Thanks to the impressive quality of today’s smartphone cameras, anyone can be a photographer. But what happens to your photos if you lose your phone—or worse, your whole computer?
Backing up your photos to the cloud with the best cloud storage for photos is a simple and inexpensive solution to keep them safe. The best photo storage apps, offered by some of the best cloud storage platforms, make it easy to share your photos with family and friends. You can show off your favorite images at the same time as ensuring they’re preserved for digital posterity.
There are tons of photo storage apps competing for your custom, so it can be hard to know which one is right for you. We’ll cover everything you need to know about choosing the best photo storage apps, and offer our five top picks that you can sign up to and use today.
The 3 best photo storage apps currently available
IDrive: top photo storage at a great price
IDrive's our top photo storage app, with plans covering unlimited devices, and including the IDrive Express service for hard drive shipping, and the IDrive Photos photo storage app for iOS and Android users. For a limited time, get 10TB for only $3.98 for the first year!
pCloud: secure, cross-platform photo storage
pCloud is a security leader in storage, with zero-knowledge encryption available for maximum data safety. For photos, it's ideal, particularly its online previews, file-sharing options, automatic uploads, and its ability to integrate with all manner of other services.
Flickr: social media and storage, all-in-one
A very well-known photo platform, Flickr offers social sharing of your stored and organized images, and its premium account offers analytics and community interactions to allow you to make moves towards online photo sales.
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How much do photo storage apps cost?
Photo storage apps typically give you several gigabytes of storage for free. After that, you have to sign up for a monthly or annual subscription. These only cost a few dollars a month, but the amount of storage space you get for your money can vary widely between providers.
There are some pricing quirks to know about. For example, Backblaze offers unlimited storage, but only for a single computer. pCloud offers lifetime plans so you don’t have to pay for a subscription, as well as family plans that allow you to split up your storage space among multiple users.
What are the best photo storage apps?
IDrive is our top pick of the best photo storage apps available. It offers a huge amount of storage for a low price, and you can mail in a hard drive of your photos to streamline the upload process. pCloud offers affordable lifetime and family photo storage plans, while Flickr is best if you want to back up JPG images, and if you would like to share photos in a social media-style display.
Google Photos makes photo sharing incredibly simple, and it supports commenting and photo editing in the cloud; while Backblaze offers unlimited backup and storage for a single computer and connected hard drives.
The best photo storage apps right now
IDrive is a cloud storage service with a pricing structure that’s hard to beat. You can get up to 5TB of storage for just $79.50 a year or 10TB for $99.50 - currently, it's offering 10TB for $3.98 for the first year! All personal plans include unlimited devices, so you can back up RAW photos on your computer and pictures from your smartphone all to a single account.
A unique feature of IDrive is its IDrive Express service. Users can request a hard drive to be shipped to them, and you can fill it with as many photos, videos, and other files as you want. Then you just ship the drive back to IDrive, and the files will be uploaded to your cloud account. If you have terabytes of photos to upload, this is a huge timesaver compared to trying to upload them over a home internet connection.
When it comes to photos from mobile devices, IDrive's IDrive Photos app for both iOS and Android makes the act of backing up pictures simple and quick. In turn, there's a facial recognition feature that automatically organizes and syncs images across all linked devices.
The biggest drawback to IDrive is that it doesn’t have a lot of photo-editing specific features, such as there being no way to edit or resize photos online. You also can’t organize photos into albums for easy sharing.
Read our full IDrive review.
pCloud is another excellent cloud storage platform that works well for storing photos. With pCloud, you can easily preview photos online and share them with friends and family. The sharing options are particularly robust, since you can set expiration dates and passwords on links, track how many times your shared files were viewed, and even brand your shared links.
The platform doesn’t enable you to organize your photos into albums or edit them online. However, it can automatically upload photos to the cloud from your smartphone’s camera roll. pCloud also integrates with Google Photos, Facebook, and other popular services to copy all your photos into a single cloud storage account.
pCloud costs $59.88 a year for 500GB of storage space, or $119.88 for 2TB. Alternatively, you can buy a lifetime subscription for $175 (500GB) or $350 (2TB). pCloud also has a 2TB lifetime family plan that can be split between up to four users for $500.
