iDrive gives you the best of both worlds with cloud backup and file syncing. An initial 5GB free is more than enough to get users started and hooked to iDrive. There is a separate sync folder, and the rest of the files are just backed up. With private encryption and Windows Explorer integration, iDrive leaves nothing to be desired.
Though it doesn’t provide unlimited storage like the other cloud backup services, you will hardly miss it with all the other features.
Plans start at $44.62 for one year for 1 TB of storage space.
Founded by Rahul Kulkarni in 2007, iDrive now has over 150 employees, and it is headquartered in Los Angeles. The company claims to have backed up over 50 Petabytes from 3 million users all around the world.
Providing both backup and syncing services, its main competitors are Crashplan, Carbonite and of course, Dropbox.
Who Should Use iDrive?
iDrive attracts a wide variety of users. First of all, it provides 5GB free storage, no strings attached. This could be extremely beneficial for personal users who are just looking for free a storage service to store some of their data for easy access. iDrive also has file syncing, but it doesn’t have a fixed sync folder like Dropbox and OneDrive. Instead, users can define any folder on their drive as the sync folder which could save a lot of time copying data from here to there.
And, iDrive also allows unlimited machines to be connected to a single account which could come in handy for business users to store all their data on a single account. The only thing that you might miss at this point is unlimited storage.
- Backup scheduling
- Social Media Backup
- File syncing
- File versioning
- File sharing
- Private encryption
- Incremental backup
- Remote management
Backup and Restoration
Signing up and downloading iDrive is relatively straightforward. The setup file is small, and it will hardly take you seconds. Once you have installed and signed into iDrive, it will automatically detect all your important folders including My Documents, Pictures, and Music, and it will start backing them up. But you can modify these folders too and select which ones you would want to back up. Though do remember that if you don’t change the folders right away, iDrive will start uploading the folders selected by default.
While installing it also gives you an option to choose your custom encryption key, this is a crucial step to safeguard your data. By choosing your key, you create an extra layer of security around your data. All the data is first encrypted on the local system with the help of the custom encryption and then its uploaded to the server. Because of encryption, the upload and download process gets slowed down a bit.
iDrive also has a backup scheduling option which lets you schedule backup according to your convenience. You can select which days of the week backup should be done. There is also an option to get an email notification when all the files have been backed up or when there is a backup failure.
Apart from that, there is also an option called Continuous Data Protection. This option makes sure all your important files are backed up every 10 minutes. There is also another option called Real-time backup which uploads a copy of the file to the server as soon as it is modified by the user on the local machine.
If you do not want to upload data online, you can pay a surcharge price to get 1 TB external hard disk from iDrive. You can fill this disk with all the data that needs to be backed up and send it back to iDrive. The company will then upload your data to your account automatically.
In order to restore data, you would have to enter your encryption key. You can also choose to restore a different version of the file. Data restoration is done through both web app and desktop software.
File Syncing & Sharing
As we mentioned before, file syncing is present in iDrive. In fact, iDrive has a dedicated folder as the sync folder. Only files inside sync folder are synced with the other local machines, and the rest of the files will just be backed up. The sync folder can be modified, and it can be any folder on the hard drive.
Coming to sharing, it is rather limited in the app. It’s not exactly the way you would want it to be, but it does provide an option to share your files on social media and through email.
Privacy and Security
iDrive has a 256-bit AES encryption. It also provides a private encryption, which means the users can define their encryption key that is not sent to the iDrive server and none of the iDrive employees would have access to it. But, it also means that you would lose all your data if you lose your encryption key.
Since the company is located in the United States, it has to follow all the norms set out by the government. All your data can be handed over to NSA, whenever they ask for it but the only good part is that, if you use your encryption key then the NSA will only have access to encrypted data and not the actual data. That is why it is highly advisable to encrypt your data with a secure key.
Web & Mobile App
The web app is fairly easy to use, but it does not have all the features of the desktop app. In fact, seeing it made us realize that iDrive has been developed keeping PC users in mind. But the desktop app does give you access to all the uploaded folders and the sync folder of your account. You can also upload or download the files in your account. Apart from that, you can buy or change your subscription plans.
Coming to the mobile app, it is full of powerful features. You can auto-upload photos and schedule your backup. When we tested the app on an Android, we found out that the app can access and upload all the files in your internal memory and SD card. It can also create separate folders for contacts and messages. There is also an option to save phone battery and decide whether you want to use the WiFi or mobile data. Users can also backup all the apps on their phone.
Plans and Pricing
Plans start at $44.62 for 1 TB per year; you also get 1 TB of syncing space. In case you were wondering, there are no monthly plans, and there are no unlimited plans as well. But the free 5 GB storage can help you decide whether you want to buy this service for a year or not. The highest plan available is for 10 TB, and it costs $374.62 for a year.
What is iDrive Missing?
Though iDrive does provide unlimited machines in a single account, it does not provide unlimited storage which can be a huge bummer for a lot of people. When compared to Crashplan and Carbonite, the only thing extra it provides is file syncing and to pay so much extra just for syncing can be a deal breaker. In fact, iDrive’s pricing plans are costlier than Dropbox and OneDrive.
Backblaze provides unlimited cloud storage for just $5 per month. It also has limited file syncing. Backblaze is a completely automated cloud backup service. And this would prove to be a great alternative if you are focused more towards backup and less towards syncing.
Dropbox is a complete file syncing service which provides up to 16 GB storage space free of costs. Its features include fast speed, easy file sharing and integration with Microsoft Office. But, Dropbox cannot provide you the same security as iDrive.
iDrive is a great cloud service for users who are still confused about whether to get a backup service, a file syncing service, or both. With iDrive, you don’t have to distribute your data to two different services, and you will never feel utterly confused again. We would recommend giving it a test run with the free 5 GB and see how it works out.
- Free Storage: 5 GB
- Free Trial: No
- System: Windows and Mac
- Price: Starting at $8.69/month
- Mobile Apps: iOS, Android
- Synchronization: Separate Sync folder
- Free External HD Backup: Yes
- Continuous Backup: Yes
- Incremental Backup: Yes
- Backup Scheduling: Yes
- Bare Metal Backup: No
- Exclude File Extensions for Backup: Yes
- Network Drives: Yes
- Bandwidth Throttling: Yes
- Web Access: Yes
- HIPAA Compliant: No
- File Size Limit: No limit
- Included Machines: Unlimited
- Local Encryption: 256-bit
- Server Side Encryption: 256-bit
- Keeps deleted files: For an unlimited period
- File Versioning: 30 versions
- File Sharing: Yes
- Multiple Accounts: Yes
- Share Photo Albums: Yes
- Music Streaming: No
- Folder Collaboration: Yes
- Outlook Backup: Yes