Amazon Drive for PC or MAC Archives

Amazon Drive for PC or MAC Archives

Amazon Drive for PC or MAC Archives

Amazon Drive for PC or MAC Archives

Amazon Drive

Type of businessDivision
Area servedUnited States, United Kingdom, Japan, Germany, Spain, France, Italy, India, Australia, Canada, China, Brazil
Alexa rank 7 (As of 6 August 2016[update])
LaunchedMarch 29, 2011; 9 years ago (2011-03-29)
Current statusActive

Amazon Drive, formerly known as Amazon Cloud Drive, is a cloud storage application managed by Amazon.[1] The service offers secure cloud storage, file backup, file sharing, and Photo printing. Using an Amazon account, the files and folders can be transferred and managed from multiple devices including web browsers, desktop applications, mobiles, and tablets. Amazon Drive also lets their U.S. users order photo prints and photo books using the Amazon Prints service.[2]

Today, Amazon Drive offers free unlimited photo storage with an Amazon Prime subscription or a Kindle Fire device, and a paid limited storage service.[3][4] Launched in major countries including U.S, Canada, European nations, Japan, and Australia.[5] It also functions in China and Brazil as a free limited 5GB storage service.


Amazon first announced the storage service on March 29, 2011, initially offering pay-as-you-need tiered storage plans for the users. Users paid only for the storage tier they utilized expandable up to a maximum of 1 Terabyte plan.[6]

In March 2015, Unlimited Storage plans intended for non-business customer sections were introduced.[7] The plan offered a free 3-month free trial for the customers who wish to try the service before entering an annual subscription. During 2015 Black Friday, the plan became popular when Amazon offered 92% discounted Unlimited Storage plan for $5, down from $60, for a year from purchase.[8] The fine print stated that Unlimited Storage was "only for private use", was restricted by file type, and must not "substantially exceed or differ from normal use by other users". Amazon anytime "may impose other restrictions on use of the Service".[9]

In June 2017, Amazon reverted the unlimited storage plans in the US.[10]

On 15 November 2017, Amazon removed the unlimited storage plans for Canadian customers as well.

Storage Plans[edit]

As of July 2019, Amazon offers two plans in their marketplaces - Prime Photos (since November 2014)[11] and free limited file storage in China and Brazil only.

Prime Photos[edit]

The Prime Photos plan offers unlimited storage for photos and RAW files, and a 5 gigabytes of storage for videos and other files.[12] Photos can be uploaded to Amazon Drive with iOS or Android apps, Kindle device, or the Cloud Drive website. Additionally, users of Kindle Fire tablets also get the plan's benefits along with the purchase of device. Their photos and videos will automatically backup from device to the Amazon Drive's cloud storage.[13] According to Amazon, Prime Photos is only available for personal, non-commercial use and can't be used in conjunction with a photography business. Full resolution photo formats and RAW files can be uploaded, but most Raw formats won't be viewable within the service's web interface or apps.[11][14]

Free 5GB[edit]

China and Brazil have Amazon Drive service but is limited to 5GB storage only.[15][16][17] This storage counts the space taken by photos, videos, and files of other types. For customers in these countries, Amazon Drive doesn't offer an expansion plan, neither tier-based nor unlimited, to store media files exceeding the limited 5GB.

Country support[edit]

Supported devices[edit]


The service is supported on almost all types of devices ranging from PCs to mobiles. The web application is supported in common web browsers including Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari and Google Chrome. One can create folders to organize files, rename files, move them around, and so forth. The application handle photos better than files. From the Web app, photos and videos can be viewed and played, whereas files are not viewable. By default, the images are sorted by the date they were taken. The photos include basic metadata such as filename, capture date, added date, filesize, and pixel dimension.


Amazon Drive has released a desktop application supported for both Mac and Windows designed as a drop panel allowing users to drag and drop their files to initiate uploading. Users will have to install the application on their PC or Mac to use the application. It supports a one-touch button for downloading all the files from cloud should they be restored. Notably, files above 2GB can only be uploaded to Amazon Drive by the desktop clients. During bulk upload, files and folders can be paused or cancelled while in progress.


Amazon Drive offers free smartphone application for iOS and Android mobile devices. The mobile application does everything on the Web and in addition automatically backs up and upload all the media files in the mobile device to the cloud. Amazon's proprietary devices, Kindle Fire and Fire Phone, ship with free unlimited photo storage which similarly backs up the photos files in the tablet to Amazon Drive.[27]


File sharing[edit]

Files and folders can be selected to be downloaded to the device or generate a randomized shareable link. This link can be directed e-mailed, or shared to social media. Anyone with the link will have access to the shared files. At any point of time in the future, the application will allow the owner to break a shared link and make the files private again.

Amazon Prints[edit]

In September 2016, Amazon Drive has launched Amazon Prints in U.S. through which users can edit their photos to order prints and photo books from the application. Once ordered, Amazon will ship the print orders to the customer's address similar to other retail orders.[2]

Multilingual support[edit]

As the service is available in major Amazon Marketplaces, the applications are supported in multiple languages for usage in different countries. Popular languages that are supported are regional variations of English, Spanish, French, Italian, Simplified Chinese, and Japanese.

Digital media players[edit]

Amazon Drive is also built into Amazon Fire TV and Amazon Video application in other media players and Smart TVs. Having these devices, users can browse their personal photos and videos on large TV screens or view them as a slideshow.[28]


Prime Photo users can upload an unlimited number of picture file formats only, and rest of the formats including video formats will be counted in the additional 5GB storage in the plan. If additional files exceeding 5GB need to be stored, one can opt for one of the paid plans depending on the country. In the unlimited plans, files above 2GB are restricted from uploading to the application. The desktop application however, is exempted from uploading files greater than 2GB in size.[29] Amazon Drive streaming is not available for videos longer than 20 minutes or larger than 2 GB, but these can be stored in Amazon Drive to download and watch offline.[14] Unlike other popular file hosting services, Amazon Drive does not offer file-syncing or automatic backup in Web, so users cannot have the latest desktop version of all their documents and images. Also, shared documents cannot be collaborated with others, but can only be downloaded for editing. However, mobile applications support automatic backup capabilities.[28]

The service limits the usage for personal and non-commercial use. One may not use it to store, transfer or distribute the content of or on behalf of third parties, to operate own file storage application or service, to operate a photography business or other commercial service.[30]

See also[edit]


External links[edit]

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, Amazon Drive for PC or MAC Archives

Our review of using Amazon Prime for photo storage

How do I store my photos on Amazon Prime?

You can store your photos on Amazon Prime Photos or Amazon Cloud Drive. Both platforms are included within your Prime subscription and offer incredible value for photographers looking to back-up a significant archive.

How much Amazon Prime photo storage do I get?

With Amazon Prime Photos you get unlimited photo storage across both the Prime Photos and Cloud Drive platforms, and in our review of this service and others, for the price of Prime that’s a very good deal.

In the age of 4K video and 50-megapixel images, having a proper photo storage platform for your image archive is more important than ever. Photographers have flirted with numerous cloud storage options over the years, but buyouts and changes in the marketplace have made it difficult to know where to store your photos. Once you build your archive up somewhere and craft a taxonomy, you don’t want to move it.

Originally a bookseller, Amazon is now invading nearly every facet of our lives these days, from its smart speakers to original television content. But one of Amazon’s many services that doesn’t often get the hype it should is its photo storage capability.

Amazon Prime offers many benefits, but for photographers its unlimited photo storage – which comes free with a Prime membership – is unrivalled in the marketplace. Even Flickr caps its users’ storage at a terabyte.

What is the difference between Amazon Prime Photos and Amazon Cloud Drive?

There are two ways of using Amazon Prime for photo storage: Prime Photos and Amazon Drive. To understand the difference, try thinking about it terms of a website. Amazon Drive is like the content management system, or CMS – the back end where you upload and manage files. Prime Photos is the front end, the public-facing site where you see the fruits of your labour in all their glory.

Also, Prime Photos will display your images. But Amazon Drive can also store your music files, Word documents, PDFs and anything else. Drive is more of an asset management platform. Prime Photos is more of a gallery.

Both Prime Photos and Amazon Cloud Drive offer the same unlimited photo storage. However, for all other files – including videos – you’re limited to 5GB. Once you exceed that number you’ll need to purchase more storage for those files.

In our ongoing Amazon Prime Photos review, the limitations can be annoying if you rarely shoot video and are slightly over the limit. However, the expansion price isn’t steep and if you plan to shoot more video over time, it’s well worth it.

Family Vault

What is the Prime Photo’s Family Vault?

Essentially it’s an easy way to share your images with others in your family. It works by enabling you to connect together all the Amazon Prime Photo accounts in the household together, so there is one repository for all the images that everyone can access. Just like a family photo album, but many times larger and thankfully searchable so you can find the images that you want easily. 

All you need to do to get started is to send an invite to the other members of your family and once they’ve accepted the invite they’re able to access the Family Vault. 

The way that it can then be used is that once you have selected and uploaded images to your Prime Photo’s you can then choose a selection to add to the Family Vault. 

This means that you retain your private photo library alongside the one the rest of the family can access. 

Is Prime Photos free for Prime members?

Yes, Prime Photos is ‘free’ if you subscribe to Amazon Prime. But of course you’re paying £7.99 / $12.99, so free really means ‘within the terms of your subscription’.

Uploading images to Prime Photos and Amazon Drive

Amazon makes backing up your images very easy for photographers. You can upload to Prime Photos and Drive via desktop clients for both Mac and Windows machines.

There are also upload clients for iOS and Android devices, as well as Amazon’s own Fire devices.

Uploading to Prime Photos and Amazon Drive can be done via drag-and-drop.

It’s worth noting that Amazon’s photo upload clients don’t offer syncing or automated backups. However, there are now apps such as Syncovery that offer Amazon Cloud Drive as an option for automated file synchronisation.

Prime Photos Metadata

Amazon Prime Photos populates your images with some metadata, but not much. From your images’ EXIF data it will display the camera name, the shutter speed and aperture, date and time the photo was take, the file name, file size and resolution.

Other platforms might provide a deeper list of EXIF data, such as ISO and White Balance values, but for basic photo storage and archive management, what Prime Photos provides is pretty sufficient.

Amazon Prime members get unlimited photo storage, 5 GB of storage for videos, document, and other files for themselves. They can also invite up to five friends or family members to receive unlimited photo storage, and collect photos together in the Family Vault.

To display an image’s metadata, click the little i icon in the top right.

Sharing images from Prime Photos

You can share your images from Prime Photos, but the scope is somewhat limited. However, for photographers simply looking to back up their archive, you’ll find all the sharing capabilities you’ll need.

You share Prime Photos via Facebook, email or direct link to the image. You can also share photos to Family Vaults or create groups of other Prime users and invite them to see your images.

What happens to my photos when I cancel Amazon Prime?

This is the big caveat to the boon of having unlimited photo storage. Once you cancel your Amazon Prime subscription or allow it to expire, you revert back to the free plan which only gives you 5GB of space. Amazon says:

If you exceed your Service Plan’s storage limit, including by downgrading or not renewing your Service Plan or no longer qualifying for an Additional Benefit, we may delete or restrict access to Your Files. We may impose other restrictions on use of the Service.

This implies that Amazon may delete your files or restrict your access to them. Most likely, Amazon will offer you the chance to return to Prime and regain access, rather than simply delete them the second you miss a Prime payment.

But if you someday realise Prime isn’t for you and wish to relocate your archive, it’s worth downloading your photos and other files before simply canceling your membership.

Amazon Prime Photos review for professional

Can Amazon Prime Photos and Amazon Cloud Drive be used by professional photographers? Yes and no. As a photo storage platform and archival management tool, it’s simple-to-use and fantastic value with its unlimited image storage.

But if you’re looking to rely on Amazon Prime for more than photo storage you might need to think twice. Professional photographers might look for an asset management platform that allows them to share images with clients, or even sell photos directly as 500px has just enabled.

Amazon Prime doesn’t allow this. Buried in the terms, Amazon makes clear that your files are intended for personal use and should not be used for commercial purposes.

