There are dozens of cloud storage services available, whether you need to store large files or a few gigabytes of photos. Many consumers interested in photo storage typically turn to Amazon or Apple, however.
If you’re on the fence and trying to choose between iCloud and Amazon Photos, our guide will make things simple as we compare the two services in all the key areas.
iCloud vs. Amazon Photos: A Side-by-Side Comparison
|Formats||GIF, JPEG, HEIF, HEVC, MP4, PNG, TIFF, RAW||GIF, JPEG, HEIF, HEVC, MP4, PNG, TIFF, RAW, AVI, MTS, AFS, MPG, OGG, WAV|
|Platforms||macOS, Windows, iOS, Android (web browser)||Windows, iOS, Android, FireTV|
|Capacity||5GB to 2TB||5GB to 30TB|
Amazon Photos vs. iCloud: 4 Must-Know Facts
- iCloud served as a replacement for Apple’s MobileMe service.
- Prime members received unlimited storage through Amazon Photos in 2014.
- Apple introduced new features in 2021 through iCloud+.
- Amazon provides more than 50 cloud services under the AWS banner.
iCloud vs. Amazon Photos: What’s the Difference?
If you own an iPhone, you have experienced iCloud. Apple’s cloud-storage service launched in October 2011 and has gained more than 600 million users since the first version was rolled out a decade ago.
Amazon’s cloud service also began in 2011 but as Amazon Cloud Drive-–not Amazon photos. The company recently decided it will shut down the file hosting service at the end of 2024 in favor of Amazon Photos, considering they have the same set of features.
Both photo storage services are available across several platforms but are tied to the ecosystem of their parent company to a degree.
Consumers with an iPhone, iPad, or Mac have access to the iCloud app and the service itself, considering it’s included on those devices. It’s an essential part of Apple’s family of services, but you can use it if you’re on other platforms as well.
For people that prefer a Windows PC to a computer from Apple, you can use the iCloud app from Microsoft’s app store. Users running Ubuntu can rely on Snaps, but you won’t find Apple’s cloud storage app on Google Play or through the Amazon app store. You can use the service on Android, but only through the web.
While you can’t get the iCloud app on Android devices, you can download Amazon Photos for the iPhone or iPad through the App Store. It’s also available for Android via Google Play, but you’ll run into trouble with Linux just like you will with iCloud. Amazon Photos is still tethered to Amazon–-just not as tightly as Apple and iCloud.
Compatibility may be close between iCloud and Amazon Photos, but formats are where things begin to shift. You can upload several different file formats to either service. While everyone has heard of JPEGs and GIFs, photographers will want a wider variety of formats and ample storage space.
For uploads, iCloud supports GIF, JPEG, HEIF, HEVC, MP4, PNG, TIFF, and RAW with embedded JPEGs. That covers the most common formats used, including videos encoded in H.265. You can upload the same file formats to Amazon, including HEIF, HEVC, JP2, WEBP, and iOS Live.
Amazon Photos also accepts AVI, MTS, AFS, MPG, OGG, and Flash formats. Even the classic WMV format is supported, along with a number of RAW file types from Olympus, Sony, and others. Conversion is possible, but Amazon Photos is the winner when it comes to formats for casual and serious users.
Every cloud storage service touts features as a way to lure consumers in, and that’s no different in our iCloud vs. Amazon Photos battle. One of the biggest features of iCloud comes into play for users that own an iPhone or iPad.
When you use iCloud for photo storage, it will keep things updated automatically across all your Apple devices. You can snap a photo on your iPhone and edit it on your iPad a few seconds later or download it on a Macbook. You can also share albums with others, provided they have an Apple ID. Through iCloud+, custom email domains, and features like Hide My Email are also available.
With Amazon Photos, you can share uploads through a family vault feature, and sort through photos or albums in several ways. That includes locations or keywords, which can be challenging for Android users on iCloud. You can set photos to automatically sync across several devices, including iPhones through the Amazon Photos app.
We’re giving this category to Amazon, although both services allow users to manage files across multiple devices. You aren’t as restricted through Amazon, which makes it the better choice for anyone that doesn’t use iOS.
iCloud vs. Amazon Photos: Pricing
It may seem like iCloud is a natural fit for people with an iPhone, but that isn’t always the case. Pricing and storage capacity can quickly change things depending on your needs.
Amazon Photos is included for free if you are an Amazon Prime member. It’s a service millions of people already have but costs $14.99 a month or $139 a year if you’re not already a subscriber. Through Prime, you’ll receive unlimited storage space for photos at full resolution and 5GB for videos and other files. You’ll also receive other perks, including free shipping, discounts, and Amazon Prime Video.
If you don’t want to subscribe to Prime but are still interested in Amazon Photos, you can pick up a 100GB plan for $1.99 a month or $19.99 annually. The next step up is 1TB for $6.99 or $59.99 a year, which is enough room for hundreds of thousands of photos and more than 100 hours of FHD video. Plans with Amazon Photo top out at 30 terabytes of storage for $1,799.00 a year.
Apple also gives people 5GB of storage for photos if they own an iPhone, Mac, or iPad. If you want to test their service without one of those devices, you can get 1GB for free while paid plans start at $0.99 per month. For that price, you’re upgraded to iCloud+ and receive 50GB of storage. It unlocks a few new features as well, like video support for the HomeKit Secure camera and Family Sharing.
Users looking for more storage from Apple only have two more tiers to choose from. The 200GB plan is priced at $2.99 a month, and the 2 terabyte plan is $9.99. Those are prices for the United States, so rates will vary for users in Europe, Asia, Africa, and other regions.
iCloud vs. Amazon Photos: Which One Should You Use?
Choosing between iCloud or Amazon Photos should be simple now that you know what each service provides and its price plans.
You can try either cloud storage provider for free to see how you like them, but you are limited with iCloud compared to Amazon Photos. iCloud is the best choice if you only plan to use the cloud for photos and are already invested in Apple’s ecosystem.
For everyone else, the better option is Amazon Photos. They provide more storage options including tiers geared toward professionals. The fact you can get unlimited storage for photos using Prime is a huge bonus, along with the general availability of the service.