Backing up your files is an essential part of ensuring you never lose them. You can do it physically with an external drive, or you can store your files in the cloud, giving you more versatile access — and reassurance they won’t be lost.
macOS users may gravitate to iCloud, but is that really the best? We’ll find out in this best cloud storage for Mac article.
- Sync.com is one of the most secure cloud storage solutions, and it’s the reason it is our number one choice in the cloud storage space.
- pCloud is great for performance and media files, while Icedrive wins the cloud storage beauty contest.
- iCloud is Apple’s own storage option. It’s far from the best, but for those who want to remain solely in Apple’s ecosystem, it will certainly suffice.
- MEGA is the king of free cloud storage, offering up 35GB of space. It also has excellent security and good functionality.
It seems new cloud storage services are popping up all the time. All of them are very similar, making it difficult to decipher which services are the pretenders and which are the best cloud storage software available. Thankfully, we know a thing or two about cloud storage, and we also know which are the best options depending on the operating system you like to use.
macOS users will be pleased to read there’s a world outside of iCloud, with many cloud storage solutions to combat the frustrations many Apple users have with its in-house cloud storage. We’re going to share five options (plus some honorable mentions), as well as our pick for the overall best cloud storage service for Mac.
06/25/2022 Facts checked
Updated Sync.com’s plans and pricing information.
09/15/2022 Facts checked
Article rewritten to reflect new suggested services for Mac.
The best cloud storage for Mac is Sync.com. It comes with the best level of security for your files and works smoothly on macOS.
Yes. Google Drive offers more storage space and other features such as online collaboration tools that iCloud is lacking. However, for MacOS and iOS users, iCloud is probably the better option.
It depends on your system. In general, iCloud provides very basic cloud storage and its functionality isn’t the best. OneDrive can be part of a Microsoft 365 subscription which, beyond cloud storage, allows you to do anything from project management to online collaboration.
Yes. All Mac users get 5GB of free storage when creating their Apple ID after first booting up their Mac. You can also pay for more storage, should you need the extra space.
The Top Cloud Storage Option for macOS
What Makes the Best Cloud Storage for Mac?
When making our selection of the best cloud storage for Mac, we look for specific features. The first factor is how well the software gets along with macOS, and from there we look at overall functionality and ease of use. Security and privacy are important too, as we’ll only recommend cloud storage providers that keep your files and data secure.
On top of the essential features, we’ll look at the types of plans available, how much they cost and whether perks such as unlimited storage and a lifetime plan are available. We won’t just share the cheapest cloud storage providers — we’ll show you which offer the best value.
- Sync.com — Offers the best security for your files, bar none
- pCloud — An easy-to-use service that offers some unique features
- Icedrive — Its well-designed user interface makes it a joy to use
- iCloud — A simple choice for Mac users who wish to stay in the Apple ecosystem
- MEGA — Offers tons of storage for free, making it perfect for those on a tight budget
We have tested each of the cloud storage services listed above. Sync.com remains our top choice, as it provides zero-knowledge encryption and is fairly priced.
pCloud comes with fast performance and some cool features. We chose Icedrive for its beautiful design, detailed file previews and ease of use. For tons of free storage space, it’s impossible to not include MEGA, and it’s a solid all-round service too.
The 5 Best Cloud Storage Services for Mac
Now that we have shared an overview of the best cloud storage for Mac, it’s now time to dig a little deeper into each of the cloud storage options we have selected.
More details about Sync.com:
- Pricing: 5GB free; $8 per month (one-year plan)
- Provider website: sync.com
- Zero-knowledge encryption
- Competitive pricing
- Unlimited file sizes
- Bland design
Sync.com offers zero-knowledge encryption (also known as end-to-end encryption) for your files and data. This means that only you, the user, has access to a unique encryption key, a key not even Sync.com employees can access.
While Sync.com isn’t the only one to provide zero-knowledge encryption, it’s one of the few cloud storage services to offer it as part of both free and paid subscriptions. Many other options charge extra for the privilege.
That’s not the only feature we like. Sync.com offers great file versioning, allowing you to access older versions of your files for up to 365 days (limited to 180 days on the Solo Basic plan). We also like the security options for file sharing, as you can limit downloads and password-protect your shared files, making Sync.com one of the most secure cloud storage solutions.
While you can rely solely on the web app, it’s also available to download for macOS. Once you’ve installed the software, you’re given a dedicated sync folder, and any file on your Mac held in the Sync.com folder will automatically be synced to the cloud.
You can also select which files coexist on your local drive and cloud storage, and which files only live in the cloud, freeing up space on your hard drive.
Unlimited File Sizes
One perk of using Sync.com is that it’s possible to upload files of any size. For example, if you need a space to upload a large video file, Sync.com is the place to go. Unlike other cloud storage services, it doesn’t restrict the size of files you can upload.
Be mindful, however, that the top-tier personal cloud storage plan maxes out at 6TB of online storage, so you may need a business plan for unlimited storage space, especially if you’re working with video and hi-res photographs.
