iCloud has proven to be a good but not good enough native cloud app for the iPhone.
It’s comparatively expensive, relatively insecure and not a particularly good option for celebrities, as you’re about to find out further below. In light of its vulnerabilities, both in terms of functionality and privacy, we decided to put together a list of the five best cloud backup apps for the iPhone.
Which app is used to backup your iPhone’s data, let me guess, iCloud? The very same iCloud that got hacked last year and leaked celebrity nudes? The hackers would’ve probably leaked your nudes too but unfortunately, you’re not a celebrity — yet. Apple recently came in the news once again, because they declined to build a backdoor for the FBI, which would have affected the security of all iPhones.
While the data on your Apple phone is highly encrypted and gets locked after three fail attempts, data backed up to iCloud isn’t very safe.
Why iCloud Isn’t a Safe Option
Apple may not want to share iPhone data with the U.S. government, but the company is likely to fail securing user data stored in iCloud.
Currently, iCloud uses a 128-bit AES encryption, and there’s news the company is going to beef up encryption but we don’t know when that might happen. Apple has been lax about sending notices when someone has restored an iCloud account from a new device; it’s also failed to extend two-factor authentication, and still doesn’t provide zero-knowledge security.
Failures such as the ones mentioned above and others are why you need an alternative to iCloud; luckily, I’ve got five of them. But before we get going, it’s important first to be clear on exactly what is going on here. I’m only writing down a summary of each service, what I liked about it, and a list of pros and cons. This article is not an in-depth review of each service, for that, just click the “Read review” button under every provider summary.
Best Cloud Backup for iPhone 2018
IDriveIDrive provides 5GB of free storage space to get you started; it has a desktop app and can do both file syncing and backup. Considered a top selection for versatility at low prices, IDrive is my number one pick due to its wealth of features.
Some of which include:
- Adamantine encryption
- Auto-uploads of pictures
- Facebook and Instagram backup
And even a soon-to-come Apple Watch app. IDrive can also playback music and videos, alongside providing access to backed up contacts, messages, calendar reminders and the whole process come sporting unlimited backup. IDrive also has a nifty side-service where they ship drives to customers who have a lot of data that needs quick backing up.
Why We Like IDrive:
Installing and signing up on the app was easy. The service is also pretty cheap and provides unlimited device backup and syncing. Plus there’s a private encryption option available, which takes away the feeling of insecurity associated with iCloud.
- 5GB free storage
- File syncing & backup
- Facebook & Instagram backup
- Slow performance sometimes
- No monthly plans
- No automatic video upload
Though a syncing app, SugarSync can also be used for backup and file sharing. It also has a 5GB free storage plan, plus bonus room when you invite more friends to use the app. My first impression of SugarSync’s iPhone app was very positive, due to its sleek design and ease-of-use. Installing the app provides an option to upload photos automatically.
Pictures and videos uploaded to SugarSync can be viewed on the iOS app or copied to another app. In the Settings pane, you can activate or deactivate camera backup, set up a pin for the app and clear the cache, and that’s about it.
When I tried uploading data directly to one of the folders on SugarSync, I found out that only photos or videos are uploadable from an iPhone. There is no way to backup contacts, notes, calendar or any other data — which is a big bummer.
Why We Like SugarSync:
You can view folders and files that need to be available offline, public links and shared folders. With a fantastic interface and 30 day free-trial period, it’s a shame that SugarSync only backs up photos and videos. And that is the only reason it’s in second place.
- File versioning (5 copies)
- Extremely sleek iOS interface
- Uploaded files can be viewed/shared
- No forever free option
- Slow online backups
- No private encryption
SOS Online BackupSOS Online Backup is known for its speed, unlimited file versioning and very well designed mobile apps. It does lack a few expected features though, such as video uploading. SOS Online Backup’s iPhone app is designed for users to access their backed up data through a PC or Mac. Upon login, you’re provided with the option to backup uploaded photos, videos, documents and music.
Backed up files can be viewed or shared freely. Although, I was disappointed to see that you cannot share files directly to other apps, only email them to a recipient. SOS Online Backup provides an option to secure contacts and photos through the iOS app. However there’s no option to backup videos, manually or automatically.
I tried to find the Settings option, only to realize there is none, all you get is a Logout button on top. This app has a lot of potential, and I would recommend it if you are only looking to backup photos and contacts.
Why We Like SOS Online Backup:
At the bottom of the app, you will find four options:
You can access backed up data via Content, Protect is where data gets uploaded, and you can view all devices linked to your SOS Online Backup account via Devices. Search is just the ability to look for files and folders.
- 15 day free-trial period
- Very fast upload speeds
- Unlimited file versioning
- No seeded backup
- iOS app lacks Settings
- Removed unlimited cloud option
CrashPlanCrashPlan offers unlimited storage space and no file type limits; and iOS users who are into music can create an archive of favorite artists. Plus it’s an unlimited backup service that comes jam packed with a lot of options and extras. CrashPlan is one of the most popular cloud backup services in the market, and there’s no way I can forget to include it.
The apps’ primary function is to enable access to your desktop data from anywhere. We’ve all had those moments when we urgently need a file while traveling, and the iOS app can come in handy for such situations.
But, the app isn’t without a few flaws. Unfortunately, CrashPlan does not allow you to backup photos or any other app data. And there are no settings anywhere on the app, sharing and syncing are also a no-go. But you can download individual files, and access previously downloaded ones.
Why We Like CrashPlan:
Having tested out the desktop app’s array of features in the past, I was excited to see what the iPhone app had to offer. The main selling point of CrashPlan on any platform is unlimited storage. You can backup data to CrashPlan, and enjoy access to seeded and free local backups anywhere.
- Unlimited storage
- Very easy to use iOS app
- Strong security
- Limited iPhone features
- No file sharing
- Lacks file syncing
DropboxDropbox serves as a direct rival and alternative to iCloud, with slightly more enhanced privacy features — keyword is “slightly”. I use Dropbox regularly, but this was the first time I downloaded it on an iPhone and was surprised to see the app is over 80MB.
Most other apps I’ve reviewed were under 20MB. Since sometimes we are forced to download apps through mobile data, and not WI-FI, this large app size can be an issue for some. That small potential problem aside, you can use the Dropbox iOS app to view files, make them available offline and rename or move them to different folders.
You can edit documents, but Microsoft Office needs to be installed separately to do so. Also, remember that you can only send links to photos, and not actual pictures. And Dropbox photos cannot be directly transferred to Instagram or Facebook. But, apart from that, the app is flawless. It has 2GB of free storage, integration with Microsoft Office and a very sleek interface.
Why We Like Dropbox:
According to Dropbox, over 400 million users have registered on the service. As soon as you sign in, there’s an option available to upload photos and videos automatically. I also liked the fact that Dropbox sends an email notifying you that you’ve logged into an iPhone. There is a separate folder for viewing all uploaded photos.
- Great usability & sharing
- Files can be viewed & edited online
- Integrated with Microsoft Office
- Limited features
- No private encryption
- Open door NSA policy
For iPhone users, iCloud might seem like the fastest and easiest option at first glance, but it isn’t the game’s only player. Alternatives like the five I’ve mentioned above provide better security, new features and extras that can’t be found on the iPhone’s native cloud app.
Also, since they’re not as high profile compared to iCloud, the chances are hackers won’t target them exclusively. Have you used these five top best cloud backup apps for the iPhone before? Let us know about your experiences with them in the comments section below!