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9 Best Photo Storage Apps of 2021 (Free & Paid Cloud Backup)

As the cameras on smartphones have improved, we’ve all started taking more photos. But phone storage fills up quickly.

To keep your phone free for apps and other files and make sure your photos are safe, it’s best to store them somewhere else.

You can back up your photos to an external hard drive but the easiest and most secure option is to use one of these photo storage apps.

Keeping your photos in the cloud means that even if your computer breaks or you drop your external hard drive, your images are still safe.

Automatically uploading your images to the cloud is also much easier than remembering to run a regular manual backup. You’ll never lose your photos, even if you lose your phone.

Cloud storage apps also mean you can access your photos from anywhere and on any device. If you’re a professional photographer, this makes it easier to share photos with clients or add images to a gallery to display on your website. Or you can just share snaps with your friends and family.

We’ve rounded up some of the best photo storage apps and services of 2021 with both free and paid plans. Take a look through this list and find one that’s suitable for you and get started backing up your photos today! There’s no greater heartbreak than losing years of memories, so don’t put off backing up your photos any longer.

1. Google Photos

Google Photos used to offer free, unlimited high-quality photo and video storage. This made it a no-brainer for anyone on a PC or Android device and tempting over quite a few Apple users too.

However, in 2020, Google ended its free storage policy and started counting photos towards the 15GB of free storage that comes with every Google account.

Even so, Google photos is an affordable backup service that works across multiple devices and a handy app that will work in the background to keep your photos safe.

Features

  • Automatic sync and backup across multiple devices.
  • Photos are automatically organized and you can search by keywords like “birthday” or “flowers” or a particular date.
  • Facial recognition will automatically find photos of a particular person.
  • Easily share photos and albums with friends and family.
  • Includes built-in editing tools and filters.
  • “Memories” feature shows photos you took on the same date a year or more ago.
  • Order photo prints direct from the app.
  • Integrates with other apps for printing, website building, and more.
  • Supported devices: Android, iOS, Windows, macOS, web-based
  • Free storage: 15GB free storage with every Google account (shared storage with Gmail and Google Drive files)

Storage Plans & Pricing

To store more than 15GB of images in Google Photos, you’ll need to sign up for a paid Google One account. There are 5 plans ranging from 100 GB to 30TB (this includes storage for phone backups, email, and other files.) You can also share storage with family members

  • 100GB – $1.99/month or $19.99/year
  • 200GB – $2.99/month or $29.99/year
  • 2TB – $9.99/month or $99.99/year

Visit Google Photos

2. iCloud

iCloud is Apple’s built-in solution to cloud storage and backup and so is a natural choice for Mac and iPhone users using the Photos app.

Like Google One, it’s designed to be a general backup and storage system and you can use it to store multiple file types and sync your data across multiple apps and devices.

Features

  • Automatically built into every Apple device
  • Photos are automatically sorted into albums
  • Search by keyword to find photos easily
  • Space-saving feature stores full-resolution photos in the cloud and a smaller version on your device. You can download the full-res versions when you need them.
  • Share albums with friends and family
  • Integrates and syncs seamlessly into all native Apple apps and across devices
  • Automatic backup and sync to new device
  • Two-factor authentication for extra security
  • Supported devices: iOS and macOS only, although there is also a web-based interface and a basic app for Android.
  • Free storage: 5GB (includes storage for other backed up files)

Storage Plans & Pricing

iCloud offers storage plans from 50GB to 2TB. The 200GB and 2TB plans can be shared with family members.

  • 50GB -$0.99/month
  • 200GB – $2.99/month
  • 2TB – $9.99/month

Visit iCloud

3. Dropbox

Dropbox is designed to securely back up and sync your files across multiple devices and has tools for sharing, collaboration, and remote working. Like Google One and iCloud, it’s not specifically designed for photos but it has some useful tools to help you be more efficient.

Features

  • The Dropbox photo app syncs to your phone camera and will automatically upload new photos.
  • File recovery and version history.
  • Search photos by keyword.
  • 2-factor authentication.
  • Digital watermarking.
  • Password-protect files and share files or folders with friends, family, and clients.
  • Space-saving smart sync will save local copies of photos in a lower resolution to free up space on your device.
  • Send large files to any recipient.
  • Integrates with many other apps and services.
  • Supported devices: Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, iOS.
  • Free storage: 2GB. Additional free Dropbox storage is sometimes given away with new computers and mobile devices.

