This week Amazon introduced two new ways to use Amazon Cloud Drive, the company’s online storage service. Pay $60 per year and you get unlimited online storage for all of your files. Or pay $12 per year and you can upload as many photos as you like as well as 5GB of non-photo files.
But what does that mean for folks who’d already been using Amazon Cloud Drive? For the past few years Amazon offered 5GB of free storage to anyone.
Now the 5GB for free option is gone.
There are now officially four ways to use Amazon Cloud Drive, and they all cost money:
- Pay $99 for an Amazon Prime membership, which includes Prime Photos with unlimited picture storage and 5GB of Cloud Drive storage space.
- Buy a Fire device (phone, tablet, etc) and get free photo storage for images from your device).
- Pay $12 per year for Unlimited Photos + 5GB of other files.
- Pay $60 for Unlimited Everything.
Amazon is offering free 3-month trials of Unlimited Photos and Unlimited Everything, which means you can sort of continue to use the service for free… for a few months. After that, you’ll need to pony up some cash.
I wondered what this meant for existing Cloud Drive users, so I reached out to Amazon for clarification. Here’s what I found out:
Existing files under the 5GB limit will still be there in Cloud Drive, however, customers won’t be able to upload additional photos, personal videos, and documents until they select a free 3-month trial of one of the new Unlimited storage plans.
So it’s official: there’s no such thing as a free photo of your lunch stored on Amazon Cloud Drive… unless it’s an old lunch that you’ve already uploaded… or unless you use Dropbox, Google Drive, OneDrive, or another service that continues to offer a limited amount of cloud storage for free.