Top 6 Online Photo Storage Apps

For many of us our smartphone has become our camera, in fact we now do pretty much everything from this one handheld device that goes everywhere with us. From our online shopping to capturing our favourite memories we rely on it for quite a lot — not to mention the endless ream of selfies. Have you considered what you would do though if you lost your phone, dropped it down the toilet or damaged it beyond repair?

Back in the day when we used an actual camera, the memory card or the negatives were how we kept our memories safe. As long as had these we always had a backup of our images. We would develop our images and then put them into albums as a keepsake. Now we simply snap our pictures and videos on our phone and leave them there, but how many of us back them up? Now there is no excuse not to with the number of quality back up storage apps that exist. Simply take your pictures and sync them to a cloud storage app on your mobile phone or tablet and they are then accessible from any device. Lose your phone and your memories are safe. We take a look at the top 6 photo storage apps and what they have to offer:

1. Google Photos

At number one it’s Google photos. Once again Google have conquered the market in yet another area with their photo sharing app which backs up and labels photos automatically. Google Photos is free for everyone to use and allows unlimited storage of all photos that are up to 16 megapixels. It also allows you to store videos up to a 1080p resolution.

Shared albums — This feature allows you to gather your family photos together regardless of what device any of you are you using. This is a great feature for events like weddings or family parties. You can all put your photos in one place for a great keepsake for the bride and groom or for family and friends to share their memories. How many times have you come back from a great occasion only to find out that you haven’t had time to take the photos that you wanted to? With Google Photos you can all share the images that you have taken with each other.

Categorise your photos — Google Photos analyses your photos using very clever recognition techniques then it categorises them into 3 basic categories depending on whether they are people, places or things. But how does it do this? Well the technology uses visual identification to determine the subject matter. If it recognises faces then it will sort them into the people category but it is clever enough to recognise landmarks such as the Taj Mahal or even birthday celebrations if there is a cake and candles for example.

Automatic back up — Unlike some photo storage apps where you have to manually activate the upload of your images, Google Photos will upload the photos on your device whenever it detects an active internet connection. So if you open your phone to check your Facebook or Instagram feed it will start backing up the photos and videos on your phone. It will save your images in HD so instead of saving your images as a low resolution copy it actually saves them at their original size and definition. When you want to retrieve your images simply click and the full HD version will load in its original quality and it doesn’t take forever to load as you may expect.

Make collages and edit photos — If you want to make your pictures sharper, lighter or better quality you can manually adjust them or use the tool to automatically adjust their quality. You can even choose from a range of filters like the type you find on Instagram (not Snapchat). There are tools that allow you to produce collages, GIFs, movies and animations to really get the most out of your pictures and create even more special memories.

2. pCloud

At number 2, pCloud offers a huge 10GB of free online photo storage (and not only) with the option to increase that to 20GB (as long as certain conditions are met) at no extra cost. These conditions include inviting your friends to use pCloud and liking their Facebook page. If you need more space a 500GB account will cost $59.99. If you regularly take pictures, but are worried about running out of space, then 20GB of storage will free up an entire 16GB phone! Unlike other photo storage app solutions there are no file size limits and if you are using the desktop version you can upload whole folders.

Share photos with friends — the great benefit of the sharing feature is that your friends or family don’t have to have a pCloud account for you to share your images with them. There is also the option for others to upload their photos to your pCloud account through the use of a shared URL. The images are accessible from all devices so if you have a problem with your phone or tablet your images are safely stored in the cloud. The app uses secure encryption meaning that only people you want to see your images can have access to them through the use of a shared URL. Also you can add passwords and expiration dates on the photos and videos you send to people.

Automatic upload feature — The automatic upload means that your photos are uploaded without you having to manually intervene. Each time your phone is actively connected to the internet the app will sync any new photos meaning that you can simply delete them from your phone making room for more memories. What’s more rather than having to delete all the photos to clear space on your phone one by one you can do it in a single tap. It’s so easy — connect to the internet, your pCloud account syncs with your phone and any new photos are automatically saved!

