Tech giant Google announced in November 2020 that after June 1st 2021, it won’t be offering free unlimited storage for high-quality photos. Meaning that starting June 2021, Google will provide just 15 GB of free cloud storage to its free users. When the upper cap of 15 GB crosses, users might be required to pay for the extra storage. This isn’t great news for anyone who relies purely on Google Photos for their storage needs. So, now would be the perfect time to look for Google Photos alternatives and switch before it is too late.
Since the year 2015, Google Photos has successfully managed to solidify its position as the most widely used and popular cloud storage option for photos and videos. In just 4 years of its launch, Google Photos crossed the 1 billion user mark in 2019 . The tech giant reported that every week, as of 2020, about 28 billion videos and photos are uploaded to Photos and a total of over 4 trillion photos are stored in service .
Over 2 billion iOS and Android users use the services of Google Photos, but come June 2021, things are going to change. The good news is that you have ample time to switch over to the best Google Photos alternative.
We’ll be honest here. Google Photos is a very efficient and useful service and there is no better replacement, in terms of free and unlimited storage. So, if you are on the lookout for a storage service that allows you to upload unlimited photos and videos without paying a cent, we’d respectfully ask you to lower your expectations. But hey! If you are anyway going to pay for something, might as well pay for the cloud service that perfectly meets your needs.
Following are the 5 best alternatives to Google Photos
1. pCloud – best Google Photos alternative
The fact that pCloud offers the cheapest lifetime subscription for its cloud storage services makes it a great Google Photos replacement. All you have to do is pay one upfront fee to pCloud and you get to access this platform for life. It’s lifetime subscription is priced at about $175 and provides 500GB of storage. If this isn’t enough for you, there’s another plan that costs $350 and offers 2TB. However, if you don’t want to go for a lifetime subscription and pay a lump sum amount, you can always go for their annual subscription plans.
pCloud automatically uploads all your photos and videos to its cloud and you can also use pCloud to sync your devices automatically. Moreover, if you store your files on other services like DropBox, Facebook, OneDrive, Instagram and Google Drive, you’ll be able to create backups through pCloud. pCloud does an excellent job of providing bullet-proof security to your files as it provides 256-bit encryption for each and every file stored on its cloud. Through pCloud, you also get access to a range of useful features like data recovery, file versioning, online document previews and remote uploads.
Pros of pCloud
- Lifetime subscription option available
- Extremely secure
- Social media backup feature
Cons of pCloud
- Lacks document editor
- Lacks add-on services
2. iDrive – an alternative to Google Photos
iDrive is the best Google Photos alternative for those who are looking for a place to organize their photos and video collection online. This is a good alternative when you don’t have a massive budget and don’t have massive storage requirements, as only up to 5 GB storage is free. The best part about iDrive is the features that it offers for photographers.
For example, it has a facial recognition feature that orders your photos automatically. It also has an Auto Camera feature that automatically backs up all photos stored on the device. Most importantly, god forbid, if your data is ever wiped entirely, the iDrive Express feature can be used to access a physical hard drive that contains all your backed-up files.
This cloud storage service offers up to 5TB space for approximately $ per annum and 10TB storage space for approximately $74 a year. If you’re a premium account holder, you will be able to store and upload files from all your devices.
Pros of iDrive
- Free version available
- Plenty of storage plan options available
- Auto Camera Feature
Cons of iDrive
- Not the most cost-effective Google Photos alternative
3. OneDrive – best Google Photos replacement
OneDrive by Microsoft is one of the leading cloud storages and most trustworthy Google Photos alternatives available out there. For users and businesses that use Microsoft Offices and software like Excel, PowerPoint and Word, Microsoft OneDrive might be an obvious Google Photos replacement. It offers up to 15GB of free storage and chances to earn extra free space to save their photos. This has been made possible by Microsoft via a referral program where existing users can gain extra free storage for every friend or family member that creates an account through them.
