Best Cloud Storage Services for Photos – Consumer Reports
The use of cloud storage services for photos is a smart way to safeguard your valuable pictures. While storing photos on devices like phones, cameras, or computers is convenient, these devices can be vulnerable to crashes, loss, or damage. By utilizing cloud storage, you can create redundancies and access your photos from anywhere through apps or websites.
When choosing a cloud storage service, there are three factors to consider: price, storage capacity, and the types of files you want to store. Free services have limitations on storage capacity, often shrinking image sizes and restricting the types of files you can store. Even some unlimited plans may reduce image size. Therefore, if you’re serious about photography or want to print high-quality images, it’s worth opting for paid options that allow storage in the original size.
Several cloud storage services offer different plans to suit your needs. Dropbox offers 2 terabytes of storage for $120 per year, while Google Drive provides 100 gigabytes for $20 per year. Apple iCloud offers 50GB for $12 per year or 200GB for $36 per year, which may be preferable for Apple product users. The choice depends on your budget, storage requirements, and device preferences.
Automatic backup is a useful feature provided by most cloud storage services. However, Dropbox requires a paid subscription for this feature. Considering the backup functionality can help you select a suitable service.
Let’s take a closer look at some popular cloud storage services and their features:
– Amazon Photos: As an Amazon Prime member, you have access to free unlimited storage with no size restrictions for images. Amazon Photos offers a mobile app with editing features, tagging, motion photo support, and machine-learning-based search.
– Apple iCloud: This service is convenient for Apple product users but offers only 5GB of free storage. Paid plans include 50GB, 200GB, or 2TB options, with automatic uploads and a mobile app featuring photo-editing tools, tagging, live photo support, and machine-learning-based search.
– Dropbox: It provides 2GB of free storage, with the option to earn more through referrals. Paid plans include 2TB or 3TB options and offer features like automatic photo uploading. However, Dropbox lacks in-app photo editing capabilities.
– Google Photos: While it offers free storage, new photos uploaded after June 1, 2021, count towards your Google Account storage limit. The high-quality resolution compresses photos to 16 megapixels, which is suitable for most purposes. Paid plans include 100GB or 1TB options, and the mobile app provides editing features, tagging, live photo support, and machine-learning-based search.
– Microsoft OneDrive: With 5GB of free storage, OneDrive appeals to Windows users. Paid plans offer 100GB, 1TB, or family plans with 1TB per user. The OneDrive app allows access and sharing of photos.
– Nikon Image Space: Nikon camera owners can access up to 20GB of free storage. The service accepts photos only and lacks post-processing and AI features.
– Shutterfly: Known for photo printing, Shutterfly also offers free unlimited storage for photos. There are download resolution limitations, but full-resolution versions can be requested. Paid plans include options for 60GB, 300GB, or an unlimited plan.
– Sony PlayMemories Online: This service provides unlimited storage for photos and videos if automatically uploaded with the PlayMemories Home app. Manually uploaded content has a limit of 5GB. Sony resizes uploaded images to 1,920 pixels horizontally, and the app allows basic photo and video editing capabilities.
Each service has its strengths and limitations, so choose the one that aligns with your storage needs, device compatibility, and desired features. By leveraging cloud storage
services, you can ensure the safety and accessibility of your photos, giving you peace of mind knowing that your memories are protected.