Apple brings back iDisk with iCloud Drive

iCloudIconXAlong with other information about OS X 10.10 “Yosemite” and iOS 8, Apple today announced its new iCloud Drive service that will be implemented in its devices. This service allows you to use iCloud as an online drive, where you can store any file or folder you would like, and access it on any device you have configured with iCloud.

This development aligns Apple’s iCloud service with the likes of Dropbox, Google Drive, and other cloud-based storage options, but while this may seem like a new feature to Apple’s cloud-based offerings, it simply returns one that Apple abandoned a while ago.

When Apple introduced its iTools service at the beginning of 2000, the service included iDisk, which gave users free online data storage that could be implemented with its HomePage feature so users could upload images to have presented on a personalized Web page. This feature survived several iterations of Apple’s cloud services, but was discontinued in June of 2012, when Apple switched to iCloud from MobileMe.

While Apple has continued to offer online storage of documents with its “Docs in the Cloud” feature of iCloud, this has had its drawbacks, including the inability to have hierarchies of folders for organization, and requiring applications be developed specifically to use this feature.

With today’s announcement, Apple has re-implemented direct online storage in its iCloud service, bringing back the ability to mount a drive locally on your computer and access it through the OS X Finder.

The new iCloud Drive will come with the ability to encrypt any data you store on it, allowing you to better secure your data from being accessed by unwanted third-parties, even Apple. In addition, this encryption will encompass your iCloud e-mail that is stored on the drive.

As with current iCloud storage offerings, iCloud Drive will come with tiered pricing:

  • 5GB — Free
  • 20GB — $0.99 per month
  • 200GB — $3.99 per month

While not new, the return of Apple’s iDisk as iCloud Drive is a welcomed and long-awaited, and should offer a well-integrated way to synchronize files directly between the Apple devices you use.

13 thoughts on “Apple brings back iDisk with iCloud Drive

  1. Lynne

    will the iCloud drive replace the current iCloud services ( like backing up your phone etc) or will it run concurrently with it?

  2. High End

    There are other alternatives that with a iPhone app you have 50 GB free. Ok it does’nt work on a Mac like the newest offering from Apple but it sure saves on spending on storage, something Apple with 170 Billion in profits should take into consideration.

  3. Ephraim Fithian

    What I am looking for is a replacement for iDisk. I used to run my home page off iDisk. When it ended I had to put it on my cable company SECTV disk space, which at 2GB free is certainly big enough, but the maximum size single upload of a file is limited to 20MB, yes, that’s right, 20MB. Any videos are too big, although most photos fit. I would gladly pay $12/year for 20GB in the old iDisk format, a lot cheaper than the cost of the old iDisk. Let’s hope we can run a web page off iCloud Drive.

  4. DJ

    Here’s hoping the speed and use of the new iCloud Drive are more like Dropbox than like iDisk. I remember using iDisk and it was excruciatingly slow. But I’m sure they’ll work that out. And with Apple finally getting cloud storage costs in line, this is a no brainer. I’ll be signing up as soon as I possibly can.

  5. B. Jefferson Le Blanc

    I guess it took this long for Apple to build the data center infrastructure to support the expected traffic this service will generate. At least we can hope it’s up to the task. For one thing, publicly available bandwidth has improved substantially in the last two years. When you consider all the other iCloud based services OS X 10.10 Yosemite will offer, if the new OS is adopted at anywhere near the rate of Mavericks, the load on Apple’s servers will be huge.

    I may have missed it, but I don’t recall web site support being mentioned in the WWDC keynote discussion of iCloud Drive. But given that data on the drive will be addressable for sharing purposes, a web page might work. I suppose we’ll have to wait and see. For iCloud Drive to really work as a hosting service, though, you would need to be able to use your own domain name. Somehow I doubt Apple is looking to support that functionality. Not right away, anyhow. They’ve got too much else on their iCloud plate.

    As for competing with Dropbox, I doubt iCloud Drive will be as platform agnostic as Dropbox is. Though the current iCloud services work just fine in Windows browsers, including Internet Explorer 11. So I could be wrong about that. I seem to remember Windows docs were mentioned in the keynote. If there’s a way to mount iCloud Drive in Windows, all bets are off. That would be a real coup. In any case, it’s past time Apple began to take cloud services seriously enough to compete with Google and Microsoft. Up till now they’ve been eating Apple’s lunch. On the other hand, now that iWork is working in the cloud, it stands a chance of competing with Google Docs and maybe even Microsoft Office 365. Though iWork in iCloud is still in beta, I imagine it will be ready for prime time when OS X 10.10 Yosemite is released in the Fall.

    Apple dished out huge servings of change on Monday – and not just for developers. It will take awhile to absorb it all.

  6. Ephraim Fithian

    I use iWeb for creating simple web pages, sharing photos, etc. Though official support for iWeb has ended, it seems to work fine for me using my cable company’s web server space. With iCloud Drive, it would be a natural fit to bring iWeb back from the dead.

  7. Daniel

    With Dropbox, Google Drive etc., the files reside on your hard drive as well as in the cloud, whereas with iDisk, if my memory serves me well, they didn’t take up any space on your hard drive. Do you know how that will work with iCloud drive?

    1. Ephraim Fithian

      I used to keep a copy of my iDisk stuff on my HD, not so much with the bizarre web page coding. It would be best to duplicate it like Dropbox.

  8. Rusty Wilson (@r2but1rcw)

    Is there any way now to get back my files on iDisk that I lost due to the change over June 30, 2012 that I wasn’t aware of?

    1. Topher Kessler Post author

      The only folks who can do this are Apple’s iCloud and support teams; however, from all that has been discussed about this issue (and from Apple’s own support offerings), the files that were deleted from the changeover a few years ago are gone. Apple did have a number of “grace” periods where it reminded folks of the pending change, even after the deadline had passed; however, given that this was years ago, my guess is that all unclaimed data has been permanently destroyed.

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