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iDrive cloud storage review

A comprehensive and polished cloud storage solution

iDrive Review
(Image: © iDrive)

Our Verdict

While iDrive certainly has a few rough edges, you can't really fault the service in terms of the ground it covers and the high reliability. For either a personal or business customer, it's definitely worth a close look for those looking for the best cloud storage solution.

For

  • Works on a whole range of devices
  • End-to-end encryption option
  • Choice of backup methods

Against

  • Software could use a revamp
  • Not the cheapest option
  • Some options very well hidden

TechRadar Verdict

While iDrive certainly has a few rough edges, you can't really fault the service in terms of the ground it covers and the high reliability. For either a personal or business customer, it's definitely worth a close look for those looking for the best cloud storage solution.

Pros

  • + Works on a whole range of devices
  • + End-to-end encryption option
  • + Choice of backup methods
  • +

Cons

  • - Software could use a revamp
  • - Not the cheapest option
  • - Some options very well hidden

A comprehensive, user-friendly cloud backup and cloud storage service, iDrive can back up all of your PCs, Macs, mobiles, and tablets from the convenience of a single account. Plans offered include personal, small business, and enterprise use, and can back up servers as well as personal devices, which makes it one of the most versatile cloud storage options out there.

The pricing strategy does make iDrive a very reasonable proposition, although the cost does go up for those that need the business features – such as user management and so on. At the higher tiers it becomes a more expensive solution than the likes of Google Drive and Dropbox, though it does offer a more comprehensive set of features to justify the higher price tag.

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IDrive

1. IDrive is the best cloud storage provider
IDrive, the cloud storage veteran, delivers tons of storage online for an incredibly small outlay. 5TB for $3.98 for the first year is unmatched till now and so is the support for unlimited devices and the extensive file versioning system available.

pCloud pCloud

2. pCloud provides a lifetime cloud storage subscription
The Swiss-based company is more expensive than the competition but the one-off payment means that you won't have to worry about renewal fees that can be very horrendously expensive. $350 for 10 years is less than $3 per month.


iDrive features

It’s really hard to accuse iDrive of being short on features. For example, there's Snapshots, which lets you store up to 30 different versions of your files, an Express service that lets you put your data on hard drives and actually post them off, and the ability to create full disk images in case you need to rebuild a computer from scratch.

Then there's also some less obvious functions, including that iDrive only uploads modified parts of files to reduce bandwidth usage, the way data gets retained until you specifically delete it, or the extensive set of activity logs and reports you can access. For team managers, there is multiple user management, which is straightforward to configure as well.

This is all on top of the core functionality, which backs up an unlimited number of various devices – computers, mobile phones, servers – to a single account. If necessary, it can also back up data from mapped drives on a network. Meanwhile, the iDrive web portal makes short work for managing all of these devices together in one place, although we would point out that it is a little on the basic side.

In addition to the standard features that will appeal to everyone, there are several aimed at organizations with larger, more complex requirements (including server cloud backups covering Linux, Oracle, Sharepoint, MS SQL, Exchange Server and more). iDrive includes bare-metal disaster recovery, which is the business-grade solution to ransomware. Help with new data standards can be found as well, via encryption and date stamping for those in the medical, accounting, and legal professions.

iDrive

(Image credit: iDrive)

iDrive interface

When signing up for iDrive, you will need to install apps for Windows, macOS, Android and iOS, though the desktop clients are the most impressive in terms of polish and features. You can have iDrive backup your entire hard drive (or phone) or just specific files and folders, and run backups manually or on a schedule. The goal here is very much "set and forget" – get everything set up the way you like, and then let it work quietly away in the background.

Another feature is the Dropbox-style sync feature as well, for keeping certain folders in sync between all of your devices. There are intuitive menus and settings screens that make it clear how to create the configurations you need. It’s also great that it is simple to use, as you don't need to have an IT degree or to even consult the help documentation to figure out how to do the vast majority of tasks.

The iDrive programs have a ton of settings as well. The Android client is able to back up everything from your SMS messages to your contacts, while the desktop client allows granular adjustments for bandwidth throttling, file and folder exclusion, data verification and more. You can even pause a backup if the battery level on your laptop or your phone drops below a certain level.

Backing up files to the cloud and then restoring them again was quite quick, and just about as fast as we could expect given the limitations of our internet connection, especially the upload speed. In other words, it's unlikely that iDrive will be the bottleneck.

iDrive

(Image credit: iDrive)

iDrive security

On top of two-factor authentication, iDrive provides end-to-end encryption for your data. Be cautioned that this requires a private key known only to you, so don’t you forget it, or you can't get anything back. It also means that you won't be able to share files and folders with other people, as this will break the end-to-end encryption protocols.

Another option is standard encryption, which isn't quite as secure, but will still protect your data against most potential breaches. In this scenario, iDrive stores the encryption key, and can help you restore your data if needed as well as potentially hand over your files if compelled to by law enforcement. The other advantage is that you get to use the file and folder sharing features with this setting.

iDrive Pricing

(Image credit: iDrive)

iDrive pricing

iDrive does offer a free tier without requiring you to provide any credit card details. However, you only get 5GB of storage space, and you're pretty limited in terms of the features you have access to. 

The personal plan gives you 5TB from $79.50 a year or 10TB from $99.50 a year (although there is a limited time offer in the screenshot above), while the Team plan offers between 5TB and 50TB for $99.50 to $999.50 a year, with options for two year plans. 

The Business plan offers unlimited users and devices, with pricing starting from $99.50 for a year, going up to $799.50 for 2.5TB of space.

Those prices vary depending on how long you sign up for, and don't take into account the various special offers and deals that iDrive likes to run – if you check the site now you may find that prices are lower- as we did. Choosing the business account rather than a personal one also gives you extra features such as server backups, multiple user management, and access to priority support.

iDrive verdict

iDrive gets high scores for the sheer breadth of services offered – from backing up the photos on your smartphone to backing up the files on your company's servers. The software packages and various interfaces aren't the best ever, but they get the job done without any fanfare.

For those that have a lot of devices with data that needs to be secured at reasonable prices, then iDrive could well be the service for you. It has a great feature set that covers a lot of ground, with enough security protection and extra features such as folder sync and bandwidth controls to satisfy the majority of users.

David Nield

Dave is a freelance tech journalist who has been writing about gadgets, apps and the web for more than two decades. On TechRadar you'll find him covering news, features and reviews, particularly for phones, tablets and wearables.