How many precious photos, videos and files do you keep on your phone? What happens when your phone gets lost, stolen or broken? You lose all those memories that can’t be replaced. We see this happen daily in Alphatronic with our customers.
Sometimes we can recover the lost information but more often these photos, videos and files are gone forever.
Luckily there is a simple solution to this issue called Cloud Storage. This means photos, videos and files are stored on the internet, rather than on your phone, tablet or computer.
Cloud Storage is handy as it allows you to access your data on a wide range of devices including PC, Mac, iOS, Android and Windows devices.
There are literally dozens of Cloud Storage providers on the market but for this article I’m going to focus on the top 4 suppliers, Dropbox, Google Drive, Apple iCloud and Microsoft One Drive.
These are a few of the questions you need to ask yourself before deciding on the service best suited to your requirements.
Which service offers the most amount of data storage for your money?
Which offers the best multi-device and multi-platform sharing?
Which has all the features you need?
I’ve put together a quick guide to answer these questions below, I hope you’ll find it useful.
Dropbox is one of the most popular Cloud Storage services because of its simple to use installation and setup. You just download the free app to your phone, tablet or computer and choose the photos, videos and files you want to store and share. You can store any file type on Dropbox and access them from anywhere as long as you have an internet connection. A Dropbox free account comes with 2GB of space and you can earn more free space by referring friends or family.
While the free 2GB of storage is plenty for storing files like documents or spreadsheets, photos and videos will quickly deplete the limited space so you might want to consider upgrading to the paid service called Dropbox Pro. The Dropbox Pro service offers 1TB of storage for €9.99 per month or a single payment of €99.00 per year (2 months free).
Dropbox excels over its competitors because of its easy to use sharing over multiple differing devices.
Google Drive differs slightly from Dropbox in that along with its storage feature it also provides a suite of office tools including a word processor, spreadsheet application, and presentation builder, plus 15GB of free storage space. If you already have a Gmail account then you can access Google Drive using your email address and password.
The free 15GB of storage is shared with your Gmail account however meaning if you use Gmail email to send or receive large files you won’t have much room left to store photos or videos from your phone, tablet or computer. Your files and photos can be viewed, edited, downloaded and added by downloading the Google Drive App to your devices or via any internet browser.
When you use up your free 15GB Google offer several paid upgrade options starting from €1.99 per month for 100GB, €9.99 per month for 1TB right up to €299.99 per month for 30GB.
Google Drive’s key benefit is the built-in office suite, where you can edit documents, spreadsheets, and presentations, even if you created the document in another program like Microsoft Word.
Apple’s iCloud service has been around for a few years now but from listening to customer feedback in Alphatronic many people don’t understand what it actually does. By using Cloud Storage, iCloud simply allows you to share information between an iPhone, iPad, iPod, and a computer. For example if I take a photo on my iPhone it automatically appears on my iPad and laptop. If I lose my iPhone I can add my iCloud account details to a new phone and my photos, videos and other data are restored onto my new phone automatically from the Cloud Storage. iCloud also syncs other information such as iTunes purchases, Contacts, Calendars, Notes, documents, Reminders, and Safari bookmarks.
Using a computer web browser I can also view this information online by using the iCloud.com website. iCloud comes with 5GB of free storage and users can upgrade their storage plan starting from €0.99 per month for 50GB, €2.99 per month for 200GB, €9.99 per month for 1TB or €19.99 per month for 2TB. A common mistake from customer feedback is to think that purchasing one of these plans will increase the storage on your device, it won’t, its Cloud Storage only so be warned.
Finally we’ll look at OneDrive. This is Microsoft’s Cloud Storage option. OneDrive is actually very similar to Google Drive in its features. Anyone using Windows 8 or Windows 10 will have OneDrive built-in their operating systems, other device users can download the free App to their phone, tablet, Mac or computer. OneDrive allows you to store and share any file type including photos, video and documents, and then access them from any device but its key strength is its Microsoft Office integration.
When you open an Office Application like Word or Excel you’ll see a list of recent documents saved to OneDrive. If you have an Office 365 subscription and open a document saved in OneDrive, you can edit it in real time with other people. You can even see the changes they make as they make them. OneDrive comes with 5GB free storage and upgrading starts at €2.00 per month for 50GB, for €7.00 per month you get 1TB plus Office 365 Personal for 1 user and for €10.00 per month its 1TB plus Office 365 Home for 5 users.
Each of these services has its own strengths and weaknesses which is why one service is not necessarily better than the other. None of these cost anything to try out so give them a go and find which one best suits your needs.