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Amazon Prime just took a hit — Amazon Drive is getting killed

an image of an iPhone with Amazon Prime on it
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

If you have important files backed up on Amazon Drive, it’s time to make sure you have copies elsewhere. Amazon has sent out emails to customers signalling that its cloud storage platform will be shutting down at the end of next year, and once that deadline has passed certain files will be lost forever.

Why some and not all files? Well, the change is motivated by the company’s newfound focus on Amazon Photos, and that means if you have pictures and videos in your Amazon Drive account they will automatically be moved over. Amazon Prime members get unlimited full-resolution photo storage and 5GB of video, while non-Prime customers get a total of 5GB for everything.

Other file types currently supported by Amazon Drive, however, will not make the jump, so you have until December 31 2023 to retrieve them. After that, it’s up to you whether you want to store them locally or consider the remaining best cloud storage options available. 

Amazon Drive will continue to work as it has for the past decade until October 31, when the Amazon Drive app will be removed from Android and iOS marketplaces. Then, on January 31 you will no longer be able to upload anything, and the service will solely act as a repository for files already uploaded. From there, you’ll have exactly 11 months to rescue the files that aren’t compatible with Amazon Photos.

“We understand that content saved on Amazon Drive is very important to our customers,” the company writes in a new FAQ page (opens in new tab) explaining the change. “We will communicate our plan to remove or delete files prior to December 31, 2023 and provide sufficient time for customers to save their files. 

“Customers are encouraged to use Amazon Photos to access photo and video files and download all other files locally (or with another service) before December 31, 2023.”

It’s unclear how many people were actively using Amazon Drive, but presumably it’s not enough to justify reserving storage when the company needs to provide unlimited photo uploads to its Prime customers. In any case, if you have precious documents in Amazon’s cloud, now’s the time to make sure they’re safely backed up elsewhere.

Alternative cloud storage options

If you've got a lot of files stored in the cloud and you want to keep them there, then you're in luck. The rise of cloud computing means there's a whole suite of cloud storage options available. 

One of the most prevalent is Google Drive, which syncs up with your Google account and can comes with a productivity suite attached: think Google Docs, Sheets, and Forms. 15GB is provided for absolutely free with the scope to pay for more when needed. 

Microsoft OneDrive provides 5GB of cloud storage linked to your Microsoft account for free. And Dropbox's free tier offers 2GB of cloud storage; not a huge amount but plenty for storing a clutch of word documents and the odd PDF. 

And Apple users have access to iCloud that pretty much automatically offers you 5GB of cloud storage when you setup an iPhone, iPad or MacBook. Like the above services, you can then pay to increase storage capacity. 

So even with Amazon Drive now on borrowed time, there are plenty of options for you to keep your desired file and photos in the cloud. 

Freelance contributor Alan has been writing about tech for over a decade, covering phones, drones and everything in between. Previously Deputy Editor of tech site Alphr, his words are found all over the web and in the occasional magazine too. When not weighing up the pros and cons of the latest smartwatch, you'll probably find him tackling his ever-growing games backlog. Or, more likely, playing Spelunky for the millionth time.