Which is better for file sharing, Apple’s iCloud Drive or Dropbox?

“iCloud Drive isn’t quite like Google Drive or Dropbox. As with most Apple digital and cloud services, it’s tied to a single identity without much in the way of sharing,” Glenn Fleishman writes for Macworld. “iCloud Drive’s sharing features seem a bit tacked on.”

“You can only mount a given iCloud Drive associated with an iCloud account on an account in macOS logged into that same iCloud account,” Fleishman writes. “You can select individual files in macOS, the iOS app, or via iCloud.com and share them. But access is solely via the web, and you can’t share folders.”

Fleishman writes, “Dropbox is a very reasonable way to have a shared folder, the contents of which are constantly synced among those connected to the folder.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Of you’re sharing with yourself, say, between your Mac, iPad, and iPhone, then iCloud Drive. Otherwise, use something like Dropbox.


  1. Yeah, but that the issue, right? Why do Apple users need to use other services like Dropbox or Google Drive. It’s ridiculous that Apple can’t figure out cloud file sharing and management like all of these others after all of these years.

    Personally, I would love to be in an all Apple ‘ecosystem’ and not having any of these other accounts.

    1. Apple’s leadership is dumb enough to think that anyone with expensive Apple hardware is also willing to pay a premium for inferior (less versatile, more limiting) services just because they have the Apple brand name. They are dead wrong.

  2. Dropbox works. I have used it for years to access and update files from my iPhone, iPad, and Macs. The Finder integration works. I can selectively choose which files/folders to have in the Finder. I can choose which files to save offline on my iPhone or iPad.

    iCloud is a moving target. Who knows how it will work tomorrow?

    1. Same here. I’ve used the free option (2gb) of Dropbox for years and it has performed flawlessly. All of my desktop and mobile devices are connected and I couldn’t ask for much better.

      Dropbox is the way to go for sharing quickly and easily among devices.

      I rely on iCloud as well but it is just not as straightforward and simple as Dropbox.

  3. Glenn Fleishman, a Senior Contributor of Macworld is missing the point as well as you few who see his point of view. Apple’s iCloud is serving the personal needs of the Apple user. It allows you to save and transfer your personal files conveniently. Dropbox and The Box are public file servers where you can share or transport files publicly. Such as send huge files to your office or to your business contacts. Pushing Apple to fill your business needs means you are asking for a business server, nevermind the cost. Why would you mix your personal files with public files, unless you are careless.

    1. I don’t think that’s what people are asking for with iCloud.

      Personally, what I’d like is for it to work for more than simply email, syncing a few items across devices, and storage. I’d like to think of it as a virtual space where I could do a number of things on any device without restriction or hassle. For example, I’d like to take a picture on my phone, maybe later compose it in a Pages document that I’d started earlier to send out to friends or family. Sure, I can do all of this now, but it’s cumbersome and feels like a kludge. Not all features in iWorks match their desktop or iPad counterparts (this is poor and should be addressed). Syncing images and libraries for images is not straightforward either depending on which device you have. Plus, their file management system stinks, likely one of the worst computer implementations ever.

      The point is, these other solutions do so much more outside of the Apple ‘ecosystem’ so, it’s technically possible for them to be better, but for some reason iCloud simply is not.

  4. With 116,000 employees, I expect more than just one to two product updates a year or a single version release for MacOS/iOS. Many things Apple has initiated have been lost and left to languish in the iPhone shuffle/emphasis the company seems to have had in recent years.

    Here’s my list of things that have sucked for years that Apple has made:

    Safari (desktop)
    Any laptop

    That leaves them doing only ‘okay’ with iPhones and iPads in my book. The rest of this stuff has languished and only gets updated when there’s enough public pressure or they want to brag about some new feature that one of the software solutions extends to iOS some how (e.g. “You now can do xxx with your iPhone through [fill in the blank, e.g. iCloud, Photos, iMovie, et al]!” That’s when things get updated.

    I remember when Apple was firing on all cylinders. Even if things they introduced didn’t work very well, they set about making them better almost immediately with many more frequent updates than we’re seeing these days. It seemed like all of the software was improving most of the time so, that the devices functionality only improved. You could count on a process of constant improvement. Where has that gone?

      1. So you must love:
        Airport Express,
        In fact all Apple WiFi routers,
        11′ Mac Air,
        Not needing dongles with you Mac,
        Magnetic Charging Cable with your Mac,
        Your 2017 Mac Pro,
        I could go on but you get my point.

        Don’t get me wrong, what Apple does well Apple does really well. I am typing this on my 2009 Mac Pro and I love it, (upgradable, internal storage on separate disks), but I would upgrade to a newer Mac Pro if it existed. However, Apple have left products/services behind that a lot of users were using and needed. Today Apple is really a phone manufacture with a few sidelines.

        And by the way, I think Windows sucks too.

      2. No, I won’t use Windows, it sucks way too much to ever do that. However, I’m like “John” using really old Apple hardware and haven’t bought anything except a few iPhones in the last few years. I would have bought more as most of my stuff needs replacing, but they don’t really have anything new that I want. Most of the “new” stuff isn’t really new either, it’s two year old tech or more in some cases and if I’m going to buy that, I’m not paying their premium for it. New stuff should be new, not new old stuff.

        Their software has really suffered, hence the point of these posts to this story. Why use Dropbox or something else when Apple could easily do the same or better, but just hasn’t. Do you remember when S. Jobs wanted to buy Dropbox, but they wouldn’t sell and he told the creator, he’d make iCloud so good Dropbox wouldn’t have a chance?

        Well, that’s my point. I’ve been waiting for Pages to have parity to the old Pages for years. I use Pages a lot and the new Pages still isn’t anywhere near what the old Pages was, but we were promised it would be.

        Also, look at the clusterfsk iTunes still is.

        I rest my case.

  5. I am not using any of them 😀 My favourite service is MyAirBridge (www.myairbridge.com). With this online service you can send up to 20 GB totally for free, without any registration and with the highest possible encryption during the transfer.

  6. Synology for the easy win.

    If you don’t have the keys to the encryption, then your files on someone else’s server are not guaranteed to be protected. Don’t assume otherwise.

  7. I’d like to remind everyone that if you Just want to share large files, sending up to 2 GB by Apple’s Mail app on the Mac is possible (or is it 1 Gb??). It sends a link to anybody not using a Mac and allows them to download it directly from Apple servers. I know, it’s not the same as Dropbox, but it’s a way to share large files.

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