The Best Free Cloud Storage Apps
Best for Microsoft users: OneDrive
This one probably isn’t a huge surprise, as Microsoft has been working hard to make sure OneDrive is closely integrated into many of its products over the last few years. At its most basic, OneDrive is free online storage similar to that offered by Google Drive.
It’s free for limited (up to 5 GB of storage) personal use, but you’ll need to pay some cash to up that limit. The $100 per year package includes 5 TB of file storage and access to Office 365 Home edition. If you don’t need up to five users, the $70 per year option offering 1 TB of storage and Office 365 Personal will be ideal.
Best for the average user: Google Drive
This might feel like a bit of a no-brainer for an Android user, but Google Drive offers a range of worthwhile features, as well as being the de-facto cloud storage option available on a new phone.
Perhaps the best part about using Google Drive for storage, however, is the Google Photos storage, which allows you unlimited image backups at a reduced resolution or choose to back up full-resolution snaps that count towards your overall storage quota.
Best for simplicity: Dropbox
Dropbox has been a firm favorite on Android for many years now, despite its somewhat limited free storage capacity of 2 GB – this can be expanded though by doing things like leaving feedback, following the company and referring friends without spending any cash.It’s by no means the cheapest storage option available, but a wide-range of desktop apps, integration with other services and its own set of business-focused tools are all designed to make sharing files and collaborative work a whole lot easier than it was in the past. If you’re a business user that’s not already tied to Microsoft or Google’s tools, Dropbox picks up the slack.
Best for small businesses: Box
Box is free from the Google Play Store and similar in approach to Dropbox as a proposition. It offers 10 GB of free space with a 250 MB upload limit. Beyond this, you can pay $10 per month for up to 100 GB of cloud storage and a 5GB file upload limit.If that’s not enough space, business plans that cost from $5 per user per month offer the ability to add more space, but come with the requirement of having a minimum of three users subscribed.
Where Box’s Android app was once a feature-free affair, it now offers all the options you’d expect to see in a cloud storage app, including offline access to specific files and a particular focus on making it easy for you to collaborate on documents while away from a desktop.
Best for people willing to earn free space: MediaFire
MediaFire offers up to 50 GB of free space, which is a good amount of free storage, but you only get 12 GB to begin and have to earn the rest through things like referrals, if you don’t want to hand over any cash.The Android app offers automatic camera backup for photos and videos, and you can preview documents and listen to audio files from within it too. It’s not perfect, however, and is by no means the simplest or most pleasant to use.
If you want to spring for up to 1 TB of storage, it costs $3.75 per month currently if you choose an annual subscription, or $5 per month for a rolling payment plan.
Best signup bonus: MEGA
MEGA gives you a generous 50 GB just for signing up, but also offers a focus on privacy that the others in this list don’t shout as loudly about.
In short, what that means is that all your files are encrypted and decrypted on your device and not by MEGA’s servers, keeping your private information private. It does come with the added complexity of bandwidth limitations though.
If you need more than the 50 GB of storage that’s available for free, you can pay between €4.99 and €29.99 per month for up to 4 TB of space and 8 TB of bandwidth. If you value your privacy and don’t need more than 50 GB, it’s worth checking out as a free user.
Best for creating a private cloud: Resilio Sync
If you want the functionality of cloud storage without actually entrusting your data to remote cloud storage systems, Resilio Sync is one way of creating something that approximates a private cloud that works without a connection to the internet.Resilio Sync lets you use peer-to-peer technology to connect your Android, PC, NAS device or other server for automatic backup and syncing of various file types without sending your files to a third-party for storage. The downside, perhaps also the upside however, is that there are no file storage limits – only what you have available across your connected devices.
The drain on battery life will put some people off, but given that you tend to use this app when in your home or office, that shouldn’t really be too much of a problem. Resilio Sync is free to download for device-to-device transfers, but if you want to hook up all your devices, use selective sync options and the ability to change file permissions on the fly, you’ll want to make the one-time $39 payment for the Pro package – this is for lifetime access, not monthly or annually.