5 Best Cloud Backups for Mac that Respect your Privacy

Most Macs these days have modest-sized SSD drives, so it usually isn’t long before we need to start deleting files and apps in order to make room for the ones we actually need. And even if you have acres of local disk space, it is important to back up your data to prevent loss. In this article we list the 6 best cloud storage backups for Mac users.

We are ProPrivacy! Unlike other websites, we only recommend Mac cloud storage solutions that respect your privacy. In practice, this means all cloud storage services provide secure client-side end-to-end encryption. This means that you encrypt and decrypt your files on your own devices rather than trusting a potentially unreliable third party to do it for you. The services below offer up to 5GB of free cloud backup storage as well, so you can secure your data free of charge.

Indeed, even if you trust a third party (why would you?), if it holds the private encryption keys to your data then it can get hacked or be forced to hand the keys to an agency such as the NSA. 

So, what are the best Cloud storage for Mac solutions that respect your privacy? Read on!  

What are the best cloud backup solutions for Mac?

  1. Sync.com - Zero-knowledge | Vault | File versioning
  2. NordLocker - An easy to use cloud backup service with robust end-to-end-encryption.
  3. Livedrive - Plenty of storage space for your Mac's data and great cross compatibility
  4. Tresorit - Zero-knowledge | Swiss | End-to-end encryption
  5. SpiderOak - Zero-knowledge | Endorsed by Edward Snowden | End-to-end encryption

5 Best Cloud Backups for Mac: In-depth Analysis

Sync.com offer users 5GB of storage for free and it has fantastic security features!

  • Pricing

    From  $5.00 - $15.00

sync.com homepage

Sync.com is a zero-knowledge cloud storage service based in Canada. Mac users are well served by its cross-platform support for all the usual suspects, although we are disappointed that it provides no support for Linux other than via its web portal.

As is to be expected from this kind of service, Sync.com fully supports file versioning, secure password-protected link sharing, and folder sharing. It will also happily upload photos and videos from your phone to your Cloud account, although we did find the lack of granular control over this process a little frustrating.

Most importantly for users wanting to free up some space on their Macs, Sync.com’s Vault feature allows you to upload files only to the cloud. A local version of the file remains on the original device it was uploaded from, but it is not automatically synced to other devices unless you specifically opt to Sync offline.

Data is end-to-end encrypted using an AES-256-GCM cipher which is secured with an RSA-2048 private key and your password. This is great, but the fact that Sync.com is a closed source product from a company based in a Five Eyes surveillance partner country does worry us a bit.

Reader our Sync.com review for more information about their service.

NordLocker is an encryption tool that secures the contents of your hard-drive and uploads encrypted files to the cloud.

  • Pricing

    From  $3.99 - $7.99

NordLocker 2.0 is the latest version of the encryption tool developed by the highly respected VPN company NordVPN. It has apps for both Mac computers and Windows, and you can use it on as many computers as you like with a single account. The service is primarily designed to encrypt your files and folders to keep them private and safe, and this ensures that your data is not vulnerable should it be lost or stolen.


In addition to local encryption, NordLocker provides users with a 'cloud locker' folder. It'll automatically back up anything you put in this folder to your cloud storage space. This works similarly to Dropbox, but with the added security and privacy of full disk encryption. All in all, this means that anything you back up to the cloud is completely private and cannot be accessed by anybody at NordLocker (or any government agencies that come snooping).


For free, you can get 3 GB of storage space, but can upgrade to 500 GB by paying $3.99 per month. Admittedly, NordLocker will not work with Time Machine, so you'll need to drop the files you want to back up directly into your NordLocker folder. That said, it is a great option for anybody who requires storage space for their important files, photos, and videos – and wants something more secure than the likes of Dropbox. It even lets you sync files across your devices and share them securely with friends. We think NordLocker is well worth testing by using its free plan!

A reliable cloud backup that has great Mac software

  • Pricing

    From  $8.00 - $25.00

Livedrive is a popular cloud backup service that has apps for all popular platforms. You can easily use it to backup data from a macOS computer, a Windows PC, iOS devices, and Android phones or tablets. We like the service because it is easy to use, it can let you set up automated scheduled backups, and it will allow you to sync your files to any of your devices.


