Which Cloud Storage is Best for Your iPad or Tablet?

Which Cloud Storage is Best for Your iPad or Tablet?

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Cloud storage is arguably the easiest way to expand your iPad or tablet’s storage capabilities. Besides the precious gigabytes of free storage, cloud storage also serves as an affordable built-in backup for your important data. If anything happens to your gadget, the files you store in the cloud remain intact, ready for you to restore.

And with the rapid tech evolution, cloud services are now more than just expanding your storage options. They’re also about collaboration—whether collaboration means getting your laptop to see the same files as your smartphone or working on documents with colleagues. The ability to access all your digital content from multiple devices on-the-go is an immeasurable benefit.

Today, the experts at WirelessWizard have created a question-based guide to introduce you to the important aspects of cloud storage, including how it works, some best practices, and the best cloud storage options available for your iPad or tablet.

What is Cloud Storage?

Cloud storage lets you save files and data in an off-site location that you can access either via a dedicated private network or a public internet connection. It works by syncing your files to your tablet or iPad. This means downloading a cloud service app that creates a folder on your device’s storage. This folder is similar to any other folder you may find on a computer, except that files are regularly scanned and uploaded to a cloud server. The data you transfer to the off-site storage becomes the responsibility of a third-party provider—it hosts, manages, secures, and maintains the servers and all associated infrastructure to ensure access to data whenever you need it.

Cloud storage is often delivered on demand with just-in-time capacity and pay-as-you-go costs, eliminating the need to purchase and manage your own data storage infrastructure. The result is agility, durability, and global scale with “anytime, anywhere” data access.

Cloud storage utilizes servers to save data, which are virtual machines hosted on one physical server. As your storage capabilities expand, your provider creates new servers to satisfy your needs.

As part of cloud storage services, providers usually store the same data on different machines for redundancy. So, if a server suffers an outage or is taken down for maintenance, you can still retrieve your data.

What Can Cloud Storage Do for You?

As with most forms of cloud-based technology, cloud storage provides some distinct benefits including:

  • Quick implementation. Using cloud storage accelerates the process of setting up and beefing up your storage. You can provision the cloud storage service and start using it within days, if not hours—depending on the capacity involved.
  • Scalability. Growth constraints are arguably the most severe limitations of hardware-based storafe. Cloud storage services let you scale up as much as your needs expand—capacity is virtually unlimited.
  • Cost-effective data storage. Cloud storage uses a pay-as-you-go model so you’ll only pay for what you use. This lets you treat your cloud storage costs as an ongoing expense without the associated upfront investment.
  • Easy backup and recovery. A cloud storage service should provide seamless backup and recovery solutions. It regularly scans the files and data on your device, and uploads it to a data center for storage.
  • Increased collaboration. Cloud storage makes collaboration simple—co-workers can access and share information securely via a cloud-based platform. Other cloud-based services will also provide collaborative social spaces to connect employees across an organization.

How Much Does Cloud Storage Cost?

Cloud storage pricing models vary, but the amount you’ll pay depends. Cloud storage pricing is often based on the amount of storage space you need. With most providers, storage rates vary by the storage class of your data. Cloud storage providers will typically not charge you for a predetermined capacity, say the first 10–15 GB of storage, after which you can expect to pay as little as $0.010 per GB.

Providers may also factor account the number of users accessing the stored data and how often the data is accessed into their charges. They’ll charge differently based on whether your data needs added levels of security for regulatory compliance and privacy purposes.

Cloud storage provides services that are typically free to use up to a certain limit. Usage beyond the free limit will be charged according to your provider’s pricing system.

Cloud Storage Best Practices

Cloud storage is fairly easy to set up, so you’d be complacent with enforcing proper cloud storage policies. And although data in the cloud becomes the provider’s responsibility, it isn’t entirely risk free. Some of the cloud storage best practices you should take include:

  • Calculate your costs. Don’t always assume that cloud storage will be cheap. Understand your provider’s pricing model to avoid unpleasant surprises later on.
  • Organize files for storage. Sift through all the unwanted files you can throw away to retain only what’s important. Duplicate and cache files will create unneeded clutter and eat up your online storage.

