Which is the best free cloud storage app for iOS and Android?
Run out of storage on your phone or tablet, or you need to access files when you’re away from your PC? We take a closer look at the top five cloud storage apps for mobile devices on Android and iOS.
What is cloud storage?
Cloud storage, and cloud storage apps, let you store your documents, photos, music – more or less whatever you want – online so you can access them from anywhere and on anything with an internet connection.
But that’s not all. They also synchronise files, which means any changes you make are reflected on your PC and other devices. And, provided you have a connection, they’re a great way to save space on your phone or tablet.
Here we round-up the best apps for iOS (iPhone, iPad) and Android – we’ll be publishing full reviews of each service on Which.co.uk soon, too.
Dropbox - Available for Android, iOS, Blackberry, Kindle Fire
PRICE Free for 2GB, £62 for 100GB, £124 for 200GB, £312 for 500GB (per year)
PROS Well designed and very easy to setup. Informative status messages let you know when files are being downloaded or uploaded. PC software is available for Windows, Mac OS X and Linux. 2GB of storage space is available for free but you can bump the allocation up to 18GB by referring other users.
CONS Online document editing features available in other services are missing. Expensive to add additional storage space.
BOTTOM LINE Very intuitive to use and the bonus of extra storage capacity from referring other users is welcomed.
Google Drive - Available for Android, iOS
PRICE Free for 5GB, £19 for 25GB, £37 for 100GB (per year)
PROS Very simple to setup via a Google account and seamlessly syncs with your PC. Software is available for Windows, OS X and Linux. Excellent integration with online office apps; very easy to share and collaborate with other users. Also great versioning tools for when you need to revert back to previous version of files and folders. iOS version supports offline editing.
CONS Bizarrely, the Android version only supports offline viewing, not editing like on the iOS version.
BOTTOM LINE Great all-round tool, but lack of Android offline editing is frustrating.
SugarSync - Available for Android, iOS, Blackberry, Symbian, Windows Phone
PRICE Free for 5GB, £31 for 30GB, £92 for 100GB, £246 for 500GB (per year)
PROS Very easy to install and start sharing files immediately. Some extra flexibility by combining backup and syncing services; allowing you to switch between backing up and syncing a file at any time.
CONS Lacks the document viewing and editing features of Google Drive and Microsoft SkyDrive. The interface can also be a little confusing.
BOTTOM LINE Very easy to use; simple to setup across multiple devices, but lacks some viewing and editing features.
Microsoft SkyDrive - Available for Android, iOS
PRICE Free for 7GB, £6 for 27GB, £16 for 57GB, £32 for 107GB (per year)
PROS 7GB of storage capacity for free – very generous. Excellent Office file compatibility and integrates nicely into Hotmail, Windows Live or Outlook accounts (a free storage allowance is built into your account).
CONS Can be a little troublesome when sharing files between other users. No batch folder selection for moving/downloading files.
BOTTOM LINE Overall; a good tool but the Android version is a little sluggish.
Mozy - Available for Android, iOS, Kindle Fire
PRICE Free for 2GB, £55 for 50GB, £88 for 125GB (per year)
PROS The Mozy app is very easy to install with three different user levels available; MozyHome, MozyPro and MozyEnterprise. PC software is available for Windows and Mac OS X, allowing for easy backup to a PC system
CONS Lacks some viewing and editing features. Some problems with Mozy’s Stash sync service, doesn’t always work. Expensive to upgrade the storage capacity.
BOTTOM LINENot as well rounded as other cloud storage apps, plus some performance issues make this app hard to recommend.
Of the five we’ve looked at, Dropbox and Google Drive come out on top. Their apps are intuitive, fast and useful. Google’s added ability to edit documents gives it an edge on iOS, but the Android version lacks that feature.
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