Free Alternative To iCloud, It’s All About Dropbox


How annoying is it when you look at your iPhone and it is telling you that your iCloud is full. Now you have to worry about all your important things like contacts, text messages and calendar events not being backed up. The last thing you want is to drop your phone in the toilet without a good backup. Well of course you get 5GB for free and you think that’s enough, but guess what? It’s not. You are going to fill that thing up in about a week after you get your iPhone and take all those selfies.

So you want a free alternative to iCloud? Well it’s called Dropbox

Why is my iCloud backup always full?

It’s important to understand why your iCloud backup is always full. Basically in a nutshell it is because of your photos and videos. Everything else on your phone takes up almost no space. I have not been able to fill up my iCloud 2GB storage in years and I have taken thousands and thousands of videos and pictures.

Why Use Dropbox?

If you have never heard of Dropbox, it is a program which can be installed almost anywhere which provides a cloud backup solution for you. What makes Dropbox awesome is that it allows you to install it on your phone, tablet or computer. It’s all the same as far as it is concerned. If you put something in your Dropbox from any device you can access it from all devices. At the same time it downloads it to all devices. Even better if you edit a file on one device it applies those changes to all devices. It’s called consolidation, it’s a wonderful thing.

Well first of all it is free. An even if you want to pay for it, it is still almost 50% cheaper than paying for iCloud and you get twice the space. You see with iCloud you get 4 options for storage.

iCloud Storage Options


The free option only gives you 5GB of storage. Well Dropbox only gives you 2GB for free, that does not matter as I will show you later… but if you even paid for Dropbox’s cheapest plan which is $9.99 a month for 100GB you are still coming out on top. Apple charges $100 a year for only 50GB. Do the math. Either way you can still use the free version of Dropbox. It will just take one more step for you to deal with. I have an unlimited account and I am loving it. Also you can use dropbox for your computer if you decide to pay it and it’s a nice way to backup your important files, also you are going to need to install it on your computer if you want to access your photos and videos from your iPhone. Don’t worry I will explain that later on.

Ok so you decided to go with the free version of Dropbox.?Let’s see how you can setup your iPhone to use it to get full backup’s without ever paying for it.

First thing First, lets disable certain things from your iCloud settings so it stops filling up your backup storage.

Step One (Delete your current backup if you have one)

You need to delete the backup you have now or you will not be able to back up your phone in the first place after we make our changes. The reason is that if you never delete your current full backup then you can never make a fresh backup and you are still stuck. Don’t worry you will not lose anything because you are going to make a new backup as soon as we are done.

Go to your iCloud “Manage Storage” section and delete your current backup. Go to Settings > iCloud > Storage & Backup > Manage Storage. Click or phones backup then click on “Delete Backup”. Then click on “Turn Off & Delete” and you are done. Don’t worry you will do another fresh backup and since everything you want is already on your iPhone you are not going to lose anything.

Delete iCloud iPhone Backup

Next go back to the same screen you see above and see where it says “Camera Roll”? Make sure you un-select that just like mine. You will notice your “Next Backup Size” drop dramatically. You need to do this so it does not backup your videos and pictures and fill up your next backup.

Once you have complete these steps you are done with the iCloud part. The next time your iPhone backs up’s it will backup everything else but your pictures and videos which it will have plenty of space to do it.

Setup Dropbox App

First thing you are going to want to do if you already don’t have Dropbox on your iPhone is download it from the App Store. Simply search for “Dropbox”, and it’s free. Install it and your done with that.

Launch your Dropbox App and go to your settings… yeah I have a Terabyte of space on Dropbox. Got to love it!

2014-03-22 00.38.25


Make sure you turn on “Camera Upload” by clicking on that field. You can choose whether to turn on “Use Cellular Data” and “Background Loading” which basically means using your cell data plan instead of WiFi if it is not available and whether to download in the background. If you do not have unlimited data on your phone do not turn on “Use Cellular Data” or you will eat up your monthly data plan. You can turn on “Background Downloading” which just means it will upload your photos to your Dropbox account anytime it can. Again if you do not have unlimited data do not use the Cell part. Background Downloading will eat up your battery so also keep that in mind. If you do not turn on background downloading then you will need to manually run the backup which is one more step. I personally leave it on for safety to make sure it is always backing up my photos and videos.

Guess what? Your Done!

Now at this point anytime you take a picture or video it will going to upload them to your Dropbox account which is a safe external backup for your photos and videos and you can simply access them at anytime. At the same time you are not filling up your iCloud backup so that is going to ensure you always have a full backup of your iPhone’s important stuff like your text messages, contacts and personal settings.

What if I want to get my pictures and videos?

Remember what I said about Dropbox working across all devices? You can also install the program to your computer too. Once it uploads to your Dropbox from your phone or tablet it will download it right to your computer. Then at that point you can take that file and do whatever you want with it. When you install the program on your computer it is going to create a folder called Dropbox. Just look in there and find the folder called “Camera Uploads”. You are going to find your photos and videos there.

What if I fill up my free 2GB on Dropbox?

If you are going to go with the free version then this is the one extra step you will need to complete every so often. Just go into your camera uploads from your computer and take all the pictures out of that folder and place them on your computer anywhere you want. Usually this will be your “Pictures” folder.

Keep in mind that once you fill up those 2GB in Dropbox your photos and videos will not backup on your phone anymore so it is important that you keep track of this and move those pictures out every once in a while. If you decide to pay for the Dropbox plan then you will have to do it much less. In fact after 3 years I still don’t have 100GB of photos and videos yet, but I also don’t take that many pictures. But even if you decide to not pay for Dropbox it is a totally free cloud backup solution for you without having to pay for iCloud and you are assured to have a nice backup of your iPhone everytime.

Thanks again for reading my stuff and I hope it helps. If you feel the need to share my stuff with your friends or on your own blog please do.