Key Takeaways: MEGA vs Icedrive
- The main difference between Icedrive and MEGA is how each handles encryption. Icedrive has an encryption folder for its subscribers, while MEGA provides account-wide zero-knowledge encryption for every account, even free ones.
- Icedrive and MEGA handle folder and file sharing similarly, with Icedrive offering a little more flexibility.
- MEGA’s secure chat is a nice feature for private messages and video conferencing, while supporting secure file sharing.
Those in the market for free cloud storage with excellent security and privacy should consider Icedrive and MEGA. Both rank among the best cloud storage services on the market. However, choosing between the two means choosing between two very different experiences. To make the choice easier, we wrote this Icedrive vs MEGA comparison piece.
Icedrive and MEGA focus heavily on user protection and data privacy, and if that’s your top priority, both cloud services are excellent choices. However, in terms of zero-knowledge encryption — meaning only you have access to the encryption keys — Icedrive and MEGA take different approaches.
Updated article to reflect addition of two-factor-authentication to Icedrive.
Updated comparison to reflect changes to both providers since 2020, split “security & privacy” into two rounds and added a “customer support” round.
07/22/2023 Facts checked
This article has been rewritten to include updated features and current pricing plans.
How Did We Rate MEGA vs Icedrive
With over 100 review articles, we’ve spent a lot of time with cloud storage services. As you’ll see in our Icedrive review and MEGA review, we’ve thoroughly explored both services. This includes testing them in real-world scenarios to flesh out what each does well and where they may be lacking. With this information, we can confidently compare the two services to help you decide on one.
Icedrive vs MEGA: Similarities & Differences
As two services with excellent free accounts that put user privacy first, there are several obvious similarities. Both services handle file sharing in much the same way and have desktop and mobile apps with similar core features. However, the differences between the two are noticeable. For example, MEGA offers private encryption for the entire account, while Icedrive limits it to a single folder for paid plans.
|150GB – 10TB$1.67 / month(All Plans) 14-days money-back guarantee||2TB – Unlimited GB$9.06 / month(All Plans)|
|Sync Any Folder|
|File Link Sharing|
|Link Expiry Dates|
|Link Download Limits|
|Deleted File Retention|
|Live Chat Support|
Mega and Icedrive each handle security, privacy, and file sharing similarly. We explore these areas and more below.
Free Plan & Storage
Icedrive and MEGA both offer a generous free plan, so whether you want to try the service out or just want free cloud storage, both services have you covered. Additionally, neither cloud service makes you jump through hoops or perform micro tasks to unlock the total free storage amount. Just sign up and you’ll have access.
Icedrive lets you know about its free plan right on its homepage. Of course, you can choose a paid plan, but by clicking the “get started” button, you can quickly create a free 10GB account. Icedrive’s free account unlocks most features, giving users a good sense of what the service offers.
MEGA follows a similar model, with a large, red “try MEGA for free” button in the middle of its home page. Signing up for a free account will get you 20GB of storage, one of the most generous free cloud storage offers you’ll find. Additionally, you can further increase your MEGA free storage to 30GB for a full year if you complete a couple of tasks.
MEGA does collect some data on account usage and may share such data with marketing or analytics companies. Sometimes, you may see promotional or marketing material from or for MEGA products. However, none of your personally identifiable information is ever used by MEGA for such purposes.
Icedrive and MEGA have excellent security that protects your data at rest and while in transit. Icedrive protects your data while stored on its servers using a security protocol called Twofish. Its requirements for use are considered more secure than the more common Advanced Encryption Standard (AES). MEGA uses AES 256-bit encryption to protect your data on its servers.
Icedrive and MEGA both use TLS/SSL encryption protocol to protect data while in transit. This protocol protects against man-in-the-middle attacks, which can intercept your transfer by pretending to be the intended recipient.
Users can enable two-factor authentication within the account settings for both Icedrive and MEGA. Enabling two-factor authentication provides an additional layer of security that helps ensure your account can’t be accessed, even if your login credentials become compromised.
With both Icedrive and MEGA, you can share folders or files by inviting people directly or by creating a link. Icedrive lets you add email addresses to folders and files for direct sharing, and you can set view/edit permissions. Additionally, the recipient does not need to be an Icedrive account holder.
When sharing via link, Icedrive offers a number of link settings and customizations, but these options are for paid accounts only. Despite the paid limitations, Icedrive is one of the best cloud storage providers for file sharing.
