What is the BEST cloud photo storage 2021 - Google Photos vs Apple Photos vs OneDrive vs AmazonMar 29, 2021
Are you wondering what is the best place to store all your cat photos? In this post, we review all of the top online photo and video storage offerings from the likes of Google, Apple, and Amazon. And if you hang about, I’ll tell you which one I went with after all of my testings.
Welcome back to another mega review!
Yes, we've already reviewed the top Cloud Storage providers in a post which you can see here , but I wanted to make a separate post that focused purely on those looking for storage for photos and videos.
As always, yes, there are others, but this is already gonna be a long post, so... don't hate on me...Once again we’re going into this with a few key areas that we are comparing for each service.
Ease of Use
If you did want to sign up with a particular one, then I'll drop links below - some of them are affiliated so I earn something off the back of your click, but it costs you nothing more. And actually, some of them give you a further discount of 20% off your first year - so yeah! That's cool.
Let’s get straight into it and talk about Apple iCloud
By far the easiest choice when using an Apple device of course. Apple iCloud is built into every Apple device, whether that’s iPhone, iPad, or Mac.
icloud is Apple's ultimate strength and feature. If you are an Apple user it’s a no-brainer to switch this on, since your photos will follow you Seamlessly across all of your devices. If you're not - then hold the phone - we'll get to you next!
On iOS, you can share photos easily with your family if they are all set up for family sharing - which can be handy as this doesn’t take up any additional space than it does if you were to send the photo to family members through a text or iMessage.
Another fun feature is the ability to view photos on a map, if you have a large number of photos, can’t remember when but you can remember where then this feature is great and one I personally use on a regular basis.
You can also just search using words, and using image recognition that is built into most online platforms which will identify any photos with say, car, or happy, cat, or a little riskier... underwear?
And on that loosely related topic, if you wanted to hide any photos from your general collection, you can simply tap hide and have any photos or videos moved to this hidden section, away from prying eyes.
Ease of Use
When it comes to ease of use, yeah they’ve pretty much won here in general as it does ‘just work’ like many things that are built inside the Apple ecosystem. Simply switch on Apple Photos and within moments your library will be available on all your other Apple devices, as well as through the web browser.
Photos will upload on both wireless and Wi-fi, no issues there, and they also upload seamlessly in the background, so there’s no need to keep the app open or keep your device plugged in charging, whilst it uploads photos you’ve either taken recently or the initial backlog when you switch photos on.
Security and privacy are always at the forefront Of Apple products, so it’ll come as no surprise that all of the same protection comes as standard - features like 2FA to protect your Apple account are great to ensure your photos are only seen by you.
Pricing-wise, this is where it can get quite expensive with Apple.
50GB for 79p or $99c per month.
200GB for £2.49 or $2.99 per month
or 2TB for £6.99 or $9.99 per month
Google photos pretty much mirror images what Apple offers in terms of features. Simply install the Google Photos app on any device or access via a web browser to get access to all of your photo libraries. You can search for photos with descriptive text, and you can also view photos based on a map view, though I'd argue that the Apple implementation is much cleaner and easier to use on this.
Google does have some features above Apple's iCloud which I like. It will give you highlights, kind of like many social media platforms have their flashback Friday or whatever they call it. But Google Photos will also stitch images together and give you a cool animated video that lets you relive your moments again.
It has a face recognition system that means you can view photos based on who's in them, has some very clever categories like parks, bars, skyscrapers, posters, cars, birthdays, camping... that is a really interesting use of AI technology to detect what is in your photo and then categorises them accordingly. Though also quite scary!
Unique features that I really quite like here is that Google Photos can prompt you to clear out old crappy photos.... you know those screenshots you accidentally take sometimes when you're trying to get your phone out of your pocket, or maybe those screenshots you take of takeaway menus or whatever. Google Photos has some clever AI system that will recommend you archive these photos, which removes them from your main photostream view but doesn't delete them unless you actually delete them.
Ease of Use
It's definitely easy to use, and if you have an android device, then Google Photos is integrated across everything. Much like Apple Photos on iPhone, Google Photos is embedded to let you browse your google photos from within any app - but on iPhone it's a different story. Whenever you want to upload a photo to say, Facebook or Instagram - you will only be able to see images stored on your device and stored in iCloud. So you'll have to open the Google Photo's app first and then use the shortcuts within the app to upload them to Facebook. Or alternatively save them to your device (i.e, in Apple Photos) to then access them in other applications.
Other than that - it's pretty flawless.
Security is always overall great for Google. 2FA and tonnes of options to secure your account are built-in.
Pricing is somewhere I always felt Google was really strong.
You get 15GB for FREE. 100GB for £1.59, 200GB for £2.49 or 2TB for £7.99 per month.
The free account is where it's really strong. You can upload up to 15GB each day and use that 15GB of space to store whatever sized photos you like.
If you are happy for those photos to be resized to 16MP and video to be stored as 1080p.... then you can store UNLIMITED amounts of photos and videos for FREE!
