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Best Free Cloud Storage for Photos

Best Free Cloud Storage for Photos in 2024: Best Cloud Storage Service With Lots of Free Storage

The photos on your phone, computer or external hard drive are irreplaceable if lost, accidentally deleted or if the file becomes corrupt. Storing them with a cloud storage provider is the best way to keep your photos safe. Our list covers the five best free cloud storage options for photos.

Jason StagnittoAleksander HougenVildana Bratic

Written by Jason Stagnitto (Writer)

Reviewed by Aleksander Hougen (Managing Editor)

Facts checked by Vildana Bratic (Video Editor, Fact-Checking Editor)

Last Updated: 2024-04-19T14:30:39+00:00

All our content is written fully by humans; we do not publish AI writing. Learn more here.

Digital photos offer memories of the past and are irreplaceable if they get deleted or corrupted. Those precious memories, meaningful images or professional portfolios are best kept on reliable and free cloud storage. Anyone from hobbyists and family members to career photographers can take advantage of the best free cloud storage for photos.

Key Takeaways: Store Photos Online

  • pCloud’s 10GB of free storage has a dedicated folder for your photos, makes uploading from a mobile device easy, and it includes some photo editing features.
  • MEGA offers 20GB free, as well as folder for images.
  • Google Photos has everything you’d want in an online photo storage app. However, since it’s Google, there are privacy concerns. 

Keeping your photos on a cloud storage service does more than back up and protect your photos. Cloud storage is an effortless and effective way to share your photos with friends, family or colleagues. With a paid plan, you can get the best cloud storage for photos. However, we want to focus on the best free options. Keep reading for six of the best free cloud storage providers for photos.

  • 05/25/2023

    Edited the article to remove IDrive as an option.

  • 04/03/2024

    Updated to reflect changes in Icedrive’s pricing plans and storage offers.

Top Free Cloud Storage Option for Photos

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    500GB – 10TB$4.17 / month(save 24%)(All Plans)
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    2TB – Unlimited GB$9.06 / month(save 16%)(All Plans)
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    100GB – 2TB$1.67 / month(save 16%)(All Plans)
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    100GB – 3TB$2.99 / month(save 40%)(All Plans) 14-days money-back guarantee
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    1TB – Unlimited GB$6 / month(All Plans)

What Makes the Best Free Cloud Storage for Photos?

Plenty of cloud storage providers offer free plans. However, that doesn’t make them the best for online photo storage. Regarding storing photos on a free plan, a few free cloud storage services stand out above the rest. In addition to offering free storage and great features for photos, privacy and security weigh heavily.

Many of the following providers appear on our list of the best cloud storage. However, there’s some deviation as we focus on free accounts that are best for photos. With that, here are our top choices for free cloud storage options.

  1. pCloud10GB free; the best combination of free storage, features and photo editing
  2. MEGA20GB free; folder for images plus zero-knowledge encryption
  3. Google Photos15GB free; dedicated photo storage and editing app
  4. Icedrive10GB of free storage with excellent security and privacy
  5. Sync.com — Only 5GB free but has automatic camera uploads

pCloud, MEGA, Google Photos, Icedrive and Sync.com make our short list of the best free cloud storage solutions for photos. pCloud has up to a 10GB free account and dedicated features for photos. MEGA’s 20GB free account has the highest capacity of any free cloud storage.

Google Photos is a 15GB free cloud storage service designed for more than just storing your images, albeit with plenty of privacy concerns. Icedrive’s free 10GB and file preview work well for your photos, but the service offers little by way of editing. Although Sync.com is normally one of the best cloud storage services, for this list it comes in last because of its small 5GB free storage amount.

The 5 Best Free Cloud Storage for Photos

pCloud tops our list with a free account of up to 10GB of storage (after you complete a series of micro-tasks). It has a dedicated folder for your photos, making it easy to store, organize and share them.

1. pCloud

pcloud for photographs
pCloud has a dedicated pictures folder, making it easy to organize, edit and share your photos.

More details about pCloud:

  • Free storage: 10GB 
  • Pricing: $4.17 per month (one-year plan) for 500GB
  • Provider website: pcloud.com

Pros:

  • 10GB free storage
  • Auto mobile camera upload
  • Photo editing features

Cons:

  • Zero-knowledge costs extra

Every pCloud account has a default folder dedicated to photos called “my pictures,” which you can rename if desired. Uploading photos or images to the web application doesn’t automatically move these files to the “my pictures” folder.

However, you can upload directly to it or move your images to that folder to keep things organized. Additionally, using the desktop app and folder won’t load your images into the “my pictures” folder by default.

Where photos shine best on pCloud is through the mobile application. You can enable automatic uploads or backups of the images on your mobile device through the dedicated photos option. Within this part of the mobile app, you have light editing tools that are mostly limited to basic markup features.

Sharing photos with pCloud using the web interface or the mobile app is easy. Photos can be shared on the web via a link; however, free accounts don’t afford access to security features such as password protection or download limitations. Sharing your images on the mobile app works similarly — you create a shared link, though advanced features are reserved for paid accounts. 