Keep photos in original format — this is another great feature of this photo sharing app. Some cloud storage services will reduce the size of your images to save space and will only show them to you in a lower resolution. With pCloud the images are stored and displayed at their original size. When you want to access them simply find the photos you want and open them up in their original quality.

Back up your social media accounts — if you are willing to provide your social media passwords to pCloud you can actually back up all the photos on your Instagram and Facebook account. This means that if you take the image directly through these social apps and not on your phone you can ensure that you have a copy stored in your account.

Rewind — If you accidentally delete your photos or someone locks your account like most ransomware attacks these days you can revert back to an old version of the folder you want or the whole account.

3. Sync.com

A Sync.com account is free but only give the account holder 5GB of space. It is not limited to a trial period so as long as you stay within your 5GB requirement it will remain free. If you find yourself needing more space there is the option to upgrade to a larger account for $98 per year which will give you 2TB of storage space. There is the option to earn more space for referring a friend that signs up to a Sync.com account.

Sharing photos — Whilst there is the ability to share with multiple users, using very secure encryption, on the desktop version the downside of Sync.com for mobile is that there is no option to share folders or photos from the mobile version. This is a real shame, especially when you consider how good the sharing options are on their desktop version. Whilst it is a good photo back up app for those wanting to keep their photos stored securely, unfortunately if you want to share them with others, unless you are using a computer you won’t be able to.

Secure data — Sync.com claim that they have no way to access any of your data including requests from the US government given that they are based in Canada and immune to requests via the Patriot Act. Their commitment to security is a priority and their claims are pretty robust with passwords never being directly submitted to their servers.

Selective Sync — Rather than sync every single file and folder, Sync.com allows you to choose what you want to sync. You can however choose to auto-upload all photos taken with your mobile device’s camera by selecting the auto-upload option. If you prefer to just sync your selected photos you have both options available.

4. Dropbox

One of the more recognisable cloud storage brands, Dropbox.com also offers Dropbox for Business so it is important to make sure that you are on the right website when you sign up for your account. With Dropbox business you get a free trial then once the trial period is up then unless you cancel you will be charged a fixed monthly free. With a personal Dropbox account however you get 2GB of free space. This is sufficient if you don’t take hundreds of photos and just want somewhere to store your annual holiday pics but as soon as you start to use it regularly or upload video content you will soon find yourself running out of space. For $9.99 per month or $99 per year you have access to 1TB of storage space — plenty of space for lots of pictures and videos. If you refer someone to Dropbox then you can earn extra space — 500MB for every person that you refer that signs up to an account.

Sharing your photos with friends and family — There are two ways to share your photos on Dropbox. You can either create a public folder for others to access via a link or you can share your individual files or folders by email with those you wish to see them. This does not make your folders visible to all — only those that you invite to view them. Depending on the method you choose to share your files or folders will determine whether or not the recipient of your invite needs to have a Dropbox account. There are ways to share your files without them having to have a Dropbox account. You can also set expiry times for the links as well if you don’t want to make the images available indefinitely.

Simple user interface — Dropbox is easy to use for everyone. Simple download the app, create an account and then start creating folders and uploading your pictures. If you know what uploading a file means then you will be able to use Dropbox. It is very simple to create folders, upload your pictures manually and move files around. It is also very easy to create share links via e-mail or other application.

Retrieve your photos and files — if you delete anything accidentally you are able to retrieve the files for up to 30 days after. This applies to both deleted items and previous versions of your files.

Offers a parent folder on your desktop — if you are only interested in backing up your mobile pictures then this may not interest you but Dropbox has fantastic software which allow you to install and integrate Dropbox with your computer. As this app is compatible with all mobile devices and laptops/PC’s you can simply log in and sync to any device.