What I feel is a no-brainer though, is when you look at the GSuite Business Plans.
Sign up for a GSuite Business Plan, at £9.20 per month and you'll get Unlimited storage.
What's even better is that Google is one of those who has offered me both a discount and affiliated link, so if you use the link above and use one of the 2 discount codes (depending on what you sign up for), then you will get a 20% off your first year of G-Suite. - neato!
It's worth noting that Google says that it's a minimum of 5 users, but I've been using it for a while now with a single user, and I have unlimited space. I also received a tonne of comments on my previous video about cloud storage with others saying the same thing... soo uh, listen to the people!
Amazon photos are one for you to consider if you have an Amazon Prime membership... which, let's be honest. Lockdown - everyone has Amazon prime by now, right?? Alexa, buy me all of the whiskey!
Not a huge amount of features in this one to be honest! You can organise your photos in albums, view by people or by places - but you can't display places on a map that's easy to browse like Google or Apple photos.
You can also share photos with other people which is a given in any photo app nowadays.
Ease of Use
For me - this one wasn't as great as other options. The photo upload wasn't as reliable and I found that I had to open the app for it to trigger the upload, and sometimes even keep the app open for the photos to upload. There was a night mode that says it would upload photos overnight, but even this would only upload if I kept the app open and phone awake, which is kinda..... shit right? In fact, I set off Overnight upload and left it overnight - and it still didn’t really get that far, even though I have over 100Mbps upload speeds.
Whilst taking photos throughout the day - I found that the Amazon app would lag behind other apps which would near instantly upload, and I'd have to once again open the app, to find that photos still needed to upload. So that sucks.
Also a quick note here that Amazon doesn’t support burst photos or motion photos across pretty much any manufacturer - it’ll just upload the first - so there’s that too.
For me, with the significant limitation with the uploads - I wouldn't rely on Amazon Photos. There are sometimes days or weeks where I don't open my actual photos app. So whether you're using it to backup your photos, view your photos on your TV or web browser... then the reliability just isn't there.
The one thing which is great, is for those of you with Amazon Fire TVs - those 4K HDMI Sticks that you plug into your TV? If you create a folder in your Amazon Photos for wallpaper, then you can set your Fire TV to scroll through some family memories / funny moments or whatever wallpaper you want to play on your TV. That generally provides our family with some entertainment when photos pop up from a decade ago, or when we have friends over.
Security as pretty much all of these options we're looking at - it's great. Providing you switch on the likes of 2Factor Authentication, and are careful with not opening a dodgy email that tricks you into giving your login details away, then you're good!
Price-wise, well yep - if you are already an Amazon Prime member then you have Unlimited Photo Storage. If you're not, then you get 5GB of Free Storage.
But, and here's another kicker, like the upload issue - you have unlimited PHOTO storage, not VIDEO storage.
You get 5GB of storage either free, or as an Amazon Prime member, then you get unlimited photo storage PLUS 5Gb of storage which you can use for videos, or documents.
If you run out of space then you can buy 100Gb for £16.99 and an additional 1TB for £79.99 each.
With that said, it can get mega expensive if you are storing Video files since, on say, an iPhone 11 shooting at 60FPS in 4K will give you a 400Mb file for every minute of footage. That's like, 12 or 13 video's and you're done.
So if you're looking for Video and Photo storage, then there are better options.
If you happen to have an Amazon Prime subscription and primarily care about your photos - then this isn't a bad call, providing you make sure you go into the app regularly to make sure it's uploading those photos.
Anyway! Let's talk OneDrive.
Eh, no real features here. OneDrive is geared more towards file storage than photos. To be honest, the photo storage seems just like an afterthought.
Yes, it backs up your photos but gives you absolutely none of the options you have from the others. You can basically organise them in folders and do some limited searching - but that's about it.
Ease of Use
When I first switched on OneDrive Photo Upload, to be honest, I gave up. It sat there for a very, very long time trying to upload my photos. But it took so long to go through and process all of the photos I had on my phone, that it never got around to uploading any photos. It just counted the number of photos I had, and the numbers just kept going up and up and up, for ages!
The only thing that I found quite funny was that when you shake your phone in anger because the photos wouldn't upload, is that it pops up to ask for feedback, so perhaps they already kinda know?
No real concerns around security. It's all linked to a Microsoft account so you get all the usual security that you would expect from the likes of Apple, Google, Microsoft - so no real concerns here.
With Pricing, you start off at 5GB for free and then up to 100GB for £1.99 per month. Outside of this, you'll need to upgrade to a full Office 365 Plan which gives you up to 1TB of space, but you also get Microsoft Outlook, Word, and Excel along with some other 365 services.
Quick pitstop at OneDrive, let's drop in on Dropbox!
Dropbox is another contender who doesn't have a specific product for uploading photos - they're known for providing online storage, but they also do have a feature that uploads your camera roll to your Dropbox.
No real features, it's just like OneDrive - a box of storage for your photos. You can create folders and that's about it. Nothing fancy here.
