Backing up the photos, files, and data on your phone or computer used to mean hours of transferring data to an external hard drive (and often lots of troubleshooting). But the world of modern apps is a great thing. Finally, there are cloud storage apps that make it easy to stash your files in the cloud with minimal time and hassle. And once your files are in the cloud, you can access them from anywhere, work on them anytime, and be confident that they won’t disappear should disaster strike and your computer die. But you will have to pay for the privilege — unless you choose a free cloud storage app to back up your files.
While many cloud storage apps charge you, you can also find free cloud storage platforms that won’t add another recurring charge to your card statement. The storage you get may be limited with a free plan, and you may not have access to all of the features that would come with a paid subscription. But if all you need is to store a few files in the cloud for easy access or peace of mind, then you likely won’t have any complaints about these free cloud storage platforms.
1. Amazon Drive
Amazon Drive offers unlimited photo storage and 5GB of free cloud storage for users who already have an Amazon Prime subscription. The 5GB of free cloud storage can be used to store videos and other files. You can back up your photos, store files from your computer, and upload the photos from your phone all in one place. You can even use the free Amazon Photos app to automatically save your photos to your Amazon Drive (which gives you some peace of mind if you’re worried that you’ll eventually lose or damage your phone). Amazon Cloud Drive supports Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, and Kindle Fire.
2. Apple iCloud Drive
The iCloud Drive by Apple offers 5GB of free cloud storage. Apple’s mobile operating system, iOS, automatically backs up your files to iCloud Drive, including any documents you create with iCloud-enabled apps. You can access your files from your desktop, and everything will stay up to date across your devices. Your desktop and Documents folder on your Mac can be automatically stored and updated in iCloud Drive. If you have an Android phone, you might want to skip this cloud storage platform, as the iCloud Drive only supports Mac, Windows, and iOS.
Box offers 10GB of free cloud storage. This platform is targeted toward business users, and promises to keep you, your colleagues, your partners, and your clients all on the same page. Box enables users to securely share files, and also to create and edit documents with others in real-time. Box places a big focus on enterprise-grade security, which means that whether you’re storing photos, videos, or financial information, you’re assured that it’s being kept secure. You can easily share your files, view and edit any kind of file from anywhere, turn folders into shared workspaces, and stop worrying about where your files are. Box supports Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Windows Phone, and BlackBerry.
Cubby offers 5GB of free cloud storage. With a basic, free account, you get access to private and public sharing features. You also get unlimited versioning and file size uploads, plus AES 256-bit encryption (though you’ll have to upgrade to a paid plan if you want user-held encryption keys). The platform is designed for flexibility, and enables you to “turn folders into cubbies where they live on your computer, and keep file structures intact.” You can share documents with anyone without letting them make changes, or collaborate in privately shared cubbies. Cubby supports Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS.
Dropbox offers 2GB of free cloud storage, and you can earn more free storage by referring your friends to the service. You can save any kind of file in Dropbox, including photos, videos, music, Microsoft Office files, and Adobe files. Files you have stored in Dropbox will be available on your computer even when you’re offline. You can share large files with a link, even if the recipient doesn’t have Dropbox, and security features like two-step verification protect your files. You can use Dropbox to automatically back up photos from your phone or computer. (Though it seems safe to say that if you take a lot of photos, you’ll use up Dropbox’s free cloud storage pretty quickly.) You can also use shared folders to collaborate without having to email documents back and forth. Dropbox supports Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, iOS, Windows Phone, BlackBerry, and Kindle Fire.
6. Google Drive
Google Drive offers 15GB of free cloud storage. In that 15GB, you can store photos, documents, designs, drawings, recordings, videos, or anything else you want to upload. You can quickly invite friends to view, download, and collaborate on the files you have stored in Google Drive. This cloud storage service is closely integrated with Gmail and with Google Photos. It can recognize objects in your images or text in scanned documents, which means that all of your files are searchable. You can use Google’s apps to create and collaborate on files, and you can make files available offline. You can access your files from your phone, your computer, or your tablet, and Google Drive supports Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS.
iDrive offers 5GB of free cloud storage. This platform is marketed as an easy solution for backing up multiple PCs, Macs, and mobile devices to a single count, which makes it pretty easy to keep track of your files and data. You can transfer and store your files with 256-bit AES encryption and set your own key, which won’t be stored anywhere on iDrive’s servers. Your files will sync in real-time, and only the modified portions of files will be transferred and backed up. You can also use iDrive to back up your data from Facebook and Instagram. iDrive supports Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android.
Mega offers 50GB of free cloud storage. This cloud storage platform, from the team behind the popular file hosting service Mega Upload, places an emphasis on privacy. It offers end-to-end encryption, and your data is encrypted and decrypted by your devices, not by Mega. You can access your files from anywhere, and only you control the keys. You can share folders with your contacts and see the updates they make in real-time. Mega supports Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, iOS, Windows Phone, and BlackBerry.
Sync offers 5GB of free cloud storage. The platform promises 100% privacy with end-to-end encryption for which only you have the keys. Sync can automatically back up all of your files in one place and keep them synced across your devices. You can share files with anyone, even if they don’t have a Sync account. Sharing comes with useful features like password protection, notifications, and expiration dates. Multi-user administration tools, permissions, and access controls make collaboration easy. Sync supports Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android.
OneDrive offers 5GB of free cloud storage. This cloud storage platform enables you to collaborate with Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote from your computer or from your mobile device. OneDrive is preinstalled on Windows 10, so if your computer is running Windows 10, your documents and photos can be saved to the cloud automatically. Photos saved in OneDrive are tagged, and you can keep them organized in albums. Real-time notifications enable you to keep track of who’s editing a file and when. OneDrive supports Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, and Windows Phone.