I mentioned in a previous post that I was reevaluating all of my monthly subscriptions, including my cloud services. I’ve been meaning to combine my cloud accounts for some time now, as it was becoming challenging finding my files as I often could not remember on which cloud drive they were located. It was getting to the point where I was spending way too much time trying to find my stuff. It was time to make some changes.
Once I sat down and took a look at my infrastructure, I realized how out of control it had gotten. For example, I had files scattered over the following services:
- iCloud Drive – This is Apple’s cloud service which I used for those apps which sync with iCloud such as Ulysses. I also use this for files I create using Apple’s work apps (Numbers, Pages, and Keynote. Cost: $1.99/month
- OneDrive – I receive 1 TB of free space on OneDrive because I’m a Microsoft Office 365 subscriber. On here, I only store files that I access with the iOS versions of Microsoft Office. This has proven the most unreliable (and most annoying) of all services. Cost: Free with Office 365
- Google Drive – I have a family account on which I share space with my spouse. This is used to sync our Google Photos. I also stored files that I didn’t need to access all that often. Cost: $99/year
- Sync.com – I used this as my main cloud service, on which I stored the majority of my files. I loved how secure they are and the fact that they’re located in Canada. Unfortunately, some of my favorite iOS apps were unable to sync with them. Cost: $129/year (for 3TB).
- Dropbox: I had the free account, which I only used to sync those apps which didn’t work with other services. For instance, Scrivener only syncs with Dropbox — well, to be truthful, it does sync with others, but the author of Scrivener strongly advises against it). Likewise, the iOS version of Scrivener only syncs with Dropbox (and does it quite clunkily, I might add). I left Dropbox several years back because I wasn’t too happy about certain privacy-averse members of their board of directors. I wasn’t sure if I trusted their privacy policies.
With all that being said, you might be surprised that I decided to go with Dropbox at the end of the day. I was kind of surprised too. One of the main reasons for this was that I use the iOS Scrivener app almost daily (it’s my main long-form writing app that I use to write my novels), and the only service that Scrivener safely syncs with is Dropbox. Additionally, I have some other iOS apps that will only sync properly with Dropbox, so there’s that as well. Thus, Dropbox seems to be the service that most apps use as their preferential syncing service.
As for my other services, I downsized my Google Drive subscription to 200 gigs for $29 per year, which is more than enough space for my and my spouse’s photos. Any other non-photo files were moved to Dropbox. Then, I completely got rid of Sync.com and moved all those cloud files to Dropbox. Even though I was paying for 3 TB of space on Sync.com, I was using way less than 1 TB, which worked perfectly with a Dropbox subscription. I kept the iCloud Drive service active, given that I use it to sync all of my Apple photos, and it’s relatively inexpensive. Given that OneDrive is free with my Microsoft 365 account, I didn’t make any changes there — I don’t really use that account for much anyway.
But…what about security?
I mentioned that I wasn’t too keen on Dropbox’s privacy record, which is still true. I’m not sure that I completely trust them with my data. However, most people I’ve talked to seem happy with them and trust them. But I took the extra step in encrypting most of the files I’ve stored on Dropbox — the sensitive ones anyway. While I have a wickedly long and difficult password as well as two-factor authentication enabled, I feel confident that with the extra step of encrypting my files, my data is as safe as it can be. That’s not to say that I won’t reevaluate down the road, but I’m content with my decisions for now.