Microsoft OneDrive vs. Dropbox vs. Google Drive vs. Amazon Cloud Drive vs. Box vs. Mega vs. iCloud Drive [Comparison]

OneDrive vs. Dropbox vs. Google Drive vs. Amazon Cloud Drive vs. Box vs. Mega

If you’re an active internet user, it’s more likely that you’re using a cloud storage service (or an online backup service). If you’re not using it already, then sooner or later you’re going to need it. A cloud storage service can be useful to you in several ways. For instance, it can save the disk space on your PC if you store your photos and videos online. Also, it can be used as a backup service so that your files are all safe in the cloud even if your computer hard drive crashes. And yeah, today cloud storage service has become increasingly popular because of their cross-platform support. It means that you can upload your documents from your PC to the cloud and can instantly access it via your mobile.

Comparison: Microsoft OneDrive vs. Dropbox vs. Google Drive vs. Amazon Cloud Drive vs. Box vs. Mega vs. iCloud Drive

I have already compared the best cloud storage services back in 2012 but things changed a lot ever since. So I’m going to compare the top cloud storage services once again to reflect the updates (for instance, Microsoft SkyDrive was rebranded as OneDrive) and new services (like Box.net, Mega, and iCloud Drive).

1. Microsoft OneDrive (formerly Microsoft SkyDrive)

Microsoft OneDriveI really love OneDrive apps (yes, it’s my preferred cloud storage service) and its interface. But what I really don’t like about OneDrive is their URL structure. It’s simply not user friendly and not uniform at all. Also, sharing files with friends is not as simple as in Dropbox or Google Drive. OneDrive supports remote access to your PC. You can access all the files on your PC from another computer using OneDrive website.

In other words, if you have installed OneDrive desktop on your PC then you can use fetch files feature to access all your files on that PC from another computer even if it’s not there in your OneDrive folder. Also, you can access the network locations as well if they’re included in your PC’s libraries or if they’re mapped as drives. Since OneDrive is integrated to Microsoft Office Online (and now with Windows 8 as well), you can view your documents (Word, Excel, PDF, etc.) online without downloading them to your PC.

Free Storage: 15 GB (+ 3 GB extra storage when you activate camera roll backup)

Available Platforms

  • On Mobile: iOS (iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch), Android, Windows Phone, Mobile Web
  • On Desktop: Web, Windows (Vista, 7, 8, or 8.1), Mac OS X

Pricing For Additional Storage: $25/year for 50 GB, $50/year for 100 GB, $100/year for 200 GB $1.99/month for 100 GB, $3.99/month for 200 GB (if you own an Office 365 subscription then you get additional 20 GB 1 TB OneDrive storage for free — like this).

File Size Limit: 10 GB (on all devices including OneDrive website)

You can refer your friends to OneDrive and you will get additional 500 MB/referral (refer up to 10 friends for a maximum of 5 GB additional free storage).

» Visit Microsoft OneDrive

2. Dropbox

DropboxDropbox is perhaps web’s favorite cloud storage service with over 200 million users. I’m not actually a fan of Dropbox but it’s really a cool service as it’s intuitive and very powerful. Dropbox offers a clean interface and unlike OneDrive it’s super easy to share files and you can view all your shared files in one-click. Dropbox is secure too as it supports two-step verification and you can even lock your Dropbox mobile app using a passcode.

Free Storage: 2 GB (+ up to 1.5 GB extra storage as bonus)

Available Platforms

  • On Mobile: iOS (iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch), Android, BlackBerry, Kindle Fire, Mobile Web
  • On Desktop: Web, Windows, Mac, Linux

Pricing For Additional Storage: $9.99/mo. or $99/year for 100 GB; $19.99/mo. or $199/year for 200 GB; $49.99/mo. or $499/year for 500 GB

File Size Limit: No File Size Limit (via Dropbox desktop or mobile apps); 10 GB (via Dropbox website)

You can easily get bonus storage by connecting your Facebook account (+125 MB), Twitter account (+125 MB), following Dropbox on Twitter (+125 GB), giving feedback about Dropbox (+ 125 MB), and also by connecting your Mailbox for iOS app to Dropbox (+ 1 GB). Or you can refer your friends to Dropbox and get up to 16 GB as bonus space. Dropbox offers 500 MB/referral  so you can refer up to 32 friends for a maximum of 16 GB additional storage space).

