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The best Google Photos alternatives in 2021

Finding the best Google Photos alternatives probably wouldn't have been on your to-do list a few years or even months ago. For many people, Google Photos seems like the default choice for online photo storage. It's free to use, most people already have a Google account, and, until now, storage space was unlimited. In short, there's no doubt that it is one of the most popular cloud storage platforms worldwide. 

In June 2021, Google will stop providing unlimited free storage to users. Instead, users will be given 15 GB of free storage space, shared across Google Photos, Gmail, and Google Drive. This 15 GB won't last long and is likely to send many users running, looking for better options. 

Even before this change, however, we knew there were other cloud storage alternatives out there. In this buying guide, we explore ten of the best Google Photos alternatives. We've also independently reviewed most of these platforms, so make sure to check our in-depth guides to help you discover the for you.

Best Google Photos Alternatives

(Image credit: iDrive)

01. iDrive

Unbeatable if you want high-capacity, low-cost storage

Free Storage: 5GB | RAW file storage: Yes | Max storage: 10TB

Encryption in transit and at rest
Exceptionally affordable 
Backup entire devices or specifical files
5 GB free storage less impressive than many competitors

Although iDrive isn't designed primarily for storing photos and videos, we think it might be the perfect Google Photos alternative for the right user. If you prioritise maximum storage space, then the company's high-capacity, low-cost plans will appeal. 5 TB of storage costs only $52.12 per year. 10 TB, a massive amount, costs only $74.62 per year. 

On a per-GB basis, you won't find cloud storage as affordable as this. So if you manage a sizeable image library, we recommend IDrive. Similarly, amateur or professional photographers shooting in Raw format should consider IDrive due to the format's large file sizes. 

The platform also scores highly for accessibility, with reliable apps available on iOS, Android, and Windows devices. Over a rigorous testing period, we found no significant issues with any of iDrive's apps and found all the main features straightforward to use. The iDrive web client is also impressive, making it easy to access your files from any web-enabled device. 

Security is another strength, with comprehensive encryption of data both when it is in transit and when resting on iDrive's servers. Although it isn’t end-to-end encryption (such as that used on Microsoft’s Vault), it still far surpasses the security policies of Google Photos.

In short, if you are going to be impacted by the end of unlimited storage on Google Photos and are worried about their ambiguous security and privacy policies, then iDrive might be your best alternative. Enormous storage capacity with top-quality encryption at low cost makes IDrive one of the best Google Photos alternatives around.

Best Google Photos Alternatives

pCloud’s security options go above and beyond (Image credit: pCloud)

02. pCloud

The only choice if you won’t compromise on security

Free Storage: 10GB | RAW file storage: Yes | Max storage: 10TB

Full end-to-end encryption
Lifetime subscription option
RAW image thumbnails
Annual pricing options are expensive

pCloud is the most secure of all the platforms reviewed on this list. This should matter to you if you want your photo library to remain secure, only to be seen by you and those you choose. 

With cybercrime growing year after year, complacency can no longer be the norm. All people, but particularly those working in creative industries where your images and designs constitute your livelihood, need to choose a cloud storage platform that provides encrypted storage.

Fortunately, pCloud provides its premium Crypto customers with end-to-end encryption for all files. This is unmatched by any other platform in this buying guide, and means that no one, not even the pCloud team, can access your images. You hold the key (literally) to your data at all times. This optional add-on (which we highly recommend) is called pCloud Crypto, and costs $47.88 per year. 

pCloud also differentiates itself by offering a lifetime subscription plan. The Premium Plus 2 TB plan costs $350 ($95.88 if paid annually). Lifetime access to pCloud Crypto costs $125. These options make the platform more affordable than most competitors.

One final thing we love about pCloud is its support for RAW image thumbnails. This is a feature we've not seen on other platforms and makes pCloud a good Google Photos alternative for professional photographers.

Best Google Photos Alternatives

(Image credit: Microsoft)

03. Microsoft OneDrive

Best overall cloud storage platform

Free Storage: 5GB | RAW file storage: Yes | Max storage: 6TB

End-to-end encryption in the Vault
Affordable Microsoft 365 bundles
Dedicated Photos section
Not purpose-designed for photo and video storage

If you're looking for a Google Photos alternative that is reliable, secure, and easy to use, then Microsoft OneDrive is a platform worth considering. Although not specifically designed for storing photos and videos, it's such an all-round performer that we had to include it on this list. There are very few areas where Microsoft OneDrive doesn't perform well. It is secure, feature-rich, and has apps for all operating systems, including iOS and macOS. So even if you use Apple Devices, OneDrive is a worthy choice. 

