If you’re a casual Apple user, you may not see any difference between Apple iCloud and the iCloud drive. And to be fair, on the surface, the two services may look the same to an average user. However, they couldn’t be more different from each other. While both are backup services, they serve entirely different purposes. In this article, we explain what the Apple iCloud and iCloud Drive actually do and how the two services are different from each other.
The Apple iCloud has been around for more than a decade. Launched in 2011, the cloud backup service is used by millions of Apple users to backup their iPhone and iPad data, and sync it across multiple devices. If you ever needed to transfer your contacts from your old Apple device to your new iPhone, you probably used iCloud. When the iCloud is turned on, it automatically syncs your phone data like contacts, messages, calendar, notes, photos, reminders, documents, and more. If you use multiple Apple devices, iCloud makes things a lot more convenient by syncing your data across devices and reflecting whatever changes you make to it. For example, if you update a contact on your iPhone, it will also get updated on your iPad and vice versa.
So what is iCloud Drive? Simply put, iCloud Drive is Apple’s file-sharing and storage service, much like Dropbox, Google Drive, and Microsoft One Drive. It is an extension of the services offered by Apple iCloud. Much like Dropbox, you can upload all kinds of files to iCloud Drive to share with your friends, or even maintain a personal backup.
A frequently asked question is why would a user need iCloud Drive when iCloud already backs up their phone data? Firstly, iCloud may store your phone data, but it does not allow you to share it with anyone else. It is not a file-sharing platform. Secondly, iCloud does not sync all the data on your device. For example, any audiobooks, mp3s, or pdfs that you transferred to your iPhone from your PC will not be backed up to the iCloud. iCloud only syncs music, audiobooks, and media that were purchased through Apple services. But with iCloud Drive, you can backup and share any data on your device, including ripped mp3s and third-party apps.
These are the major differences between iCloud and iCloud Drive. Apple offers its users 5GB of free storage space for both services. After you’ve surpassed the 5GB cap, you’ll need to purchase further storage space. Currently, Apple offers an additional 50GB of storage for the price of $0.99 (Rs 75 for Indian users).
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