One thing it does ask you when you switch on photo upload is whether you want to upload jpeg files, which it recommends, with HEIC files - because it says that many services can't display HEIC. Arguably HEIC is better - as HEIC can actually store things like live photos and burst photos, whereas JPEGs are just a single photo. HEIC uses 16-bit colour, JPEG uses 8 bit. This just means you have more detail in your photos for when you want to edit them, push the exposure, or whatever, then you stand a better chance with HEIC than JPEG.
School time over? Let's move on!
Ease of use
Dropbox does allow for all the usual types of security, though it's worth mentioning here that Dropbox did suffer a breach in 2012, and didn't report it until 4 YEARS later.
Over to Pricing and we're looking at 2GB of Free storage, £7.99 for 2TB and £16.58 for 3TB.
Again, this is for pure storage, so you can use it for more than just photos - but again, this means it's quite limited on features for photos.
With that said, over to the final contender - which is very much out of the box - Plex!
Plex is unique here, and it's worth a mention.
Because with Plex, you can actually use your own storage, your own computer as a whole backup and media solution.
Plex is traditionally a place where you store tv shows and movies, that you source legitimately (wink) on your own computer, which can then stream to anywhere with an internet connection and on any device - providing of course, that your internet is capable of doing so.
Plex is stuffed with features for organising and managing your media, but if you are talking specifically about photos then you are quite limited. You can create albums or folders, and you can view on a timeline, but none of the features like Apple or Google - which do seem to be the dominant winners here. Plex is a fantastic option if you want a way that will allow you to store your photos on your own hard drives - and not relying on any cloud provider to store your data for you.
You can share with anybody you wish, which is also great if you want to share that same TV or Movie library with a friend or any family...
Ease of Use
For me, Plex fell over pretty quickly. I had to keep the app open to upload, and even when I did it didn't upload and just hung on 'Uploading will take place automatically', but it never did. So - your own experiences may vary on this, maybe it's just me... but, not a huge success.
Security is OK here - since you are storing the physical photos on your own storage, then you could arguably say that your data is 'more secure', though since you are using Plex to upload and store those photos, anybody with access to your Plex account would have access to your photos. Therefore it's as secure as your Plex account - which I have to say, hasn't had any reports of any hacks that I could find.
To get access to Plex Photos then you will need to subscribe to Plex at £3.99 per month, or you can even buy a lifetime subscription for £94.99. But the key here is that you pay one price, and store as much as you can physically hold, providing you buy enough hard drives for storage space.
This is a great option if you just don't trust the likes of Google or Apple with your photos.
So, after talking about all of these services, which would be my one pick of them all?
For me, there is actually a clear winner for once! And that winner is Google Photos.
Unlimited storage, for £9.20 per month - with a service that uploads automatically, in the background, really reliable, a tonne of features and it also comes with all the other features of GSuite - Email, Video chat, their web apps like sheets, docs, and a whole host of other tools. They have one of the best apps and experiences across the board. So if you’re looking to sign up for a Google Photos account yourself, then consider signing up for either Google One, or GSuite if you wanted that unlimited storage. Discount code for 20% off your first year down below.
Though with that said... a few exceptions.
If you're on an Apple device, then I'd recommend you sign up for Google, but carry on using the Apple Photo's App as the main App for your devices, because that integrates best with all of the other apps, like uploading a photo or video on Facebook.
For Fire TV users - use Photos for TV Wallpaper, and if you really wanted to have access to your photo library within Amazon, then use Amazon photo storage - but remember that you just won't have enough space for storing any video.
Personally - Dropbox, OneDrive, and Plex - they're just not there for me.
Yes, Plex if you just want to store everything on your own hardware, but no for all the other reasons I've mentioned.
If you wanted to look on a pure pricing basis then Google outright wins on the free pricing level for providing unlimited storage if you Store at their slightly lower quality, but still plenty of quality for using those photos on social media and such.
If you want to pay then Plex is great as you can buy home hard drive storage very cheaply for an unlimited amount of storage space for a very low fee, otherwise for online storage, and once again, Google wins with the cheapest 2TB Tier at £6.99.
With that said, if you want to sign up for any of the photo services, then don't forget to use the links below, and get a little discount where applicable.
And that brings us to the close of yet another Tech review! If you want more, then don’t forget to head over to YouTube and subscribe to the channel - thank you, maybe go watch the review on the best overall cloud storage provider, or maybe the best video conferencing app to use for all those lockdown video calls.
👨🏽💻 Get 20% off from Google GSuite: https://geni.us/NpAU0 (Use code W3UC9JLYPFR6REW for the Basic Plan or code L3N9XE3VNA6UREA for the Business Plan)
👨🏽💻 Sign up for a 30-Day Free Trial for Amazon Prime (Includes Unlimited Photo Storage and free next day shipping) https://geni.us/kFsV
👨🏽💻 Get Plex - http://plex.tv/
👨🏽💻 Dropbox - https://www.dropbox.com/referrals/AAC...
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