5. Sugar Sync

Whilst there is no obvious free account with Sugarsync there is the option to get a 30 day free trial if you sign up using a credit card. You will then have to make sure you go in and cancel before the first payment is taken. If you are prepared to search for it there is a 90 day 5GB free account option which doesn’t require a credit card so if you take the time you can try Sugarsync without the risk of any automatic payments being taken. The cost of a Sugar Sync account depends on the pricing plan you choose. For those just wanting to backup photos from their phone or mobile device the basic plan is $7.49 per month. This will give the user 100GB of space with a 250GB account at $9.99 per month.

Sharing your photos — With easy to use apps available for all devices, Sugarsync allows users to sync their photos across all of their devices even when not switched on. You can share your pictures with friends and family and upload all of your mobile images to the app. Whereas some mobile storage solutions have no limits on file size with Sugarsync there is a 300MB limit — if you are using it for personal pictures and videos though this is unlikely to be a problem. Sharing via social media is also an option as you can create public links to share to Facebook, Twitter on your blog or through emails. The recipient is not required to sign up to an account to view the files — they just need to click a link. If you want to share your family holiday pics, or have wedding or party albums to share, this is a great solution. The service also lets you place restrictions as to whether those that you share with can just view or indeed edit the pictures.

Easy to use — An important factor of a mobile storage solution is whether or not it is easy to use. Too many steps or using an interface that is not user-friendly is sure to turn people off. Sugarsync is user friendly and with a few simple clicks or swipe of the screen you can upload your photos to the app and then delete them from your phone.

Remotely wipe data — If you are the type to sync and then not delete your pics there is the option to remotely wipe your device should it ever be lost or stolen. If you don’t want the pictures or files falling into unknown hands then you simply wipe the device then you can use Sugarsync to restore your files to the new devices.

Working on the go — If you use your Sugarsync app for more than just photo storage you can in fact work on the go by editing images and other folders which will be available to work on when you are back at home or in the office. For those moments when you don’t have access to your laptop or you don’t have the time to switch it on, simply use your phone to complete what you need to and as we are looking at the top mobile photo storage solutions this is an important factor.

6. Mega

When you sign up to a Mega cloud storage account you are given 50GB of free storage space. This is considerably more than some of the alternatives in the marketplace and sufficient for many who just want to store their annual holiday pics and a few photos snapped here and there. For those who avidly use their phones for taking pictures and videos it may not be enough and the paid for version is available with pricing plans starting at $4.99 per month.

Sharing photos — whilst you can share your photos with friends and family by the simple sharing of a link, Mega does not have some of the other features that their competitors offer, for example password setup. For those who like to share their pictures with a password encryption unfortunately this option is not available. In addition to this you cannot set expiration links for the share links that you created.

Secure sign up — Sign up is simple with just an email address and password required to create an account (no credit card required for the 50GB free version). As security is very important to Mega Ltd, they do insist on strong passwords which then generates an encryption key which must be saved in the case of a lost password. As Mega does not store any of your passwords or master keys they cannot retrieve this for you if you should lose it you will have to create a new account.

Easy to use — an important factor when considering which of the mobile photo storage apps to use is its ease of use. Make it too complicated and people will simply delete it and find something else. Mega Ltd has come up with a user friendly interface and a great mobile app available for both iOS and Android. Another benefit of the app is how quick it is to upload images, in fact others have labelled it as “very, very quick to upload and download files”.

Restore files — if you need to restore a previous version of a file or a deleted file you have the option to do so with Mega. Deleted files can be found in the “rubbish bin” and restored files to previous versions is possible.

Which one will you choose?

With so much choice you may feel like you want to try all of them, however if you have certain priorities of what you need from your cloud storage solution then you will be able to shortlist those that suit you the most. Once you have had chance to look at the top 6 mobile photo storage apps it is simply a case of choosing the one that ticks the most boxes. Check out the various options available, choose the one you want to download and then start backing up your pictures and videos. Once you have successfully backed up your pictures you can then delete the originals leaving you with a lot more space to take plenty more and create many more memories.