Storage Plans & Pricing

  • 2TB – $9.99/month
  • 3TB – $16.58/month
  • Larger capacity accounts are available for teams starting from 5TB for 3+ users at $12.50/user/month

Visit Dropbox

4. Flickr

Flickr is essentially the original social network for photographers. Before Instagram came along, Flickr was the place to showcase your photos. Photography website builder SmugMug acquired Flickr in 2018 but the services have remained separate.

While not as many people use Flickr these days, many photographers still use it to store photos and create public galleries. Flickr’s main attraction apart from the social aspect is that Pro accounts offer unlimited full-resolution photo storage.

Features

  • A passionate community of photographers and groups for sharing your images.
  • You can assign licenses to your photos.
  • Flickr’s advanced search allows users to find your images by tag, description, license, date taken, location, color, camera model, and more.
  • Automatic upload from your phone, computer, Dropbox, Lightroom, and other apps.
  • Order prints, photo books, and wall art directly from Flickr.
  • View stats on how many people are viewing your photos.
  • Supported devices: web-based, with apps for Android and iOS.
  • Free storage: up to 1,000 photos (max 200MB per photo) or videos up to 3-minutes long (max 1GB per video).

Storage plans & pricing

Flickr Pro offers users unlimited full-resolution storage with some extra perks and features for $6.99 a month or $59.99 a year.

Visit Flickr

5. Amazon Photos

The photo storage solution offered by Amazon isn’t really aimed at Pro photographers and has very basic features. But if you’re already a member of Amazon prime, it makes sense to take advantage of its unlimited full-resolution photo cloud storage platform. If you’re not a Prime member, you still get 5GB of free storage and can upgrade to a paid plan for more.

Features

  • Automatic photo backup
  • Editing tools
  • Share photos with friends and family
  • Search by keyword or place
  • Facial recognition to find photos of a particular person
  • Use photos as a screensaver on Fire TV and Echo Show
  • Up to six family members can upload photos
  • Supported devices: web-based with Android and iOS apps
  • Free storage: 5GB for all Amazon customers. Unlimited photo storage + 5GB video storage for Amazon Prime members

Storage plans & pricing

All Amazon customers get 5GB free storage. You then have the option to upgrade a to Prime account to get unlimited full-resolution storage, or pay monthly for one of the storage plans from 100GB to 30TB

  • 100GB – $1.99/month or $19.99/year
  • 1TB – $6.99/month or $59.99/year
  • 2TB – $11.99/month or $119.98/year
  • 3TB – 30TB – $179.97/year to $1,799.70/year
  • Prime membership – $12.99/month including perks like free delivery, music streaming, and movies and TV shows.

Visit Amazon Photos

6.  Microsoft OneDrive

OneDrive is Microsoft’s answer to iCloud, keeping files and photos backed up to the cloud and syncing between devices. It’s a general file storage service, not designed for photographs in particular. However, there are some features to help you to organize and find your photos as well as automatic upload from your phone camera and other devices.

Features

  • Automatic file upload and backup
  • Organize photos with tags and albums
  • Search for photos by keyword, place, or date
  • Image recognition automatically tags photos
  • Automatic album creation
  • A memories feature shows your photos from the same date in the past.
  • Supported devices: Windows, macOS 10.12+, Android, iOS, web-based
  • Free storage: 5GB

Storage plans & pricing

While the basic and free plan provides cloud storage and backup only, the more expensive plans (from $6.99/month) include cloud versions of Office Suite apps Outlook, Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. The $9.99/month plan is designed for families and supports up to 6 users

  • 100GB – $1.99/month
  • 1TB – $6.99/month or $69.99/year
  • 6TB – $9.99/month or $99.99/year

Visit Microsoft OneDrive

7. Adobe Creative Cloud

If you’re serious about photography, you’re probably already using Lightroom or Photoshop to edit your photos. The Creative Cloud (CC) version of these software packages includes up to 10TB of storage for your images, so it’s a natural choice for many photographers but there’s no free plan for more casual photo-takers.

Features

  • Edit, organize, and store your photos from anywhere with the Adobe Photoshop Lightroom app.
  • Includes tools for creating social graphics and portfolio websites.
  • Intelligent photo recognition for a better search.
  • Share your photos with friends and family
  • Access the community to share your images and get Lightroom presets.
  • Supported devices: Android, iOS, Windows, macOS, web-based
  • No free plan available

Storage plans & pricing

All the Adobe Creative Cloud plans include access to Adobe apps including Photoshop Lightroom – a cloud-based version of the popular photo editing application – Lightroom Classic, Photoshop, Adobe Spark, and Adobe Portfolio.

