In this guide, we will show you which are currently the best apps with a personal and free Cloud space (therefore not corporate), with the ability to synchronize files between PC and smartphone, which are secure services, with high levels of encryption and protection of personal data.
Best free cloud
A cloud service, therefore, is super useful for keeping a copy of your most important files such as photos or documents, for creating a multimedia file archive made up of music and movies, for sharing files between different computers and with other people.
The best clouds with online space for files must not only be fast uploads and file transfers, but they must also ensure full privacy and data security, with the double guarantee that personal files are never removed and that they are not visible even by company employees. Below, we see the best cloud services that offer free storage, reliable and safe, which also have related apps for Android phones and tablets, iPhones, and iPads.
If we don’t know what cloud means and how it works, we invite you to read our guide What does “Cloud” mean.
One of the best free cloud services is without a doubt Google Drive.
Google Drive offers 15 GB of free space with any Google account. We take into account that if we have a Google, Gmail, or Android account, we already have a ready-to-use account on Google Drive and all Google services share the same space (so in the 15GB there will also be emails, documents, spreadsheets, etc.).
Google Drive also has, within it, the Google Docs applications (Documents, Sheets, and Slides) and, thanks to Google Drive apps and extensions we can transform Google’s cloud service into a complete and efficient cloud platform, even for business. Google Drive can be downloaded as an app for iPhone and Android and as a program for PC and Mac for file synchronization.
Google Drive can be easily expanded thanks to Google One, paying € 2 per month (for 100GB of additional space) or, for the most demanding, € 10 per month (for 2TB).
Although Google Drive has quickly become synonymous with the cloud, we cannot overlook the qualities of the cloud offered by Microsoft OneDrive.
OneDrive is the cloud service available for Windows PC, Mac, Android, and iPhone, which has the great advantage of being already installed in Windows 10. OneDrive offers 5 GB of free space for all new subscribers (while the old ones, depending on when are enrolled or after purchasing a Surface, they can find 7 or even 25 GB of space without spending a penny).
OneDrive works very well on Windows 10 (where it can be used as any folder on your computer or as a backup destination) and integrates with Office programs natively, so we can save our important documents automatically (but only if we have Microsoft 365 active).
Currently, it is possible to expand the free space offered by OneDrive by activating a subscription to Microsoft 365, with prices starting from 69 € per year (for 1 TB); if we are only interested in the cloud space we can always buy the OneDrive 100 GB subscription for € 2 per month.
The global “cloud pioneer” is Dropbox, which has effectively pioneered the use of the cloud in the offices and computers of all users.
Dropbox is available for all platforms, providing apps for smartphones and tablets (with automatic photo synchronization) and synchronization programs for PCs (file transfer between various PCs and devices). This cloud service is still among the most popular today for its reliability and data transfer speed, despite the obvious limitations of space offered for free (only 2GB).
Dropbox is a commercial cloud service widely used by companies also because it can be expanded through various applications for Dropbox, which allows us to significantly expand productivity in smart working.
If we decide to focus on Dropbox, it is convenient right away to add a Plus subscription, which at a cost of € 9.99 per month (billed annually) allows you to access 2TB of encrypted cloud storage.
Among the free cloud services with the largest storage space, MEGA certainly stands out.
MEGA allows you to upload free online up to a capacity of 50 GB; compared to the past, however, not all the space is immediately offered, but we will have to follow some objectives in order to get this huge “online virtual disk”. In addition to space, we will also have to take into account the amount of data transferred with our account, limited to 100 GB (data exchanged in and out). All files are protected with end-to-end encryption when sharing a file or directory with other people.
In addition to the Android and iPhone apps, files can be synced to MEGA’s cloud drive with the program Mega Sync.
If we want to get more space and more transfer data, we can subscribe to one of the available subscriptions, with prices starting from € 4.99 per month (for 400GB).
Another free and very interesting cloud service for home and business use is Box.
The box is one of the most popular cloud services for many years, a competitor of Dropbox for paid plans, offering 10 GB of free space for new subscribers. The flaw with Box is that it is not really the most convenient for single users being very business-oriented. In addition, the free plan has a limit of single uploads, with a limit on the maximum size of each file of 250 MB.
If we want to use Box at home or on mobile devices, just sign up for a subscription of € 9 per month, so as to have 100GB of space and upload files up to 5GB. If, on the other hand, we want to use Box in the office or in collaboration with our work team, we must subscribe to one of the Business plans starting from € 4.5 per month.
Other free cloud apps
In addition to the cloud services seen so far (in fact the most famous and used in the world), we can also try those present in the following list, so that we can expand our needs and use even more clouds together:
- Apple iCloud is the cloud space offered on all Apple devices (iPhone, iPad, Mac, etc.). Basically, it offers only 5GB of usable space for free, but we can quickly expand it by choosing one of the subscriptions that can be directly associated with the Apple account used on the iPhone, iPad, or any other Apple device.
- PCloud is a little known name, but a great cloud service for several years that has some very important features. First of all, you can sign up for an account and get 10GB of free space right away, which you can increase to 20GB by inviting friends to join. The cloud space, then, is perfect to be used to save music and videos, since it is then possible to listen to streaming music or watch videos without downloading them from the pCloud apps for Android and iPhone (also with Chromecast support). PCloud also offers a portion of its space to store files in an encrypted folder, so no one will know what’s inside. PCloud does not impose restrictions on the size of a file, so you can upload whatever you want until it fills the available space.
- HubiC is another cloud service that offers plenty of free space (25 GB) to use as you want, to save online videos, photos, films, and files of all kinds. 100 GB of extra space costs only 1 Euro per month. HubiC has its own apps for Android, iPhone, and programs to synchronize files on Windows PC, Mac, and Linux.
- Icedrive is a new encrypted and secure cloud service that offers users 10GB of free space, with the ability to go up to 100TB with the most expensive subscription, making it the largest cloud computer that can be activated at the moment.
If we want to use the cloud to save the photographs taken with the smartphone, all the cloud services on this page have been outclassed by Google Photos, which offers loading on the unlimited cloud at default quality (photos do not take up space on Google Drive as long as uploaded at the quality chosen by Google). However, the Cloud has been able to carve out a leading role in many scenarios, to the point of becoming practically indispensable for anyone who often works with files to share with a work team (especially in smart working mode) or to be made available to many people at the same time (for distance learning).
Don’t forget that it’s possible to Create a personal Cloud Server on your PC, unlimited and free is turn your computer into a “cloud” file server. Are we looking for other innovative tools to support the cloud in smart working or in distance learning? We recommend that you read our guides Smart working programs for working from home is Distance learning: programs for online school lessons.