 2004.

The only time I tried OneDrive (4+ years ago) all files and folders disappeared a few days into my evaluation of the service. Never considered it again (Fool me once . . . )

I’ve tried both and I definitely prefer Google Drive. I only use it through the web interface but find sharing with people on other platforms is easy and works reliably.

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Google Drive definitely surpasses OneDrive if collaboration is the goal – my own experience.


+1 for GD for everyday use

When you are willing to forego the direct “Google Docs” experience and want something beyond the Web interface, I can recommend CyberDuck


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Onedrive and Sharepoint is the University tool of choice and I’ve had no issues so far on my M1 Mac Mini. Initial sync was a bit slow and caused some spinning beachballs if I tried to open the Onedrive preferences whilst it did the initial sync but since then, seems relatively solid.

I’ve also purchased an Insync licence for Onedrive, which also works nicely to allow access to Onedrive. And I’ve also setup Cloud Sync on my NAS, so if I do run in to issues with Onedrive on the Mac, I can access the files via SMB, so I’ve got a couple of methods of accessing!

I try to stick with Onedrive itself, as this allows auto save and sharing files, if a colleague also accesses it at the same time.

I’ve been using OneDrive for my personal files as my cloud solution of choice. I think I’ve been using it for a year or two by now and have zero problems whatsoever. All files are present on my iMac, and I selectively download/keep folders offline-accessible on my iPad and iPhone. Seamless/instantaneous syncing.

One issue that I have with google drive is that shared files end being “Drive shortcuts” instead of the file itself. So when I use google’s backup and sync program, then I don’t get the full download/copy of the file. I have pdfs, google sheets, and google docs. I want to have a copy of the PDF on my mac.

iCloud Drive isn’t an option? That is what I prefer. :sweat_smile:

If you don’t want your data in the hands of Google, go with OneDrive.

My rule has always been “if you don’t want your data in the hands of someone, don’t put it in the cloud unencrypted”.

The only files I consider reasonably secure are those I keep on an encrypted local drive.

There is no need to be overcautious, especially when most data in the cloud is in fact encrypted.

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I’m not overcautious. In fact I keep most of my data online because an iPad is my primary computer. I managed networks and email servers, etc. for multiple employers since the early 90’s and know how futile it is to worry about things you can never control. So I encrypt my tax records and anything I consider sensitive and use the cloud as needed.

Besides, I can’t think of any data about me that an advertiser might want, that is not already available legally from numerous sources.

I’d vote for Google Drive. When I’ve had to collaborate on documents it works perfectly whereas with One Drive you’re dealing with Microsoft and it’s very Windows centric system that often fails on macs.

Besides I’d rather deal with Google than MS knowing about my stuff.