Following recent string of product launches and announcements, it’s easy not to spot pieces of news about one of Apple’s lesser-talked about services, the iCloud.
Recently, Apple listed its lowered its prices for its online storage system. First five gigabytes of storage are free, while the prices for the premium services are at:
- 50 GB for $0.99 a month
- 200 GB for $2.99 a month
- 1 TB for $9.99 a month
Previously, the minimum storage plan was at 20 GB – Apple raised it to 50, while 200 GB was priced at $3.99. The 1 TB plan was previously listed at an expensive $19.99 a month. Notably absent is the 500 GB plan – it is still unclear if Apple phased it out or if it will still be listed – albeit with a lower price. Note that this has not taken effect yet, but could after iOS 9’s launch.
Any price drop is good news to the average consumer. However, this in turn leads to more questions and an important discussion: with the price change, is iCloud now worth it?
The iCloud vs competitors
ICloud has two major opponents in this setting, Dropbox, MicrosoftOneDrive and Google Drive. Undoubtedly, these two are more popular options and Apple’s recent price change has is aimed at making their service more affordable their consumers. That being said, how does it fare against its main rivals?
- Free storage: Dropbox starts at two gigabytes, though you can earn free space by doing certain tasks. Meanwhile Google Drive and MicrosoftOneDrive give you a whopping 15 GB for free.
- Pricing: All services now provide one terabyte of storage space for $9.99 a month. However, Google provides 100 GB for $1.99, 10 TB for $99.99, 20 TB for $199.99, and 30 TB for $299.99. The cheapest one terabyte service is that of MicrosoftOneDrive, listed at only $7 per month. Dropbox offers $15 a month for unlimited storage.
- Sharing: iCloud, being an overly secure platform, does not have a sharing feature, although it can still be accessed through multiple Apple devices. Meanwhile, Google Drive allows you to share files and folders with other users, while Dropbox does the same.
The iCloud also lags in one department: the lack of a yearly plan. You need to regularly renew your subscription every month.
Is the iCloud worth your money?
Even if its competitors offer more flexible payment plans and are still relatively cheaper, iCloud has an ace up on its sleeve: the seamless synchronization of your iOS and OS X files (particularly photos).
The iOS 9 comes with a multitude of features and one of which is the iCloud Drive app, which is built into the operating system. You will likely see the app after you download and install the new iOS 9: this alone signals that Apple is dead-set in winning over users. You can seamlessly access, save, and edit files across your set of shared devices, much like Google Drive.
It’s best used for personal storage
Considering that it does not give shared access and only gives a maximum space of one terabyte, the iCloud is tailor-made for personal use. Its limitations and features do not make it an ideal company online storage service. However, it offers access to all three devices, making it a must-have if you own a Macbook, iPad, and iPhone.
However, you can share your iCloud Photo Library with your friends and family. You can also use iCloud’s Family Sharing service which syncs files, photos, App Store purchase of up to six family members.
Verdict: Is It Worth It?
Despite having limited sharing capabilities and lack of storage plans, the iCloud is still worth every penny you spend for it, but only if you use it extensively as a personal storage space – it’s simply not a feasible shared storage service for offices, companies, and workplaces. Its intuitiveness, simplicity, and seamless transition from one Apple device to another makes it a must if you parade a few Apple devices at your disposal.