What is the best cloud storage for photos?

Cloud storage for photos should have the following basic functions: A large, expendable cloud storage space, the possibility to share and grant access to photos, edit and view functions, and reliable encryption and data security.

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In this article, we’ll look at the best free and paid cloud storage services for photos. Each one of these options lets you save and share your photos in the cloud.

Want to save your WhatsApp photos or other photos you have stored on your phone? Or does your work require you to have a large amount of storage space and multiple functions so you can share and edit photos with others? If this sounds familiar, we recommend looking into cloud providers with affordable offers such as IONOS HiDrive, iDrive, pCloud or Google One. For Apple users, iCloud is often the most convenient option with 5 GB of free storage. Likewise, Google Drive provides Android users with 15 GB of free space.

The 5 best free cloud storage options for photos

What matters the most when deciding which free cloud storage provider to use for photos? Uncomplicated registration, transparent and reliable data protection and sufficient free cloud storage that can be adapted to individual needs are top priorities for most. Below we compare the five best cloud storage providers that make sharing and storing photos in the cloud a breeze.

Free cloud storage for photos Size of free storage Max. data size Pros Cons
Google Drive / Google Photos 15 GB 5 TB ✓ A large, free storage space
✓ Includes all the important Google services
✓ Suitable for teamwork thanks to sharing options
✓ Convenient image search by keywords and sorting of images by location
✗ Data protection and data transfer not transparent
✗ No zero-knowledge infrastructure
iCloud 5 GB 50 GB ✓ An obvious choice for all Apple users as it comes automatically installed on iOS devices
✓ Automatic synchronization and device-independent access to photos
✓ Download media libraries from Mac directly to the cloud, save offline on iPhone/iPad
✓ Editing options thanks to macOS photo web app including automatic update of edited images on all devices
✗ Small free storage space compared to most other providers
✗ Limited collaboration and teamwork functions
Dropbox / Dropbox Transfer 2 GB (100 MB free for download links) 50 GB through dropbox.com
2 TB via the desktop or mobile app
✓ Automatic integration and synchronization
✓ Apps available for Android, iOS, Windows and macOS as well as a web app for browsers
✓ Share photos via download link or social media
✓ Easy sharing and syncing of photos across devices and systems
✗ Lack of office and teamwork functions like Google Drive or iCloud
Microsoft OneDrive 5 GB 250 GB
15 GB for work and school accounts
✓ Easy to navigate for all office users
✓ Microsoft and Windows integration
✓ Extensive support
✓ Automatic upload from your device to the cloud
✗ A small free storage space compared to other providers
✗ No zero-knowledge encryption
✗ Not really a cloud storage for photographers’ needs
IceDrive 10 GB No limit ✓ Large free storage
✓ Reliable data protection and high security thanks to TSL and encrypted partitions (for a fee: zero-knowledge architecture, Twofish encryption)
✓ Clear, modern layout including gallery view
✗ Few teamwork functions available
✗ Synchronization option for Windows only

(Information contained in the table correct as of November 2023)

For Apple users, the obvious choice for free cloud storage for photos is iCloud. It’s automatically installed on all Apple devices. It doesn’t however offer a lot of free space, at least compared to most other providers. So, for those who love to take photos, you’ll most likely need to look for other options, or to invest in a paid iCloud plan.

If you are looking for cloud storage for photos with lots of storage space, you should choose either Google Drive with 15 GB or IceDrive with 10 GB of storage space. Google Drive also incorporates other Google services, such as Google Photos, Google Docs, Google Spreadsheets and Google Presentations. IceDrive, on the other hand, offers reliable data encryption, but is lacking in team functions.

One of the best-known cloud storage providers is Dropbox. The downside of using Dropbox’s free plan is that it only offers 2 GB of storage space. With additional storage space and features for sharing and editing photos, Dropbox’s paid plan stands out as the better option.


Want to send large files for free and as securely and quickly as possible? Use HiDrive Share from IONOS and share files free of charge as a download link.

