PROS / The overall value is above average for 1TB of storage.
CONS / The download speed was very slow in our tests.
VERDICT / The iCloud Drive features above average value and ease of use, but the upload and download speeds are very slow.
If you own an Apple device, then you already have iCloud Drive installed on your device. You just have to set up your iCloud account. However, many people aren't aware that you can use iCloud Drive with PCs, though this comes with the caveat that you have to set up your iCloud Drive account on an Apple device first before you can install the app on a PC. Once installed, the app works just as well on a PC as it does with a Mac. The value for 1TB of storage is above average, but it's still far lower than the best cloud storage service.
The value of a cloud storage subscription is the most important feature with any cloud storage site, and as such, we've evaluated the cost for 1TB of storage for an individual, a small family of at least three computers and a large family with at least five computers. We also tested the upload and download speeds and evaluated the overall ease of use. In this way, the best cloud storage is combination of value and performance.
One of the best aspects of iCloud Drive is its value. Since you can install the app on as many computers as you want, the subscription costs remain the same, whether you're an individual or part of a large family. As such, the value for 1TB is $119.88 a year, or $9.99 a month. This is a significantly above-average value, and the cost per computer goes down with every device you install because you're paying for storage and not for users. The average cost for a large family is about $166 for 1TB of storage. However, the best value in our review is just $44.62 a year for a large family.
The upload speed received a C- in our tests, recording a speed that suggests it would complete a 1TB upload in about 20.5 days. For comparison, the average speed was 11.25 days, and the fastest speed was less than five days. Unfortunately, the download speed was even slower, receiving a D for relative speed. Our tests suggest that you could download 1TB in about 26.5 days.
In our ease of use evaluation, the iCloud Drive received a B-. The sync folder makes uploading files to your account extremely easy. The folder acts like an additional drive on your computer. Any file that you add to the folder is immediately uploaded. And any changes you make and save are immediately uploaded as well. The biggest detraction to iCloud's ease of use is the download process. You can't download files from the desktop app. Instead, the app redirects you to the online portal. If you accidentally deleted files, restoring them is a long, difficult process with little guidance.
For data security, iCloud Drive encrypts data using 128-bit AES encryption. It also uses a 128-bit SSL encryption for the transfer. Both encryptions are the lowest in the industry. In addition, you don't get a private encryption key option, which means that the service stores the encryption keys on the servers and can access your files without your consent unless you use a third-party encryption app.
One of the key security features is the two-step verification option. When you use this option, it means that you require two steps in order to log in. First, you enter your username and password. This activates the second step, which is when the service sends you a text message, phone call or email with an additional PIN. Two-step verification protects against front-door or brute force hacking attempts by requiring your presence with the second PIN. So if a baddie gets your password, they still can't get into your account.
The iCloud Drive features above-average value for 1TB of storage for as many devices as you own, regardless of whether they are a PC or Mac, but the value is still high compared to the best cloud storage services. In our performance tests, the average upload speed was subpar, but the download speed was very slow. The ease of use was above average, but wasn't without its issues. The encryption isn't as tough as other services, but the two-step verification option should quell any security concerns.