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Photos on your PC can contain a treasure trove of memories. One of the best ways to ensure you never lose them is by backing them up. Thankfully, there are tons of useful tools that let you make backups of all the photos on your PC. We’ve listed our top eight.
All the services mentioned have corresponding websites and/or apps that let you access your photos as soon as they’re backed up, which usually takes a few seconds. While our list contains many familiar names, there are a few tools that may not be as common, but have features worth exploring.
Most of the tools provide gigabytes worth of storage space for free, but there are a few subscription services. To help you make an informed decision, we have added our verdict after each tool so you can determine whether it best suits your needs.
Free Storage Space: 15 GB (includes Google Drive and Gmail)
It’s hard to imagine that Google Photos has been around for less than two years because it’s become an indispensable backup tool to many. During setup, the app gives you the option to back up photos and videos saved in various PC locations (including your desktop, devices you connect to your PC, and the My Pictures folder). You can also add other PC locations whose photos you want to back up.
Google Photos has two photo size options: High quality reduces the file size of your original photos but gives you unlimited storage space, while Original counts against your storage space but files will be uploaded in their original size. As Google gives you a generous 15 GB of free storage space, I recommend selecting Original to enjoy your photos in the way you’ve snapped them.
Hint: You can always create and use a second Google account to double this storage space. Alternatively, you can buy more storage space. Plans start at $1.99 per month for 100 GB or $9.99 per month for 1 TB.
Verdict: Google Photos is a fantastic tool for the everyday smartphone user. It has a generous amount of storage space and gives you the option to organize and edit your files across a wide range of devices.
2. Flickr Pro
Free Storage Space: 1 TB
Although its popularity has waned in the last few years, Flickr still remains a great place to display your photos because of its loyal and enthusiastic photographer base. A free account gets you a humongous 1 TB of storage, but you’ll need to upload photos via its website.
To back up photos on your PC, you’ll need to sign up for a Pro account (starting at $5.99 per month or $49.99 a year). This lets you install and use its Desktop Auto-Uploadr tool. It also promises an ad-free browsing experience and gives you advanced stats on your photos — including which photos are currently trending and what’s driving people to your photos.
Verdict: Even though it comes at a slight cost, a Flickr Pro subscription makes sense if you’re an avid photographer because it’ll back up all your high-resolution photos with ease.
Storage Space: Not mentioned (requires Pro subscription)
There are many apps that let you instantly send photos from one device to another. However, Photo Transfer App (yes, that’s what it’s called) is the only one we know of that that also lets you back-up your photos. By default, the app lets you transfer five files at a time for free.
Upgrading to its Pro version (which costs $4.99) removes this limit and gives you the option to back up photos on your PC. You can set your folder backup path by clicking its Settings icon at the bottom-right of the program.
It’s easy to transfer any photos you’ve backed up to your PC to the Photo Transfer app on your devices. Just use the Discover Devices button on the program. The program will detect any devices connected to the same Wi-Fi network and let you transfer the photos you want.
Verdict: Photo Transfer App took a while to detect our devices. However, it’s useful if you want to back up photos from your Amazon devices and a Mac because most of the other tools don’t support those devices.
Cloud Storage Options
There are many familiar, free, and reliable cloud storage services that back up your photos. The ones mentioned below all work in a similar way. They add useful PC folders, desktop shortcuts, and icons in your PC’s taskbar for easy access. This notification area icon is important because it also lets you access the program’s Preferences (or Settings) section from where you can check and change its default behaviors.
The best part about using a cloud storage service is that backing up photos is mostly just a case of dropping them into the relevant folder that you want. After that’s done, you can instantly access all your photos from another PC that has the same program, the respective tool’s website, or its free Android and iOS apps.
4. Google Drive
Free Storage Space: 15 GB (includes Google Photos and Gmail)
If you prefer using a cloud storage option instead of Google Photos, then Google Drive is your best bet. Installing the program also adds Google’s Office-equivalent tools (Docs, Sheets, and Slides) on your PC.
Unlike Google Photos, it’ll start downloading all the files in your Google Drive account to your PC, so you can access them at your convenience. You can change which of these files you want to download using the Preferences option in your PC’s notification area. We’ve written a detailed guide on Google Drive and also told you how to find anything stored within your account.
Verdict: It’s a good alternative to Google Photos and brilliant if you’re tied into Google’s ecosystem because it comes pre-installed on all Android devices and Chromebooks.
Free Storage Space: 5 GB
Microsoft’s default cloud storage service comes pre-installed on all Windows 10 PCs. For earlier versions, it’s easy to install as a separate program.
Right-click its PC notification icon, then click Settings. Here, you’ll see options to automatically save photos and videos to your OneDrive account whenever you connect a device to your PC. This screen’s tabs also has options to let you select which folders’ files you want to back up, save media files from devices you connect to your PC, and automatically save your screenshots to OneDrive.
Recently Microsoft has improved the service. The best example of this is its web and app interfaces that now have a dedicated Photos section where you’ll find all the photos you backed up, neatly arranged by date. We’ve told you how to best use OneDrive your Windows 10 PC.
Verdict: It’s probably a default app on your PC, so you might as well put its 5 GB of storage space to good use.
Free Storage Space: 2 GB
Dropbox was one of the earliest cloud-storage programs. Even today, it’s still a competent service despite offering the least amount of free storage space. Maybe that’s because it’s constantly adding useful new features.
Its PC notification icon displays all your recent notifications and files you’ve uploaded (or made changes to) in a list. You can even copy the link for any of these files to quickly share it with others. Its Preferences section (also accessible through the notification icon) lets you automatically upload your photos, videos, and screenshots to the service.
Verdict: The default storage space it offers remains its only major Achilles heel. Otherwise, it’s a flawless program.
Free Storage Space: 5 GB
Anything that starts with a small “i” is obviously Apple-related. Thankfully, iCloud works on Windows PCs too. The program takes a few minutes to install and you’ll need to restart your PC to complete the installation.
Annoyingly, iCloud also installs some of Apple’s additional junk, but that’s probably a small price to pay if you’re tied into the Apple ecosystem. We’ve explained how to use it to sync data between your iPhone and Windows PC.
Verdict: Even though it’s a good service, it’s only worth using if you mainly use Apple devices and a Windows PC.
8. Amazon Drive
Free Storage Space: 5 GB (requires Amazon Prime subscription)
Amazon Prime users have tons of benefits. One of the most underrated is Amazon Drive, which gives you 5 GB of storage space for your photos, videos, and other files. When you first install Amazon Drive you can choose which PC folders you want to sync with your account.
Confusingly, it has a service called Prime Photos which are only available as Android and iOS apps. This has unlimited photo storage space and is a better place to back up and organize photos on your device. But because it’s not available as a separate PC program, you’ll need to manage any photos you’ve uploaded via the apps using the Amazon Drive program.
Verdict: Amazon Drive’s photo search tools are under-baked compared to some of the other options on this list. That said, Prime Photos is a great option for backing up photos on your devices.
What’s Your Favorite Backup Tool?
While our personal favorite photo backup program is Google Photos, each of the tools we mentioned give you different ways to achieve the same result. They all work as advertised and serve slightly different purposes. Ultimately, which service you find useful all comes down to few deciding factors — namely storage space, convenience, and familiarity.
The best part about having such a wide variety of reliable photo backup tools at your disposal is that you can easily use multiple services or multiple accounts on the same service to instantly maximize your storage space.
Which of these PC tools do you consider invaluable for backing up your photos? Is there a useful program we missed? Let us know by posting your thoughts in the comments section below.