The 5 best fee-based cloud storage services for photos

If you are willing to pay for a cloud service, you rightly expect lots of memory, comprehensive features for the photos, and robust data protection, preferably with client-side encryption offered as well. Other important features to look out for are links for sharing, uploading and downloading options, automatic synchronization, access from multiple devices and flexible pricing models.

Paid plan Costs (100 GB to 5TB) Pros Cons
IONOS HiDrive 100 GB: $1/month
2,000 GB: $10/month
✓ Excellent value for money with a lot of space for a low cost
✓ ISO 27001 standardized and secure data transmission via SSL-256 and AES-128 encryption
✓ Automatic real-time synchronization
✓ Sync access to your photos and other data across multiple devices
✓ Give other users access to your data or share them conveniently
No significant disadvantages to this cloud storage for photos
iDrive Minimum storage for individuals: 5TB for $69.65 for the first year
Up to 50TB for business account holders for $8119.65 for the first year
✓ Automatic image recognition and uploading
✓ Real-time synchronization
✓ Allows backup for external hard drives and NAS devices as well
✓ Remote management data backups
✓ Business compliance
✗ Annual upfront payment
✗ Extra charges for exceeding your account limit
✗ Possible price increase after the first discounted year
✗ No unlimited storage
pCloud 500 GB: $49.99/year
2TB: $99/year
Free: 10 GB
Lifetime subscription: Optional to pay once and receive lifetime storage of either 500 GB, 2TB or 10TB
✓ A large amount of storage space for photos
Photo display as gallery, list or as integrated slideshow with configurable photo display
✓ Share photos via download links or let others add to galleries via upload link
✓ Very good automatic synchronization, Swiss data protection and paid zero-knowledge encryption through crypto folder
✗ Virtual drive can be somewhat complex for beginners
✗ 2 TB relatively expensive compared to other providers
iCloud+ 50 GB: $0.99/month
200 GB: $2.99/month
2TB: $9.99/month
✓ Automatic synchronization and device-independent access to photos
✓ Download media libraries from Mac directly to the cloud, save offline on iPhone/iPad or use on Windows devices via app
✓ Editing options thanks to macOS photo web app including automatic updating of edited images on all devices
✓ Practical integration, as included in the iOS software package as standard
✗ Data transfer to authorities or third parties cannot be ruled out
✗ Partly tied to dedicated Apple standards and software
Google One / Google Photos 100 GB: $1.99/month or $19.99/year
2TB: $9.99/month or $99.99/year
✓ Combined cloud service for backup and synchronization
✓ Thanks to Google Drive integration, optimally suited for teamwork and joint editing with Google One subscription
✓ Manage, edit and search photos with integrated Google service Google Photos (practical: image searches with corresponding keywords)
✗ Data protection and data transfer not transparent
✗ Limited personal support

(Information contained in the table correct as of November 2023)

Those looking to pay for cloud storage for photos usually want to store large images and as a result, need lots of cloud storage space. Possibilities for sharing and editing photos as well as a high-level of data security are also important. Finally, cloud providers should offer good value for money. Among the top cloud providers are pCloud and IONOS HiDrive cloud storage, which both provide optimal service in terms of data protection. pCloud offers high-level data encryption, including client-side encryption as an add-on. HiDrive from IONOS guarantees you optimal data security with highly secured U.S.-based data centers including geo-redundancy and ISO certification. HiDrive for companies also meets all the requirements of the GDPR data protection standards.

In terms of value for money, HiDrive is clearly a forerunner. With the option of 100 GB for $1 or 1,000 GB at a reduced price of $1 for the first month and $7 per month for the following months, it’s a great offer. pCloud is significantly more expensive at a price of $99 per year for 2,000 GB. However, classic cloud storage options like Google One and iCloud’s paid plans have an added advantage: They provide an ample amount of cloud storage for photos and allow users to incorporate practical office functions through additional services like Google Drive.

HiDrive Cloud Storage with IONOS!

Based in Europe, HiDrive secures your data in the cloud so you can easily access it from any device!

Highly secure
Shared access
Available anywhere
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