I’ve been a happy user of Dropbox for a number of years. I love the ability to sync my nearly 1 TB of data across my devices, selectively sync only certain folders with my different computers, and create collaborative folders and file requests for paper gathering. I was happy.
My Other Clouds
My relationship with my wife is the only thing in my life that is exclusive. When it comes to airlines, hotels, grocery stores, or clouds, I follow the best deal and service; I’m not a brand loyalist.
For the last year, I’ve split my personal and work files between three cloud services: Dropbox, Google Drive and OneDrive for Business. I pay for the Dropbox Plus services to manage my personal documents while the other two are free for me to use with work-related material.
All three are good services and offer their own unique benefits. For instance: OneDrive for Business integrates perfectly with Office 365 allowing me to attach files to an email sent through a private web browser in a business center; Google Drive offers the instant collaboration benefit of the Google Suite; and Dropbox has stolen my heart with its selective sync feature which allows me to stipulate just how much information is stored on any of my actual computer hard drives.
My Cloud Mistress
My annual membership came due this month with Dropbox and wanting to be a smart consumer, I did some research before letting the auto-renew hit. I became aware that Apple had recently cut the rates of their iCloud service and was offering 2 TB of storage for the same price I was paying for 1 TB with Dropbox. I was intrigued. Could iCloud replace Dropbox in my life?
My life is run 100% by Apple devices. Despite not claiming brand-loyalty, I find myself drawn to the integrated nature of them; the more I collect, the more they communicate! I’ve always been interested in using iCloud for the photo storage and associated user interface alone, so now that 2 TB of storage was offered, I figured I’d reward Apple with my business. I upgraded to the 2 TB iCloud monthly plan and promptly copied my files from Dropbox to iCloud using the local machine.
Unfortunately, my files weren’t copied between folders; they were moved. My fault completely. But it was a problem when I began realizing that iCloud had failed to upload my documents appropriately. The mass of the upload was too much for it to handle, and it essentially gave up. My result was a partially moved set of files.
And so I fixed it. I wrote to Dropbox, asked them to revert my account back 48-hours (sorry I deleted everything can you hit undo for me?) which they did with a smile and rather quickly, and I then moved all of those files to an external hard drive for safe management. One pain-staking folder at a time to ensure accuracy, I moved them over to iCloud from the external drive and was disappointed: My files would not successfully sync to iCloud without timing out or hitting an error message; all while hard-wired to 120 Mbps internet.
You get what you pay for; I may only get 1 TB of storage from Dropbox for the same price as iCloud’s 2 TB – but I do NOT receive the same functionality. I am now safely back to Dropbox with my files intact thanks to their excellent customer service team. I’ve renewed my annual membership ($99/year) and look forward to another great year of their file management system.
I believe iCloud’s strength is photo management. It’s not the best solution for anything else; but credit where it’s due, I really like how they organize my photos from the last decade into a concise and easy to view format across all of my devices. Plus having additional iCloud storage space makes my iOS Device Backups a breeze. I will retain their services for these purposes on their smaller 200 GB monthly plan for now ($2.99/mo).