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The Best iCloud Alternative in 2022

With Apple announcing (and then delaying) its CSAM scanning capabilities, you might be concerned about what the tech giant has in store for its users. If you’re worried about your privacy being breached, then check out our list of the best iCloud alternatives below.

Aleksandar Kochovski
By Aleksandar Kochovski (Editor)
— Last Updated: 2021-11-28T19:39:48+00:00

Let’s face it, iCloud was never the best cloud storage service (in fact, we’ve never had it on our top cloud storage list). Sure, it is convenient to use what’s preinstalled on your iPhone and Mac, but iCloud Drive lacks some basic features, and it’s certainly not the most secure service (remember the “fappening”?). That’s not even considering Apple potentially scanning your entire photo storage, so if you’re using the service, you might want to find an iCloud alternative.

Key Takeaways:

  • If you’re concerned about Apple snooping on your cloud storage, you should probably look for a reliable iCloud alternative.
  • The best iCloud alternative should be easy to use, have good media storage capabilities and be light on the wallet, with a good free plan.
  • pCloud is the best alternative to iCloud, but Sync.com and Icedrive are also good choices.
  • If you value convenience over privacy, then Google Drive and OneDrive might be more up your alley.

With Apple potentially increasing the scope of its intrusion into its users’ privacy via CSAM scans, there’s never been a better time to find a replacement for iCloud Drive. In this article, we’ll reveal the best iCloud alternatives and go into detail on each of them. 

  • iCloud’s pricing varies by region, but for the U.S., you can get 50GB for $0.99 per month, 200GB for $2.99 per month or 2TB for $9.99 per month.

  • You can’t. Short of getting another iCloud account, there aren’t any options to expand your free iCloud storage quota.

  • pCloud has an excellent free plan with twice the storage of iCloud, and keeps your files private.

  • Honestly, we’d advise against that. You’ll be better off going with pCloud, Sync.com or Icedrive instead.

Top iCloud Alternatives

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    200 GB - Unlimited GB starts from $5 / month (All Plans)
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    150 GB - 10 TB starts from $1.67 / month (All Plans)14-day money-back guarantee
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    100 GB - 30 TB starts from $1.67 / month (save 16%) (All Plans)
  5. 5
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    100 GB - Unlimited GB starts from $1.99 / month (All Plans)

What Makes the Best iCloud Alternatives?

While privacy should be your main concern with an alternative, there’s also the matter of the convenience that iCloud and iCloud Photos offer. The ideal alternative to iCloud strikes a balance between keeping your data private and being unobtrusive. The five cloud storage services we’ve picked do just that (some more successfully than others).

  1. pCloud — The best cloud storage for photo backup
  2. Sync.com — The most secure cloud storage service
  3. Icedrive — Secure and fast cloud storage with beautifully designed apps
  4. Google Drive — Incredibly full-featured photo backup app, but poor privacy
  5. Microsoft OneDrive — Full integration with Windows and other Microsoft products

The first thing to look for when choosing an iCloud alternative is photo storage that just works, as Steve Jobs would put it. You shouldn’t have to fiddle around with it, apart from installing the apps on your macOS and iOS devices. The apps should do the rest themselves. Good speeds will also help with this.

It’s especially important to have a mobile app that syncs all your images and videos without any hassle. However, we understand that the iCloud Photos app has some features that can’t be replaced. That’s why we suggest turning off syncing to iCloud, so you can keep using iCloud Photos while keeping your photos and videos backed up on another cloud service.

Finally, you want pricing that beats any Apple iCloud storage plans. Of course, you can’t beat free, so having a free plan that offers more than iCloud’s 5GB is best. 

The 5 Best iCloud Alternative Cloud Storage Services

The following services all fit our criteria. You can install them on your iOS devices, and some of them even make for a neat replacement to iCloud Photos. Check out our top iCloud alternatives below.

1. pCloud

pCloud browser interface
pCloud makes an especially good alternative for iCloud Drive because of its excellent media playback.

More details about pCloud:

  • Pricing: 10GB free; $7.99 per month for 2TB on the yearly plan
  • Provider website: pcloud.com

Pros:

  • Great media player
  • 10GB free storage
  • Swiss privacy

Cons:

  • Zero-knowledge encryption is a paid add-on

pCloud is one of our favorite services here at Cloudwards, though you’ll usually see it playing second fiddle to Sync.com. That’s not the case here, however, as pCloud shines when it comes to secure photo storage. Its apps are easy to set up and use — it’s just a matter of setting the iPhone app to automatically upload photos and videos from your camera roll. Read our pCloud review for more info.

pCloud makes security and privacy a priority by offering zero-knowledge encryption. Unfortunately, you have to pay extra to get it. That’s not to say that pCloud isn’t secure without it, but it’s an area where pCloud could stand to improve, and we’d like to see it included for free. The company is  also based in Switzerland, meaning your personal data is kept safe by the best privacy laws in the world.

