by James A. Martin

SkyDrive iOS App Finally Gets an Update from Microsoft

Apr 05, 20132 mins

After a nine-month standstill, Apple finally greenlit the release of Microsoft's SkyDrive 3.0 iOS update, which adds some valuable photo-uploading features and support for both iPhone 5 and iPad mini displays.

The last time Microsoft updated its SkyDrive iOS app was June 2012. A lot has happened since then—including the release of the iPhone 5 and iPad mini—so the app was desperately in need of a refresh.

SkyDrive iPhone

On Wednesday, an updated SkyDrive app, version 3.0, appeared in Apple’s iTunes store. And it was worth the long wait, though the iOS SkyDrive app wasn’t great to being with.

Why so long in between SkyDrive updates? Microsoft and Apple apparently weren’t on the same page. (Shocker, right?) The story is that Cupertino’s app gatekeepers didn’t approve any SkyDrive updates until this week, because Microsoft didn’t want to give Apple a 30-percent cut of in-app SkyDrive purchases. Microsoft prevailed. Instead of paying to upgrade your SkyDrive storage in the iOS app, you can do it in a browser. No need to pay Apple for that.

SkyDrive is now optimized for both iPhone 5 and iPad mini screens. You can download full-resolution images from SkyDrive to your iOS device and upload full-res photos as well, which is a nice feature, especially for people who take lots of iPhone pictures.

You can also resize photos. And photo-file metadata is retained when uploading to your SkyDrive account. Microsoft also improved options for opening SkyDrive-stored files with other apps on your device, including Google Drive and Dropbox.

Speaking of Dropbox, it has long been my favorite file-syncing/sharing service in the cloud. It still is. But in recent months, my files have slowly started to drift over to SkyDrive.

Dropbox simply isn’t as affordable. For example, I recently paid Microsoft $10 a year for an additional 20GB of SkyDrive storage. Dropbox offers 2GB of storage for free or paid plans starting at $10 a month for 100GB. I’m all for supporting the little guy. But $10 a year for storage I need versus $10 a month for more storage than I need? I did the math, and SkyDrive comes out on top. I just hope I don’t have to wait another nine months for the next SkyDrive for iOS update. 

(Screen shot by Microsoft)