The company that evolved into iDrive is ancient by tech standards, founded in 1995, and they've proven themselves over time. They tout their automated backup application as a one stop solution for all of your computers, both Max and PC, smartphones, tablets and Facebook pictures all in one single account.
Getting Started with iDrive
It's a snap to download iDrive's 19.6 MB file and set it up on your laptop or desktop computer. Install the application and it opens automatically, displaying tips on getting stared with backing up your files.
The user interface is user friendly, with clearly marked tools. The process of backing up your files to the cloud is intuitive, allowing newbies to the program to work smoothly with few problems.
The iDrive mobile app is available for iOS and Android smartphones. It lets you back up your photos and videos, but it also goes the extra mile and backs up contacts, calendar info, call logs and texts. You can set the mobile app to do automatic camera uploads, so all your new photos and videos are backed up as you go.
Pricing at iDrive
You can choose from three levels of service with your iDrive account. The Basic plan delivers 5GB of file storage with no fee. This is an ongoing free account, so you don't time out after two weeks as you would with a free trial. There is no requirement to enter payment information for the Basic account, so you know it stays free.
Most of us need more than 5GB of storage space of course. The next service level from iDrive delivers 1TB of space (1000 MB). The fee is $44.62 for the first year, then $59.50 for each year after that. That's plenty of space for personal use, at what has become the industry standard of about five bucks per month.
Of course, with ever bigger files to save, such as videos and large PDF files, you may want to go for iDrives 10TB option. Things get a bit pricey here at $374.62 for the first year and $499.50 if you renew. Both the 1TB and 10TB accounts offer a 50% discount if you sign up for a two year period. Keep in mind that iDrive has a strict no refunds policy as you consider the longer term commitment.
iDrive Backup Options
You can work in iDrive from the desktop app or from their website. The program works with any file size or type, but if you are uploading over their website, there is a file size limit of 2GB.
The app allows you to set up a custom backup schedule, telling exactly when you'd like to update your storage with new or changes files. It's a matter of using the tools to choose exact days and time for uploads.
One of iClouds standout features is the ability to upload from more than one computer at no extra charge. Most of us own multiple devices these days. Some of iClouds competitors allow backup uploads from only one computer, or they charge extra for backing up multiple computers. The paid subscription from iCloud for 1 TB of space can accommodate most personal use storage, even with uploads from more than one device.
Working across platforms
The iDrive application is compatible with all operating systems including Windows, Mac and Linux. The mobile app runs on both iOS and Android. You can even upload from a range of devices running different operating systems, viewing, editing and sharing files from Mac and Windows devices with no snags.
Share and Sync files
As you make edits and changes to your files in the cloud, the latest file version is instantly synced to every device registered with your iDrive account. So you can work on your smart phone, laptop, tablet or desktop, and then find the latest version of your work from any location on your registered devices.
The sync feature needs to be activated by logging in to your account and clicking Activate Sync. This creates a sync folder, and you add the files to it that you'd like synced across all your registered devices.
Synced files can also be shared via email, Facebook or Twitter. You can sync and share any file types or sizes. If you are concerned about security, set a sharing password and send it to your recipient in advance.
A Permanent Archive
IDrive provides a feature called True Archiving. Even if a file is removed from your computer, it stays in the cloud and you can download it if you need it. You still have the ability to permanently delete files, but it's nice to have a failsafe in case you've deleted files you may need later. This feature lets you park files with iDrive that you want to clear off your laptop or desktop computer's hard drive.
For those needing to store a huge amount of data, iDrive offers their iDrive Express service. If you'd like to upload a large amount of data without dealing with the upload time, you can request this service. Upon request, IDrive ships you a hard drive. You can either get it loaded with data you want to restore to your device from the cloud, or blank so you can fill it up with new files you want to backup. Add or remove the data as desired and then ship the drive back to Idrive. If you are backing up files, iDrive uploads them for you from the hard drive, saving you the task.
This service is not available to Basic subscribers of the free service, but paid users may take advantage of this service once per year at no extra fee.
IDrive security is among the best available in the cloud storage industry, including features essential to maintaining privacy. All uploaded files are secured using end-to-end, 256-bit AES encryption. This secures files during the journey from your computer, through the transfer and to storage. At no point in the process are your files un-encrypted.
Customer Support Options
iDrive offers customer support via phone, live chat and email. Right away that puts them ahead of the curve, with many cloud storage services offering only email support. The website has video tutorials and a very good FAQ section as well. Note that some reviews have called out iDrive for lack of expertise from support staff.
Verdict - Good
iDrive is a great choice for mobile users with its 5GB of free space. For personal use with a laptop, the 1TG plan is solid, offering secure, fast backups with an encryption key. The top tier plan gets expensive, but if you can get by with 1TG of storage space iDrive is an excellent cloud storage choice, with a generous range of features.