Difference Between iCloud and Dropbox

iCloud vs Dropbox

It has been some time now when the shift from local storage to cloud storage began. It started with enterprise solutions, which could only be accessed by corporate personnel, and eventually it became a commodity that can be accessed by anyone in the hierarchy. Of course, cloud storage was always available to be purchased, but it began to become popular when it was available for free, however, small the size was. The introduction of Dropbox took it further by providing the ability to share seamlessly your files and folders across the devices you use. As of today, Dropbox services are available across platforms and even in mobile platforms. Last year was a significant year of change when key players like Google, Microsoft and Apple got in to cloud storage competition. It’s not that they didn’t have cloud storage, but they didn’t have a smooth OS level integration before. As of now, Dropbox, Google, Microsoft, and Apple have become common competitors in the market with their individual strengths and weaknesses. Let us compare the services provided by Apple iCloud and Dropbox today.

Apple iCloud

Apple iCloud was introduced last year with the release of Apple iOS 5. It was seamlessly integrated with Apple iOS as expected and had a mixed reception from consumers. The fact that it was deeply integrated with the OS was proved by the fact that everything you do on your mobile device will be synced with the iCloud. You take a snap, it’ll appear in the iCloud; you download a file, it’ll appear in the iCloud; you buy a new song, it’ll appear in the iCloud; likewise you get the drift. In fact, I’ve seen reports on an iPhone thief been caught because of iCloud since he was careless to take snaps from the stolen iPhone and those were directly uploaded to the owner’s account.

If you are used to Dropbox like structure, the main difference with iCloud is that it doesn’t appear as a separate folder. Apple iCloud rather acts like a repository for different applications, which creates hidden files and folders inside Library directory. As any Apple service, iCloud sync is only available for Apple devices, unlike other popular cloud storage options. The free storage cap is at 5GB with the ability to purchase additional space at a cost.


Started with a simple idea in 2008, Drop Box has led the idea of cloud storage because of its innovative influence. They made it possible for us to use a native client to access / share anything we wanted across any platform with a single click. That has been the push behind many who are using Drop Box. The fact that the user interface is very intuitive makes it a valuable service to have in any business solution pack.

Drop Box supports the web interface along with generic clients for Windows, Mac and Linux operating systems. It also has efficient native clients for Android, Blackberry, and iOS. This vertical integration across cross platforms has given Drop Box a lot of competitive advantage over other such services. Although this is the case, Drop Box will have to innovate more and introduce some new and integral features in order to keep the service at the top as it is now with the competition we see from the technological giants.

A Brief Comparison Between iCloud and Dropbox

  • The support for cross platforms differs between these two storage options.
Web Interface Windows Mac Linux Android iOS Blackberry
Drop Box Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
iCloud Y N/A Y N/A N/A Y N/A
  • The prices of the cloud storage options differ depending on the size that is offered.
Storage Drop Box Apple iCloud
2GB Free -
5GB - Free
15GB - $20
25GB - $40
50GB - $100
100GB $99 -
200GB $199 -
  • Dropbox is more mature compared to Apple iCloud and has efficient synchronization between a wide variety of devices and operating systems.
  • Dropbox uses the folder structure to synchronize and manage the cloud storage while Apple iCloud arranges it in an application specific way.


In a consumer’s perspective, Dropbox can be considered as the best available solution as of yet. Especially, if you have a lot of devices running on a lot of operating systems; Dropbox is definitely your choice. If you are running on a tight budget, then again Dropbox will come to save you and give you more cloud storage for the same price ranges. So what about Apple iCloud? For starters, 5GB is given free anyway; so, we recommend you enjoy the additional cloud storage. Further, your apps might use iCloud to sync, so it’s all the more reason to keep the free storage. However, looking at the yearly prices both services are offered, I think you can make a clear decision on which service to migrate in to. I almost forgot; this is something I’ve seen many times recently after Apple iCloud was introduced. A lot of non-technical personnel find it hard to work with iCloud while they intuitively embrace Dropbox because of its intuitive folder structure. That might be one way of putting the difference between these two in layman’s terms.

  • http://www.reverbnation.com/artist/index/theronkaye Theron Kaye

    Why do I have an iCloud folder on my Win 7 PC? Is this something new? I can find no means of controlling it… Perhaps iTunes forces it upon the PC? The folder is empty and if deleted; it reappears automagically…