Sync.com could certainly benefit from a few performance improvements, as it can be a little slow at times. However, it’s not a reason to move past what is certainly the best cloud storage provider. Outside the free plan, it’s also well priced, making it cheaper than the likes of Google Drive. To learn more about the service and all its advanced features, check out our Sync.com review.
- Price per user
- Price per user
- Unlimited GB
More details about pCloud:
- Pricing: 10GB free; $4.99 per month (one-month plan)
- Provider website: pcloud.com
- End-to-end encryption
- Fantastic value for the money
- Integrated media player
- Charges extra to encrypt files
pCloud is a snappy cloud storage service with plenty of features, impressive performance and fast file syncing (it’s the best cloud storage with sync). You can download it for macOS, but its main functionality on desktop is changing settings and accessing account information, such as available storage space. You can also use the web version and mobile apps, where you can view your files inside the pCloud platform.
In addition to the tried-and-tested features, pCloud offers some features that make it unique compared to other cloud storage services. pCloud Save allows you to download any image from a web page and save it to your cloud storage. It’s only available with Chrome, Firefox and Opera browsers, though.
Advanced sync features including block-level sync are available. This means that if you edit a file after it has synced to the cloud, only the edited section will need resyncing, which results in better performance and less stress on your Mac’s CPU. There’s no limitation on what folders you can sync from your desktop, giving you full control over the files you can add to your pCloud account.
Use the Integrated Media Player
Music and video lovers can make use of pCloud’s integrated media player. It’s very good, and is our number one choice for the best cloud storage for music. It offers search functionality, so you can find your favorite songs and artists (once you have uploaded your MP3s to the cloud) and you can also create playlists for your favorite jams.
The main downside to pCloud is that users must pay extra for end-to-end encryption: $4.20 per month. On top of the $9.99 for the 2TB plan, it quickly becomes more expensive than its rivals.
That said, pCloud offers good value, especially on its annual subscription — not to mention its free plan — so it’s not the end of the world. To learn more about the platform, check out our pCloud review.
- Price per user (minimum 3)
- Price per user (minimum 3)
More details about Icedrive:
- Pricing: 10GB free; Pro plan costs $4.17 per month (billed annually)
- Provider website: icedrive.net
- Stunning user interface
- Client-side encryption
- Excellent security
- No block-level sync
- Not great for document collaboration
- Zero-knowledge behind paywall
If cloud storage held a beauty contest, Icedrive would win every time. However, Icedrive is not just another pretty face; if you make the effort to get to know the service, you’ll realize it has plenty of personality and substance.
Icedrive offers the same level of encryption as both Sync.com and pCloud, and like Sync.com, you don’t need to pay extra to obtain it. It also offers extremely good value for the money, especially on the lifetime plan, which you can get for less than $600.
Storage space tops out at 5TB (or 10TB on the largest lifetime plan), which should be more than enough for personal and small business users. Large enterprises will likely need to look elsewhere.
Using Icedrive on a day-to-day basis was a positive experience. Navigating through files and folders was as smooth as butter, and uploading and sorting files gave us no problems whatsoever. We had the same experience with the mobile app too, and all files synced quickly and seamlessly across all our devices.
Icedrive Virtual Desktop
As Mac users, you’ll be pleased to know that Icedrive has a virtual desktop app that allows you to fully interact with your files and folders, just as you would on the web version. Even better news is that none of these files take up space on your computer (unless they already live on your local hard drive), so you can access them while keeping free space on your hard drive.
In case you’re a Windows user and have stumbled across this article, Icedrive has the same virtual drive for your operating system. If you’re looking for cloud storage, checkout our roundup of the best cloud storage for Windows.
Compared to other cloud storage providers, Icedrive isn’t the most feature-rich service. It lacks block-level sync, and there’s not much in the way of collaboration tools. File-sharing features are good, though, as you can limit the number of downloads or totally disable downloads if you wish.
Icedrive is competitively priced and offers great value. It offers a 10GB free plan. On an annual plan you can get 1TB of storage for an equivalent of $4.17 per month and 5TB for only $15 per month. There are also discounts available on the lifetime plans that offer an exceptional value for those who can afford an upfront fee. To learn more, check out our Icedrive review.
- Bandwidth limit: 3GB
- Bandwidth limit: 250GB
- Bandwidth limit: 2TB
- Bandwidth limit: 8TB
More details about iCloud:
- Pricing: 5GB free; 200GB of storage for $2.99 per month
- Provider website: icloud.com
- Integrated Apple ecosystem
- Simple enough to use
- Privacy issues
- Web version has poor performance
Now we arrive at Apple’s take on cloud storage, iCloud. We should preface that by clearing up a little bit of confusion. Apple has iCloud and iCloud Drive, something many Mac users confuse.
iCloud lets you back up pretty much anything on your Apple devices, including messages, emails, photos, passwords and so on. iCloud Drive is a specific sync folder on your desktop, used to upload other files of your choice.