Strong Security

pCloud has strong security and privacy for free accounts to protect your photos. When you upload, either manually or automatically, TLS/SSL protocols protect your transfer to pCloud’s servers. At rest, your photos are protected using 256-bit AES encryption.

All accounts come with an encrypted folder. However, for free accounts or even some paid ones, this folder is not accessible without paying for pCloud Crypto (pCloud’s business plans include pCloud Crypto). Paying for this add-on ensures the strongest protection for your sensitive or personal photos.

pcloud annual prices
Upgrade options from a pCloud free account include the 2TB Premium Plus plan.

pCloud’s free account comes with up to 10GB of storage (starting with 2GB). Should you need an upgrade, pCloud’s paid plans are affordable options, including the 2TB Premium Plus plan for per month or $99.99 per year. pCloud also offers lifetime plans. To learn more, check out our pCloud review.

2. MEGA

mega dark mode
All MEGA accounts have a dedicated media section that includes any uploaded images.

More details about MEGA:

  • Free storage: 20GB
  • Pricing: $9.06 per month (one-year plan) for 2TB
  • Provider website: mega.io

Pros:

  • Generous 20GB free account
  • Zero-knowledge encryption
  • Media folder for photos

Cons:

  • No photo editing features

MEGA makes our list as it offers the largest amount of free storage on the market at 20GB. This amount makes it easy to upload, store and share your photos. If 20GB isn’t enough, completing a few micro-tasks — such as installing the MEGA apps or connecting your mobile number — gets you an additional 15GB for a year. Inviting friends who install the MEGA app adds 5GB per referral, also valid for a year.

In addition to the ample free storage space, MEGA has a dedicated media section that’s great for photos. Downloading MEGA’s mobile app is the only way to upload and back up your photos. You’ll see your camera uploads in your cloud drive folder on the web interface when you do. In addition to the ample free storage space, MEGA has a dedicated media section that’s great for photos. Downloading MEGA’s mobile app is the only way to upload and back up your photos. You’ll see your camera uploads in your cloud drive folder on the web interface when you do.

Within the media section, MEGA organizes your photos chronologically on both the web and mobile apps. 

MEGA doesn’t offer any photo-editing features, aside from full-screen file previews and playing a slideshow of all your uploaded photos. You can share your photos through a link with a free account, which includes setting password protection.

Zero-Knowledge Encryption

MEGA excels as a secure and private cloud storage company as it offers zero-knowledge encryption for every account, even free ones. However, MEGA wasn’t always known for its security and privacy. In its early days, MEGA suffered a hit to its brand as a result of its association with Kim DotCom. Additionally, investigators found a potentially dangerous security flaw in MEGA’s code.

The main benefit of private encryption is that only you can access your account, meaning your photos and other files are protected from unauthorized users. This also means that if you lose your passcode or encryption key, MEGA can’t help you, and you could lose whatever data is stored in your account. Additional measures to protect your account include enabling two-factor authentication.

mega cta
Note that MEGA bills in euros so pricing fluctuates depending on exchange rates.

If MEGA’s generous 20GB free account isn’t enough storage, paid plans include the Pro I with 2TB of storage for $10.86 per month or $108.69 annually. MEGA does not offer lifetime plans, and its paid plans run on the expensive side overall. To learn more, read our MEGA review.

Free
  • 20GB
Pro I
  • File transfer: 2TB (Monthly plan) 24TB (yearly plan)
  • 2TB
Pro II
  • File transfer: (monthly plan) 96TB (yearly plan)
  • 8TB
More plans
Pro III
  • File transfer: 16TB (monthly plan) 192TB (yearly plan)
  • 16TB
Business
  • Price per user (minimum 3)
  • Unlimited GB

3. Google Photos

google photos account
Google Photos has all the tools and features to edit, manage and share your photos.

More details about Google Photos:

Pros:

  • Great organizing & sharing
  • Photo editing features
  • Easy uploads
  • Easy syncing from devices

Cons:

  • Privacy concerns

Google Photos offers many excellent features, as it is designed specifically for your photo library. It sorts and organizes your uploads automatically by year, or by location, if you enabled geotagging. You can set up automatic uploads from your computer or mobile device, but they’ll sync to show all photos in one library.

The Google Drive desktop app lets you set up automatic photo backup. On the mobile app, automatic backup happens once you allow Google access to your photo library. Using either the web interface or the mobile app will give you photo editing capabilities, including filters, cropping and visual adjustments.

You can share your photos from the app or on the web via a link, or by adding people to a photo or album; however, there’s no way to encrypt it or add other limitations when creating a link. As a dedicated app for your images, Google Photos works well. However, as it is Google, using this service comes with some concerns.

Connection to Google Drive

Google Drive is a secure service, but privacy isn’t exactly its strong suit as it openly informs you that it can use your data or the information it collects on you as it wants, including sharing with third parties. Unfortunately, this includes Google Photos.

Although Google Photos is a stand-alone application, it is connected to Google Drive or, perhaps more accurately, your Google account. It shares your storage data with anything else on your Google Drive account.

