The Best Cloud Storage for Android Phones
Yes, Android phones have secure cloud storage for your photos and more—and that extra space on your device is just waiting for you to use it!
Most of us have come to accept that anything we do on our phones or computers could potentially be sent to “the cloud,” even if not everyone fully understands what that means. In the simplest terms, the cloud is like a giant file system that exists entirely on the Internet, as opposed to taking up space in your home or on your hard drive. This type of online storage allows you to make space on your device without deleting photos, for instance. But as with so many things, iOS and Android devices have different options when it comes to cloud computing. Plus, because “the cloud” isn’t a name brand, there are a number of companies that offer cloud storage based on your individual needs. So, what’s the best option for Android cloud storage for your phone? You’re about to find out!
Yes, Android phones have cloud storage
You may have thought about cloud storage in the past but mistakenly assumed that was something only afforded to Apple users. But according to Tyrone Pike, CEO and founder of FileShadow, Android users actually have several options available to them, whether they’re looking for the best cloud storage for photos or other types of data. “Individual apps such as Dropbox, Google Drive, and Box access the cloud through an Android device, providing direct management of those accounts through the phone,” he explains. While you’re learning more about your smartphone, you should also check out these hidden Android features you probably never knew about.
Benefits of using cloud storage for Android phones
Whether you’re an avid photo taker or you simply want to make sure all your files are backed up, cloud storage provides countless benefits for the personal and business user alike. “The biggest advantage of using cloud storage for Android phones is the seamless usability and accessibility of files that have access through that cloud storage,” says John Li, CTO of Fig Loans. That’s important because it means that anyone with an Android phone can have the convenience of sharing, viewing, editing, and copying files through cloud storage, as long as access is permitted by the authorized user.
Here are a few additional benefits as well:
- It’s free…up to a point: “Cost-effectiveness is another benefit of data storage in a cloud,” Li notes. “In most cases, there is a cap on size and storage limit, but it is otherwise free for use.”
- Ease of use: Storage is often as simple as a drag and drop of the file you wish to preserve.
- Security: “Security of access is also a huge benefit, and files can be secured fairly easily,” Li says. Plus, cloud storage can keep your files safer than they would be on your personal device. In fact, by saving to the cloud and offloading from your device, you’re able to reduce the risk that someone could get ahold of your device and easily access your personal information.
How vulnerable is your device? Read about the top mobile security threats of 2021.
Best cloud storage for Android phones
While all cloud programs offer benefits users might enjoy, it’s only natural that experts have their preferences, and Li is clear on his favorite. “Depending on the size of the files you’re looking to store, most Android users today use Google Drive or their Android phone’s own dedicated brand cloud storage options,” he says. “Google Drive is easily the best cloud storage, as it has been adopted by almost all Android phones.” You should be able to find Google Drive as a preinstalled app on any recently purchased Android.
Still, we thought we’d help you break down the pros and cons of the various options available—just in case Google Drive isn’t the right cloud for you.
One of the unique features of Amazon Drive is its cross-platform compatibility. This means that Amazon Drive can be used by iOS and Android devices alike, allowing you to file-share with friends and coworkers who don’t have Androids themselves.
“Another great benefit is that they offer unlimited photo storage,” Li adds. “This is great for photographers and individuals who are looking for free alternatives to store their photos.”
Pike notes a few other benefits. “For those who have Amazon Prime, Amazon Drive is already available,” he explains. “If you are a Prime member, you get unlimited storage for all your photos. In addition, they offer 5GB of free storage for a year.” Check out these other Amazon Prime benefits you might not know about.
One of the great things about Dropbox is that users can still access their files when working offline. “Files are accessible as long as they are marked for use offline and synchronized prior to losing a network signal on mobile devices,” Li explains. So, let’s say you’re getting ready to travel and won’t have Internet access for a period of time—you can mark the files you need as being available for offline work and still have them at your disposal. Speaking of traveling, here’s how to keep your devices safe on open Wi-Fi networks.
Another major benefit? “Its ability to keep all your files synced between multiple devices so you can move from PC to Android and see the latest revision of a file,” Pike says. “You can also share a file or folder with others just by sending them a link.” This is different from other cloud storage options, where all users typically need to be using the same cloud storage system in order to access what is stored. Anyone can access Dropbox files as long as they have an Internet-accessible device.
“A great benefit of OneDrive is its compatibility with the majority of Windows users,” Li says. “Plus, it has one of the highest free storage capabilities at 15GB of storage space.”
OneDrive also makes a lot of sense for those in the Microsoft Office 365 ecosystem, adds Pike. “You can easily edit cloud files with Word, PowerPoint, and Excel, all of which are integrated into Outlook, and make it easier to collaborate with others using Teams,” he explains.
While Box is primarily adapted for enterprise users (a fancy term for organizations), Pike says it does offer 10GB of free storage for individuals. “Box solves content management problems by creating a platform for easy sharing and accessing files, and it includes Android as part of the collaboration suite,” he adds. While it doesn’t have any discernible benefits over Google Drive, if you use Box at work and are comfortable with it, you may want to use it at home, too.
Ultimately, it all comes back to Google Drive.
“A unique feature of Google Drive is its ability to sync with Microsoft Office and its features,” Li says. “It is the most versatile in terms of accessibility and ease of use.”
Pike agrees: “It’s hard to beat Google Drive on Android. Starting with 15GB of free storage, Google has integrated file creation and editing directly on the phone using G-Suite.” He goes on to explain that Google has also blended in quite a few collaboration tools to include file sharing, editing, online meetings, and robust sharing permissions. And “because Android is a full-fledged member of the Google ecosystem, the apps work really well together.”
So, are these Android cloud storage systems actually safe to use? In a word, yes. They encrypt all of your data, which means it would take a skilled hacker to access and then crack the encryption behind the information you have stored. Translation: Your files are almost always safer on the cloud than they are on your device. Every company claims to provide the most secure cloud storage, but most of the options discussed here provide similar levels of encryption and security for individual users. To boost security on your phone, consider using Google Play Protect—it’s the only antivirus app Androids need.
Adding cloud storage to your Android phone
The good news is, most of today’s Android phones already boast pre-built, desired storage capacity. “To add cloud storage is simply a matter of purchasing storage plans from your preferred cloud storage solution, depending on your requirements as a user,” according to Li.
And it really is as simple as it sounds. “If you are already using one of the services listed above, simply install the app for that service and sign in,” says Pike. “The files already stored in your account will be available.”
If you don’t already have a cloud storage vendor, sign up for the one that is most appealing to you. Pike suggests asking friends and colleagues what they are using first. “It is likely that you will be sharing files with them, and they can help you navigate through the first few steps of setting up your account,” he notes. “Most vendors offer a way to try their service for free; this gives you a chance to find the one that fits.”
There are obviously different sign-up instructions for different cloud options, but most are self-explanatory and easy to follow once you get started. Next, find out the most secure messaging apps for your Android.