» Visit Dropbox

3. Google Drive

Google DriveIf I like Google Drive then it’s probably because of the following reasons: First, it’s deeply integrated to Gmail so you can save all your Google Mail attachments directly to your Google Drive account (Tip: Use the “Save to Drive” option in Gmail). Second, it’s integrated to Google Docs so you can create a doc and share with your friends instantly (and can even collaborate with each other in real-time). Third, it’s very easy to share files and set its permissions.

Free Storage: 15 GB

Available Platforms

  • On Mobile: iOS (iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch), Android, Mobile Web
  • On Desktop: Web, Windows, Mac, Chrome OS

Pricing For Additional Storage: $1.99/mo. for 100 GB, $9.99/mo. for 1 TB, $99.99/mo. for 10 TB, $199.99/mo. for 20 TB, $299.99/mo. for 30 TB

File Size Limit: Up to 1 TB (depends upon the file type)

Unlike other services the storage space offered by Google Drive is shared between Google Drive, Gmail, and Google+ Photos. So if your Gmail is using over 10 GB space then you’ve got less than 5 GB free storage in Google Drive. If the storage is not enough then the only option is to buy one of their paid plan since there is no referral program.

» Visit Google Drive

The Next 3 Lesser Known Cloud Storage Services

Since I don’t personally use any of the following cloud services I’m highlighting only their basic features. You can select one based on your personal preference.

4. Amazon Cloud Drive

Amazon Cloud Drive

Free Storage: 5 GB

Available Platforms

  • On Mobile: iOS (iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch), Android, Kindle
  • On Desktop: Web, Windows, Mac

Pricing For Additional Storage: $10/year for 20 GB, $25/year for 50 GB, $50/year for 100 GB, $100/year for 200 GB, $250/year for 500 GB, $500/year for 1 TB

File Size Limit: 2 GB

» Visit Amazon Cloud Drive

5. Box

Box

Free Storage: 10 GB

Available Platforms

  • On Mobile: iOS (iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch), Android, Windows Phone, BlackBerry, Mobile Web
  • On Desktop: Web, Windows, Mac

Pricing For Additional Storage: $10/mo. for 100 GB

File Size Limit: 250 MB (5 GB for $10/mo. plan)

» Visit Box

6. Mega

Mega

Free Storage: 50 GB

Available Platforms

  • On Mobile: iOS (iPhone, iPod touch, compatible with iPad), Android, BlackBerry
  • On Desktop: Web, Windows

Pricing For Additional Storage: $9.99/mo. or $99.99/year for 500 GB, $19.99/mo. or $199.99/year for 2 TB, $29.99/mo. or $299.99/year for 4 TB

File Size Limit: No File Size Limit

» Visit Mega

7. iCloud Drive

iCloud Drive

As you probably know, iCloud Drive is the latest addition to cloud storage service providers (but it’s not exactly a Dropbox alternative). Like any other cloud storage services, iCloud Drive allows you to store your files in the cloud so that they’re available on all your — iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Mac, or Windows PC (but no app for Android yet).

You’re going to love iCloud Drive only if you’re an iOS user. In fact on iOS you don’t have an app for iCloud Drive as it’s integrated with the operating system. Earlier, it was not possible to save files directly in the iCloud but now iOS apps can save files in the cloud so that it can be accessed from iOS or Mac (of course if the app supports it).