MEGA handles sharing nearly the same way. You can invite others to a folder using an email address or by creating a link. If you invite via email, the recipient will need to have a MEGA account. You can decide on the level of access, from read-only to full.
For files, you can only create a link. Advanced features are also limited to paid accounts. However, everyone can separate the decryption key from the file link, adding an additional layer of protection.
Mobile and Desktop Apps
Icedrive and MEGA have accompanying desktop and mobile apps. Both support desktop apps for Mac, Linux and Windows and have mobile apps on iOS and Android. The desktop app for Mac and Linux is a local version of what you’ll see on the web interface.
Icedrive’s Windows desktop app functions as a virtual drive. If enabled, it gives you access to your data without the need to download it first. With the Windows app, you can choose which folders to sync or designate for offline access.
MEGA’s desktop app offers sync features and lets you customize the folder locations for uploads and downloads. You’ll see a sync folder on your computer, letting you work with your data from your desktop.
Icedrive’s mobile apps let you access your data on the go and support automatic uploads for images and videos you take with your camera. A robust settings section lets you determine how to auto-upload your images, including the option to encrypt or convert to JPEG.
MEGA’s mobile app has similar functionality and also supports automatically uploading images and videos you take with your device. MEGA’s secure chat — more on that below — also has a tab letting you connect with your contacts on the go.
One of the main differences between Icedrive and MEGA is plan selection and pricing. We take a look at these and other differences below.
Icedrive and MEGA provide client-side encryption for account holders, a critical feature for storing confidential or sensitive documents and data. However, Icedrive has an encrypted folder, while MEGA applies private encryption to your entire account.
Icedrive’s encryption folder is limited to its paid plans, meaning that free account holders can’t use it. With a paid plan, you gain access to the encryption folder, and anything you upload and store in it will have zero-knowledge encryption.
Every MEGA account has account-wide client-side encryption. Everything you upload to your MEGA account gets encrypted before it’s transferred. The best part is that even free accounts enjoy private encryption without fees or other limitations. Because MEGA does not have access to your account or the encryption keys that unlock it, you will lose access to all your data if you forget your password.
Instant messages or chats often are unencrypted, making texts you send or receive as vulnerable as any other data transfer. MEGA’s secure chat allows you to send and receive secure encrypted messages. MEGA uses its zero-knowledge encryption with its secure chat feature, meaning only you and those you include in the chat can see the contents.
MEGA’s secure chat also includes live one-on-one meetings or group chats. It works with other MEGA account holders natively, but you can include external participants through a secure link. MEGA lets you share files within the chat using a secure read-only link or invite other MEGA users to a folder.
Icedrive offers three paid plan options. The Lite plan has 150GB of storage space and costs $19.99 annually. The Pro plan increases the cloud storage to 1TB at $49.99 annually or $4.99 per month. The Pro+ plan has 5TB for $179.99 annually or $17.99 monthly. We cover more in our Icedrive pricing guide.
Icedrive does not have business plans, but it does offer lifetime subscriptions. If you plan to stay with Icedrive, it’s worth considering a lifetime plan. Check out our Icedrive lifetime plan article to learn more.
MEGA’s prices are less affordable than Icedrive’s, but they provide more cloud storage per plan. The Pro I plan has 2TB of storage and costs $108.69 annually or $10.86 per month. The Pro II plan comes with 8TB of storage for $217.39 annually or $21.73 monthly. MEGA’s Pro III plan has 16TB of storage at $326.09 per year or $32.60 monthly. If you want to customize your storage needs, the Pro Flexi plan starts at 3TB for around $16 per month.
MEGA does support businesses with a single, customizable plan. The minimum number of users is three, with 3TB of shared storage and a 3TB transfer quota. Each additional TB of storage costs around $2.70. You can adjust the sliders to the desired numbers depending on your business needs.
If you’d like another option that offers pricing tiers for businesses, better check out Tresorit. We’ve done a similar comparison guide between Tresorit vs Icedrive here.
Icedrive and MEGA each have a version of cloud backup. MEGA follows a more traditional backup system, as it connects with your desktop. Icedrive’s backup is reserved for its mobile apps.
Icedrive’s “backup wizard,” available on the mobile app, keeps folders and files backed up should you need to restore them due to data loss or other unexpected events. It’s a different feature from the automatic camera upload option, and it does an excellent job of identifying new files and adding them to the backup. Icedrive’s mobile backup option only comes with a paid subscription.