Most versions of the app include a dedicated photos section where users can scroll through their photos in chronological order. Users can also create and organise an unlimited number of albums. 

Security-conscious users will appreciate the Vault, a subfolder that provides end-to-end encryption for your most important files. Images in this folder are totally inaccessible to anyone other than the user, including Microsoft employees. This is essentially the highest level of encryption possible. Premium customers can store an unlimited amount of files in the Vault, whereas customers using the free OneDrive plan can only store five files in the Vault.

Purchasing access to Microsoft OneDrive is simple. A standalone 100 GB OneDrive plan costs $1.99 per month. However, if you are going to commit to OneDrive, we recommend purchasing a Microsoft 365 subscription. 

For only $6.99 per month, you will get 1 TB of OneDrive storage, plus access to apps such as Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, and Excel. This is a top-quality package and makes OneDrive one of our top Google Photos alternatives.

Best Google Photos Alternatives

Apple Photos is one of our top Google Photos alternatives for 2021 (Image credit: Apple)

03. Apple Photos

The best option for Apple loyalists

Free Storage: 5GB | RAW file storage: No | Max storage: 2TB

Encryption in transit and at rest
Seamless syncing across all Apple devices
Affordable upgrade plans
Not a viable choice useful for Windows or Android users 
5 GB free storage less impressive than many competitors 

Apple Photos is affordable, feature-rich, and highly secure, so we're confident in crowning it one of the best Google Photos alternatives in 2021. It comes pre-installed on Apple devices, meaning there are no cumbersome downloads, and no setup is required. 

Perhaps the most significant benefit of using Apple Photos is deep integration with the entire iCloud ecosystem. iCloud provides a seamless cloud storage, backup and syncing solution across iOS, macOS, and iPadOS. All Photos features are intuitive to use, from shared albums to live photos. 

iCloud integration also means seamless cloud syncing, one of the principal reasons we rank Apple Photos as one of the best Google Photos alternatives in 2021. As long as you're logged in to your iCloud account, all your photos will sync seamlessly across all your Apple devices, making Photos an excellent choice for all Apple loyalists. 

All this, of course, only applies when using an Apple device. There are no specific clients for Apple Photos on Windows or Android operating systems. 

Security is another strength of the Photos platform. As part of the broader iCloud ecosystem, all photos are encrypted both in transit and at rest. Although encryption can seem complicated, all you need to know is that it makes your files private and totally secure. So no matter whether you're on a public Wi-Fi network in the cafe, in the office, or working from home, you can trust Apple to protect your photos. 

Photos is included for free on all Apple devices, with 5 GB of free storage for all users. Users can upgrade their storage capacity to 100 GB for $1.99 per month, 200 GB for $2.99 per month, or a massive 2 TB for $9.99 per month. The 2 TB plan can also be shared with your family members.

Best Google Photos Alternatives

Adobe Creative Cloud is a great option for designers and photographers (Image credit: Adobe)

04. Adobe Creative Cloud

Great for existing Adobe customers

Free storage: None | Raw file storage: Yes | Max storage capacity: 1TB

Complete integration with all Adobe Creative Cloud apps
Low-capacity storage 
Expensive

If you already use the Adobe Creative Cloud suite, its cloud storage could be a viable alternative to Google Photos. Otherwise, however, we don’t think it’s the best Google Photos alternative. 

Adobe Creative Cloud hasn’t been designed to replace your main cloud storage platform. Rather, it serves as an ancillary platform for storing in-progress Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop projects. Therefore, it isn’t the best cloud storage option for photos and videos as a standalone product. However, its deep integration with imaging editing apps such as Lightroom and Photoshop earns it a place on this list. 

Security is neither a clear strength nor a weakness, with adequate encryption when your photos are resting on the server. However, using Adobe Creative Cloud on a public Wi-Fi network is not as secure as some other providers due to a lack of encryption when files are in transit. 

Another downside of Adobe Creative Cloud is the cost, with 1 TB of storage and access to Lightroom costing $9.99 per month. A subscription to all Adobe apps with 100 GB of storage costs $52.99 per month. These prices make Adobe one of the most expensive Google Photos alternatives (but see our Adobe Creative Cloud discount page for the best prices available).

