While iPhone users have iCloud, Android owners have Google Drive. Or if they feel like paying a bit more, they can have Google One: a subscription service that ups the storage space, and provides discounts, extra support and multi-user family plans.
It also, crucially, allows users to back up their Android phone. But now Google has not only made this previously paid feature free for every Android user wherever Google One is available, it’s extended the offer to iPhone users too.
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“If you have an iPhone, we’re introducing a new iOS app that lets you store photos, videos, contacts, and calendar events with Google,” wrote Larissa Fontaine, director of Google One in a blog post. “If you break, lose, or upgrade your phone, you can rest easy knowing that your data is safe in the cloud.”
Why would you use Google’s option over Apple’s? Well, the amount of storage for one thing. Free iCloud accounts come with just 5GB of storage, where Google’s come with 15GB.
Still, while both are generous as free options go, neither would completely back up even the lowest capacity iPhone 11 which has 64GB of internal storage. Obviously you can pick and choose what’s essential to back up, or alternatively you can look at upgrading the capacity.
On iCloud, upgrading to 50GB will set you back 99c/79p per month, while you can get 2TB for $9.99/£6.99. For Google, you’re looking at $1.99/£1.59 for 100GB or $9.99/£7.99 for 2TB. Not much in it, then: it may come down to which ecosystem you’re more heavily invested in.
Alternatively, you could try and be sneaky and split your backups between the two free services, for a cumulative 20GB of cloud storage. That might sound too fiddly for a $2 per month saving, of course, but if you’re determined to back things up without paying then it’s an option.
It will be interesting to see what kind of uptake Google has for iPhones. Apple iCloud is pushed pretty hard from the moment you setup your iPhone for the first time, whereas the Google option will require you to find the app and download it. Still, for those in the know, it’s certainly a nice additional option to have.