Read our full pCloud review.
Flickr is a little bit different from the other photo storage apps on this list. Instead of being primarily a cloud storage platform, Flickr is a social media network built around photos. At Flickr, you can tag and organize your photos to make them more discoverable. Anyone from admiring amateurs to professional photographers can like and comment on your images.
With a Flickr Pro subscription, you get an analytics dashboard for your account and for individual photos. This means you can see which images are garnering the most attention. Flickr’s analytics and community can be especially helpful if you’re thinking about making the jump to selling your photography online.
Unfortunately, Flickr doesn’t support RAW files, only JPGs. If you shoot in RAW, you’ll likely want a separate cloud storage platform to keep those files safe. You can add up to 1,000 photos to Flickr for free. A Pro plan, which includes unlimited storage, costs $8.25 a month or $72 a year.
Read our full Flickr review.
Google Photos is one of the most user-friendly photo storage apps we’ve tested. With this platform, photos are automatically uploaded from your computer or smartphone to the cloud. You can easily organize photos into albums for sharing with friends and family. Commenting is enabled on photos by default, although it can be turned off.
One neat feature of Google Photos that you won’t find elsewhere is AI-based photo tagging. Google’s AI algorithm will automatically identify sunset photos, photos of pets, friends’ faces, activities like skiing, and much more. While most users will look through photos one album at a time, these AI-based tags can be a neat way to look back on a year’s worth of photos.
Google Photos offers 15GB of storage for free, but it can be a bit pricey after that. Upgrading to 100GB costs $1.99 a month, and 2TB costs $9.99 a month. On the bright side, this storage is shared with Google Drive, so you can store more than just photos.
Read our full Google Photos review.
Backblaze offers unlimited storage for a single PC or Mac computer with a monthly or annual subscription. Unlimited storage is something that not many cloud storage providers offer, so Backblaze is certainly worth considering if you have a large—and growing—library of photos.
Backblaze doesn’t limit the types or sizes of files that you can upload. So you’re free to upload your ultra-high-resolution RAW photos, timelapses, and 3D photos. You can also back up your Lightroom catalog, image previews, and Photoshop files. Although Backblaze only supports one computer with your subscription, you can back up any attached external hard drives.
At $7 a month or $70 a year, Backblaze’s pricing is very affordable. However, the fact that you can’t back up photos from your smartphone is a major drawback, and photo-sharing options are relatively limited. It’s worth considering whether you’re willing to put in the work required to transfer all your images onto a single computer before you sign up for Backblaze.
Read our full Backblaze review.
Photo storage apps FAQs
Want to learn more about photo storage apps? Our FAQs will help you understand the benefits of storing your photos in the cloud.
Can photo storage apps store RAW files?
Most photo storage apps can store both JPG and RAW files. However, depending on the platform, you may not be able to preview RAW files online.
Can I access photos from the cloud on my smartphone?
Most cloud storage platforms have mobile apps for iOS and Android devices, which enable you to view your photos in the cloud without downloading them.
How do I upload my photos to the cloud?
Photo storage apps typically backup your photos to the cloud automatically when they are added to your smartphone or computer. Platforms like IDrive and Backblaze also enable you to mail in a hard drive of photos to be uploaded to your cloud storage account.
The benefits of the best photo storage apps
How we review the best photo storage apps
We conduct extensive testing of all the photo storage apps we review. We set up a cloud storage account, and upload and download photos to see how the process works and how easy it is to manage your photos. We also try out each app’s tools for photo sharing, organization, and editing.
In addition, we benchmark photo storage apps’ speed against competitors to find out which apps are the fastest. We also contact companies’ support teams to ensure they are responsive to customers.
Next steps when choosing the best photo storage apps
Want to learn more about photo storage apps? Check out our guide to the best cloud storage for photos, and if you're low on budget, we also have a guide to the best free cloud storage platforms. It's also worth establishing whether your chosen provider ranks among the best secure cloud storage and the best encrypted cloud storage, to ensure your important photos are as safe and secure as possible.