Free Storage: 5 GB

Available Platforms

  • On Mobile: iOS (iPhone, iPod touch, iPad)
  • On Desktop: Mac, Windows, Web

Pricing For Additional Storage: $0.99/mo. for 20 GB; $3.99/mo. for 200 GB; $9.99/mo. for 500 GB; $19.99/mo. for 1 TB

File Size Limit: 15 GB

» Visit iCloud Drive

So tell me, which is your favorite cloud storage service and why? :)

First Published: March 2014; Last Updated: November, 2014

  • Le Me

    Mega, mostly for its security, ease of use, its cheap(enough) prices and the amount of free storage you get. And it’s made by Kim Dotcom

    • http://www.minterest.com Mahesh Mohan

      Yes,

      but the problem is… many not-so-popular cloud storage services has shut down in the past…. So I actually prefer cloud storage services by Apple, Google, Microsoft, Dropbox, or one by Yahoo. Let’s see how Mega is going to compete…

      • Alfonso

        The problem is that if you don’t get an account and just wait for the service to be popular well… it won’t be. If everybody thinks like you it’s going to shutdown for sure.

        • http://www.minterest.com Mahesh Mohan

          Umm… that’s right too.. ;)

  • William

    There is actually a considerable speed difference. MEGA is by far the fastest of all providers within Australia.

    • http://www.minterest.com Mahesh Mohan

      Wow! Great.. Maybe they’re targeting specific users and is not for everyone.

    • Mateusz Z

      Not Australia, but New Zeland.

  • http://process.st/ Vinay Patankar

    Great breakdown, I recently wrote a post about how I moved to Google Drive from Dropbox

    http://www.process.st/2014/07/why-i-moved-from-dropbox-to-google-drive/

    • http://www.minterest.com Mahesh Mohan

      Maybe you can try OneDrive + Office 365 later. Office 365 users will soon get 1 TB of free OneDrive storage.

      • http://process.st/ Vinay Patankar

        Yea microsoft is a good option if you use office/outlook. But since I use gmail/google docs I prefer drive as it a syncs together.

        • http://www.minterest.com Mahesh Mohan

          Yes, that’s right too… Gmail/Google Docs is the primary reason why I also rely on Google Drive for few things. Btw OneDrive just got bigger… yesterday they upgraded everyone’s storage so now we get 1 TB of free storage with Office 365.

          • Kim Boston

            Is the 1 TB of free storage with Office 365 still in effect? I’m looking, but I don’t see that. It appears that this was posted 6 months ago.
            Thanks!

          • http://www.minterest.com Mahesh Mohan

            Yes, it’s still applicable. If you have an Office 365 Subscription then you will get 1 TB Storage for free. You can check your account @ https://onedrive.live.com/options/ManageStorage.

  • Alan

    Both Google and Dropbox are blocked in China so if you plan to share with anyone behind the great firewall of china you can forget both of these services unless you plan to pay for a VPN to use them

    • http://www.minterest.com Mahesh Mohan

      Oops! And what about OneDrive?

  • veeru789

    I want to choose between one drive and Box. can anyone suggest which is more secured and why ? thank you in advance

    • http://www.minterest.com Mahesh Mohan

      Though I included Box and Mega here I’m personally using only OneDrive and Dropbox (sometimes Google Drive too as I like Google Docs). Can’t comment about security as I think almost all of these cloud storage services were compromised before. So nothing is that secure but still go for one that supports 2-step authentication (like OneDrive, Dropbox, etc.).

  • http://helikopta.com Bill Addison

    I’ve tried Dropbox, Box and Google Drive thoroughly by syncing over 150,000 dev files to each and definitively Google Drive is the worst of the bunch. It is quite undependable for hardcore batch syncing, many files did not sync.

    Box is ok, although the sync times, from Brazil at least, and the processing times for many files were very slow compared to Dropbox and Drive. However, Box’s sync was dependable, although I noticed some peculiarities when adding files via the web interface, over 2 days the files never synced to my machine. Might have been because I was uploading a tone of files from my machine, although I found that strange.

