According to Google, more than 4 trillion photos are stored in their popular app Google Photos, with 28 billion new photos and videos uploaded every week. While that’s a mind-bending number, it probably shouldn’t be all that surprising. After all, since its launch five years ago, Google Photos has consistently ranked among the top free photo storage apps. Boasting one of the most powerful photo editing tools on the smartphone market and a low learning curve, Google Photos makes it easy to add filters, adjust color or brightness, or even add text or drawings to the pictures you take. You can also create albums or tag photos with names or keywords to make them easy to find later. And the auto-backup feature means you’ll never lose an image no matter what disasters might befall your phone.
But one of the biggest draws for Google Photos has been its unlimited storage, which will change starting June 1, 2021. After that date, every new photo or video you upload will count toward the 15GB of free storage available to Google Accounts. Importantly, this storage is shared across Google Drive, Gmail, and Photos, so if you’re a heavy user of all three, that storage may fill up fast. And thankfully, existing photos you’ve uploaded before June 1, 2021 will be exempt from this 15GB of storage. (You can learn more about these changes in Google’s official announcement.)
However, this change may prompt some users to start looking for alternatives to Google Photos. Even though Google Photos is still one of the best photo storage options around, that doesn’t mean there aren’t some excellent alternatives worth exploring. Here’s a list of those that impressed us the most.
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A social media platform built around photos, Flickr allows users to upload high-quality images without compressing them (unlike most social media sites). Photos can be sorted into albums, which can be public, private, or shared with specific friends. The Organizr tool lets you easily organize your photos within albums, and the site’s mobile app is rated well by users. It also offers a photo editor for cropping; adding filters, text, or frames; and changing brightness, saturation, or contrast. Free accounts are limited to 1,000 photos and videos, which is a huge downside for heavy users, but upgraded Flickr Pro accounts offer unlimited storage for a competitive price. Find Flickr here.
- $6.99/month plus tax
- $59.99/month plus tax ($4.99/month)
Photobucket has been around for a while and offers simple, secure image hosting. Offering encryption and privacy controls, as well as embedded linking, the site claims to help you “keep control of your images, no matter where they end up.” Like Flickr, the site doesn’t compress photos, and it offers an image editing tool that allows you to add filters and frames, crop, and enhance images. You can add titles and captions to your photos, arrange them in albums, and apply privacy settings to albums or individual images. Sharing directly from the site is simple. The drawback is Photobucket’s free plan is extremely limited, only holding 250 images. However, the site offers multiple storage plans that can be billed monthly or annually for a 10% saving. Find Photobucket here.
- 250 images for free
- 25GB for $5.99/month or $5.39/month annually
- 250GB for $7.99/month or $11.69/month annually
- Unlimited for $12.99/month or $7.19/month annually
If you’re already an Amazon Prime member, this is one of your best alternatives to Google Photos. Offering free, unlimited storage at full-resolution, it’s an offer that’s hard to ignore. Users who love giving photo gifts will also enjoy how easy Amazon makes it to order printed photo albums, canvas prints, and other fun memorabilia through their photo printing service. But what happens if you cancel your Prime membership? At that point you can either move to a new storage solution or start paying for Amazon Storage. Find Amazon Photos here.
- $2/month or $20/year for 100GB of full-resolution storage
You might not immediately think of Dropbox as an alternative to Google Photos since it got its start storing text documents, but the service has grown over the past 13 years. It’s easy to use the free app to automatically sync your photos, and just like with Google Photos, you can sort images into folders, label them, and use the search function to find them. One downside is you won’t have the photo editing tools offered by sites like Flickr, but it’s easy enough to edit images on your phone before uploading them. Another downside is storage is capped at 2GB. While storage can be upgraded to individual or family plans, the cost is higher than some of its competitors. Find Dropbox here.
- 2TB storage for $11.99/month or $9.99/month (paid yearly)
- 2TB storage for $19.99/month or $16.99/month (paid yearly)
Like Dropbox, OneDrive wasn’t developed for photo storage. While the mobile app offers some limited photo editing capabilities, the desktop version has none. However, it works well for organizing photos into albums, and it automatically creates tags for photos, which you can change or edit. One nice feature is that OneDrive automatically syncs with your desktop, and the app can automatically sync your photos as well. Free OneDrive accounts offer 5GB of storage, but can be upgraded for a fairly low cost. The highest tier upgrade also includes access to Microsoft’s 365 Office apps. Find OneDrive here.
- $1.99/month for 100GB
- $6.99/month for 1TB plus access to Microsoft 365 Office apps
For iPhone users, iCloud is one of the easiest alternatives to Google Photos. Offering a robust photo editor (some claim it even surpasses Google Photos’ capabilities) and automatic backup, it’s long been Google Photos’ biggest competitors. It lacks the search feature that many users loved in Google Photos, but otherwise is pretty similar. Like with Google, your iCloud storage is split with anything else you store, such as text messages or documents, and you can access this storage across all of your devices. Prices are competitive, ranging from 5GB of storage for free up to 2TB for $10/month, and you can opt to share them with up to five other people through Family Sharing. Plans are even cheaper when bundled with other subscriptions through Apple One. Of course, this option is only available to iPhone users. Find iCloud here.
- 5GB for free
- 50GB $0.99/month
- 200GB for $2.99/month
- 2TB for $9.99/month
One of the most inventive alternatives to Google Photos that we found is Phostow. Install the app on your phone, computer, and other devices. Then upload your photos to the app. Phostow will analyze all the storage available across your devices and store your photos in a way that maximizes that space. But it gets better. All of your photos will be available on any of your devices that have Phostow installed. If you’re not thrilled about using up device storage by saving pictures, you can also pick up a stand-alone hard drive with Phostow pre-installed and dump your best shots there. The app is free to download on as many devices as you want, and it’s secure. And unlike some free apps that make money by selling your data, Phostow takes user privacy seriously and never sells user data. Find Phostow here.
Let’s face it—it’s hard to beat Google Photos. After all, your pics are already there, you know how to use it, and transferring photos can be a pain. If this sounds like you, you’ll be happy to know it’s easy to buy more storage through Google One. This storage is shared across all your Google Services like Gmail and Drive, but as far as prices for storage go, it’s pretty affordable. You can also use Google One’s handy storage tool to determine how much storage space you’re using and how much more you will need so you don’t pay for more storage than necessary. The tool can even suggest content you might want to delete, such as files you haven’t used in a long time or photos that are dark or blurry. Find Google One here.
- 100GB: $2/month or $20/year (paid annually)
- 200GB: $3/month or $30/year
- 2TB: $10/month or $100/year
Storage Matters, And Not Just For Photos
Looking for storage options for your business? You should be!
Backing up your company’s data is one of the most important steps you can take to protect your business. Data loss is a serious threat, closing 60% of companies within six months of a data loss event. That’s why TracSoft offers backup and restore services that can get your business up and running within 30 minutes of a serious data loss event.
Contact TracSoft today and set up a custom backup plan that fits your business’ needs. Or schedule a free technology assessment with one of our IT Support specialists.