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I just found out today that Google is opening a cloud storage engine (a potential competitor to iCloud) called Google Drive, and I was wondering if there might be some way to backup your iOS device to it, short of jailbreaking it.

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up vote 6 down vote accepted

I wouldn't call Google Drive an iCloud competitor. Google Drive (like Dropbox) is your hard drive on the Internet. Meaning you can see, and manipulate your files.

iCloud is a bit different, for starter, it's an Apple-centric service, you can backup your iOS devices, store your music (but only access it with iTunes), store your (iCloud) mail, calendar, reminders and contacts, and let apps store settings on it.

But you can't access it directly like you would do with Dropbox or Google Drive.

So I would say that you will not be able to use Google Drive to back up your iOS devices as easily as you would do with iCloud.

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Well put. The way I like to think about iCloud (as opposed to Dropbox et. al.) is it provides "cloud-like" behaviour to your apps, not directly to your files. – Dan J Apr 25 '12 at 16:59
I'm pretty annoyed by Apple's lack of access to the file system. It really destorys all of the openness that has been achieved between OSs in the past 20 years. But I'm sure that's just the way they like it. – leeand00 Apr 25 '12 at 19:19

Google have announced that there will be an iOS client for Google Drive, however it has not launched with one.

Reports that it will be quite soon from the Verge

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Backing up to google drive will definitely not be possible on a non jail broken iPhone. Apps can only read and write data in their own little sandbox, they cant access data from other apps (there are ways to explicitly share data between apps but this requires both apps active participation)

So the client will only allow reading files already the drive and uploading files that you specifically choose.

It's preferable to use iCloud anyway as the integration is very deep. You can restore your iPhone directly from iCloud and it will backup automatically.

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This should be possible in using third party apps. Allthough only indirectly. You can use those iPod, iPhone backup apps to save the iOS content on the PC and upload the files to Google Drive. Some of those apps are presented here:

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Welcome to Ask Different, user20114! Thanks for posting an answer! Can you please summarize the apps in the link you posted? Links have a tendency to disappear over time, leaving a non-applicable answer to those who may find your answer down the road. Thanks! – daviesgeek Apr 25 '12 at 17:34

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