    Dropbox in my experience is the most dependable and has the best performance. Although, if you ever sync over 300,000 files sync basically craps out completely. I was very disappointed by this actually. I think Dropbox should warn you as you approach 300k+ files so you don’t have to go through what I did by removing a tonne of stuff, or tar’ing files into one compressed file to save on file count.

    Having said that, of these three, Dropbox is easily the best performing, and for me I personally find their interface the simplest and easiest to use. Just don’t sync over 300k in files or you’re screwed.

    • http://www.minterest.com Mahesh Mohan

      Hi Bill,

      This a great feedback! I also don’t like Google Drive except that I like Google Docs. So I find it useful for collaborative purposes.

      I never tried Box (except for review purposes) so I’m not sure about its problems.

      And I agree that Dropbox is cooler compared to the others because “it works”. My primary cloud storage is OneDrive and I also use Dropbox to archive files that I don’t need frequently.

  • Gerry Hangko

    Not sure when it changed but ..for private use, Dropbox takes For Additional Storage: $9.99/mo for 1TB so information above is already old(outdated), totally wrong!

  • http://www.minterest.com Mahesh Mohan

    Hi,

    You’re absolutely right. As you can see I updated this article in the first week of August and Dropbox launched the Pro plan in the last week of August with 1 TB space at $9.99/month. So I’ll update this post once again to reflect that change.

    Thanks for notifying me. :)

  • Mike.E

    Hi

    Can someone explain how the sync function (your local HD folder and cloud folder) interact with all these providers. I use drop box and One Drive and both these have a local folder in my computer. I place files into the local folder and it get’s synchronised/uploaded to the cloud. Do I need to have a local HD folder to match the size of the cloud folder ?

    I am thinking of buying an ultra book with only 128GB SSD Hard Drive. I have about 500GB of personal data (photos and documents) I want to store on the ‘cloud’ and use it as and when I want to use it. Is this possible ?

    • http://www.minterest.com Mahesh Mohan

      Hi Mike,

      Yes, it’s absolutely possible if your cloud storage service has 500 GB+ storage space. But if your hard drive is 128 GB then you need to turn off syncing. Because, if we have a local folder then the cloud storage service keeps a copy of all files in our computer as well (and it obviously takes hard drive space). The best thing is… upload all your files to the cloud, and then sync specific folders with the computer.

      I assume that you have a MacBook Air. So, if it’s OneDrive then you can change syncing preferences and sync only the folders that you have selected. The advantage is that it won’t use our harddrive space and the disadvantage is that we will have to manually download the files that are noy synced with the local computer everytime we need it.

    • gerardopedraza

      You can selectively sync just certain folders and download other files when you need them.

  • Josiah

    Why isn’t Mega discussed further? Its the only one with absolutely no filesize limit and has 35GB more free than the second place (15GB).

    • http://www.minterest.com Mahesh Mohan

      Hi,

      It’s because I’m not personally using Mega. So that’s why I have highlighed only its basic features. I will use the info given by you when I update this blog post.

  • Ian

    Dropbox pricing is wrong. I think I pay $10/mo for 1TB.

    • http://www.minterest.com Mahesh Mohan

      Oh, yes. It appears like this article needs another update. Dropbox increased the storage for paid plans once again.

      Thank you! :)

  • db

    What about Evernote?

    • http://www.minterest.com Mahesh Mohan

      Hi,

      I didn’t include Evernote as it’s primarily a note-taking app (though we can also use it as a cloud storage service).

  • Lars Didriksen

    Security policies? Where are dropbox and onenote files stored? (what country, and does it pass through, no law zone countries on the way?) Does Microsoft or Dropbox, get to look in your stuff, does a government? does it support encryption? if so, how? kinda really big issues that seem to be skipped entirely.

    • http://www.minterest.com Mahesh Mohan

      Hi,

      Interesting point! I will try to get those details on the next update of this blog post.

      Thank you!

