2023 is a new year … and for many cloud storage services there are new policies about where and IF they will continue store your photos and files.
SOME RECENT CHANGES
Shutterfly recently announced they are saying goodby to free storage for non-paying customers. In order to continue storing photos on Shutterfly, you must make a purchase on Shutterfly at least once every 18 months. I’ve found many clients had the ONLY copy of their mid 2000s photos stored on Shutterfly … and Shutterfly makes it quite time consuming to download a large number of full resolution originals with correct dates.
Shutterfly is also discontinuing their Share Sites in March. Shutterfly Share Sites allowed users to create free photo-sharing websites to share photos with friends and family or groups like teams.
Costco announced last week it is shutting down their online photo center storage and services on January 28th. It is offering customers the opportunity to transfer their photos to Shutterfly, or their photos will be deleted. But you now know that Shutterfly will only continue to store photos if a purchase is made at least once every 18 months.
Another popular photo gifting site, collage.com, shut down abruptly in October with no warning. Customers who had projects mid design they could not access ,or had purchased vouchers that are now worthless, were up in arms.
Amazon recently announced it is shutting down Amazon Drive cloud service at the end of 2023. Many people store photos and videos on Amazon Drive. These photos and videos will still be available through Amazon’s separate service, Amazon Photos. However non photo files stored on Amazon Drive will be deleted at the end of 2023, so customers are urged to download them before the service is discontinued. So yes, photos and videos will still be available through Amazon Photos, but for many who loved the folder organization of Amazon Drive, this is a huge bummer.
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR ME?
If you have worked with me, you know that I recommend keeping your entire photo and video collection, organized and in full resolution, on your computer and/or on an external hard drive. Yes I recommend backing your photos up to the cloud too, but use a cloud service that focuses on the safety and security of your photos. This is not necessarily the mission of free cloud services, which may be focused on selling products or using your personal data for marketing purposes. Free photo storage sites may store your photos in low resolution, not retain important information such as file names and dates, and in a worst case scenario, may delete your photos.
WHAT SHOULD I DO?
Own any photos and videos you care about. If some of your photos and videos are stored only on cloud services that may not prioritize the quality and security of your photos, make a plan to download them and own a hard copy on your computer or external hard drive. If you own your photos and videos you won't panic if your cloud service closes down or changes their policies.
Make it a New Year’s resolution!