Dropbox now limits free users to a maximum of three syncing devices at one time. If you need more devices and don’t want to open your wallet, Google, Microsoft, and even Apple are superior to Dropbox.
This is a similar restriction to the one Evernote put in place. Evernote’s free account only lets you sync your notes to two devices. Both services are clearly trying to convert more free users to paying customers.
Google Drive – 15 GB Free
Google Drive is a great storage service. It offers 15 GB of free storage—although that’s shared with your Gmail account—and can sync to an unlimited number of devices. That sure beats Dropbox’s 2 GB and three devices.
Google’s Backup and Sync software even lets you easily back up and sync other folders on your computer outside the Google Drive folder. Our own Michael Crider called it “one of the best backup options around” over at Review Geek. It’s available for both Windows and macOS.
Of course, Google Drive is integrated with Google Docs so you can easily create and work with documents. Google provides mobile apps so you can access your files on Android, iPhone, and iPad. And you can access your files anywhere in a browser.
Microsoft OneDrive – 5 GB Free
Microsoft’s OneDrive service offers 5 GB of free storage, which isn’t as much as Google’s 15 GB but is certainly more than Dropbox’s 2 GB. Like Google Drive, OneDrive doesn’t limit how many devices you can sync to. You can have as many PCs, Macs, phones, and tablets as you need.
OneDrive is particularly convenient because it’s built right into Windows 10. It also uses a “Files On-Demand” system that will store your files in the cloud while showing them in File Explorer on your PC. They’ll be downloaded when you double-click them to open them. That’s optional, of course—you can disable this and OneDrive will function just like Dropbox, if you like it to.
While OneDrive is integrated with Windows 10, that’s not the only platform it’s available on. Microsoft also offers OneDrive clients for macOS, Android, iPhone, and iPad. You can access your files via the OneDrive website in a browser, too.
Apple iCloud Drive – 5 GB Free
Apple’s iCloud Drive is famously stingy, only offering 5 GB of storage for all your device backups, photos, and files. But even it offers more space than Dropbox’s 2 GB, and it doesn’t limit the devices you can access your files on.
This might be a good option if you’re a Mac user, as iCloud Drive is built into your operating system and offers 5 GB free (shared with iPhone backups and iCloud photo library.) If you’re paying Apple for more iCloud storage, you can use that storage to sync your files with iCloud Drive. And there are no device limits.
While iCloud Drive is built into macOS, Apple also offers iCloud Drive for Windows and you can access your files in a web browser on iCloud.com. There’s no official iCloud Drive app for Android, however.
They’re Cheaper Than Dropbox If You Want to Pay, Too
Dropbox isn’t a great deal even if you want to pay. Dropbox charges $99 per year for 1 TB of storage space.
Google Drive charges $1.99 a month for 100 GB if you just need a bit of extra storage, while $99.99 per year will get you 2 TB. And this is part of Google One, which also gives you access to a “team of experts” you can talk to at Google.
Microsoft OneDrive charges $69.99 per year for Office 365 Personal, which gives you 1 TB of storage as well as Microsoft Office. For $99.99, you can get an Office 365 Home family plan where six people get Office apps and each gets 1 TB—that’s a total of 6 TB of storage. Or, if you just need a bit of storage, you can pay $1.99 per month for 50 GB and no Office.
Even Apple’s stingy iCloud Drive is a better deal. Apple charges only $0.99 per month for 50 GB of storage, while $9.99 per month will get you 2 TB.
We like these options because they’re from trusted companies, have a history of offering free storage, and have an incentive to keep doing so. You may find some smaller storage providers that compete quite favorably with Dropbox now, but be sure to look up some reviews before trusting a lesser-known provider with your personal files.
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