One of my all time favorite Mac utilities is Dropbox. Like iCloud but more expensive; a place to store files in the cloud so they sync up with other devices from Mac to iPhone to iPad; even Windows PCs and Android devices– but a service that works better, faster, easier.
Apple should buy Dropbox. Heaven knows Steve Jobs thought about it long before iCloud became a thing. He even tried to kill Dropbox in the interim. Well, here we are, six years after Jobs’ death and Dropbox is alive and prospering. So is iCloud. Which do I prefer?
Apple should buy Dropbox. Why? What does Dropbox have that iCloud does not? Both are cloud services. Both sync and backup files. Both have a price tag. One is built in while the other is an add-on.
Full Disclosure. I use both. My important files are stored in iCloud. Photos. Music. Documents. And it all syncs up between devices so whatever is on my Mac is accessible by other Macs, and by iPhone and iPad, as well as any browser via iCloud.com.
What’s not to like? iCloud is less expensive than Dropbox. Both iCloud and Dropbox show up as sync options in many thousands of macOS and iOS applications. Both have backup and restore options built-in. To my knowledge, I have never lost a file to either service.
Dropbox gives 2GB of storage for free. iCloud gives 5GB of storage for free. Dropbox gives 1TB of storage for $10 a month. Apple gives twice that much. 2TB for $10 a month, but also 200GB for a mere $3 a month.
Why should Apple buy Dropbox? Dropbox works better. Sorry, Apple folk. That’s been my experience since day one with Dropbox and despite iCloud’s improvements in recent years, that’s still the case.
Dropbox is a business so there is a vested interest in making the service make money, and to do that the service must be better than the competition. It is.
iCloud is a service; an add-on that Apple’s customers need to store and sync data between devices. It works well for Calendar, Contacts, and Photos, and eventually files in Documents, and Desktop. Eventually? Yes. iCloud can be painfully slow at times as files from one device eventually make their way to other devices.
Dropbox sync works far better between devices than iCloud. What Dropbox lacks is what iCloud has. Automatic Photo sync, automatic Documents and Desktop sync. In other words, Dropbox is a bit more manual than iCloud, but Dropbox syncs better and that’s what we’re after, right?
For example, I can open a password management app on my desktop iMac, add a username and password, save it– to Dropbox. Then, I turn around to my MacBook Pro behind me, still on the same desk, and when I open the password management app the changes are already there. Dropbox syncs fast.
If I do the same thing with a different password manager that uses iCloud to sync, I can go get lunch, drop my wife off at the mall, take the scenic route home, and iCloud might– as in maybe– have the file synchronized. Sometimes it takes hours, especially if many files are synced.
Apple needs to buy Dropbox because Dropbox works better than iCloud.
I could compare Dropbox to Amazon’s cloud service or Google’s Drive or Microsoft’s OneDrive or Box or others, but Dropbox beats them all except on price and full file integration. Dropbox integrated into iCloud would could be a monstrously wonderful service.