People often confuse iCloud with iCloud Drive, but they don’t mean the same thing. Under the surface, they are completely different. iCloud is a cloud storage service that is used in many services offered by Apple while iCloud Drive works like OneDrive, which is one service that falls under iCloud. So what are the other major differences between iCloud and iCloud Drive?
Abundance. While it sounds confusing and acoustic, there are plenty of differences under the hood. We’ll explain what they are, what they do, how they differ, and how they are similar.
What is iCloud
iCloud is primarily a cloud storage service launched by Apple in 2011. It is a cloud storage and computing solution that offers several services, including, but not limited to, iCloud Drive. Some of the other services include iCloud Backup, Find My iPhone, Keychain, office suite of apps like Keynote, and much more. It allows users to save all kinds of data across an umbrella of services that can be easily accessed using your Apple ID.
iCloud represents all of these services that Apple provides in the cloud, allowing you to access them anywhere, on any device. iCloud Drive is just one of those features that borrows from the name of the parent company. It’s just a poorly labeled strategy!
What is icloud drive
iCloud Drive works, and is part of the iCloud suite of products and services, like Google Drive or OneDrive. It’s a file storage and sharing platform that you can use to create, access, and share files on the go. iCloud is a file hosting service available on the web, Windows, macOS, iOS, and iPadOS. There is no cookie for Android.
You can store any file you want, provided there is enough space. All Apple users get 5GB of free storage, after which, you’ll need to sign up for a plan.
How different is ICLOUD from ICLOUD DRIVE
iCloud offers a backup solution. It will back up everything like your app settings, photos stored in the Photos app, contacts, emails, reminders, iMessage, Game Center information, Safari browser history and bookmarks, biological IDs, Apple Pay details, Apple Mail accounts, and of course iCloud File Drive. You can have full control over the apps and services you want to back up to iCloud under Settings > Apple ID > iCloud.
These backups also include third-party apps that you install from the App Store. It makes it easy to restore everything to a new Apple device. Then there are things like device settings, your Apple Music purchase history, apps from the App Store, and other items you’ve purchased. Note that Apple will only keep a record of what you purchased rather than the item itself. Think of it as a recorder. This means that when you restore, you will need to download the app or music again but not buy it again. Useful when you have limited iCloud storage space as this process takes up less space.
If you read carefully, you will know that what you did not buy from Apple will not be backed up. This includes music, movies, podcasts, and books ripped from CDs or transferred directly from a computer. Apple can’t back up a history unless you never bought it from them. This is where iCloud Drive comes in.
iCloud Drive will store and save all the files you throw at it. It includes music, photos, movies, podcasts, documents, and any other file. Just upload it to iCloud Drive and it will stay there forever. You can access these files from any device that is compatible with the iCloud app.
As one Apple user explains:
Think of iCloud as a filing cabinet and iCloud drive as one of the cabinet drawers that you can use to store things. It is designed to store files that do not fit in any of the other drawers.
The way to access these files varies depending on the device you are using and the file you are trying to access. For example, photos can be accessed using the Photos app on the iPhone. There is a video app for accessing videos, and there is a files app for everything else. The lack of a central application to search and access all types of files in one user interface seems to be the hallmark of iCloud. Some people like it, but others are not satisfied with the system. Most file hosting sites like Google Drive and OneDrive work differently.
How are they alike
iCloud and iCloud Drive are cloud storage services that are used to provide backup and restore features to the users. They are also inherently free up to the cloud storage limit, which is 5GB for free account holders. iCloud and iCloud Drive both use the latest technology to secure your online data on Apple’s servers. That doesn’t mean it’s foolproof as I discovered it was of celebrity interest a few years ago.
iCloud Drive is part of iCloud. All these other apps also use iCloud to sync data.
The truth is, you don’t need to have iCloud Drive turned on. You can use any other cloud storage and file hosting app, but you need and should use iCloud. It offers a lot of useful and essential features that you should avoid. Some useful examples include Find iPhone, Find Friends, Family Sharing, Backup, and more.
Even in the clouds
iCloud offers a lot of important services, and iCloud Drive is just one of them. The later is part of the former. Whether or not you use iCloud Drive will depend on many factors, including how deeply you invest in the Apple ecosystem. But if you’re using an Apple device, you’re probably already using iCloud in one way or another and some capabilities. This is a very good thing.