ICloud Review | Tom’s Guide

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Apple is used to launching innovations that influence global technology trends, including the Mac, iPod and iPhone. But how good is iCloud, Apple’s cloud storage service?

In this iCloud review, we take a look at various aspects of the app, from pricing and features to support and security to see how iCloud compares to the. best cloud storage suppliers.

iCloud: plans and prices

Apple's price plans for iCloud

Apple offers three different cloud storage plans for users (Image credit: iCloud)

If you own an iPhone, iPad, iPod touch or Mac, you will have access to all the features of iCloud. You will also receive 5 GB of free cloud storage. However, if you don’t own one of these devices, you’ll get a measly 1GB for free.

Paid plans start at $ 0.99 for 50GB of storage, $ 2.99 for 200GB, and $ 9.99 for 2TB. There’s also the Apple One service that starts at $ 14.95 per month, and gives you 50GB of iCloud storage and access to other Apple digital services, like Apple Music, tv + and Arcade.

Apple One plans pay off for those who use Apple’s digital services extensively, but if all you want is storage, you’re better off using the company’s traditional storage offerings.

Characteristics

ICloud user interface on a web browser

You can also access iCloud through a web browser (Image credit: iCloud)

Apple is renowned for its thoughtful approach to design, and this also applies to iCloud. Let’s take a closer look at some of its features.

iCloud Photos automatically backs up and stores all of your media, and updates it on your Apple devices. The original full-resolution media is uploaded to the cloud to save space, while the lightweight versions are kept on your device.

You can share media with iCloud link or Shared Albums, but Apple ID is required to view shared files. Also, although the media is well organized, there is no photo search feature on the iCloud web app.

With iCloud Drive, Apple is giving its cloud storage service a face. On iOS, the drive is called Files, while on macOS and Windows it’s called iCloud Drive.

You can download all types of files to the player and preview, save, share, and access them from a web browser or other iCloud-connected devices. The storage folder is updated as soon as you make any changes to it, so the changes will reflect across all of your devices.

For some apps, like Notes and Pages, iCloud allows user collaboration. Up to 100 people can view and edit these applications simultaneously. You can also communicate with other users with the comment thread while editing a document.

However, iCloud’s real-time editing isn’t that responsive, and the interface doesn’t reveal who’s typing – it only shows a triangle with the color tag of the user who made the change.

Interface and in use

ICloud Windows app in use

There is an iCloud app for Windows users (Image credit: iCloud)

The iCloud interface is so tightly integrated with the rest of the Apple ecosystem that you might not even notice how smoothly all your apps and data sync.

On Apple devices, apps will be connected to iCloud by default. On Windows, you will need to download the iCloud app for file backup. On a Mac, you can directly sync your desktop and documents with iCloud.

Setting up iCloud is pretty straightforward for Apple users. On iOS devices, open “Settings” and sign in with your Apple ID. Then head to the “iCloud” section and choose which apps should be backed up to iCloud. The process is similar on macOS devices.

There is no iCloud app for Android, but you can use the device’s web browser to access the iCloud web client. Its interface is easy to use, but lacks because it doesn’t offer search functionality in all apps.

Support

ICloud Support Call Planning Web Page

You can schedule a callback at a convenient time for you to get help on Apple (Image credit: iCloud)

Apple is an industry leader, so you can expect great support. ICloud’s knowledge base is extensive, with clear instructions on hundreds of topics, and has an active community forum.

If you have an Apple ID, you can schedule a call with an expert. 24 hour online chat support is available for most topics. In our testing, the chat advisors were quick to respond. No matter which iCloud subscription plan you choose, you’ll get the same quality of support.

security

ICloud Two-Factor Authentication Code Entry Screen

Two-factor authentication improves the security of your devices (Image credit: iCloud)

Strict security measures can make a service less convenient for users, but with iCloud, Apple balances user convenience and security. It uses two-factor authentication to massively bolster account security on iCloud.

This requires two sets of information to sign in: your Apple ID password and a six-digit verification code that is sent to your trusted device, like your iPhone or iPad. User data on Apple’s servers is encrypted and sensitive data is end-to-end encrypted for maximum security.

So even if someone gets their hands on your data, they won’t be able to access it without the key.

The competition

Most of Apple’s apps and services are designed exclusively for devices in the Apple ecosystem, and iCloud is no different. But if you’re not an Apple user, you have better options like Google Drive or Microsoft OneDrive.

These storage providers offer better options for file sharing, syncing, search, and collaboration. With its super advanced search engine, Google Photos is ahead of Apple in terms of convenient image search and organization.

At $ 99.99 per year, OneDrive offers 1TB of storage per person (and you can add up to six people) and access to Microsoft 365 apps. Google Drive also offers a discounted annual payment option, unlike iCloud. Be sure to read our Google Drive review and our Microsoft OneDrive review to learn more about both services.

Final verdict

Well-designed and subtly integrated into the Apple ecosystem, iCloud brings intuitive cloud storage to users. It connects and backs up all the apps on your device smoothly.

However, you can only get the most out of iCloud if you are an Apple user. Although Windows users have a few options, there is no iCloud app for Android users.

iCloud offers a great balance of convenience and security, and Apple users will appreciate the file syncing and storage capabilities. But for others, there are better cloud storage options, like Google Drive.


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