However, you won’t see your photos in Google Drive or any documents or other files in your Google Photos app. If that’s something you need, you have to move files from Google Drive to Google Photos.

google photos cta
Purchasing a Google One plan increases the storage capacity across all your apps.

A Google account comes with 15GB of free storage. Paid plans with Google, called Google One, include 2TB of storage for $9.99 per month or $99.99 per year. Check out our Google Drive review to learn more.

4. Icedrive

icedrive account
Uploading photos from Icedrive’s mobile app syncs across your entire account.

More details about Icedrive:

  • Free storage: 10GB
  • Pricing: $5.99 per month (one-year plan) for 1TB
  • Provider website: icedrive.com

Pros:

  • 10GB free account
  • Strong privacy & security
  • Full-screen file preview

Cons:

  • No photo-editing features

Icedrive doesn’t have a default folder for your photos, although it does give you plenty of flexibility and customization to create a dedicated photos folder. You can manually upload photos from your computer, but they won’t automatically sync if you make changes. The best way to manage your photos is by downloading the Icedrive mobile app.

Like other mobile apps for cloud storage, Icedrive lets you automatically upload photos from your camera. Enabling this option does create a folder on your Icedrive account that syncs no matter what device you use. It’s not automatically labeled “photos,” although you can rename it.

Aside from full-screen file previews, Icedrive doesn’t offer any true photo-editing capabilities. Sharing your images on a free account works by creating a link. Although there are security options with link sharing, such as adding a password or an expiration date, those features are reserved for paid plans.

Strong Security & Privacy

Icedrive’s security and privacy are two significant reasons it makes our list of the best free cloud storage for photos. Icedrive uses Twofish encryption, one of the most secure encryption protocols. Additionally, your photos are encrypted when you upload them using TLS/SSL encryption.

Privacy with Icedrive works with its security protocols, especially with the encrypted folder on every account. Unfortunately, this folder is only included with paid accounts. Files or folders stored in the encrypted folder, including photos, have zero-knowledge encryption, meaning only you can access them. 

Icedrive’s free storage comes with 10GB of space. Should you need more, Icedrive has affordable plans, such as the 1TB Pro option for $7.99 monthly or $71.88 annually. Icedrive also offers lifetime plans for a one-time charge that ditches subscription fees. Check out our Icedrive review to learn more.

Free
  • Bandwidth limit: 50GB
  • 10GB
More plans
Lifetime (Add On) Stack 100
  • Additional 128GB storage for users who purchased the Lifetime Plan
  • 128GB
Lifetime (Add On) Stack 500
  • Additional 512GB storage for users who purchased the Lifetime Plan
  • 512GB

5. Sync.com

sync account
Sync.com makes it easy to upload photos from its mobile app automatically.

More details about Sync.com:

  • Free storage: 5GB
  • Pricing: $8 per month (one-year plan) for 2TB
  • Provider website: sync.com

Pros:

  • Zero-knowledge encryption
  • Easy to use
  • Mobile app photo upload

Cons:

  • Free account limited to 5GB

Sync.com tops many of our lists, as it offers excellent cloud features combined with zero-knowledge encryption for all accounts. It’s an easy-to-use cloud storage service with excellent sharing capabilities. 

As the name implies, files and folders sync in real time across your account on whatever device you’re using. You can also choose which folders you want to sync using the desktop app.

Automatic Camera Uploads

Sync.com’s mobile app includes a setting to enable automatic camera uploads and has options in the settings to organize your camera folder or allow background uploading. It’s a great option to upload files automatically, but you’ll quickly run out of free space.

sync.com free account
Sync.com offers only 5GB for free.

The biggest reason Sync.com gets last place is the 5GB free storage, as it’s not enough to handle a lot of photos. Additionally, Sync.com doesn’t offer any dedicated photo editing features after you upload images.

Free
  • 5GB
More plans
Pro Teams Standard
  • Price per user
  • 1TB
Pro Teams+ Unlimited
  • Price per user
  • Unlimited GB

Final Thoughts: Free Cloud Services to Store Photos

Finding the best free storage for your photos in a free account comes down to a combination of excellent security and privacy combined with photo editing and sharing features. 

pCloud offers ample free storage, photo editing and sharing features. Choosing any of the providers on our list will let you upload and work with your photos while keeping them secure.

What do you think of our list of best free cloud services for all your images? Do you use any of these cloud storage providers for your photos? Did we miss a great cloud service for photos? Please let us know in the comments section below. Thanks for stopping by to read our article.

FAQ

  • pCloud offers the best combination of security and features, with 10GB of free storage, a dedicated photo folder, and photo editing and sharing features.

  • We have yet to see a cloud service offer 100GB of free storage in a secure and private environment. MEGA starts new free accounts with 20GB, and an extra 15GB possible, good for a calendar year.

  • No cloud storage provider offers free unlimited photo storage. However, pCloud and MEGA have unlimited file-size uploads with the free service. While Sync.com does not offer free unlimited storage, it offers unlimited storage on one of its paid plans.

  • MEGA offers the most free online storage in a secure and private environment with 20GB. An additional 15GB, good for one calendar year in exchange for completing a few micro-tasks, brings the potential free storage capacity up to 35GB.

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