ProtonMail vs. iCloud (Update 2022)

The days are long gone when only your ISP or employer could assign your email address, and changing your job or ISP meant losing your email address. 

Most people now turn to personal email services. But we live in an age where security and privacy are primary concerns. 

With all of this in mind, what would be the better option? ProtonMail or iCloud Mail?

In terms of raw security and privacy, ProtonMail beats iCloud Mail with higher encryption standards and completely restricted access to your data. When we consider simplicity and ease of use rather than extreme security, iCloud Mail is much easier to work with and configure in any email client.

The winner in this scenario of ProtonMail vs. iCloud would depend on your own needs and requirements. 

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Both email platforms have high-security standards and are operated by companies that strongly propagate privacy. Understanding the differences between the two will help you decide which to choose, ProtonMail or iCloud Mail.

ProtonMail vs. iCloud

ProtonMail’s Prominent Strengths Over iCloud Mail

ProtonMail has set the standard in secure encrypted email recently. Its owner, Proton Technologies in Geneva, Switzerland, is seen as one of the most reliable and trustworthy names in cybersecurity and online privacy.

ProtonMail is only one of the products they offer. They also provide the popular ProtonVPN. This trusted name is one vital point in ProtonMail’s favor.

The service offers some very exclusive advantages over other email services, including iCloud Mail.

Send End-to-End Encrypted Email To Other ProtonMail Users

When you send a message from your ProtonMail account to another user using ProtonMail, it is end-to-end encrypted, meaning the email is only decrypted once the recipient reads it. 

Nowhere along the path that the email message takes can it be read by anyone snooping around or spying on your conversations. Only the final recipient can open it and view its contents.

Password Protect Messages To Non-ProtonMail Users

ProtonMail contacts screenshot

Suppose you are sending an email to someone who is not using ProtonMail. In that case, you can choose to password-protect the email message to ensure that nobody else, not even the owners of the recipient’s mail server, can view the message’s contents. 

This, of course, means that you will have to send them the password by some other means, which is a potential weakness, but it is an unavoidable risk.

Give Your Emails An Expiration Date And Time

Ensure that your emails can not be viewed again later by setting them to expire. This way, your communication can not be referred to again later, which could be a negative or positive point, but that is for you to decide. 

The fact that the message can completely disappear and be erased from existence after a certain period is a great way to protect sensitive information.

You Create And Control Your Encryption Key

When you create a ProtonMail account, you create your encryption key using a double-password system.

This means that nobody can access your email messages, not even Proton Technologies themselves. 

This system keeps your conversations safe since not even governments can demand to see the contents of your email messages; it’s simply not possible unless you allow them.

ProtonMail Also Has A Negative Side

ProtonMail Pricing

As great as ProtonMail sounds at the moment, there are some possible negatives to it, depending on how you look at it. One such negative is the fact that ProtonMail is not free. 

Though it includes a free option, the free account is limited in terms of the number of messages you can send and receive (150 per day) and the size of the mailbox you get (500MB). 

Even the premium ProtonMail package has limitations, though much higher – you can send and receive unlimited messages, but your storage space is 5GB. 

This may seem like a lot, but it seems a bit low considering that Gmail offers 15GB. But to be fair, it is still plenty of space for most average day-to-day email users, though.

Some services don’t accept a ProtonMail account. Though less common, there are still websites that will not allow you to create an account with them if you use a ProtonMail email address. 

This is mainly because ProtonMail is still an unknown email provider, but some companies don’t trust ProtonMail since some use it for malicious purposes due to its robust security.

ProtonMail’s last caveat is more of an inconvenience than a problem. It’s the fact that you cannot add your ProtonMail account to any standard email client like Outlook. 

This is because of the two-factor authentication and your chosen encryption key that you cannot add to another client. The ProtonMail website and mobile apps are the only way to access your ProtonMail account.

iCloud Offers A Lot

iCloud mail is a (kind-of) free service offered by a commercial company that’s had a bit of an up-and-down reputation when it comes to security and privacy. 

Despite this fact, Apple’s reputation has recently been established as a champion of user privacy, forcing companies that use Apple’s infrastructure to ask for permission before tracking a user’s activity, to name but one thing.

Despite a very controversial hack in 2014, iCloud now has some of the most robust security and encryption platforms available. 

Apart from the factors listed below, Apple has been known to deny US law enforcement agencies access to their users’ data, though Apple should be able to access the data in question. They take a firm stand for security and privacy, which is refreshing.

iCloud offers the following advantages over some other email providers, including ProtonMail:

Integrated Platform With Trusted Devices

iCloud requires 2FA

iCloud Mail is just one part of Apple’s iCloud platform. Apple uses iCloud as a general security platform that saves backups of Apple’s devices, stores passwords, Safari browser history, and of course, iCloud Mail. 

To sign in to iCloud, your device needs to be listed with your Apple ID as a Trusted Device, which requires 2FA to approve, ensuring that only your devices can access your iCloud Mail.

iCloud Has A Lot Of Storage Available

Available to all Apple device users, iCloud’s free option has 5GB of storage. This space is shared between mail and other Apple iCloud services, like backups and photos. 

This storage space can be increased to over 2TB if you sign up for a premium iCloud service. Though still shared between different services, the fact that you have so much potential storage is a significant advantage.

Great Security

iCloud Mail uses a minimum of 128-bit AES end-to-end encryption. Though this is quite a bit below ProtonMail’s theoretical 4096-bit encryption, it’s still a high enough level of encryption for most users. 

Since it’s end-to-end encrypted with 2FA, not even Apple themselves can access your emails on their servers. This sets iCloud Mail apart from most other email providers.

iCloud Mail Works With Other Email Clients

Unlike ProtonMail, you can use your iCloud Mail through webmail or add the account to any popular email client software like Outlook. 

This makes iCloud Mail convenient and easy to use. This feature alone, the ability to have all your email accounts in one app or program, will make many people opt to go for iCloud Mail rather than ProtonMail.

The Only Real Negative To iCloud Mail

Apart from the fact that, as mentioned, iCloud’s encryption and security are not entirely on the same level as ProtonMail’s, there is only one true negative to iCloud Mail, which is that iCloud is only available if you own an Apple device. 

You can configure iCloud Mail on other platforms like Android and Windows, but you must own an Apple device (Mac, iPhone, or iPad) to get an email address.

Conclusion

ProtonMail vs. iCloud. The choice is not necessarily straightforward. Both have some good and bad sides, but both are better options than many other email platforms. 

If you require an extremely secure email platform and are not too concerned about convenience or storage space, ProtonMail is undoubtedly the best. 

But iCloud offers adequate security and privacy, with comfort, for most users.

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