Best Free Cloud Drive App for Photo Backup

Created: March 5, 2013
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This review comes from the perspective of backing up your iPhone photos to the cloud using a free cloud drive service. Since I do not have an Android phone with camera and Amazon Cloud Drive Photos does not have an iPhone app yet, someone else will have to give a review of it. They give 5GB for free. So far the downside of Amazon Cloud Drive that I can see is that they don't give you extra space for referring friends. You have to pay for any additional storage over 5GB.
Free StoragePer friend ReferralMax Free StorageResolutionUploads all photosCan upload individual photos
DropBox 5GB 500MB 16GB Original
SugarSync 5GB 500MB 32GB Original  
Google+ App Unlimited 0 Unlimited 2048 x 1536 Not without sharing
SkyDrive 7GB 0 7GB Original or Resized  
Google Drive 5GB 0 5GB Original  
PicasaShare Lite 1GB 0 1GB Original or 2048 x 1536 with a Google+ account (unlimited storage)   Select 3 photos at a time with the lite version
iCloud Stores photos for 30 days 0 Must sync with PC PC: Original
iPhone: (2048 x 1536)
 
Facebook App 2GB 0 2GB 2048 x 1536 Not without sharing

Note:On most of these apps, the uploading stops after a minute if you leave the app. There is no background uploading on most iPhone apps. However, some of them, such as DropBox, have a setting where you can activate background uploading, even when you leave the app. I have not tested it though because I don't want the photos to just keep uploading when I don't know it. So I just set my phone down at home and let it charge while it is connected to wifi and open the app and go to the photo upload section and let it do its thing.

DropBox

Rating: ★★★★☆ (4 out 5 stars)

Pros:

  1. DropBox starts at 2GB of free space. If you start uploading photos from iPhone then DropBox gives you an additional 3GB of space. They give you 500MB at a time for every 500MB of photos that are uploaded. A grand total of 5GB of free space.
  2. DropBox has a friend referral plan where you can get an extra 500MB of space for every friend you refer (up to 16GB total)
  3. The photos and videos are uploaded at full resolution. The app on the phone just shows you a preview of the image though that looks blurry when you zoom in. You have to choose Save to photo library to download the original resolution photo back to the iPhone. Online at the dropbox.com website the photos are stored in Camera Uploads folder. Again, when you click on the photo, DropBox just shows a preview image with a resolution of 1366 x 1024. To view the original size you have to click on the More Actions icon and select View Original or Download.
  4. Uploads all photos automatically.

Cons:

  1. Only 3GB of free photo and video space to add to your free 2GB account. But with friend referral you can get up to 16GB of free space.
  2. There is a progress bar in the app for each photo being uploaded but the screen never times out or turns off while the photos are uploading. So if you have a lot of photos to upload the screen stays on. However, I turned off the screen myself, by pressing the top button on the iPhone and when I turned it back on it had finished uploading 6 photos. But I don't know if this will work with say 25 photos. I'll have to test it, or you can let me know in the comments below.

SugarSync

Rating: ★★★ ☆☆ (3 out 5 stars)

Pros:

  1. Get 5GB of storage space for free. Refer a friend and get 500MB per friend that signs up.
  2. You can share the full resolution photo on the iPhone through email.
  3. Keeps uploading as long as the app is open. The screen will time out and turn off and the photos will continue to upload.

Cons:

  1. Does not automatically upload all photos. You have to select each photo to upload in the camera roll.
  2. Not a complete cloud drive solution by itself because it also syncs the photos to your computers hard drive. So it still takes up space on your computer, but that is probably good for backup purposes.
Google+ App

Rating: ★★★ ☆☆ (3 out 5 stars)

With Google+ your photos are uploaded into a private folder where you can share them individually if you want to.

Pros:

  1. Unlimited uploads of photos at 3 Megapixels (2048 x 1536)
  2. Unlimited video uploads if less than 15 minutes
  3. Screen times out but the photos continue to upload
  4. Uploads all photos automatically

Cons:

  1. Converts the 8 Megapixel (3264 x 2448) iPhone photo to 3 Megapixels (2048 x 1536). However, in most cases the photo still looks good at the converted resolution
  2. Difficult to tell that it is uploading because there is no progress bar or spinning wait cursor, just a message at the bottom of the Instant Upload section that states "Uploaded 253 of 1427 items"
SkyDrive

Rating: ★★ ☆☆☆ (2 out 5 stars)

Pros:

  1. 7GB of storage space for free

Cons:

  1. No friend referral. You have to pay to get more than 7GB of space.
  2. Does not automatically upload all photos. Must select them.

Google Drive

Rating: ★★ ☆☆☆ (2 out 5 stars)

Pros:

  1. 5GB of storage space for free

Cons:

  1. Does not upload all photos automatically.
  2. Can select more than 1 photo to upload now. But have to click on each photo.
  3. No friend referral program for extra storage space.

PicasaShare Lite

Rating: ☆☆☆☆ (1 out 5 stars)

Pros:

  1. Google has not made a Picasa iPhone app. But PicasaShare helps out in that regard. Select photos and upload them to your Picasa account. Note: The lite version only lets you select 3 photos/videos at a time to upload. You have to pay 0.99 at this time to upload more with the non-lite PicasaShare.
  2. Picasa allows 1GB of photos for free. However, if you have signed up for Google+ then you can upload unlimited photos at a resolution of up to 2048 x 2048. Or if you have not signed up for Google+ you can upload unlimited photos at a resolution of 800 x 800. See this FAQ.

Cons:

  1. The lite version only lets you select 3 photos at a time to upload. However, even with the regular version you still have to select which photos to upload. It does not upload all photos automatically.
  2. Picasa only has 1GB of space for free. Or you have to use a lower resolution as noted above in the pros.
iCloud

Rating: ☆☆☆☆ (1 out 5 stars)

Cons:

  1. iCloud Photo Stream is not really a cloud drive when it comes to photos. It has to store your photos on a computer within 30 days or it deletes them.
  2. Cannot use the iCloud program on Windows XP. You must have Windows 8, 7 or Vista.
  3. The 8 Megapixel (3264 x 2448) iPhone photos are downloaded to your PC at full resolution, but on your iPhone they are stored at 3 Megapixels (2048 x 1536).
Facebook App

Rating: ☆☆☆☆ (1 out 5 stars)

The facebook app now lets you upload your iPhone photos to a private album. See the photo sync FAQ

Pros:

  1. I don't know if this is a pro, but they give you 2GB of storage space for free

Cons:

  1. No friend referral program. No ability to purchase more space. Stuck at 2GB
  2. Difficult to find Photo Sync in Facebook app. Go to main menu in top left then click on Photos App. However it may be hidden, so you have to click Apps     > menu to expand the apps so you can click on Photos. Then click on Synced to get started.
  3. Click the gears icon to select sync over wi-fi only or wi-fi or cellular. Over cellular it downsizes the photos to 100K each.
  4. Even over wifi it downsizes an 8 Megapixel photo to 3 Megapixels (2048 x 1536)
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User Comments

There are 3 comments.

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You should add backupthat to the list. It's a great service. I've backed up 500GB of files for free with them.

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