Best Cloud Storage for Mac 2021: Cloud-Based Options for Apple

Robert CullAleksander Hougen
By Robert Cull & Aleksander Hougen (Editor)
— Last Updated: 2021-10-06T22:11:26+00:00

For owners of Apple products, iCloud seems like a sensible choice for online storage. You can share photos and files between devices, automatically backup your Mac or other Apple products and more. Though there are several iCloud storage plans, dealing with its storage system is clunky, and there are several good iCloud alternatives.

Because managing documents on iCloud can be difficult, Mac users who want more control over their data should look at multiple options before settling into Apple’s offering. That’s why we created this list of the five best cloud storage options for Mac. If you don’t have a Mac, you can still check out our best cloud storage guide.

If you are looking for the best option, we chose Sync.com. It’s our favorite cloud storage provider overall because of its top-of-the-line security, simple interface and competitive pricing. Zero-knowledge security, among other features, make it one of the most secure cloud storage options available.

Best Cloud Storage for Mac 2021

Picking the Best Cloud Storage Service for Mac

Apple has transitioned most of its computers — especially MacBooks — from HDD to SSD in order to provide users with thinner devices and faster, more reliable storage. While deciding on the best cloud storage for Mac, we made sure to look at services that provide you with several storage options.

  1. Sync.com — The best cloud storage for Mac
  2. pCloud — Secure cloud storage great for music and video
  3. Icedrive — Cheap cloud storage that matches Apple’s aesthetic
  4. MEGA — Massive free cloud storage option
  5. OneDrive — Decent cloud storage with Microsoft integrations

When storing your documents in the cloud, a security breach is pretty much the worst thing that can happen to your data. We made sure that every option on this list has excellent security so that your personal files are safe from unauthorized users looking to access your account.

Although all of the services on this list are secure, expandable physical storage may provide you with extra peace of mind. If this is something you’re after, or if you want the best personal cloud storage device for Mac, then you can check out our best external hard drive for Mac breakdown (we also have a guide on how to backup a Mac to an external hard drive).

Lastly, we wanted to make sure that all of our cloud storage options are simple to use. Nothing turns people off from a new service faster than a bunch of complicated menus and features. A clean interface that allows you to easily upload and interact with your files is important to your overall experience.

Sync.com: The Best Cloud Storage for Mac

Pros:

  • Zero-knowledge encryption
  • Several plan options
  • Security in every plan

Cons:

  • Can’t drag & drop files

When it comes to cloud storage, it can be hard to find the perfect provider. Some have great storage options but lack excellent security. Others offer great security but lack some basic features. Sync.com may have a couple of flaws, but it’s by far the best cloud storage provider that we’ve found.

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Where Sync.com really stands out is in its security, which is literally in your hands. Zero-knowledge encryption is one such feature that keeps your password secure from anyone but you. That includes Sync.com itself, so keep in mind that losing your password means losing your account. This feature is optional, however, if you don’t want to risk that.

While some other cloud storage services, such as OneDrive, only offer a few plans and limited storage options, Sync.com offers six different plans. Sync.com’s plans range from the free 5GB plan to 10TB of storage, covering all Mac users, from those who have the most basic needs to business users with multiple employees.

Navigating your storage with Sync.com is very simple, for the most part. You can browse files in either grid or list view, and you can search your content, as well. 

Moving folders requires you to use a menu, as opposed to just dragging and dropping them, and downloading files requires an unnecessary extra step, but overall Sync.com is straightforward and easy to learn.

Other Reasons We Like Sync.com

Another reason we like Sync.com is its file sharing. Sync.com allows you to create and share links to your files. Although this feature is not unique, Sync.com encrypts your links for free, regardless of what account you have.

Overall, Sync.com offers a broad selection of storage options, good security and useful features for a comparable — if not lower — price than many other cloud storage options. You can check out our Sync.com review for more or you can get started now and try out the free plan

If pure storage space is your goal, you can check out our Amazon cloud drive review for storage space up to 30TB.

pCloud

Pros:

  • 10GB of free storage
  • Play media files natively
  • Download images at multiple resolutions

Cons:

  • Small plan selection
  • Security costs extra

pCloud is up there with the best cloud storage services in the market. The ability to play music and videos, as well as view images directly from pCloud, makes it feel like a true alternative to iCloud. 

Although pCloud is packed with features, its limited plan selection leaves users with potentially too much or too little storage. That, plus its higher user requirement for business accounts, is why it ultimately came in second to Sync.com.