OneDrive also has the automatic photo-backup feature. Another great thing about OneDrive is that apart from photos and videos, it can also store documents and can be accessed from any of your Windows6 mobile devices and personal computers. Files in this storage service are organized by type so that it is convenient to find what you are looking for. Leading social network integration is also possible via OneDrive. If you have Office 365, real-time collaboration with people is also possible.
Pros of OneDrive
- Social media integration
- Collaboration through Office 365
- Organization on the basis of file type
Cons of OneDrive
- Privacy concerns
- Prone to data breaches
- Irregular and faulty data syncing
4. Adobe Creative Photography Cloud – best for professional photographers
In case you have heavier than usual storage requirements and looking for an advanced alternative to Google Photos, Adobe Creative Cloud Photography might be the right fit for you. Especially if you’re a professional photographer or designer, this tool has tons of cool features that will make your life easier. Adobe’s cloud storage costs about 9.99 a month and provides access to its best cloud solutions for photographers. With integration Lightroom, you can easily capture and edit photos through its intuitive desktop, mobile and we software. Once you’re done editing the pictures, the photos automatically are uploaded to the cloud.
What’s amazing is that when you subscribe to this plan, you also get access to Adobe Photoshop for desktop and iPad. This allows you to edit photos using one of the most powerful photo-editing solutions. Moreover, you can show off your designs by creating a portfolio website and using a wide range of social media tools that are also included in the plan. Through this plan, you get access to 20GB of cloud storage which Adobe says is more than enough data to backup up to 4,000 JPEG files.
Pros of Adobe Creative Cloud Photography
- Value for money
- Access to Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom
- Access to social media tools
- Plenty of storage
Cons of Adobe Creative Cloud Photography
- Not a great deal for non-designers and non-photographers
5. Amazon Photos – Alternative to Google Photos
A great alternative to Google Photos by the e commerce giant Amazon. Amazon Photos offers its Prime members access to unlimited storage for photos. For videos, it offers up tp 5GB of storage space. What about non-Prime users? Well, they get a total of 5GB storage for photos and videos. Once you download the Amazon Photos app and sign it, your photos on the device will automatically back up. It is a great way to save memory on your device and safeguard your files, in case your device is lost or damaged.
Pros of Amazon Photos
- Benefits for Prime users
- Value for money
- Robust search feature
Cons of Amazon Photos
- Not a great deal for non-Prime users
Having a look at the above alternatives, if you’re convinced that Google Photos is the best for you, here’s the pricing plan that will be applicable.
Google Photos Pricing Plan
After the announced deadline, only Pixel (1st – 5th generation) phones will be able to make use of absolutely free and high-quality cloud storage on Google. iPhone and Android users will only have a limit of 15 GB and if they want more space, they will have to subscribe to ‘Google One’ service. Google One plans start from approximately $1.78 dollars a month ($17 yearly) that provides access to 100 GB storage and option to add your family. It also has a 200 GB plan priced at approximately $2.88 a month ($28.82 annually) and a 2 TB plan priced at $8 a month ($89 per annum).
Why is Google Photos ending free unlimited storage?
There’s one very clear reason behind Google charging for extra storage space – Cloud computing and cloud storage are expensive technologies. It isn’t simply about uploading photos and videos. Tech companies have to put in large sums of money into maintaining their cloud storage services, expanding the cloud storage and keeping all the files secure. With the ever-growing and ever-increasing photo and video uploads from users, it is getting more expensive for the tech giant to maintain and expand its cloud storage capacity.
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Image 1: Flickr
Feature Image & Image 2: Google
 Fast Company (2019) “How Google Photos joined the billion-user club” [Online] Available from: https://www.fastcompany.com/90380618/how-google-photos-joined-the-billion-user-club [Accessed March 2021]
 Google (2020) “Updating Google Photos’ storage policy to build for the future” [Online] Available from: https://blog.google/products/photos/storage-changes/ [Accessed March 2021]