iCloud vs. OneDrive: Which is best for Mac, iPad and iPhone users?

Smart professionals understand—and many have learnt the hard way—that data should never be kept in a single location.
Although the temptation to simply save data, especially work in progress, on a Mac desktop or in a local documents folder exists—insidiously appealing with its seduction of ease—phones are misplaced, iPads are stolen, and Mac drives fail.
All locally stored information is lost and, in the worst-case scenario (if you don’t employ file encryption and device security mechanisms), unauthorized users have access to it.

Apple’s iCloud and Microsoft’s OneDrive are both attractive and cost-effective options that assist avoid data loss.
It’s no longer a question of whether or not you should use a cloud file storage service, but which one.

iCloud is perfectly suited to corporate use for Mac, iPad, and iPhone users.
iCloud is straightforward to use, with two-factor authentication capability and simple integration (Figure A) built in by default immediately into macOS, iPadOS, and iOS.
The service is also cost-effective.
Free 5GB accounts are available at the entry level.
The service’s 99-cent-per-month option includes 50GB of storage.
The 200GB version is only $2.99 per month, and the 2TB version is only $9.99 per month.


Figure A


But, as many commercials on television will tell you, that’s not all.

Private relays, the ability to hide your email address from marketers, and the ability to create custom corresponding domains are now available in Apple’s iCloud accounts, as well as HomeKit Secure Video storage for one camera, up to five cameras for 200GB customers, and an unlimited number of cameras for 2TB customers.
Up to five family members can share an iCloud account and its associated storage.


Microsoft OneDrive is also reasonably priced.
Personal accounts cost $6.99 per month and feature 1TB of storage, Skype, Outlook, Word, Excel, and PowerPoint programs, whilst family accounts cost $9.99 per month and include 6TB of storage and can be shared with up to six people.
Business Plan 1 costs $5 per month per user and includes 1TB of storage.
In the meanwhile, Business Plan 2 subscriptions offer unlimited storage for $10 per user each month.
Other OneDrive options, such as Business Basic and Business Standard, which offer a number of apps and capabilities, are also available.

Many Apple apps, such as Byword, GoodNotes, Pixelmator, Post-it, and Scrivener, do, however, interface effortlessly with iCloud by default.
Furthermore, by swiping a radio button (Figure B) to the enabled position, iCloud may automatically back up Mac desktop and document folders, iPad and iPhone settings and configurations, images, email, contacts, and a variety of other items.
It’s that simple to use iCloud.

Figure B


That is not the case with Microsoft OneDrive.
While it’s a tempting cloud file storage solution that may be justified above iCloud in enterprises dedicated to Microsoft 365 services adoption, particularly the use of Microsoft BI, Planner, SharePoint, and Teams, I’ve had synchronization troubles on occasion.
While such mistakes have mostly improved over time, iCloud sync difficulties, which do arise from time to time, have proven to be considerably easier to repair.
Unlike iCloud sync issues, which normally merely need disabling and reenabling the service, I’ve found myself down longer rabbit holes debugging Windows and firewall settings, resetting Windows and Microsoft 365 passwords, and troubleshooting MFA integration when resolving a OneDrive problem.

In comparison to OneDrive, I found iCloud easier to configure on Apple gear and easier to administer, support, and utilize due to Apple’s evident advantage as the developer of macOS, iPadOS, and iOS.
When working in Microsoft 365 businesses, however, I advocate using your Microsoft 365 account to load OneDrive on Macs, iPads (Figure C), and iPhones.
In addition, I recommend making OneDrive auto-load at login and displaying the icon in the Mac Dock.
These options ensure that OneDrive is always synchronizing and accessible.

Figure C


However, when given the option and while utilizing third-party apps, I prefer to use iCloud connectivity.
It just seems to make life easier that way.