Today I got an email reaffirming what I knew was coming. iDisk is going away at the end of June (June 30, 2012 to be exact). I’ve been investigating alternatives for a while in order to figure out what will replace the trusted, secure, service that was iDisk. After many experiments: My recommendation is Dropbox. It is the easiest to use alternative that is as much like, if not way better, than iDisk. They give you 2GB free with many options paid and free to expand that. I’ve tried Box.net for a free 50GB, but their lack of desktop client and integration makes them as useless as iCloud for me in the iDisk replacement arena.
Storage & Cost
Despite the amazing desktop client I’ll get into in a minute. You get 2GB free on sign up (plus 250MB if you use a referral, here’s my referral > http://db.tt/lNA0KLKd ) As an alternative to iDisk, their 50GB paid account is $99/yr which is a 30GB increase from iDisk. As a free account holder you can get up to 16GB in 500MB increments for each referral. There are also team accounts for business in which for a varying fee you get from 1TB – 3TB to share with your team of users. Each user in a team has their own private Dropbox, the only thing shared is any folder specifically shared, see below. Pricing and specifics are available here: https://www.dropbox.com/pricing
Integration & Usability
The most outstanding feature of Dropbox is how easy it is to use. The desktop client makes it seamless when saving and accessing files on your desktop, laptop, iOS device, PC, or Android device, everything is both in the cloud as well as local so it’s fast and backed-up off-site. So your files are accessible wherever you need them and are always safely backed up on Dropbox’s servers. What’s even more impressive is the ability to share things with others. This is the aspect I’ve really grown to love about this service.
I can only speak to integration with iOS (iPhone/iPad) but it’s pretty awesome. Any file in your Dropbox is available on your device, most can be opened in the app itself, if not in supporting apps. iWork files can be thrown over to Numbers/Pages/Keynote, edited, then re-uploaded to Dropbox (direct integration is not yet available but you can email the saved file to yourself, then upload from email back to Dropbox).
Share and Collaborate
There are several levels of sharing the power of the options is still becoming clear to me.
Quick and Easy: Files & Folders, no Dropbox account needed
You can share a single file or folder with a simple right-click > ‘Get Link’, this copies a link that anyone you send it to can use to access that file or folder, without needing a Dropbox account. It’s viewable or downloadable in any modern browser right there. This makes exchanging files far easier than dealing with FTP non-sense.
Collaboration between Dropbox accounts: Work together with the best version control available
You can ‘share’ a folder to other Dropbox users. They can see that folder in their Dropbox account and add files, delete files, modify files. All changes you will see reflected in your the same folder in your own Dropbox. Dropbox also saves each saved version, so through the website you can recover/revert to any version of a file quickly and easily, even if it was overwritten or deleted. [some restrictions apply on free accounts, but this is an amazing feature]
Also if you have multiple accounts, you can share folder from one to another. You can also change ownership of a folder, so if you make a folder in one account, share it to another, and loose the other account (say a paid work account) you can transfer ownership of the folders you need back to your personal account.