Best Cloud Storage if All Your Gear is Apple: iCloud

Apple’s iCloud is an excellent all-purpose storage solution that’s already part of the fabric of every Apple device. This cloud storage shines in an iOS-centric world by providing ways to sync content between Macs and iOS devices, and use cloud-based apps like Keynote, Pages, Contacts, and Mail.

Apple iCloud really rules the roost with its refresh speed—it’s incredibly fast to retrieve a file you just uploaded into your iCloud Drive, not forgetting you can use it for iCloud photos. Sure, you can also store files related to specific iOS apps—provided the app developer has enabled this feature.

A free iCloud account offers 5GB of storage space, but you can bump up your storage with the $0.99 a month 50GB plan. Other pricing plans include $2.99 a month for 200GB and $9.99 a month for 2TB storage.

Best Cloud Storage Overall: Google One/Drive

iPad users can now enjoy a perk that Android users have long enjoyed—automatic phone backups to Google One. Google Drive gives significantly more storage space upfront—15GB of free storage—while giving the convenience of integration with a majority of Google’s services and apps. It provides the ability to back up your photos automatically, and is fairly quick when you need to preview documents. Syncing is also a breeze if you plan to edit your files using cloud-based apps like Google Sheets or Google Docs.

If you exhaust the free Google Drive storage, you can upgrade to 100GB for $1.99 a month, 200GB for $2.99 a month, or 2TB for $9.99 a month. The top tier gives you 30TB for $149.99 a month. All tiers above 100GB are usually marketed as “Google One.”

What About Dropbox?

You probably won’t realize that Dropbox has been around 5 years longer than Google Drive—and it offers the flexibility of using your cloud storage with a wide range of third-party services and apps. That said, you’ll start out with 2GB of free cloud storage upon signing up but you can upgrade to its Plus Plan that offers 2 TB for $9.99 a month or the Family Plan at $16.99 a month.

Dropbox lets you share single files or entire folders, and the recipient must not be a registered user. iOS and Android users can enjoy Dropbox app’s ease-of-use—simply drag files to the Dropbox folder and upload starts immediately. The app also lets you automatically upload photos to your Dropbox account, making them viewable on the web or your desktop.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Cloud Storage Safe?

It’s natural to wonder whether the data stored in cloud infrastructure is safe—after all the data isn’t under your control. Here’s the truth though: data stored in the cloud is more likely safer than what you store in your hard drive. Why so? First, the cloud servers are located in data centers very few people have access to. Second, files stored on cloud servers are usually encrypted.

Is it Worth Paying for Cloud Storage?

While you’ll often suffice your individual storage needs with a provider’s free plan, you may incur an extra cost to expand your storage capabilities. The extra cost is obviously worth it since it comes with additional perks like scalability (Dropbox Family Plan lets you add up to 6 users), seamless collaboration, and third-party app integration.

What is the Best Cloud Storage for Personal Use?

While preferences may vary, Google Drive is obviously an excellent option for personal use. You’ll get 15 GB of free storage upfront—which is built to work seamlessly with Google products. Collaboration with other users is incredibly simple and it’s available for iOS, Android, Mac or Windows users.

How Do I Free Up Space Without Deleting Apps?

Looking for ways to free up space without deleting apps? Here are our recommended quick fixes:

  • Clear cache. Most mobile apps use stored or cached data to provide a better user experience, including fast loading times—but there’s a trade-off, it eats into your precious space. Cached data isn’t strictly necessary, so you can delete it when there’s little space left on your phone.
  • Store your media files online. Photos and videos could hogg a lot of space on your iPad or tablet. In this case, you can upload them to your preferred cloud storage and then delete them from your device storage.
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