iCloud vs Dropbox, Google Drive, etc

On one of the MPU episodes, the topic of cancelling all online storage in favor of iCloud was discussed. Let’s ignore the $-per GB cost for the moment. The main reason I use Dropbox and Google Drive are because I can share my files with certain people, using a password protected (or not) link. I haven’t seen this feature in iCloud yet.
For me, this convenience is worth the minor cost for storage other than iCloud.

One solution that can work for some people is to move the bulk of their files to iCloud and then use Dropbox (free version) for sharing those specific files. May not be perfect for every workflow, but could potentially save people money.


HI do what hobbycollector says and it works well for me. Dropbox free and the rest on iCloud means I can easily share files. However, I also have Office365 paid for by my employer for larger files and collaboration.

The family sharing also means my wife and kids can share the storage and I can share large files using Mail Drop.

I need to see how much iCloud costs these days. I’m only paying $2/month for 100GB on google drive. That’s not too expensive, but Im almost out of space.

$0.99 for 50GB
$2.99 for 200GB
$9.99 for 2TB


I do exactly this. Works perfectly for temporary sharing to clients.

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$120/yr for 2TB is pretty reasonable. I think I will start migrating my data.

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Dropbox is the most expensive once you go above 1TB. Below that everyone appears to be the same.

The way I work I need near instant syncing and full text search of my documents. ICloud doesn’t offer full text searches, and seems to sync only when it feels like it. New hardware or old, slow internet or 1GB up and down I’ve never found syncing to be consistent.

I’ve never lost a file on iCloud, Dropbox, or Google Drive but Google works best for me - now that we have the Files app (Thanks, Apple).

See this thread *Still* not clear about iCloud drive backup! - I poked around and it seems only OneDrive and Google Drive allow full text search.

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I did use Google Drive for this purpose, but I now use DEVONthink. Anything I need full-text search on is put into DT and then it works perfectly with Spotlight on iOS, which is an even quicker workflow than going into Google Drive whenever I want to search for something.

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Is there anyone running the ios 13 beta who could comment on the state of this Q?

It’s still a mess. I can only comment on Dropbox and iCloud. Dropbox does more or less everything right on the Mac, everything syncs immediately and without error. Put in on iPad and that changes. My read on this is that apple will not allow Dropbox to work as seamlessly on iOS. It doesn’t work well with the files app, and sadly the files app is at the Centre of most things iOS, especially if working on documents. As others have mentioned, it seems like iCloud still only syncs when it feels like it. It has become too unreliable for me to use iCloud for anything professional. I am currently running iOS 13 and it is still an issue for me. In my perfect world, either apple would allow Dropbox to work seamlessly on iOS or iCloud gets its act together and syncs every time you even look at a file

I don’t think that’s correct. Dropbox has chosen not to implement certain APIs that Apple makes APIs available in the files app that would make users’ lives better (open in place, for instance).

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While I am not saying you are wrong, it just wouldn’t make any logical sense for dropbox not to use them. It is stopping people use their product, so I am thinking there is more to this.

I use all three services although iCloud gets used the least. My work provides me unlimited Google drive for free and use it pretty much for mass archival storage. Anything involved with my workflow goes on Dropbox (I have 2TB) because it simply works the best for quick syncing and group projects. The one downside of Dropbox, and perhaps this is a product of their rapid sync, is that issues occur when the same file is open on two separate devices. Nothing is lost, but I end up with multiple versions of the file that require sorting through. Google drive syncing has always been sluggish for me. Currently I just use iCloud for short-term projects. More a case of having routine with Dropbox and Google drive than iCloud deficiencies.


David Sparks: iCloud only …