Unmatched Photo & Video Player

The main reason why pCloud sits at the top of this list is its excellent media playback. Its video player has options similar to YouTube, letting you adjust the playback speed and video quality. You can even download resized versions of photos so they take up less space on your device.

pCloud homepage
pCloud’s free storage plan is twice the size of iCloud’s.

pCloud is one of the most affordable cloud storage services and comes out cheaper than iCloud Drive. Better yet, it has the best free cloud storage plan — twice the size of iCloud’s — with 10GB of free storage. 

The only gripe we have about its pricing is the paid zero-knowledge encryption, but that’s only an extra $3.99 per month. Plus, pCloud’s lifetime plans offer way more value than anything from Apple.

2. Sync.com

Sync.com browser interface
Sync.com is one of the most secure cloud storage providers, but its slow speed keeps it from the top spot.

More details about Sync.com:

  • Pricing: 5GB free; $8 per month for 2TB on the yearly plan 
  • Provider website: sync.com

Pros:

  • Flawless security
  • Integration with Microsoft Office
  • Affordable plans

Cons:

  • Slow speeds
  • Only 5GB free storage

Sync.com is undoubtedly the best cloud storage service, though it misses out on the top spot here for its slower speeds. It’s extremely secure, protecting your entire storage with zero-knowledge encryption, even on its free plan.

It’s great for many things, including online collaboration. Really, the only gripe we have with Sync.com is that it can be slow to upload, which makes it less than ideal as an iCloud alternative.

However, if you’re undeterred by its sluggish uploads, you’ll enjoy perfect security. We can’t find any faults with it, mostly due to its implementation of zero-knowledge encryption, which essentially makes it impossible for anyone but you to access your data. Not even Sync.com can see your files, let alone scan them, as Apple is poised to do with its anti-CSAM measures.

Collaborate Online With Microsoft Office

If you need to work online, you’ll be glad to hear that Sync.com integrates with Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint, letting you edit files from within the browser interface. This means that you can edit documents stored on your cloud account without having to download them first. You can find out more in our Sync.com review.

Sync.com homepage
Sync.com’s free storage plan is only 5GB, but its paid plans are some of the most affordable.

Sync.com is really hard to beat for cost efficiency. In fact, we list it as the best cloud storage deal. It’s unlikely that you’ll find a service that’s as secure and offers so much value for your dollar. However, its free cloud storage plan is only 5GB — only as much as iCloud’s — so if you don’t want to pay for cloud storage, you’ll be better served with pCloud.

Free
  • : 5GB
Teams Standard
  • : Price per user
  • : 1TB
Teams Unlimited
  • : Price per user
  • : Unlimited GB

3. Icedrive

Icedrive desktop app
If you’re looking for a sleek service that wouldn’t be out of place on a Mac, Icedrive’s the one.

More details about Icedrive:

  • Pricing: 10GB free; $4.17 per month for 1TB on the yearly plan
  • Provider website: icedrive.net

Pros:

  • Zero-knowledge encryption
  • Excellent speed
  • 10GB of free storage

Cons:

  • Zero-knowledge covers only one folder

Although it’s still a young service, Icedrive offers impressive speeds and excellent security for a reasonable price. Plus, its sleek user interface on mobile and desktop devices leaves nothing to be desired in terms of aesthetics, so it will look right at home on any Apple device. 

Icedrive offers zero-knowledge encryption, although not for all of your storage. Instead, it has a special “encrypted” folder where you can store your most private files. Unfortunately, your photos don’t get synced to this folder. Our Icedrive review has more details if you’re interested.

Private and Secure Free Storage

Icedrive doesn’t collect any of your data, not even your email. Additionally, its privacy policy lets you erase all of your data easily. 

Although most cloud providers use the industry standard AES-256 encryption method, Icedrive uses the lesser known Twofish protocol instead. This is supposedly more secure, since hackers will be less familiar with the protocol. Considering all this comes with the 10GB free version, it’s hard to pass up.

icedrive hard drive space
 Icedrive’s free plan comes with 10GB of storage, and it offers lifetime plans too.

Icedrive is one of the more affordable services on the market, especially if you don’t need a lot of storage. You can get its 150GB plan for the price of a cup of coffee per month, and it has a great 10GB free version that comes with private encryption. Plus, Icedrive has lifetime plans that will save you a ton of money in the long term.