With Livedrive you get file versioning so that you can recover previous versions of files up to 30-day old. It also allows you to share your files with friends and family securely. All files are secured with TLS as they pass from your computer to their servers and they are stored with strong AES 256 encryption at rest. However, the company does control your keys to allow you to recover your account if you need to (if you forget your password, for example). This means that you will need to shop elsewhere if you are storing sensitive data that you need end-to-end encryption for.


Overall, we find this to be a strong cloud backup option that is great for people looking for a stable cloud storage solution. And, with prices that start at just $6.99 to store an unlimited amount of data from a single macOS computer, it is an affordable option for those who have a lot of data to protect. 

Tresorit offers 3GB free, has built-in end-to-end encryption, and it's easy to use

  • Free option

    Yes

    Pricing

    From  $10.42 - $24.00

Tresorit homepage

Tresorit is a Swiss cloud storage provider known for its dedication to privacy. A zero-knowledge service, Tresorit uses robust end-to-end encryption to ensure that even it cannot access your data. Tresorit provides strong cross-platform support for Windows, Linux, and of course, macOS.

Apps are available for iOS and Android, but these do not automatically sync folders from mobile devices.

Files are encrypted client-side using an AES-256-CFB cipher with an HMAC SHA-512 for integrity authentication. Encryption key exchanges are secured using RSA-4096. Tresorit supports file versioning on its paid plans, meaning you can always restore files that aren't permanently deleted. 

Tresorit is in many ways a more privacy-focused version of iCloud – it’s great for syncing and sharing files, but is not so useful for freeing up space on your Mac. It does offer a selective sync feature for folders, however, so if you upload files from another computer then you do not need to sync the entire contents of your Tresorit folder to your Mac. 

If you would like more information about this service read our Tresorit review.

SpiderOak is a very secure service and it offers a 21-day free trial of its premium service

  • Pricing

    From  $5.75 - $26.67

SpiderOak homepage

Pros

Cons

  • Not open source
  • Based in the US
  • Mobile apps are limited

Recommended by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, SpiderOak is arguably the highest-profile privacy-focused cloud storage provider out there. It uses strong end-to-end encryption in its apps (using an AES-256-CFB cipher and HMAC SHA-256 hash authentication), although its web interface requires handing over your primary encryption key to SpiderOak’s servers.

Cross-platform desktop support for macOS, Windows, and Linux is strong, although the functionality of its iOS and Android apps is disappointingly limited. SpiderOak One offers good file versioning and file-sharing options, but its stand-out feature is that files deleted locally in your sync folder are not automatically deleted online.

They are instead backed-up to a special Deleted Items bin where they can be recovered at any time.  These files are stored indefinitely, although they do count against your storage limit (you can, of course, free up space by Emptying the bin, after which files cannot be recovered).

Although perhaps not its intended purpose, this feature allows you to save disk space by deleting files locally but retaining them online for later recovery.

Our main concern with SpiderOak is that its apps are not open source, a problem compounded by SpiderOak being a US company and therefore subject to fearsome NSA-style domestic surveillance.

See our SpiderOak review if you would like to know more details about this service.

Final Thoughts

It is a shame that no privacy-focused cloud service we are aware of provides anywhere near as good support for offloading files to the cloud as those from Apple, Dropbox, Microsoft, and Google. In the future, we hope this might change. NextCloud allows you to jury-rig a solution, but it has to be said this is rather clumsy.

The privacy issues with using Dropbox, OneDrive or Google Drive can be heavily mitigated against by encrypting files yourself before uploading them using software such as VeraCrypt, but this introduces its own nuisances. Such is the price of privacy.  

iCloud itself remains the easiest way to save disk space by storing your files online-only, but we will never be comfortable recommending a product from a US company with a track record for helping its government spy on its customers.

Written by: Douglas Crawford

Has worked for almost six years as senior staff writer and resident tech and VPN industry expert at ProPrivacy.com. Widely quoted on issues relating cybersecurity and digital privacy in the UK national press (The Independent & Daily Mail Online) and international technology publications such as Ars Technica.

0 Comments

There are no comments yet.

Got Something to Say?

Write Your Own Comment

Your comment has been sent to the queue. It will appear shortly.

Your comment has been sent to the queue. It will appear shortly.

Your comment has been sent to the queue. It will appear shortly.

  Your comment has been sent to the queue. It will appear shortly.

We recommend you check out one of these alternatives: