How to backup photos and files for free

Caramel Quin / 24 October 2016 ( 10 February 2020 )

Discover five of the best free services to store your files online.

A number of services let you store your digital photos (and videos) online simply, for free. It's not just to keep a safe copy: it's a way to share them with others – you decide which are shared and which are private.

As part of the service you'll typically get a free app that lets you automatically back up photos "to the cloud" (stored on the internet) so if your smartphone gets stolen or breaks you won't lose your photos.

Worried because there's no such thing as a free lunch? Don't be. Think of it more as a free appetiser. Free versions offer a finite amount of storage space, then charge if you'd like to store more. But that's aimed at power users – if you're not David Bailey you'll probably find the free version is sufficient.

Here are five of the best. They're all free, so you can even try more than one before settling on the one that works for you. But once you commit to one service then moving photos to another service is a pain, so it's best to stick with one that offers enough free storage for your needs.

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Amazon Drive

If you're already an Amazon Prime member (£79 a year for free unlimited movies, TV shows, music, Kindles and free shipping on Amazon purchases) then it's free to use Amazon Drive. This gives you unlimited photo storage and you can upload photos straight from your phone, tablet or computer anywhere.


You can store your photos on Dropbox too. It's less an online photo album though, and more a file storage service. But you can store up to 2GB of files, of any sort, for free. If you pay for a Dropbox Pro account you get more storage and can automatically back up phones.


This photo service from Yahoo gives you an incredible 1,000GB storage, which you're unlikely to ever exceed – it's enough for 200,000 typical digital photos. You can automatically upload phone pics too.

Google Photos

Google Photos, part of Google Drive, offers an impressive 15GB of storage for free. That's enough for 3,000 typical digital photos. What's more, if you tell it to store them in "high quality" mode – recommended for pictures of 16 megapixels or less, which is perfectly good quality – you can store as many photos as you like without being charged.

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iCloud Photos

The easiest option if you take photos on an iPhone or store them on a Mac is to use iCloud. It automatically backs them up and also synchronises them across all your devices, so you can access them anywhere. Your first 5GB of storage is free. That's enough for more than 1,000 typical digital photos.


The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated.

The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.