PC Magazine reviews Apple’s iCloud Drive

“iCloud Drive is a component of Apple iCloud, sort of, but it also spans across other components of iCloud. It can get confusing, especially if you are used to more standard file-syncing services, such as Dropbox, that put all your files together into one place,” Jill Duffy writes for PC Magazine.

“Wrapping your head around iCloud Drive and iCloud takes some patience, but it can be a good service if you use Apple’s office productivity apps avidly, because it’s tightly integrated with them on all platforms,” Duffy writes. “It also works well on Windows computers and the Web. ”

“As confusing as it can get, the original purpose of iCloud and iCloud Drive was for Apple users to have a seamless experience using their Apple apps across devices,” Duffy writes. “In many ways, Apple has succeeded, or at least continues to make progress to this end. iOS 8 and Yosemite made huge inroads at creating a more unified experience.”

Read more in the full review here.

MacDailyNews Take: Trying to shoehorn iCloud Drive (and iCloud itself) into preconceived ideas about what cloud storage is and does is not the basis for a good review.

The confusion Duffy describes is born from having learned how to do it one way and trying to fit iCloud Drive into those notions. It’s similar to the issues Windows sufferers have when they arrive in nirvana for the first time: They learned it upside-down and backwards and now that have to forget that and let the Mac work for them. Fortunately for Apple, new users to cloud storage – the vast majority, unlike Duffy – won’t have anything to unlearn and they’ll simply use iCloud Drive as intended, not try to make it work like something else.

Here’s what iCloud Drive does:
• Store and access all of your documents in one place from any of your devices
• Keep files and folders up to date across all your devices
• Create new files and folders from iCloud-enabled apps
• Work on the same file across multiple apps

Here’s how you access your files in iCloud Drive:
• Using any supported web browser*, you can go to iCloud Drive or iWork for iCloud (Pages, Numbers, and Keynote) at iCloud.com. In iWork for iCloud, you can find your Pages, Numbers, and Keynote files
• On your Mac with OS X Yosemite, you can go to iCloud Drive in Finder
• On a PC with Windows 7 or later and iCloud for Windows, you can go to iCloud Drive in File Explorer
• On your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch with iOS 8, you can access your files from Apple apps like Pages, Numbers, and Keynote, or any apps that support iCloud Drive

*Safari 6 or later, Firefox 22 or later, or Google Chrome 28 or later


  1. Apple just needs to bump up that free storage to 15 GB like Google and MS.
    And it is still way too easy to get that “your storage is full” message and have no idea why.

    1. Yah, but where does it end? As soon as they go up to 15GB, then their competitors will raise their quotas, and Apple will look “bad” again. But how many Apple users are actually using that much space? This is the same “spec nonsense” that has polluted the computing industry for years.

      1. If most users “aren’t actually using that much space” , then why not bump it up? It would only impact a few small users — but those are probably the vocal ones (like Synth)

          1. If this is so, then Apple needs to stop removing connectivity options from its products, and it needs to stop pretending that users can have access to all their stuff in the iCloud. They can’t, because even when iCloud does work as advertised and matches up with customer needs, the cost of renting Apple server space makes it a stupid long-term storage option.

            The whole point of offering a low amount of free is to get users hooked on the freebie and then soon get them renting enough space to actually store their stuff. That’s exactly what Apple and others are doing to screw over its customers. Drug pushing a monthly server storage fee. Apple’s way to do this is to abandon all personal computer standalone power and user flexibility, instead designing iOS and now even Macs into being wimpy terminals. Apple now gives away hobbled consumer-grade software to the people who are dumb enough to rely on it, and at every turn this software is advertising the iCloud to you.

            Just don’t miss a monthly payment, suckers.

  2. MDN’s take is rather sugar coating some of the obvious areas where iCloud Drive is inferior, not just different, from other services like Dropbox.