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One of pCloud’s best features is its ability to interact with your media like you would natively. Mac users will be able to view images as well as play music and videos directly from the cloud. You can also create and listen to playlists on your Mac or smartphone via the pCloud app.

pCloud uses AES 256-bit encryption, zero-knowledge and two-factor authentication to protect your files from those who might be looking to access them. 

Although pCloud has excellent protection, not all of its security measures come with its free account. For privacy, we recommended that you pay for the Crypto add-on, as you get zero-knowledge encryption, which prevents pCloud from having any access to your files.

Additionally, it’s easy to navigate pCloud. You can view your files and folders in a list or grid view, and you can share your files via permission or a link. You can also sync folders between pCloud and your Mac, if you have anything that needs to be backed up.

pCloud comes with a free plan that gives you 10GB of storage. For iCloud users looking to replace their free 5GB of storage with something else, pCloud’s free plan gives you double the storage of Sync.com and iCloud, and you also have the ability to get more storage by completing certain tasks within pCloud.

If the free plan feels a bit cramped, you can opt for one of two additional paid plans: the 500GB plan or the 2TB plan. These plans can either be paid monthly or you can buy a lifetime plan for one large fee. The Crypto plan is also an additional $3.99 per month.

Other Reasons We Like pCloud

Although pCloud’s limited plan selection kept it from taking the top spot, it is a really good option for those who are focused on media and want to access their content natively from both their Mac and their smartphone. We also like that pCloud allows you to not only store images at full resolution but also download them in smaller sizes, as well.

For more on pCloud — including a complete breakdown of its security and features — check out our pCloud review or take a look at the free plan for a risk-free trial.

Icedrive

Mac cloud storage Icedrive
Icedrive achieves great form without sacrificing function.

More details about Icedrive:

  • Pricing: 10GB for free, 1TB for $4.99 per month
  • Provider website: www.icedrive.net

Pros:

  • Cheap
  • Great security & privacy
  • Gorgeous interface

Cons:

  • Few collaboration features
  • No productivity integrations
  • No block-level sync

Despite being a fresh face in the cloud storage space, Icedrive has quickly made a name for itself with its cheap price, excellent security and well-designed user interface. Mac users can use the service through their web browser or via the dedicated MacOS client, which features a design and color scheme that makes it look almost like it was made specifically to fit the look and feel of Apple products.

Not only is Icedrive great on Mac, its iOS app is also excellent, which means it stands as a solid cloud storage option for users fully integrated with the Apple ecosystem. The mobile app has all the functionality you’d expect — such as syncing and sharing — and just like the desktop app, its white and blue design fits in perfectly with the Apple aesthetic. 

Ditch the Monthly Payments With Icedrive’s Lifetime Plans

Icedrive is one of the only cloud storage providers out there to offer lifetime subscriptions, with pCloud being the only other service of note to give you a way to avoid recurring monthly or yearly payments. This means that for a larger up-front fee, you get theoretical lifetime access to the storage you’ve bought.

Now we say theoretical here because obviously with deals like this, anything can happen. Services and companies don’t last forever, but given that it takes less than three years for the lifetime subscription to pay off, it feels like a safe bet that you won’t come to regret the purchase.

Mac cloud storage Icedrive CTA
Few other cloud storage providers can go toe to toe with Icedrive when it comes to price.

If a lifetime subscription isn’t your cup of tea, Icedrive’s monthly and yearly plans are also incredibly reasonable. For just $4.99 per month (or $49.99 per year) you get 1TB of storage and access to all of Icedrive’s advanced features such as premium sharing options and encrypted storage.

If you like your software to look pretty but also pack a punch, and all at a low cost to boot, then Icedrive should definitely be toward the top of your list of cloud storage prospects. Although certain areas like collaboration could use a lot of improvement, it still does most of what other services do better and at a lower cost to the user. Check out our full Icedrive review for all the details.

MEGA

Pros:

  • 20GB of free storage
  • MEGAbird
  • Open images & videos natively

Cons:

  • Not as competitive as Sync.com or pCloud
  • No standout features

MEGA is a fairly simple yet secure cloud storage service that does a good job at replacing the basic features of iCloud with a more robust storage system. The free plan used to offer much more storage, but Mac users who are comfortable with iCloud’s 5GB free plan will enjoy MEGA’s 20GB of cloud storage included for free.

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To keep your account and files secure, MEGA uses AES 128-bit encryption and two-factor authentication, among other measures. Although MEGA’s encryption isn’t on the same level as Sync.com or pCloud, you can still rest assured that your data is safe. MEGA also has an extensive and detailed privacy policy that you can read here.

