Google offers irresistible free products to harvest your data behind your back, and Google Photos is no exception. They use your personal photos to scan your face, scan your friends and loved ones, and track your location – even if you've hidden it. No company needs to know that much about your personal life. Here are some more privacy-oriented alternatives to Google Photos.
Even though Google Photos says that it cares about your privacy, they still gather data by scanning your photos. What does that mean?
Do you really want a company known for data mining to have your personal details, know how your face looks, and know where you were last summer? Probably not. Reduce how much Google knows about you and look for an alternative that won’t exploit your data.
Some of these alternative apps might offer you encrypted storage, while others have extra features like online photo editing, sharing, simple photo management or just a neat-looking gallery. To help you choose, we gathered and reviewed 8 photo storage apps that care about your privacy more than Google does.
(Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS)
Shoebox is an excellent alternative if you are looking for 3 main things: a free service, unlimited storage, and strong end-to-end encryption. It automatically backs up all of your photos, which you can then view on all devices synced with your Shoebox account. You can share your photos with friends and family, too.
The company takes privacy and security seriously, backing up your files on multiple servers so you don’t need to worry about hardware failure. It also has a strict content ownership policy – everything stored on their servers is yours and under no circumstances will be re-used by Shoebox.
The only downsides are that Shoebox only stores photos that are 10.6 megapixels or smaller. You can only store videos no longer than 3 min, and the total duration of all your videos can’t exceed 15 min. If you wish to upload original-size photos and have video storage of up to 10 hours, you might want to opt for their Pro version.
(Web, self-hosted, iOS and Android)
Piwigo is a great photo organizer and a gallery app that is loved by professional photographers and businesses alike. It allows users to upload photos from digiKam, Shotwell, Lightroom or mobile applications. The images can then be sorted into batches by author, geolocation, or certain tags. You can also assign photos to different albums and create album trees.
It’s a great platform for those who want to showcase their photos in a unique way. The platform offers many templates, plugins, and configurations that let you personalize how your photos are presented. If you are using Piwigo as a small team or a company, your account administrator can also create new users and groups, manage their permissions, and send notifications.
Photographers or other users can create galleries and give viewing permissions to their clients. They can then download individual photos or whole albums, post comments, give ratings, mark photos as favorites, perform searches, and get notified of news by email.
You can opt for cloud-based Piwigo, which offers end-to-end encryption, or you can host Piwigo yourself if you have the technical knowledge to do so. It’s also good to know that it runs on open-source software, which means that anyone can have a peek at its code and look for any vulnerabilities.
(iOS and Android)
If Google uses machine learning to organize your photos into albums and make them searchable, then this app leaves it all up to you. Going through thousands of pictures, deleting them and putting them in the right folders might sound tedious, but not when you get to do it in a Tinderlike manner.
Create folders for your recent trips or your latest projects, then swipe left and right to review your photos, move them to appropriate albums or just swipe up to delete them. Your photos in the trash folder won’t be deleted immediately, and you can still recover them. If you want to free up that well-needed storage space on your device, just confirm the deletion.
(iOS and Android)
Zyl is a great mobile app for those who need a neat gallery and care about their privacy. This easy-to-use app will present your photos’ metadata in an easily understandable way. It will show you the exact address where the photo was taken, a map, when it was taken, what device took it, and even what aperture was used to take that photo.
You won’t need to create an account to access the app. It won’t sync your photos to the cloud and the app providers assure you that your photos will never be backed up on their servers and will always be yours. That’s unless you decide to share them on social media, which you can do straight from the app.
The app collects some non-personally identifiable data to improve their service. However, all third parties they work with comply with GDPR rules and regulations, so you can be confident that none of your data will be collected or used without your consent.
This Android-only app is a great photo gallery alternative to those who want to stop using the Google Photos app installed on their devices by default. It has a nice interface and is much easier to navigate. It will automatically organize your photos by date and location, and you will even have a calendar view to see how many images you’ve taken on a specific day or a month.
Piktures is free to use and supports photos, videos, and GIFs. However, if you want to take advantage of extra features like automatic syncing to Dropbox or want to create a secure PIN-protected drive, you might consider subscribing to their Premium service.
(Web, iOS, and Android)
Flickr has been around for a while, but it has recently been revamped, offering a free editing platform. Unlike Google, it has no limitations on the size and resolution of your files, offering a generous 1TB of cloud storage as well. The platform helps you organize your photos and gives you many editing tools so you can improve your photos without even leaving the app. Flickr supports videos, too.
It also has a massive community of photographers, so it’s a great choice if you are looking for some inspiration. You can follow other photographers the same way you would on Instagram, and you can make your photos public, too.
(Web, iOS and Android)
Cluster is a free photo storage app that serves as a private social media platform. You can upload your photos, arrange them in folders, and then send invitations for people to view them. They can then comment on and like your photos. You will be able to see who viewed your pictures and reply to their comments. Other members can also invite you to contribute to their albums. Sharing your road trip photos couldn’t be easier.
The company will collect the personal information you give them when signing up. However, they say they’ll only share aggregated data with their partners and third parties that help them to improve their service.
If you simply need secure and private cloud storage with no extra features, you might consider moving your photos to an encrypted cloud drive. There are many you can choose from like Tresorit, pCloud and Mega. You can see the full list of our cloud drive recommendations by clicking here.
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