    Sure, iCloud Drive may meet your needs, but there are many limitations. Even on iOS itself, Dropbox offers more features and flexibility. Hell, Dropbox is even more of an integrated OS X/iOS experience as it functions almost exactly the same on both platforms (the differences being desired and expected, such as local exclusion on iOS and built-in viewers).

    While there are certainly price advantages with the competitors, true cross-platform compatibility is an issue that is highly unlikely to change. Likewise iCloud Drive is far behind in enterprise features and even more robust features that would be of benefit to consumers (like archiving, local exclusions, etc…).

    It’s a shame Apple didn’t just buy Dropbox and allow the management to run it with the vision they have. The advantage here being that it would become the default for the entire Apple ecosystem (and more serious competition to Google and Microsoft). Now we have iCloud Drive which is unusable for many of us, and a mess of competition.

      1. Dropbox is a crappy HD in the sky.

        Apple is trying to bring you to an “Alien-like” experience…..kicking and screaming…..so be it.

        One day you will wake up.

    1. To be fair, DropBox is a disaster in terms of privacy and security. iCloud Drive works perfectly fine for me. Archive files that stored in my local Windows (!) folder there get automatically synchronised to iCloud Drive. There is more else that I need from it.

  3. There are still a lot of problems with iCloud. Yesterday I spent almost 2 hours on the phone with a second tier Apple Support, trying to straighten out a problem with iCloud Keychain syncing. It was really a nightmare and took several calls to finally trace down the problem and resolve. Even the Apple Support guy admitted that iCloud can be ridiculously troublesome sometimes. iCloud is not there yet, not by a long shot. And yes, Dropbox is a much more “it just works” experience the iCloud. Apple is simply making it overly complicated, in my opinion.

  4. What an absolutely rubbish response on the part of MDN to a serious problem, sugar coating a massive failure. I use iCloudDrive all the time, and I use Pages in iCloud to work on documents with others. But Pages in iCloud has been in beta forever and offers only part of what Pages actually offers–I can’t even do an em dash. The fact is, iWeb long ago was sort of paradigmatic of Apple software–half assed. A great idea, only partly developed. Amazing how Apple can come out with great hardware all the time, updating, but can’t get Pages that’s shared online out of beta in all this time. And why the heck can’t Apple give us a Pages that really does something dramatic, like enabling us to do typesetting simply unlike Adobe and make ebooks that really look great instead of cobbled together? Apple should have put Adobe, the lousy complicated stuff that InDesign is, out of business long ago. Apple needs to hire some Jony Ive types for its software. Let’s get this show PROPERLY on the road. And MDM, quit defending Apple when they are crap, and light a rocket under them instead!

  5. David: THANK YOU.
    iCloud is both half-baked AND more expensive than the competition. It’s far, far slower than Dropbox, more confusing, and less flexible.

    Every app within iCloud has very serious limitations and usability issues that persist with no updates in sight.
    Images I put into a folder in iCloud on Safari show up with no thumbnail and open in another window.
    Pages lacks basics such as a dictionary, just suggestions.

    Think about that. I mean, for pity’s sake, your word processor app has no dictionary???

    This it seems is the new Apple.
    Someone name ONE Apple app that is a class leader……

    iTunes: Bought by Apple in 2000. UI unchanged for 15 years. Slooow.
    Mail: Gaghh, don’t get me started. Emails I send show up with multiple fonts/sizes, etc. I could easily go on.
    Maps: Still a worldwide laughingstock.
    Five miles from Columbia Uni in SC, Maps directed me 480 miles to DC.
    Six miles from Downtown Disney in FL Maps planned me a nice 2,500 mile route to California.

    Where oh where is the innovation??
    Why are they putting in Handoff and so on, but ignoring the basic lack of progress?!

    Rant over.

  6. “And MDM, quit defending Apple when they are crap, and light a rocket under them instead!” – thank you, David. Unfortunately, they are too busy patting themselves on the backs, to use any sort of critical thinking. This is consistent with MDN rabid faboyism.

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