IDrive Photos cloud storage

Precious memories can be tough to come by, with a majority of these fleeting moments even tougher to photograph. Luckily, with the proliferation of smartphones and other quick-grab mobile devices, we all have access to some kind of camera and capturing an image takes no time at all. And whether you’re an amateur or a seasoned photographer, our phones and tablets have a number of photo-editing tools to make those near-and-dear moments truly shine.

But what do you do when you’ve run through all the internal memory available on your go-to picture-taking gadget? For those of us looking to house our photos and videos in a safe, secure, and easily accessible digital space, cloud storage is the modern answer to backing up files. 

IDrive Photos, an extension of the umbrella IDrive cloud storage service, is a mobile app built for iOS and Android devices that allows you to house the pictures on your phone in a protective cloud, allowing you to free up memory on your device. 

We spent some time with the IDrive Photos app and have our own thoughts to share (mostly great ones) on this photo backup tool.

Create an Account

You can also sign in with an existing IDrive account to access IDrive Photos (Image credit: iDrive)

Features

iDrive Photos is packed with plenty of perks for the average picture-taker, as well as photographic connoisseurs. For starters, all of your images are backed up to the IDrive cloud in their original resolution. This is especially great for those snapping pictures with premium settings like HDR enabled. 

Conveniently, IDrive allows access to your backup gallery by simply signing into your iDrive Photos account from whatever device you’re using. You’ll also be able to download photos straight from the gallery to whatever phone or tablet you’re logged in with -- even if it’s not the device you backed up.

Pricing

IDrive Photos is much cheaper than Apple or Google's cloud storage for photos (Image credit: iDrive)

In terms of pricing you can’t do much better than IDrive Photos, where your entire first year will only run you $0.99 for unlimited storage. Compare that to $36/year with 200GB for iCloud for Photos or $24/year with 100GB for Google Photos. While the significant discount only applies to your first year with iDrive, you’ll only pay $10/year when your second year of storage begins.

Privacy

When you transfer files of any kind to a backup cloud space, it’s imperative that the media you’re sharing is safely uploaded and protected during both the actual transfer and once the file is successfully stored. 

As outlined in their robust privacy policy, IDrive is required to collect certain user data during your initial registration (email, credit card, etc.) but the company ensures that this information stays protected throughout your enrollment. IDrive only shares your data with trusted third-party affiliates to help improve the IDrive service, and if you choose to delete your IDrive account, all of your user data is erased from the cloud after 10 days.

User experience

We tested the IDrive Photos app using an iPhone 12. Once the app is downloaded and launched, you’ll be prompted to sign in with your IDrive login if you’ve already made one. If not, there are links to create an account or to sign in using your Apple ID or Google login.

Home

All of your photos appear in a gallery view in IDrive Photos' home screen (Image credit: iDrive)

The first stop on the IDrive journey is the app’s home screen. Here you’ll find all of the photos and videos that you’ve backed up, listed in order from the date they were taken.

Preview

You can preview look at your photos in more detail by tapping on them (Image credit: IDrive)

When you tap a photo or video, you’ll be taken to a separate screen where the image is displayed. 

Below your picture, you’ll find quick links to download the photo, add it to your favorites screen, and the option to delete it from your IDrive gallery. Swiping left and right will take you one picture forward or backward in your gallery.

There’s also a share button that uses your device’s built-in share module to send the photo to your mobile contacts or to post it to social media. 

Settings

While you can't edit photos, you can configure IDrive Photos to upload them automatically (Image credit: IDrive)

Unfortunately, you won’t find any kind of photo editing suite built into the IDrive app. While you can certainly employ your own device’s photo tools to edit individual photos before they’re uploaded to the club, having even the most basic of adjustments built into the app (brightness, contrast, color grading, sharpness, etc.) would be a nice add-on. 

Platforms

IDrive Photos is available for iOS and Android devices. When you want to access your gallery, and you don’t have a mobile device nearby, you can use any major web browser to log into your IDrive account through the IDrive website

The competition

IDrive, the app's parent cloud provider, can be used for all kinds of file types, not just images and videos. While a free plan will only net you 5GB of storage, you can upgrade to a premium account, giving you 5TB worth of storage for $79.50/year.

Another contender is Backblaze. Similar to IDrive Photos, Backblaze provides unlimited storage for all your photos for only $6/month. The service has no limits on file size and automated backups of your pictures, but there are a few drawbacks, too. For one, there’s no way to share your photos with your contacts or across social media channels. You also can’t share your subscription across multiple computers (no mobile support at all), meaning if you have pictures on a second PC, you’ll need a second Backblaze account to back these secondary pics up.

Then there’s Dropbox and Google Photos, featuring both free and paid backup plans for desktop and mobile platforms. Google Photos once offered unlimited storage but has since removed this tier of service in favor of a pay-walled Google One membership that removes limitations on file size and adds extra storage space to your account.

Final verdict

IDrive Photos may not offer the most exciting user interface or photo editing tools, but when it comes to the safe and secure storage of your treasured photos and videos, it’s one of the safest and certainly most limitless cloud backup services out there.

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