  • 20GB (including Lightroom Classic, Adobe Photoshop Lightroom, and Photoshop desktop/iPad) – $9.99/month
  • 1TB (including Adobe Photoshop Lightroom) – $9.99/month
  • 1 TB (including all software) – $19.99/month
  • Additional storage can be added for $9.95/month per terabyte

Visit Adobe Creative Cloud

8. iDrive

iDrive is another all-in-one cloud backup and storage app that syncs across multiple devices.

As well as their general backup plans, iDrive now also offers an unlimited backup plan specifically for backing up photos and videos from your mobile devices, which is very reasonably priced.

You won’t get any bells or whistles or fancy features but if you’re looking for a cheap way to backup your photos from your phone, iDrive is definitely worth considering.

Features

  • Simple backup and restore app for your mobile phone.
  • Share your photos online.
  • Download the photos to any device.
  • Supported devices: Android, iOS
  • No free plan but the paid plans are some of the cheapest around.

Storage plans & pricing

iDrive Photos is currently priced at a tempting $0.99 for the first year (yes, less than a dollar for the whole year) for unlimited storage.

After this, the price increases to $9.99 a year. But this is still much cheaper than comparable photo storage apps

If you want to upload photos from your PC or Mac you can upgrade to a standard plan. This includes 5TB of storage for $52.12 for the first year or 10TB of storage for $74.62.

Visit iDrive

9. SmugMug

SmugMug is a drag-and-drop website builder and photo storage service in one. If you’re a photographer, you can create a portfolio site to showcase and sell your photos and also backup your photos at full resolution with unlimited storage.

Features

  • Automatic upload.
  • Integrates with Lightroom and other photo editing applications.
  • Privacy controls and password-protected galleries.
  • Includes a website builder with professional templates to create a portfolio site.
  • Sell prints directly from your website.
  • Supported devices: iOS, Android, web-based.
  • No free plan but there’s a 2-week free trial.

Storage plans & pricing

SmugMug offers four plans to choose from, depending on if you just need photo storage and a basic website or if you want to grow your photography business. All the plans offer unlimited, full-resolution photo storage.

The basic plan is really all you need if you’re signing up to SmugMug for photo storage. This is priced at $7 a month or $55 a year. The more expensive plans offer more features for your website like templates and sales tools.

Visit SmugMug

Conclusion

Using one of these photo storage apps to backup and store your images is a must if you don’t want to risk losing them.

If you just want a quick and easy way to backup your snaps, one of the free services may be fine for you. This obviously depends on how many GB of your photos are currently taking up and how many new photos you take each week.

If you’re a professional photographer (or a keen amateur) who needs to store a lot of high-res images, it makes sense to pay for a service with more storage and features. Make sure the app you choose doesn’t compress your images too.

Thankfully, as the price of storage has decreased over the years, most of these apps are still very affordable. Personally, I’m happy to trade a few dollars a month for the peace of mind that my photos are safe.

To help you to choose the right photo storage app for you, here’s a quick summary of what they offer:

Free storage plans

  • Google Photos (15GB)
  • iCloud (5GB)
  • Dropbox (2GB)
  • Flickr (up to 1,000 photos)
  • Amazon Photos (5GB)
  • Microsoft OneDrive (5GB)

Unlimited storage plans

  • Flickr ($6.99/month)
  • Amazon Photos ($12.99/month, including Prime membership)
  • iDrive ($0.99 for the first year, $9.99/year thereafter. But only for photos from your phone)
  • SmugMug (from $7/month)

Photo storage plans bundled with software

  • Microsoft OneDrive (from $6.99/month with Office suite)
  • Adobe Creative Cloud (from $9.99/month with Lightroom and Photoshop)
  • SmugMug (from $7.99/month with a website builder and hosting)

100GB – 200GB storage plans ranked by cheapest price

  • Google Photos ($1.99/month)
  • Amazon Photos ($1.99/month)
  • iCloud ($2.99/month for 200GB)

2TB+ storage plans ranked by cheapest price

  • Microsoft OneDrive ($9.99/month for 6TB)
  • Google Photos ($9.99/month)
  • iCloud ($9.99/month)
  • Dropbox ($9.99/month)
  • Amazon Photos ($11.99/month)
The Editorial Team

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