If you’re looking for a secure way to store your photos, videos, and artwork, it’s worth taking a close look at iDrive. This platform offers 5 TB and 10 TB cloud storage plans for an unlimited number of devices, including external hard drives. It also supports syncing files across your devices and sharing projects with collaborators.
So, is this the best cloud storage platform for creatives? In our iDrive review, we’ll cover everything you need to know to decide.
- What is cloud storage? Read our guide to find out why it's good for creatives
Plans and pricing
iDrive offers a free plan that includes 5 GB of cloud storage, which is essentially a free trial so you can test-drive the platform. An iDrive Personal plan costs $79.50 per year for 5TB of storage or $99.50 per year for 10TB. You get 25% off your first year, or 90% off if you’re switching from a competing cloud backup and storage service.
iDrive also has a Business plan, which starts at $99.50 per year for 250 GB of storage. The advantage of this plan is that it offers unlimited user accounts. However, it’s prohibitively expensive for individuals and small teams.
For comparison, Google Drive offers 2TB of storage for $99.99 per year. So iDrive is a relatively good deal if you can use several terabytes of storage.
iDrive isn’t built specifically for photographers and designers. But its feature set makes it ideal for anyone working with a large number of files.
Backup and sync
The core feature of iDrive is cloud backup and sync. With this software, you can back up photos, video clips, documents, and anything else from an unlimited number of computers and mobile devices. You can also set iDrive to automatically back up files from an external hard drive whenever it’s connected, which is a huge plus if you store your media files off your computer to save space.
Once files are in the iDrive cloud, they are automatically synced across your devices. This enables you to easily work across multiple devices without worrying about whether you have the latest version of your files available.
Importantly, backups with iDrive are continuous and incremental. This means your files are backed up as soon as you start making changes to them, so you can never lose a whole session’s worth of work. In addition, uploads happen quickly because iDrive only transfers data in your file that has changed in the latest version. That can dramatically cut down on the amount of data transferred to and from the cloud when editing images and videos.
One of the common problems that creatives face when choosing a new cloud backup service is that initially uploading thousands of multimedia files can take days or weeks. iDrive skirts this problem with iDrive Express. Once per year (three times per year for Business users), you can mail in a physical hard drive with all of your files, and iDrive will add them to your cloud account directly.
This is also key if your computer crashes or if you are hit with a ransomware attack. iDrive can mail you a hard drive with all of your data, enabling you to restore your system via USB instead of spending weeks downloading files from the cloud. This quick recovery is especially key if you’re a small business owner who will lose money every day you can’t work on your files.
Note that if you need to use iDrive Express more than once per year, iDrive charges $59.95 per mailing.
iDrive offers a desktop interface and mobile app, both of which are relatively straightforward to use. The desktop app is split into Backup, Restore, Scheduler, and Sync tabs that make it easy to navigate iDrive’s capabilities.
One thing we don’t love is that syncing requires you to place files inside a dedicated sync folder on your computer. If you already have an organizational system for your multimedia files, reorganizing them around the sync folder can be a headache.
The iDrive mobile app (for iOS and Android) is nice because you can easily choose what types of mobile data to back up. Options include photos, music, video clips, text messages, and more. While most users might just want to back everything up, this design is helpful if you want to limit your iDrive storage to strictly multimedia files.
iDrive takes security extremely seriously. Your data is encrypted with 256-bit AES encryption both during transfer and at rest on iDrive’s servers. That’s more secure than platforms like Google Drive, which don’t encrypt your data during upload and download.
The catch is that your encryption key lives only on your computer. So if you ever lose or forget your password, iDrive won’t be able to de-encrypt your files. It’s therefore essential that you keep a copy of your iDrive password in a safe place.
Another plus for iDrive is that your files are stored on multiple data centers across the US. That means your files will be safe even if one server or, for that matter, an entire data center, fails unexpectedly.
iDrive offers support by phone, email, and live chat. Live chat is available 24/7, while phone and email support are available Monday to Friday, 6 am to 11:30 pm Pacific.
iDrive also has an online knowledgebase that’s very detailed. However, the tutorials aren’t searchable, so it can be hard to find answers to basic questions.
IDrive: Robust cloud backup and storage
iDrive is a fairly affordable cloud backup and storage platform with a lot to offer. Although this platform isn’t built with creatives in mind, the continuous backup and sync features make it easy to work on photo, video, and design files across devices. In addition, iDrive Express is an important asset for cutting down the time it takes to initially back up your files or restore your whole media library after a hard drive crash.
On the whole, there’s not much to dislike about iDrive. Whether you’re an individual just starting to build your media library or a small business owner, this platform is an excellent cloud storage solution.
- Read our guide to the best cloud storage services