Now, will Amazon actually know if you are sending a link to a Prime Photos gallery to a client vs your mother? Probably not. But the point is, there’s no easy way for your client to purchase directly from Amazon Cloud Drive or Prime Photos.

Clients would need to give you file names and send a PayPal payment, which is all a bit cumbersome and not very professional. So if your intent is to sell images directly from your archive, Prime Photos and Amazon Cloud Drive might not be the best solution for you.

If you shoot for your own enjoyment, however, or if you’re looking to archive a large collection of images simply as a back-up or even to share amongst family, Amazon Prime photo storage is one of the most user-friendly and economical options out there.

Amazon Prime Photos Storage for videographers

This is where self-awareness comes into it. If you shoot solely stills, Prime Photos Storage is brilliant and well worth the money. If you occasionally shoot stills, Amazon Prime Photos Storage is still worth the money, even if you have to pay for extra video storage every so often.

If you shoot mainly video, though, Prime Photos Storage isn’t for you. The clue is in the title! In our experience, the best value platform for videographers is Vimeo Pro.

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Amazon Drive for PC or MAC Archives

Hands on with Amazon Cloud Drive for Mac

The roster sort of sounds like Santa’s reindeer roll-call: On Dropbox, on SkyDrive, on iCloud, on Google! And now, Amazon becomes the latest company/sleigh-puller to dive into the Desktop Cloud Storage Wars of 2012.

Amazon Cloud Drive initially launched more than a year ago. Starting Wednesday, Amazon began offering the Amazon Cloud Drive desktop app for Macs running Snow Leopard or Lion. (There’s also a Windows client for Vista and Windows 7, if you roll that way.)

You get 5GB of storage free with Amazon Cloud Drive. You can pay for more storage, with easy pricing: At each level, the price is a dollar per gigabyte; the 20GB plan costs $20 per year, with plans also available at 50GB, 100GB, 200GB, 500GB, and 1000GB storage levels. You can store unlimited Amazon-purchased MP3s on any plan; with the paid tiers, you can also store an unlimited amount of digital music acquired elsewhere. The service’s pricing isn’t quite as affordable as Microsoft’s for SkyDrive, which charges $10 per year for 27GB, $25 per year for 57GB, or $50 per year for 107GB. That said, Amazon charges about half of what Dropbox does for similar storage tiers.

Installing Amazon Cloud Drive is simple enough: You simply drag the app to your Applications folder and then launch it. When you first run the app, you get prompted to log in to your Amazon account. The app lives in your menu bar with a hollow cloud icon.

In a decided difference from its competitors, Cloud Drive doesn’t create a specific folder whose contents sync automatically to your Amazon-hosted storage. Rather, you drag the files (or folders) that you’d like to upload onto the cloud icon in your menubar; it sports a green checkbox (and displays an on-screen alert) when your upload is complete. Your documents won’t automatically stay in sync—you need to upload them again if you make changes that you want stored in Cloud Drive.

You can also Control-click (right-click) on documents or folders on your desktop and choose Upload to Cloud Drive. Note that this contextual menu option won’t appear until you restart your Mac after installing Amazon Cloud Drive.

To download files from your Amazon Cloud Drive, oddly enough, you need to visit the Cloud Drive website.

It’s hard to say whether Amazon’s move to further entrench itself on the desktop as a cloud storage solution is out of character. After all, what exactly is beyond the purview of a company that already serves as a massive Internet retailer, movie streamer, Kindle maker, Web service provider, and IMDb runner?

At any rate, despite some interface limitations, Amazon Cloud Drive certainly works for quickly storing your documents online. If you prefer full two-way sync, however, you may prefer one of its (ever more numerous) competitors.

Note: When you purchase something after clicking links in our articles, we may earn a small commission. Read our affiliate link policy for more details.

Lex uses a MacBook Pro, an iPhone 5, an iPad mini, a Kindle 3, a TiVo HD, and a treadmill desk, and loves them all. His latest book, a children's book parody for adults, is called "The Kid in the Crib." Lex lives in New Jersey with his wife and three young kids.

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