Which cloud storage service is the best value?

‘Insufficient storage’ isn’t something anyone wants to see pop up on their phone. One app, photo or song too many and you’ll get the dreaded message. And thus begins the arduous task of deciding which pictures you can live without, or asking do I really need that app and when was the last time I listened to that album?

You could delete half your gallery or you could use the cloud. Cloud storage is like having a portable hard drive with you wherever you go. You can’t see it, but you can store photos, documents, videos and your contacts on them. Having your files in the cloud means you can free up space on your phone or tablet since you don’t need two copies of the same file.

As long as you have an internet connection you can access your files whenever you like and from whatever device you like. Take a photo on your phone and upload it to the cloud – something that often happens automatically – and you can log in to your storage on a PC or a different phone to look at the same picture. There’s no need for any cables or copying of files.

Best Buy cloud storage services – back up with confidence

There are many cloud storage options. Apple, Google and Microsoft all have their own cloud services, but are they the most cost effective? We’ve looked at several of the most popular options to see which offers the best value for money.

The cheapest cloud storage

 

 

iCloud

Apple’s cloud storage is the cheapest 50GB storage you can get, costing 79p a month. As with most Apple software you’ll need one of its own products to get the most use out of it. You can upload from an iPhone, iPad or Mac and you can access your iCloud on any of those devices as well as Windows PCs. Android phones and tablets aren’t supported.

iCloud Drive is an extension of iCloud that lets you work across devices. You could start a document on your iPad at home and pick up where you left off on your Macbook at work.

One of the most important, but often overlooked, factors of cloud storage is the maximum file size you can upload. iCloud won’t let you upload any files larger than 15GB. But, we’d be surprised if anything on your phone or Mac was bigger than that.

Google Drive

At 15GB, Google Drive’s free storage is the most generous. It’s also the cheapest for 100GB storage, particularly if you pay yearly where the price drops to £15.99, which works out at around £1.33 a month.

Unlike iCloud, Google Drive works across most devices including Windows Phone and Apple devices. If you use Android you get the added bonus of unlimited photo storage that doesn’t eat into your 15GB.

As well as uploading photos and your contacts you can also make use of Google Docs, Sheets, Slides and more. It’s like a paired-back, but still comprehensive, version of Microsoft Office. Since these documents are saved to the cloud you can work on them on multiple different devices.

The maximum upload size for any file onto Google Drive is 5GB – much smaller than iCloud.

Dropbox

Dropbox offers the lowest amount of free storage at 2GB, but it’s one of the only storage options to work on Blackberry phones and Linux computers.

2GB may not sound like much, but there are plenty of ways to get free upgrades. Recommending a friend to the service gets you an extra 500MB and activating the camera upload feature bags you 3GB. You can get 250MB just by taking a tour of the basics of Dropbox. These bonuses cap at 16GB, which is better than Google Drive.

You save offline copies of your work to edit whenever you like. These can then be saved back onto Dropbox and shared with other people. You can set limits for how long people can access your shared files, too.

The maximum file size you can upload to Dropbox is 20GB, which is big enough for most files other than lengthy, high-resolution video.

OneDrive

If your storage requirements are bigger than most, then Microsoft’s OneDrive is your most cost-effective option. 1TB of storage is £5.99 a month. For the money, you get all that storage and the full Office 365 suite of programs. If you pay for a full year it’s even cheaper at £59.99.

Microsoft applications are the gold standard when it comes to word processing and spreadsheets, and tying them together with cloud storage means your documents are available wherever you have an internet connection. OneDrive works across Apple, Google and Microsoft products, too.

It’s not all good news though, OneDrive used to be better for people who didn’t want to spend money. The free limit was 30GB, now it’s only 5GB. The maximum upload size is 10GB.

Knowhow

Currys has some impressive packages if you need a lot of storage. Its Knowhow 200GB storage is the cheapest available at only £1.25 a month, although you do need to pay for a full year (£15). Move up to 2TB and Knowhow is still good value at £30 or £2.50 per month.

The 200GB package lets you back up two devices and access the files stored on other phones and tablets. You’ll need to move up to the 2TB package if you want your files to sync between computers though.

There is no limit to the size of the files you can upload to Knowhow cloud storage as long as it isn’t bigger than your allowance.

More on this

Best Buy mobiles phones – find handsets with micro-SD card slots for extra storage
How we test cloud storage – what factors does our testing look at?
Best laptops – capable computers with as much storage as you need

Create account

You can leave a reply without having a WordPress account, but if you do register you can upload an avatar. A WordPress account is not connected to your Which? login and cannot be used to login to which.co.uk or any other Which? services.

Sign up