    • Liz Ste. Marie Fons

      When I went into just a little further research and checked the individual products sites, there it was~~ The security safeguards each uses! I don’t think this blog was meant to be the be all and end all of research…

    • Mateusz Z

      … we don’t really know :) Of course Google, Microsoft and DropBox have an access to Your files (just read terms of use).
      I know that GDrive, OneDrive and DropBox are most popular in US, and around the world, because we all have Android/Windows Phones. I also use MEGA, but I think some of You may be worried about Kim Dotcom’s lawsuits.
      I think You can consider using a hubiC – a cloud from Europe, placed in France. The hubiC service is subject to French law, which is particularly strict regarding personal data protection and respect for privacy. Remember, that in Europe there is no Patriot Act, so Your files are always only Yours :)
      In hubiC You can also choose a duration of publication by link – DropBox doesn’t have it in a free account.

      Technically, files are physically hosted in 3 geographically distant OVH datacentres.
      OVH was created in 1999 and achieved the number 1 position as web hosting provider in France and Europe in just a few years. It’s now the second largest web hosting provider in the world.

      If You want to try it: https://hubic.com/home/new/
      and use my code: MDOXSK

      If You have any questions, write it :)

  • Pete

    Box.com doesn’t sync unrecognized files. These might be commin installation files or excel, pivot tables sheet and many other commonly used file formats. Sadly, I realized this only after my system crashed and was depending on my box.com account for my backed up files. Box.com software didn’t even let me know that my files were not synced when I clearly placed it in my box sync folder.

    • http://www.minterest.com Mahesh Mohan

      Hi Pete,

      Sorry to hear that.. but I will use your input when I update this blog post.

  • stanwu

    I had tried that Amazon Cloud Drive file size could be larger than 10GB now

  • Liz Ste. Marie Fons

    Thanks so much for this very user friendly comparison of what is becoming very a standard utility. I also appreciated that you listed the types of devices/systems each is compatible with. Not everyone is a techie and it really helps when people like you make things more accessible ????

    • http://www.minterest.com Mahesh Mohan

      Thank you, Liz! :)

      Let me know if I missed something.

  • http://www.minterest.com Mahesh Mohan

    There was an update to Cloud Drive. I will update this blog post ASAP. Thanks! :)

    • Dylan

      Updated yet? Pricing is wrong too — $59.99/unlimited.

      • http://www.minterest.com Mahesh Mohan

        Yes, pricing changes every now and then. Will make the changes.

        • Dylan

          Can you also update each listing to indicate whether there is a web interface available? I was tempted to get Amazon Cloud Drive until I realized that there is no web interface (no way to access your files over a web browser). You must install software or apps to access. I assumed since Google Drive, OneDrive, Mega, essentially every competitor (perhaps except for Apple), they all provide a web interface to access your files.

          • http://www.minterest.com Mahesh Mohan

            Yes, that’s also a good criteria to compare… And my vote will go for Dropbox when it comes to web interface. :)

            And hey, you know what? Even Apple offers a web interface. We can access iCloud Drive at https://www.icloud.com/#iclouddrive.

          • Dylan

            I actually have a huge gripe with the Dropbox interface. I’ve had situations (sadly, multiple times), where I had to rebuild a system with a backup. When I brought the system back online, the Dropbox sync client would get confused and would think files created between the time the backup was taken and restored, that any file updated or created during that time should be deleted, and it would “trash” those files. At this point, you would need to restore the files in the web interface. Unfortunately, the web interface has no “trash folder”. Best it has is ability to toggle “show deleted files”, but you then need to go through each folder looking for the items marked deleted, to restore them. There is no ability to view your trash all in a central place to then restore. OneDrive and Google Drive both have this.

            Moral of the story is, if you restore your system from a backup, delete the entire dropbox cache folder and unlink the machine, and then link it as a new machine so it does a proper sync. You can keep the Dropbox data folder, and it will just push/pull updated files, but the key is the cache folder where Dropbox keeps the caching information.