4. Google Drive

07_Google_Drive_Review_ease_interface_browser_list
Google Drive may not have the best privacy, but its sheer wealth of features is unmatched.

More details about Google Drive:

  • Pricing: 15GB free; $8.33 per month for 2TB on the yearly plan
  • Provider website: drive.google.com

Pros:

  • Google Photos integration
  • Rich feature set
  • 15GB free storage

Cons:

  • Poor privacy

We’d be remiss not to mention Google Drive as one of the most popular alternatives to iCloud. We rarely recommend Google Drive due to its poor privacy, but we can’t deny it’s one of the most user-friendly and fully featured cloud storage services, even integrating with a slew of third-party apps. If you want to switch away from iCloud for any reason other than privacy, Google Drive might be your best bet.

Full disclaimer: Google Drive isn’t private. Anything you upload there gets scanned by Google, nominally for viruses, but there’s no reason to trust Google that it doesn’t also scan for other data. There’s no zero-knowledge encryption option, either. The good news is that it’s unlikely that hackers will ever see your data, since Google has billions to pour into data center security.

Google Photos as an iCloud Photos Alternative

Google Photos is undoubtedly the best photo app out there. You can even use it instead of the default iOS photo gallery. It lets you edit photos, including some really detailed controls. 

Plus, you get Google’s Lens, which scans your photos for text and lets you copy and translate it. It can even recognize different plant and animal species. It also backs up your photos, so you don’t even need the Google Drive app on your phone.

06_Google_Drive_Review_Pricing_Google_one_benefits
Google Drive offers a massive 15GB of free storage — three times as much as iCloud Drive.

Google Drive’s free version is excellent, with 15GB of free storage — three times more storage space than Apple offers. Its paid plans, billed as Google One, are almost identical to iCloud’s, but you also get the option for an annual subscription, which gives you a slight discount.

5. Microsoft OneDrive

onedrive browser interface
OneDrive is one of the best iCloud replacements for Windows users, although it’s not the most private.

More details about OneDrive:

  • Pricing: 5GB free; $5.83 per month for 1TB on the yearly plan
  • Provider website: onedrive.live.com

Pros:

  • Full integration with Windows
  • Works seamlessly with Microsoft Office & Teams

Cons:

  • Poor privacy
  • Only 5GB free storage
  • Maximum 1TB paid storage

OK, we know that Apple users would rather not dirty their hands with a Microsoft product, but there’s a case to be made for OneDrive as an iCloud alternative. If you happen to be a Mac user, look away. But if you use Windows, you’ll be happy to know that OneDrive integrates seamlessly with your OS, just like iCloud Drive integrates with macOS.

If you’re looking for the simplicity of a set-it-and-forget-it experience, OneDrive could be right for your needs. However, it suffers from the same privacy pitfalls as Google Drive. You can pretty much be sure that Microsoft will scan your files, but if you don’t care about that, at least you know your files are safe from hackers.

Seamless Integration With the Windows Ecosystem

If you’re a remote worker, you’ll appreciate OneDrive’s integration with the Office suite of productivity apps. However, unlike Sync.com, OneDrive integrates with every Microsoft product, including Teams. This makes it a real powerhouse when it comes to remote office work.

OneDrive drive Office Online
OneDrive gives you just 5GB of free storage and you can only get a maximum of 1TB with its paid pricing plans.

OneDrive’s 5GB free plan is on par with iCloud’s. Its paid plans are a little lackluster though. You can’t get anything more than 1TB of cloud storage with a personal plan, and that plan is pricier than what Icedrive offers. On the other hand, it has a family plan with 1TB per person for the price of iCloud’s 2TB package.

OneDrive Basic 5GB
  • : 5GB
OneDrive 100GB
  • : 100GB
Microsoft 365 Personal
  • : Comes with Office 365 Personal
  • : 1TB
Microsoft 365 Family
  • : Comes with Office 365 Home
  • : 5TB
OneDrive for Business Plan 1
  • : Price per user
  • : 1TB
OneDrive for Business Plan 2
  • : Price per user
  • : Unlimited GB
Microsoft 365 Business Standard
  • : Price per user
  • : 1TB

Final Thoughts: iCloud Alternative

That’s it for our iCloud alternatives roundup. We hope we helped you make the right choice. We recommend going for a secure cloud service like pCloud, Sync.com or Icedrive to migrate your iCloud photo library. 

However, if you don’t care about your privacy (although you should), Google Drive is probably the best alternative to iCloud, and OneDrive is a good replacement for Windows users.

What’s your favorite iCloud alternative? Would you rather choose a secure cloud storage service or the more convenient pick? Please leave your answers in the comments below, and as always, thank you for reading.