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The best Google Photos alternatives in 2021

Google Photos alternatives
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Finding the best Google Photos alternatives might not have been on your to-do list a few months ago. For many, Google's platform was the default choice for online photo storage. But from June 2021, the popular cloud storage platform is changing its policy and will no longer provide unlimited free storage for users. Instead, new images uploaded to Google Photos will start to count towards the 15 GB of free storage space that each user receives to share across Gmail, Google Drive – and now Google Photos. 

This was already the case for photos stored in original quality, but not those compressed as High quality (now renamed Storage saver), and Express quality. If you upload a lot of images, 15 GB won't last very long under the new policy, so now might be the time to start looking for Google Photos alternatives. 

We already knew there were other cloud storage alternatives out there, but now is the time to explore them more deeply. In this buying guide, we review ten of the best Google Photos alternatives to help you choose the best one for you. If you want to learn more about Google Photos itself, see our guide to Google Photos and our Google Photos review.

The best Google Photos alternatives

Best Google Photos Alternatives

iDrive offers huge capacities at reasonable prices. (Image credit: iDrive)

One of the best Google Photos alernatives with high-capacity at a low cost

Specifications
Free Storage: 5GB
RAW file storage: Yes
Max storage: 10TB
Reasons to buy
+Encryption in transit and at rest+Exceptionally affordable +Backup entire devices or specifical files
Reasons to avoid
-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 one of the best Google Photos alternatives for many users. If your priority is maximum storage space, then the company's high-capacity, low-cost plans will appeal. 5 TB of storage costs only $52.12 per year, while a massive 10 TB costs just $74.62 per year. 

On a per-GB basis, you won't find any other cloud storage as affordable as this. So if you manage a sizeable image library, this could be your best bet. Amateur or professional photographers shooting in Raw format may find IDrive particularly appealing 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)

One of the best Google Photos alternatives for security

Specifications
Free Storage: 10GB
RAW file storage: Yes
Max storage: 10TB
Reasons to buy
+Full end-to-end encryption+Lifetime subscription option+RAW image thumbnails
Reasons to avoid
-Annual pricing options are expensive

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

Everyone, but particularly those working in creative industries in which images are part of your livelihood, needs to choose a cloud storage platform that provides encrypted storage. pCloud provides its premium Crypto customers with end-to-end encryption for all files. Unmatched by any other platform in this buying guide, this means that no one, not even the pCloud team, can access your images. The optional pCloud Crypto add-on 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 can make the platform more affordable than many competitors.

Another thing we love about pCloud is its support for RAW image thumbnails. It's a feature we've not seen on many other platforms, and it makes pCloud one of the best Google Photos alternatives for professional photographers.

Best Google Photos Alternatives

Microsoft OneDrive is a good all-rounder (Image credit: Microsoft)

03. Microsoft OneDrive

Best overall cloud storage platform

Specifications
Free Storage: 5GB
RAW file storage: Yes
Max storage: 6TB
Reasons to buy
+End-to-end encryption in the Vault+Affordable Microsoft 365 bundles+Dedicated Photos section
Reasons to avoid
-Not purpose-designed for photo and video storage

If you're looking for a Google Photos alternative that's reliable, secure, and easy to use, then Microsoft OneDrive is well worth considering. Although not specifically designed for storing photos and videos, it's a good all-round performer. There are very few areas where Microsoft OneDrive doesn't perform well. It's 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 inaccessible to anyone other than the user. 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.

A standalone 100 GB OneDrive plan costs $1.99 per month. However, if you are going to commit to OneDrive, you might want to purchase a Microsoft Office 365 subscription. For $6.99 per month, you get 1 TB of OneDrive storage, plus access to apps such as Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, and Excel. That all-round package makes OneDrive one of our top Google Photos alternatives.

