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.
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.
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
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.
iCloud offers storage plans from 50GB to 2TB. The 200GB and 2TB plans can be shared with family members.
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.
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.
Flickr Pro offers users unlimited full-resolution storage with some extra perks and features for $6.99 a month or $59.99 a year.
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
Unlimited storage plans
Photo storage plans bundled with software
100GB – 200GB storage plans ranked by cheapest price
2TB+ storage plans ranked by cheapest price
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