Pros and Cons to Photo Cloud Storage

Apple iCloud
Pros: Free but limited storage and automatic photo uploading.
Cons: The free storage limit is only 5GB.
Quick take: For those who own Apple products, this service makes backing up your images super-convenient, but the 5GB of free storage doesn’t get you very far. You need to pay about $1 per month for 50GB, $3 per month for 200GB, or $10 per month for 2TB. Like Amazon’s service, this one offers automatic uploads and a mobile app with photo-editing features, tagging, live photo support, and machine-learning-supported search.

Dropbox
Pros: Free but limited storage.
Cons: Only 2GB of free storage to start, automatic photo uploading requires paid subscription, and no in-app photo editing.
Quick take: Two free GB of storage is pretty meager. If you want to store lots of photos, you’ll probably need to buy a paid tier. However, you can stretch your free storage a bit. Each time you refer a friend who joins the service, you get 500 megabytes more, maxing out at 16GB. Dropbox’s paid tiers cost $10 per month for 2TB of storage (there’s also a $17 family plan that includes up to six users) or $17 per month for 3TB.

Google Photos
Pros: Free but limited storage, automatic photo uploading and photo printing service.
Cons: Downsizes photos archived in the unlimited storage.
Quick take: The unlimited storage space option ends June 1, 2022. After that, new photos uploaded with high-quality and express-quality resolutions will count toward the user’s 15GB Google Account storage allotment. When you reach the limit, you have to subscribe to a Google One account to back up photos. At high-quality resolution, photos are compressed to 16 megapixels. According to Consumer Reports’ experts, that’s adequate for most purposes. For example, it’s enough to print a 16.40×10.88-inch image at the industry standard of 300 pixels per inch. At express quality, images are compressed to 3 megapixels. If you’d like, you can store images at their original resolution by choosing that option in your settings, but they will take up more space in your Google Drive. For more space, you can pay $2 per month for 100GB or $10 per month for 1TB. The service features a mobile app that offers photo editing, tagging, live photo support, and machine-learning-supported search.

Microsoft OneDrive
Pros: Free but limited storage and automatic photo uploading.
Cons: Only 5GB of free storage and no in-app photo editing.
Quick take: While it’s a bit sparse on helpful photo features, OneDrive might appeal to Windows users. Whether or not you use Microsoft Office, you can access and share photos using the OneDrive app, which does not require an additional download for computer use. If the 5GB of free storage is too slim, you can pay about $2 per month for 100GB or $70 per year for 1TB. For $100 per year, you can access the Family plan, which gives six users 1TB of space each.

Nikon Image Space
Pros: Free but limited storage.
Cons: No automatic photo uploading and no in-app photo editing.
Quick take: Nikon’s free basic plan includes 2GB of storage, but Nikon camera owners can access up to 20GB of free storage in the company’s Image Space service. (Both options accept photos only.) There are no paid storage tiers. Those who own certain Nikon cameras, such as the D7100 and D5600, can also store an unlimited number of photos, scaled down to 2MB, using the Nikon SnapBridge app. Image Space lacks the post-processing and AI features of other apps.

Shutterfly
Pros: Free unlimited storage, automatic photo uploading and photo printing service.
Cons: Limited download resolution and no in-app photo editing.
Quick take: While Shutterfly is best known as a photo-printing service, it also offers free, unlimited storage for photos. (Sorry, no videos, spreadsheets or documents.) And as with Amazon, there’s no real limit to the size of the photos you can upload. Shutterfly says most photos can be downloaded at full resolution. However, users who want full-resolution versions of older photos will receive instructions in a company email sent when a multiple download request is made. Shutterfly also offers video upload plans.