Best Google Photos Alternatives

Flickr is the best social media platform for amateur and professional photographers alike (Image credit: Flickr)

05. Flickr Pro

A social media network for amateur and professional photographers

Free storage: 1000 photos | RAW file storage: Yes | Max storage: Unlimited

Design your own photostream and customize your brand
Integrations with third-party platforms such as Adobe Creative Cloud
No private photo storage
Not designed for storing your entire image library

Many people consider Flickr to be synonymous with online photo sharing and storage, and with good reason. Currently owned by Smugmug, Flickr has spent years helping amateur and professional photographers alike share their best images online. This is the closest thing you'll find to a social media network for photos. 

Although it's not the best platform for storing your entire image library, Flickr still deserves a spot on our list. When used alongside a high-capacity storage provider, Flickr provides best-in-class social features, enabling you to share your portfolio with the world. 

For example, Flickr differentiates itself from many other image storing platforms by enabling visitors to comment on and add tags to your photos. In a sense, this allows your followers to help organise your image library. Flickr also prominently displays information about your images, such as where it was taken and on what device, and which settings were used. 

From your account page, you can choose which photos are displayed first, enabling you to custom-design your brand. 

A free Flickr account allows you to upload up to 1000 full-resolution photos. For an ad-free experience, and to enjoy automatic photo upload and unlimited storage space, we recommend purchasing Flickr Pro. It costs $5.99 per month and includes many perks, such as two months complimentary access to the Adobe Creative Cloud Photography plan, which includes Lightroom and Photoshop.

Best Google Photos Alternatives

Dropbox is a trusted cloud storage provider with a proven record of protecting user data (Image credit: Dropbox)

06. Dropbox Pro

Reliable and trusted

Free Storage: 2GB | RAW file storage: Yes | Max storage: 3TB

Simple and easy-to-use interface
Easily scalable storage plans
Encryption both in transit and at rest
Only minimal free storage

Dropbox was one of the first cloud storage platforms to emerge in the early 2000s. Fortunately, Dropbox has avoided stagnation and still provides users with a unique product in 2021. Although it didn't earn the top spot on our list, we still think it one of the best Google Photos alternatives for photographers, designers, and other creatives. 

A simple but powerful interface, combined with close to best-in-class third-party integrations, makes DropBox a Google Photos alternative worth considering. Undoubtedly, we think Dropbox's apps are some of the best available. They're well designed, easy to use, and completely glitch-free. 

Dropbox also provides users with a two-tier membership model. Dropbox Plus costs $9.99 per month and includes 2 TB of online storage (more than enough for most professional creatives), as well as automatic syncing, offline file access, and 30-day file recovery. 

However, if you need even more storage space and in-depth features, consider Dropbox Professional. It costs more, at $16.48 per month, but includes a 3 TB storage allowance, as well as advanced features such as 180-day file recovery, traffic and account insights, and file watermarking. 

Dropbox also scores highly on security, with complete encryption of photos both in transit and at rest. You can be absolutely sure that your personal photos, as well as your professional portfolio, won't be compromised while using the Dropbox platform.

Best Google Photos Alternatives

500px enables users to make money by licensing their images to others (Image credit: 500px)

07. 500px

Perfect for professional photographers

Free Storage: 10GB | RAW file storage: Yes | Max storage: 10TB

Possibility of licensing images
Great for creating a professional portfolio 
Recently hacked with customer data stolen 
Not suitable for storing your personal images 

500px is a left-field option for those looking for a Google Photos alternative, but we think it's worth including on our list. 

The platform's biggest strengths are its portfolio-building interface and the option to license your images to other uses for a small fee. This makes 500px the only platform mentioned in this article that can actually earn you money. 

Therefore, the platform is suited for professional photographers and designers who want to share their best pictures with the world, and maybe even make some spare change in the process. Like Flickr, 500px is part storage solution, part social media platform. 

There are many ways to interact with other users on the 500px apps and website. Users can join groups, explore popular images, and join quests, which are challenges that, according to the company, "help photographers test their skills, get recognised for their work, and win exciting prizes." 

However, 500px is not suited for storing your entire photo library, and therefore cannot replace Google Photos. All photos you upload to 500px will also be publicly accessible, meaning it will be unsuited for your personal photo albums. 

Our other main concern with the platform is data security. In 2019, the 500px team announced it was the victim of a cyber intrusion in mid-2018, resulting in the personal data of 14 million users being leaked. Although the company claims to have improved its data security measures in response to the attack, we're still apprehensive. Once bitten, twice shy, they say.

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