When you purchase a new Apple product — a Mac, for example — you instantly get 5GB of free storage. If you need to, you can bump that up to 2TB for $9.99 per month (the same cost as Google Drive).
Something to be mindful of is that it’s not only files you add to your sync folder that count toward your storage space allotment. If you use other Apple products, like an iPhone, any photos or videos you take will also take up your allocated space.
Apple offers very basic features, but you can still do some file sharing and sort your files into folders to create some order. On your Mac, you have the ability to use selective sync, so only the files of your choice will sync to your iCloud.
Seamlessly Transfer to a New Mac
The best thing about iCloud is that if your Mac or any other Apple products become damaged beyond repair (or stolen), you can easily reinstall all your apps, files and other data directly from iCloud when you replace the device. Everything will remain exactly the same — only your device will be different.
The honest truth is that iCloud isn’t ever going to be the best cloud service. It’s not terrible, and for personal use it will be fine for most Mac users. There are no collaboration features, and there are some privacy concerns in terms of how Apple handles your data.
We would only suggest using iCloud if you’re a hardcore Apple fan who wants a simple space to store your files. Read more about iCloud with our full iCloud review.
More details about MEGA:
- Pricing: Up to 35GB free: Pro Lite costs $5.07 per month
- Provider website: mega.io
- Tons of free storage
- Very secure cloud storage
- File previews
- Paid plans are not cheap
MEGA is a very likable cloud storage solution. It provides excellent security for your files and comes with a very generous free account. It also offers a nice user experience across all of its applications.
Looking at security, MEGA is another provider that lets the user hold the encryption key. You can also encrypt files when sharing links with others. Each link has its own unique encryption key, which is sent to the shared user separately. There are issues with MEGA, however, as a 2022 study found several MEGA security flaws within the software.
Using MEGA on your Mac is straightforward. Once you have installed the software, a MEGA sync folder will appear in your folder tray. You can drag and drop files directly into the sync folder and they will quickly sync to the cloud, allowing you to access them on other devices. It’s also possible to share files directly from your Mac.
Tons of Free Cloud Storage
When it comes to free storage, MEGA is the best cloud storage solution of them all, at least in terms of generosity. Just by handing over a few details (email address, for example) MEGA gives you 20GB of free storage. That’s the most free storage we’re aware of and it’s more than the 15GB of free storage provided by Google.
You can bump up your free storage by a further 15GB by installing MEGA apps and verifying your phone number. The extra storage only lasts for one year, and if you use it all, you’ll need to move to a paid plan in order to keep using the added storage.
If you need more storage, you can pay for up to 16TB of space. Paid plans are more pricey than the other providers, with 2TB costing $10.15 per month (this can be reduced to $8.47 if you pay an annual fee). Overall the difference in pricing isn’t too dramatic and MEGA, despite its concerns, remains a good product. To learn more, read our MEGA review.
- File transfer: 2TB (Monthly plan) 24TB (yearly plan)
- File transfer: (monthly plan) 96TB (yearly plan)
- File transfer: 16TB (monthly plan) 192TB (yearly plan)
- Price per user (minimum 3)
- Unlimited GB
Below, we’ll look at a couple of honorable mentions worthy of your attention.
More details about Google Drive:
- Pricing: 15GB free; Standard plan costs $2.99 per month (billed annually)
- Provider website: one.google.com
- Easy to use
- Decent paid plans
- Plenty of collaboration tools
Google Drive is an excellent option, especially for those familiar with using Google’s productivity tools. You can create new docs, sheets and slides (plus more), and they’ll save directly to the cloud.
You can also download Google Drive to your Mac, but you won’t be able to access things like “folders shared with me.” However, you can sync your computer’s files and access your cloud files on your desktop.
- Free plan
More details about Onedrive:
- Pricing: 5GB free; Microsoft 365 Personal costs $5.83 per month (billed annually)
- Provider website: microsoft.com
- Nice design
- Block-level sync
- Available for macOS
OneDrive is part of the Microsoft 365 family and can be used as either a stand-alone service or with other software such as Microsoft Teams and Office tools. OneDrive is preinstalled on Windows computers, but it is possible to download it for Mac. Despite being primarily designed for a rival operating system, OneDrive runs smoothly on macOS.
- Comes with Office 365 Personal
- Comes with Office 365 Home
- Price per user
- Price per user
- Unlimited GB
- Price per user
Final Thoughts: Best Cloud Storage for Mac
In the intro, we posed the question, Is iCloud really the best option for cloud storage for Mac? By now, you should realize the answer is: No. There are far better options available that you can use for free, or you can invest in a paid subscription.
Sync.com is the market leader in our educated (but humble) opinion. You really can’t go wrong when it comes to storing your favorite files and keeping them safe. All the other options are more than viable, and choosing the right one comes down to budget and needs. If you’re a Mac user reading this, you may also wish to check out our best browser for Mac article.
What’s your favorite cloud storage for Mac? Is there another service we should know about? What do you think of Apple’s iCloud? Let us know in the comments. Thanks for reading.