Tom's Guide Verdict
Amazon Photos is a nice benefit for users who are already Amazon Prime members, but less appealing for everyone else.
Unlimited photo storage
Automatically sync photos
Expensive for non-Prime members
Why you can trust Tom's Guide
Cloud storage is a service whereby users upload data and documents to a massive computer server, rather than save them on their computer’s local hard drive. Using one of the best cloud storage providers has many benefits: it can free up valuable space on your computer, enable you to access your files from any device, and make sharing large documents a breeze.
Amazon Photos is a competitor to the best cloud storage for photos, and is one of the best Google Photos alternatives as well. In this Amazon Photos review, we’ll look at the plans offered, as well as their ease of use, features, support, and more.
Amazon Photos: Plans and pricing
Amazon Photos is included for free with Amazon Prime, as part of Amazon Drive. Amazon Prime itself, however, will cost users $12.99 a month or $119 a year. With an Amazon Prime subscription, users can store unlimited full-resolution photos with Amazon Photos. Users can also store up to 5GB of videos.
If you’re not an Amazon Prime user, or you want more space for videos and other documents, you can still buy cloud storage from Amazon. 100GB will cost $1.99 a month or $19.99 a year, or you can upgrade to a hefty 1TB for $6.99 a month or $59.99 a year.
After that, the pricing on Amazon cloud storage becomes comparable with Amazon Prime, so if you are only looking to store photos, it’s worth it to subscribe to Amazon Prime instead, so that you receive the other benefits of a Prime membership, such as expedited shipping and access to Amazon Prime Video.
Perhaps the best feature of Amazon Photos is the ability to upload unlimited full-resolution photos. With unlimited storage, you don’t need to worry about constantly needing to upgrade. Users can set an automatic sync from their desktop or mobile device, meaning photos will be automatically backed up.
Amazon Photos enables users to sort photos into albums, or view uploaded photos by date or location. You can even search photos by keyword, or see all photos with a particular person or pet.
If you’ve ever tried to email a large file of photos, you’ll know it’s frustrating and often impossible. With Amazon Photos, you can share a link to an album over text or email instead. The mobile app also features a messenger tab, so you can share photos with other Amazon Photos users in a text message-like interface.
Interface and in use
Amazon Photos is easy to use for users of all levels. The interface is intuitive, and both the mobile app and the desktop version have been pared down. If you’re already an Amazon user, setup is especially easy. All you need to do is log in to your Amazon account and navigate to Amazon Photos (or download the Amazon Photos app for iOS or Android devices.)
Syncing photos from your device can be a bit of a headache at first, especially for users with a large number of images to upload. The initial upload to Amazon’s cloud can take a while, and the app must be open for the upload to occur, meaning you can’t navigate to other apps on your phone.
However, there is a screen dimming feature that will enable users to keep the app open overnight while photos are syncing.
The level of support for Amazon Photos is largely automated, which is to be expected with such a large company. Within its larger Amazon Help & Customer Service database, Amazon has a searchable FAQ just for Amazon Photos and Amazon Drive.
There’s also a forum where you can pose questions to be answered by the Amazon community or Amazon staff. Or, you can go through Amazon support to chat with a representative or speak to someone on the phone.
It’s not the most personalized or responsive support system, especially when compared to smaller or more niche cloud storage companies.
Unfortunately, the policy does not go into much detail on what those protocols and safeguards are, making it difficult to judge how effective they might be.
Alternatives to Amazon Photos
If you’re not already an Amazon Prime user, it may make more sense to check out the cloud storage options provided by services you do use. For example, Google Drive has Google Photos, which has 15GB free for all users and paid storage if you need more space.
Apple users may already be familiar with iCloud, Apple’s cloud storage option for Apple devices. If you’re looking for an easy way to sync photos between an iPad and an iPhone, iCloud’s integration with these devices makes it an easy choice. It comes with only 5GB, but paid plans are available if you need more.
However, there’s nothing particularly special about Amazon Photos to make it a must-have for users who don’t already have Amazon Prime.
Sarah James is a freelance writer in Los Angeles. She has written about creativity, culture, and technology for brands like TechRadar, Submittable Content For Creatives, The Billfold, Pittsburgh City Paper, The Toast, and more.