MEGA includes features such as versioning and the ability to natively view photos and play back videos. It can’t play music or manage playlists, but the extra 5GB of free storage over pCloud make it a great option if you don’t need that kind of multimedia control.

The generous 20GB of free storage make MEGA one of the best free plans on this list. If you are just getting into cloud storage and you want a good amount without paying a lot, MEGA is a decent choice. MEGA also has four paid plans ranging from the 200GB Pro Lite plan to the 8TB Pro III plan.

At less than $6, the Pro Lite plan is the best value of MEGA’s plans, though it’s not as competitive as Sync.com or pCloud, which both offer 500GB for less than $5 per month. Overall, MEGA’s free plan is its standout feature, as it provides more than Sync.com or even pCloud.

Other Reasons We Like MEGA

One additional feature that we like is MEGA’s Thunderbird add-on, MEGAbird, which allows you to send large attachments via email. 

The combination of MEGAbird, the 20GB of free storage and the ability to open images and watch videos natively makes MEGA a really good introduction to cloud storage, in general. You can read our full MEGA review or get started with a free plan right now.

Although MEGA does come with a generous amount of free storage, there are also several other providers that offer similar free cloud storage, among other features. For more cloud storage providers with free plans, check out our best free cloud storage article.

OneDrive

Pros:

  • Integration with Office 365
  • drag/drop files & folders
  • Larger storage options

Cons:

  • Bad security history

Microsoft has long been known for setting the standard of office productivity. Now cloud-based, Microsoft offers Office 365 and, along with it, OneDrive. Although OneDrive can be used as a stand-alone service, it really shines when bundled with Office 365.

OneDrive is easy to navigate. The web client has the Microsoft look to it, so it’s not too unlike the Windows file manager. Uploading or moving files and folders is as easy as dragging and dropping them.

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In the past, Microsoft has been lax on security. Presently, Microsoft protects your information in several ways, including end-to-end encryption. Privacy is something of a concern with Microsoft and OneDrive, as the company is based in the U.S. This means Microsoft is bound by U.S. privacy laws.

Although U.S. laws regarding privacy aren’t necessarily consumer-friendly, Microsoft’s supposed involvement with PRISM is what makes it difficult to recommend OneDrive as a place to store sensitive information. If security is the most important factor, check out our list of the most secure cloud storage services.

OneDrive comes with 5GB of free storage and offers three paid plans. There is a cheap 50GB plan for $1.99 per month, but the real value lies in the two Office 365 bundles.

The Office 365 “personal” bundle costs $6.99 per month for 1TB of storage, and the Office 365 “home” bundle costs $9.99 per month for 5TB of storage.

Other Reasons We Like OneDrive

While OneDrive is suspect when it comes to security, it can still be a great alternative to other cloud storage services on this list, especially if you are already using other Microsoft products. Though Microsoft has been suspected of aiding the U.S. government with surveilling citizens, the chances of anything happening to your data are very small.

If you want to learn more about PRISM, Microsoft’s security or more about OneDrive’s pricing or features, you can check out our full OneDrive review. You can also try out the free plan and basic Office features now. Enterprise users can also check outOneDrive for Business for more company-oriented features (read our OneDrive for Business review).

If you are looking for another cloud storage service that integrates with Office, you can check out Dropbox. Read our Dropbox review for more on the service, as well as Dropbox for pricing.

There are also other alternatives, if you are looking for cloud storage with integration for document editing and other office features. Google Drive offers options to create and edit documents directly from your Google Drive storage, as well as 15GB of free storage and upgrade options for those who need more (read our Google Drive review).

If you want to learn more about the two services, you can check out our Dropbox vs. Google Drive deep-dive comparison.

Final Thoughts

Finding an amazing cloud service that works with your Mac and fits all of your needs is tough. There are a lot of services out there, but finding one with excellent security, the right features and that’s easy to use will make your experience with cloud storage enjoyable instead of a constant headache.

Although all of the cloud storage services on this list are really useful, Sync.com wins out because of its broad selection of storage plans. In fact, Sync.com is the best cloud storage for Mac and PC users alike. pCloud follows closely behind but has fewer storage options.

If you are looking specifically for file sharing sites instead of cloud storage, you can get more information about MEGA, Dropbox and OneDrive in our guide on how to email large files. Plus, we have a guide on how to backup photos on Mac.

As always, we would love your input. If you have anything you’d like to add about these cloud storage services, let us know in the comments below. Thanks for reading.