MEGA dedicates a tab on your web account to backups, which you access and set up through the desktop app. In the app, you can create a backup with the default “documents,” “pictures” and “videos” folders. However, you can designate almost any folder on your computer for backup.
Icedrive lets you change a number of account elements and other settings. Visually, you can change the avatar of your account, which will add the image next to your account name. Privacy options include opting in or out of email communications and erasing your personal data.
MEGA provides almost unparalleled customization options for individual accounts. Your account settings have several categories, each with many options to toggle on, off or adjust. A prime example is file management. You can turn file versioning on or off, or choose to delete the file versions currently saved. The trash bin lets you change the number of days deleted files are kept.
Other categories include basic account settings and settings for account notifications, transfers, contacts and group chats. Each section has many options to choose from, making MEGA a very customizable experience.
Which Is Better: Icedrive vs MEGA?
If you’re looking for free cloud storage without limitations, MEGA gets the nod over Icedrive, as it offers zero-knowledge encryption for an entire account — even free ones. The addition of a secure chat feature that allows secure and private communications and video conferencing is another positive for MEGA. If you have business needs, MEGA offers a customizable plan that lets you determine the number of users and required storage amount.
On the other hand, if you need more storage, Icedrive’s paid plans are more affordable. Additionally, its lifetime plans eventually pay for themselves, if you stay with the service long enough. Icedrive also has more in-depth sharing, which might be crucial depending on your needs.
We Recommend Icedrive If You Want…
- Lifetime plans: Icedrive offers value with its lifetime plans as long as you stay with the service. After a few years, it essentially becomes free storage.
- Affordable plans: Icedrive’s subscription plans are affordable, with storage amounts that meet most user needs.
- Flexible file sharing: Icedrive lets you share using an email address or by creating a link, without requiring the recipient to have an Icedrive account.
We Recommend MEGA If You Want…
- A souped-up free plan: MEGA’s 20GB free plan is one of the most generous on the market. Additionally, MEGA offers ways to increase that free storage up to 30GB for a year.
- Secure-chat capabilities: Even free plans can use the secure chat and video conference feature, which includes secure file sharing.
- Account-wide private encryption: Every MEGA account, even free ones, has zero-knowledge encryption for every folder and file stored.
If You Want to Consider Other Services, Check Out…
Icedrive and MEGA operate in a competitive market, and there are several alternatives to consider if neither of these cloud services speak to you. Sync.com rates highly as a cloud storage service with private encryption for the whole account. It has a free 5GB plan and easy file sharing. Read our Sync.com review or our Icedrive vs Sync.com and Sync.com vs MEGA pieces to learn more.
IDrive is a cloud backup service with many common cloud storage features, making it more of a hybrid service. It’s a solid choice for those needing backup and sharing abilities. Additionally, IDrive offers private encryption, but only if you select the option when you initially create an account. To learn more, check out our IDrive review.
If you need third-party connections, especially for businesses, OneDrive integrates seamlessly with MS Office and the Microsoft ecosystem. You’re not limited only to Microsoft, either; OneDrive supports connections to popular options such as Zoom and Trello. We cover everything in our OneDrive review.
Box is a great alternative, especially for businesses needing unlimited cloud storage. Every Box business plan has unlimited storage and supports connections to MS Office, Google Workspace and other widely used apps. We cover more in our Box review.
The Verdict: Why We Think MEGA Wins Overall
MEGA comes out as the overall choice thanks to its robust free 20GB plan and private encryption for the entire account. The secure chat is a solid, if underrated, feature, and the flexible cloud backup center is another excellent addition. However, MEGA is more expensive, so if affordability is a factor, Icedrive’s plans are more friendly on the budget.
Do you use Icedrive or MEGA? If so, how do you like either cloud storage service? What are some other cloud storage providers you’ve used? Let us know in the comments section below. Thanks for taking the time to read our article.
FAQ: MEGA vs Icedrive Compared
In our experience, we’ve not seen any indicators from Icedrive’s service or policies to make us think it isn’t trustworthy with your data. It holds user privacy and data protection as a top priority, meaning you can feel confident that your data is safe.
Yes. While MEGA had some issues in the past that created doubt surrounding whether it should be trusted with your data, it is now held as one of the best cloud storage providers for security and privacy.
From a privacy perspective, Icedrive does a better job of protecting your data and collecting only what it needs. Google Drive is a better option for collaboration and productivity. You can refer to our Icedrive vs Google Drive article for more information.