In a previous post I mentioned I would be reviewing back up and sharing software for digital photos. My goal is to evaluate how various applications manage the following features.
- Automatically backup my photos from my phone to either my computer or the cloud.
- Manual options to upload photos from your computer to the cloud (if you prefer to work that way).
- Instant access to the images and an ability to view them in case my phone or computer dies.
- What are the storage size options and corresponding fees.
- What are the online sharing and upload options with family members. How do they get access, can they add images etc.
- What are the privacy settings. Can albums be set up with passwords.
- Can everybody comment and like images (similar to Facebook).
- Can images be grouped into events, or albums. Can they be tagged.
- Can members download images for printing or send out to be printed, book creation options.
- Are there image editing options.
- Can you email an album or slide show to members who may not be so tech savvy.
We signed up for Amazon Prime because we do a lot of ordering online. Our membership gives us free shipping on select orders but also gives us access to Prime Video to watch Amazon original programming as well as unlimited Photo storage through Amazon Drive. I added it to this review to see how it works.
Amazon Prime Photos and Amazon Drive Desktop
Auto Back Up
- Phones – there is an Amazon Drive application available that can be set up to automatically upload any new images for back up.
- Computers – only available through third party apps like SyncBackPro and Syncovery
- If you use the Amazon Drive Desktop application, you can set it up to sync between your cloud storage and your hard drive. Changes or deletions of images will be synced to both places. But you must manually upload the images in the first place.
- Phone – through the menu in Amazon Prime Photos you can select only certain images to be backed up.
- To upload all the images from your computer use Amazon Drive Desktop. Go to (www.amazon.com/clouddrive) and sign in.
- The application creates a folder on your hard drive that you copy to. Or you can upload from the site.
- If you use the Amazon Drive browser window there is limit of 2G per photo which makes it difficult for large Tiff or some RAW files.
- There is a file limit size of 48GB per image when you copy to the folder on your desktop.
- Jpeg, tiff and RAW are accepted but RAW is only viewable through the embedded thumbnail.
Viewing Area (Photos)
- Sorted by date taken or by an album you create.
- Individual images can be downloaded, shared or deleted. The icons for this appear at the bottom of the image.
Storage Options and Fees
- Amazon Drive starts at 5GB.
- Storage of 100GB – $11.99/year
- Storage of 1T – $59.99/year
- Amazon Prime members continue to have unlimited photos storage. Other files are subject 5GB limit.
- Policies differ by region (US is different from UK for example)
- You can share individual images or whole albums via email Facebook or Twitter.
- They are given a randomized URL so that when you decide to stop sharing the old URL is broken and the file is private again.
- Recipients can’t add or comment but they can download them.
- Similar to Google Photos, once you share an image or album it’s out there on the internet, if in a rather obscure place.
- Otherwise, your files are only accessible to you via your account password.
- When viewing an image you can click on the Info icon in upper right of the screen. This will give you the basic information embedded in the image. You can’t add captions or titles.
- You can reorganize the images/files to your preferred folder structure. You can’t drag and drop however, you must highlight the selection hit the “Move” link and select the folder to put them in.
- You can create Albums.
- You can change how the images are sorted in each folder.
- Amazon recently created Amazon Prints. It is only available to US customers who use the Amazon Drive cloud service.
- Very basic editing.
- You can send a link of an image or album.
I wanted to add this system into this review because I thought the Prime Photos element of our Amazon Prime membership might have some interesting options for sharing. But it is primarily a back up solution. You can view your images online anywhere so if you remove them from your phone to free up space, you can still share images of your pets or travels. But really, it is best served as an extra back up to any external hard drive system you already have. Amazon is the top provider of back up solutions across North America. It’s not like they are going to fold tomorrow. However, in my research for this post I discovered, like most service companies, that they had changed their offerings more than once. So no back up system is completely stable. You have to stay on top of their options and save your images and files in more than one place.