PROS / The backup and restore speeds were the fastest in our tests.
CONS / The service doesn't offer unlimited storage.
VERDICT / IDrive's backup and restore speeds are impressive and the features are comprehensive, which is why it's the best Mac backup service.
IDrive is a Mac cloud backup service with excellent value for a family of computers and impressive backup and restore speeds. In our comparative tests, no other service even came close to matching IDrive's relative speed and value. In addition, the desktop app is among the easiest to use and comes with comprehensive features that includes IDrive Express at no additional cost. And the security features, which include the option to maintain your own encryption key, are excellent. For these reasons, IDrive earns the Top Ten Reviews Gold Award for best Mac online backup service.
Price & Value
For our review of Mac online backup services, we evaluated the subscription cost at three levels: a large family of at least five Macs, a small family of at least three Macs and an individual with one computer. IDrive's personal plan comes with either 1TB or 10TB of storage for an unlimited number of computers. We focused on the 1TB plan, though the value remains high with the 10TB plan. In our evaluation, the 1TB plan, which is about $45 a year, received an A at each level of our evaluation because the cost per computer was significantly less than every other service in our review.
The only downside is the lack of unlimited storage, though this is a minor downside. As mentioned, you can upgrade to as much as 10TB, which is pretty much the same as unlimited storage. Most services that provide unlimited storage limit the storage to one computer, so you're actually limited by your computer's storage capabilities anyway.
One of IDrive's most impressive features is the backup speed, which received an A in our tests. For each service, we ran multiple backup sets on the same network and at various times during the day. Every time we ran backup sets with IDrive, the speed matched our network speed, which meant that each backup was extremely fast. If you applied the average rate to a 1TB hard drive, you'd complete the backup in less than three days, assuming that the rate remained constant. For comparison, the second-fastest service would complete the same backup set in a little less than seven days. Naturally, you may experience better or worse results depending on your network limitations.
IDrive also received an A for its backup features' ease of use. The app is designed very well. Everything is clearly labeled and easy to find. Even a novice user shouldn't find it difficult to initiate backup sets. In addition, the CPU usage was minimal; IDrive used less than six percent on average (on a dual-core processer and 4GB of RAM). So you can use it without slowing down your computer.
The backup features are comprehensive. You can adjust the bandwidth usage. You can back up an external hard drive. You can sync your computers. You can set it to back up automatically and continuously. You even get to take advantage of drive seeding once a year at no additional cost using the IDrive Express. If you have a lot of data and don't want to wait for IDrive to upload everything, even with the high speeds, then IDrive can send you an external hard drive that you back up to and send back.
The restore speed was nearly as impressive as the backup speeds, receiving an A-. We restored the backup sets at various times during the day and night, and IDrive took full advantage of our network bandwidth. At the average rate we recorded, it would restore 1TB of data in less than five days. Of course, your restore speed may differ according to your network's specifications.
The restore process received an A for ease of use, making it one of the easiest Mac data recovery apps in our review. The app makes it simple to restore files to the original location, a specific location or an external hard drive with as few as two mouse clicks. You can also have IDrive send you an external hard drive with all of your backed-up data, at no additional fee. Other services that offer this feature charge about $200 for it.
IDrive's security features are excellent. While the service doesn't encrypt with the impressive 448-bit Blowfish encryption, it uses the military-grade 256-bit AES encryption. It encrypts the data before uploading it, and the transfer is also protected with 256-bit encryption.
The best feature, however, is the option to maintain your own encryption key. By customizing your encryption key, you are the sole owner of it, which means you are the only one who can view your files. The encryption key is never stored on the servers. It's important to note that this requires some responsibility on your part, because if you forget the encryption key, IDrive can't reset it. That's the risk of absolute privacy for your data.
IDrive is the best cloud backup service for Macs because it provides high value and high performance. The backup and restore features are comprehensive, and the speeds are nearly unmatched. The app is among the easiest to use, with great security features that include the option to customize your own encryption key. When it comes to protecting your important data, IDrive is the best.