          • http://www.minterest.com Mahesh Mohan

            Oh, that’s sad. But yes, syncing conflicts can happen in any service. And you are right about Dropbox Deleted Files. There is no Trash folder.

            Thanks for pointing it out. I will use this input as well when comparing this services. Also, the past few days I was spending a lot of time on Dropbox than any other site. Now it’s like my primary storage service as I moved my files from OneDrive to Dropbox. And I realized an interesting feature about Dropbox. I’ve always wondered about its “version history” and I never cared to try it. Today I got a chance to test it and it’s interesting indeed. I have noticed that if we upload a file whose file name matches with one that is already there in our dropbox then it just replaces it. It was not desired. But today I learned that dropbox keeps both versions and we cna switch between them by using Version History. Seems like Dropbox is much more powerful and useful than I have imagined. :)

          • Dylan

            The three I played with, OneDrive, Google Drive and Dropbox all have revisions. Google Drive, if you upload a file with the same name, it’ll create it alongside the original. If you explicitly submit the document as a revision of another, it will do what Dropbox does, and rewrite the original and save the previous as a revision. There is no limit to how many revisions are created or how long they are stored, but any revisions count against your quota, if applicable.

            Dropbox will “rewrite” by default, and store the told as a revision. Revisions don’t count against your quota, but revisions only persist for 30 days, then they disappear. You would need to purchase an upgrade to store revisions indefinitely.

            OneDrive, I haven’t played around much with their revisions, but like Google Drive, they store revisions. If you upload a filename of the same name, it provides back a callback to either create it with a different name or overwrite. I haven’t dived into retention, etc

            I used Dropbox extensively since it came out to sync data across my systems. It was, and remains, the only cloud storage provider that supplies an official Linux client.

            With that said, I’m still moving off Dropbox. I accumulated 85k files in my Dropbox, and with an index that big, I have come to notice there are a lot of issues with the way Dropbox creates it’s drive index. I didn’t notice it on fast hardware before (when doing the initial sync, or reindexing), but it will go off and consume a lot of cpu processing power for the indexing. Became noticeable when I tried to index my Dropbox drive on a Thinkpad X131 that has a slow AMD processor. Without doing any downloads or uploads, simply indexing 85k files, took 7 hours. It also consumed about 50GB write cycles on my SSD (85k files, 19GB dropbox size). It seems to be doing a lot of writing when generating the hashes for files stored locally to determine if the file is the same as the one in Dropbox cloud servers. Having written some cloud apps before, I know that for indexing, other than writing your updates on the index from memory to disk, you shouldn’t need to be writing to a disk repeatedly to do a MD5 checksum. It might simply be the type of DBM that they store the index that is problematic. For these reasons, I’ve reduced my Dropbox down to 10k files.

          • http://www.minterest.com Mahesh Mohan

            Hi Dylan,

            Yes, you’re right but Dropbox is different from others and is more useful. If we try to upload a file twice then OneDrive will ask us whether we want to keep both files. If we want to keep both then they will simply rename the new file and keep the old one as it is. On Google Drive, it keeps both files without asking us. But Dropbox overwrites the file and keeps the new version and at the same time makes it possible to revert back to its previous version. It’s super useful.

            I do not like to keep so many files on my cloud storage services (especially duplicate files). Btw, thanks for the details about quotas. I didn’t research much about this yet.

            And I see that you’re a super-user of cloud storage. I’m primarily using it as a backup service so its size is under control.

  • Dylan

    File size limit for Google Drive is wrong. Files up to 5TB can be accessed through the Google Drive web site. Files larger than 5TB can be uploaded, but only be accessed through Google Drive API (therefore, really, the practical limit is 5TB).

    • http://www.minterest.com Mahesh Mohan

      I will confirm that as well on the next update.

  • Dylan

    For OneDrive, you may want to include the link for Office365 users to request for unlimited space. https://preview.onedrive.com/ Typical turnaround is 1 week.

    • http://www.minterest.com Mahesh Mohan

      Wow! Thanks for that. Will do it when I update this post.