Best Google Photos Alternatives

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

Great for existing Adobe customers

Specifications
Free storage: None
Raw file storage: Yes
Max storage capacity: 1TB
Reasons to buy
+Complete integration with all Adobe Creative Cloud apps
Reasons to avoid
-Low-capacity storage -Expensive

If you already use the Adobe Creative Cloud suite, its cloud storage could be a viable alternative to Google Photos. 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. It isn’t the best cloud storage option for photos and videos as a standalone product, but its deep integration with image editing apps such as Lightroom and Photoshop earns it a place on this list. 

Files have 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. One TB of storage and access to Lightroom costs $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. As such, we'd only recommend it for creatives who already use Adobe's products (see our Adobe Creative Cloud discount page for the best prices available).

Best Google Photos Alternatives

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

05. Apple Photos

The best Google Photos alternative for Apple loyalists

Specifications
Free Storage: 5GB
RAW file storage: No
Max storage: 2TB
Reasons to buy
+Encryption in transit and at rest+Seamless syncing across all Apple devices+Affordable upgrade plans
Reasons to avoid
-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. It comes pre-installed on Apple devices, meaning there are no cumbersome downloads and no setup required. 

Perhaps the most significant benefit of Apple Photos is deep integration with the entire iCloud ecosystem. iCloud provides seamless cloud storage, backup and syncing solution across iOS, macOS, and iPadOS. Features are intuitive to use, from shared albums to live photos. As long as you're logged in to your iCloud account, all your photos will sync seamlessly across all your Apple devices, making this an excellent choice for all Apple loyalists. 

As part of the broader iCloud ecosystem, all photos are encrypted both in transit and at rest. 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. 

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. Photos is included for free on all Apple devices, with 5 GB of free storage. 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 family members.

Best Google Photos Alternatives

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

A social media network for amateur and professional photographers

Specifications
Free storage: 1000 photos
RAW file storage: Yes
Max storage: Unlimited
Reasons to buy
+Design your own photostream and customize your brand+Integrations with third-party platforms such as Adobe Creative Cloud
Reasons to avoid
-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 share their best images online. 

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. 

It 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 they were taken, 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 1,000 full-resolution photos. For an ad-free experience, and to enjoy automatic photo upload and unlimited storage space, we'd recommend purchasing Flickr Pro. That costs $5.99 per month and includes 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 for protecting user data (Image credit: Dropbox)

Reliable and trusted cloud storage

Specifications
Free Storage: 2GB
RAW file storage: Yes
Max storage: 3TB
Reasons to buy
+Simple and easy-to-use interface+Easily scalable storage plans+Encryption both in transit and at rest
Reasons to avoid
-Only minimal free storage

Dropbox was one of the first cloud storage platforms to emerge in the early 2000s. It's kept moving and still provides users with a strong product in 2021. Although it didn't earn the top spot on our list, we still think it's one of the best Google Photos alternatives for photographers, designers, and other creatives looking to store a large volume of imagery. 

A simple but powerful interface, combined with close to best-in-class third-party integrations makes DropBox a Google Photos alternative worth considering. The apps are easy to use and glitch-free. Dropbox also scores highly on security, with complete encryption of photos both in transit and at rest.

Dropbox offers 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. 

If you need even more storage space and in-depth features, Dropbox Professional costs $16.48 per month and includes 3 TB storage and advanced features such as 180-day file recovery, account insights, and watermarking.

Best Google Photos Alternatives

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

An interesting alternative for professional photographers

Specifications
Free Storage: 10GB
RAW file storage: Yes
Max storage: 10TB
Reasons to buy
+Possibility of licensing images+Great for creating a professional portfolio 
Reasons to avoid
-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 considering. The platform's biggest strengths are its portfolio-building interface and the option to license images to other uses for a small fee. This makes 500px the only platform in our list that can actually earn you money. 

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 cannot completely replace Google Photos. Also, all the photos you upload to 500px will be publicly accessible, making it unsuitable for images that need to remain private.

Users may also have concerns with data security. In 2019, 500px announced it was the victim of a cyber intrusion in mid-2018, resulting in the personal data of 14 million users being leaked. The company says it has improved its security measures in response to the attack.

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