Cloud Storage Options: Choices, Choices, Choices

People are always asking me what types of storage are available, what storage size of a device they should get and why did I go with the 64GB version. There are 2 types of storage: local and cloud. Local storage, the storage that is available on your device, comes in all different sizes. The more local storage you have, the more apps, pictures, music, videos etc you can have on your device. Some devices also allow you to add an SD card which can increase your storage. The more local storage you have, the more the device will cost you. Cloud storage is space that is available to you off site from a 3rd party service. Off site means you can put your data there, look at it, move it around and some cases make changes to it while not taking up space on your device. Lets use the iPhone as an example.  

The 16GB iPhone 5 is $199.00 on contract. You can double the storage to 32GB for a $100.00 premium. 16GB is enough local storage for the average Joe. For someone that take lots of pictures or videos or have a large music collection, than 32Gb should do the trick. If that is not enough, you can double that for another $100.00. That puts you at 64 GB of local storage for $399.00. If you need to have all of your music/movies and your entire collection of photos/videos with you at all times, then the 64GB is the right choice. What if 64 GB isn’t enough space or laying out $400 upfront is a hard pill to swallow? That is where cloud storage comes into play. There are a lot of services out there, lets take a look at a few.


The best thing about iCloud is that its free & baked right into iOS. You are given 5 GB for free then have the choice to upgrade to more.  Your upgrade options are 10 GB for $20.00/yr. 20 GB for $40.00/yr. and 50 GB for $100.00/yr. The worst part about iCloud is that you can't use it the way you would use other services. There is no cross device document syncing. iCloud storage is best suited for backing up your iOS devices. I have my iPad & iPhone backed up to my account. Any time I get a new device or have to restore my device I sign in with my Apple ID and everything starts to download.  Photos & videos are put back, apps are reinstalled into the correct folders, phone call history and messages are all restored as if nothing happened. You no longer need to plug your device into iTunes to back up & restore. Your mail, contacts, calendars and documents count against your storage. With your documents, if your are a Mac & iWork user, they are accessible in iCloud with their respected iOS app, Pages, Numbers and Keynote. Any changes you make on one device will sync to iCloud and show up on your other devices. That also applies to calendars and contacts. Other apps can also back up their data to iCloud and sync across other iOS devices.



This is probably the most popular choice for cloud storage. With Dropbox, you have access to any file stored anywhere you have an internet connection. There is also a desktop app that will sync files stored between your PC/Mac and Dropbox. The basic account is free and you get 2 GB of storage. You can upgrade to a pro account for $100.00/yr. that gives you 100 GB on top of the 2 GB you are already given. There are some tasks that you can do to add free storage to your plan. You also get bonus space when you refer friends and they sign up. The nice thing about that is you both get the bonus space.  My account is at 6 GB, all free. So if you wouldn’t mind using this link to sign up so we both get extra space I would appreciate it. :) Another plus for Dropbox, is they are integrated with a massive amount of apps allowing easy access to your documents.  (AppStore)



SugarSync functions much like Dropbox and offers both free and paid storage. The free account gives you 5 GB (more then Dropbox) and gives a 500 MB bonus to you and a referred friend (shameless plug here to add to my storage and yours.) You can install the desktop client to sync your files across your computer(s) and device(s). You can upgrade your account to 30GB for $49.99/yr. 60GB for $99.99/yr. 100GB for $149.99/yr. 250GB for $249.99/yr.  (AppStore)



Gives you 5 GB of storage for free and offers unlimited storage for $4.95/month. Once in awhile they run a promotion that offers a discount for the year. They also offer a desktop client to keep your items in sync across multiple devices. Unlike the other services mentioned, there is no referral bonus. Your choices are free or unlimited.  They also offer auto upload of your iOS device camera roll, making upload very easy. (AppStore)


Sky Drive

Is a cloud service from Microsoft. They offer you 7GB of free storage and have mobile/web/desktop apps to access your files. Microsoft also offers paid upgrades: 20GB for $10.00/yr, 50GB for $25.00/yr, 100GB for $100.00/yr. (AppStore)

Google Drive

Google gives you 15GB of storage for free. Your documents and Google+ photos count against your plan. They also offer mobile/desktop/web apps so you can always access your files. Google's pricing is monthly, they do not offer yearly plans. 25GB for $3.00/mo, 100GB for $5.00/mo, 200GB for $10.00/mo, 400GB for $20.00/mo and goes up to 16TB for $800.00/mo. Most people choose the 100GB option. (AppStore)



Also works like Dropbox.  They offer 15, yes 15GB of free storage. For every referral you make, both people are rewarded with an extra 5GB of storage.  Shameless plug for bonus space. :) Upgrades available are 250 GB for $100.00/yr. and 500 GB for $150.00/yr. (AppStore)


Amazon Cloud Drive

Amazon recently released their app for photo storage but you are able to store other documents as well. They give you 5 GB for free and offer the following upgrades: 20 GB/ for $10.00/yr, 50 Gb for $25.00/yr, 100 GB for $50.00/yr, 200 GB for $100.00/yr, 500 GB for $250.00/yr and 1 TB for $500.00/yr. (AppStore)


There are other services out there, Box, Bitcasa, iDrive, Ubuntu 1 that offer free storage but they are limited. Give them a try, free storage is free storage, there is nothing wrong with signing up for all of them to spread your files out. The hard part will be remembering where you have everything. I have my iPhone photos saved to Amazon, my videos on Copy and my everyday documents are in Dropbox.  Something you should keep in mind when looking for a service is how easy it is to use. Dropbox, Pogo Plug and Amazon all offer auto upload of your camera roll. This is a very handy feature to have.  I wish more apps offered this, I am looking at you Flickr!!!!!!

Written by Danny Tammaro. You can follow Danny on Twitter, AppDotNet, or Google+