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In Cloud Computing Last updated: May 11, 2023
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Do you constantly receive notifications about your phone’s storage running low due to your photo collection?

If you said yes, I totally feel you. I used to get this notification about 3-4 times a day, and it just became so annoying I had to find a solution. Luckily, I realized there are cloud-based platforms like Google Photos and iCloud that can store and protect your precious memories.

While these two may seem familiar in name, only some of us are aware of their technicalities, features, and their pros and cons. When it comes to photos, we can never have enough, so it’s important to choose the right cloud storage service.

In this post, we’ll dive into the nitty gritty of both platforms to help you make an informed decision. 

What is Google Photos?

In the simplest of terms, Google Photos is an online service that can save all your photos and videos online. It’s part of the Google Drive ecosystem, which comes pre-installed by default in all Google and Android phones and is easily accessible online.


This cloud-based photo storage platform allows you to backup all your photos and videos in one convenient place. It’s like having your own personal photo album, except it’s online and accessible from any device as long as it has access to the internet.

One of the best things about Google Photos is that it’s free to use, and you get huge storage for photos and videos as long as they are compressed. For starters, you get 15 GB of storage for no cost at all, and you can easily purchase additional storage if you need it.

Apart from the usual features we see in cloud storage platforms, Google Photos has some really cool features, such as automatic backup of photos, revisiting the previous photos via a timeline, searching for photos via AI or facial recognition, editing tool, and so much more.

You can also integrate it with Google Assistant to organize and manage your data.

Also read: Hidden Google Photos Hacks to Make Your Life Easier

What is iCloud?

iCloud is a cloud-storage service developed by Apple to give their users a platform to store and access their data conveniently from any device.


Even though this description of iCloud sounds identical to Google Photos, one area where iCloud has the edge is that it’s not limited to just photos and videos. It also allows you to store music, documents, and other files.

It syncs brilliantly with any of your Apple devices, so whenever you add a new photo or a file to your device, it’ll automatically get saved in your iCloud. Not only does this ensure your data remains safe, but it also eliminates the hassle of manually transferring them.

Another cool aspect of iCloud is its many editing tools, allowing you to make basic adjustments, like cropping, adjusting brightness, and adding filters to your photos from your device.

You can also share your photos with others, create albums, and even order prints of your favorite photos from the platform.

Apple has made it incredibly convenient for users to use iCloud on Mac, iPad, and iPhone. Not to forget, the excellent privacy and security this service offers is impeccable.

Also read: How to Transfer Data to New iPhone

Benefits of Using a Cloud Photo Storage Platform

Before giving you an in-depth comparison of both platforms, it’s important to know the benefits they both bring to the table, and it remains universal for all cloud-based storage platforms.

#1. Better Security

Let’s face it, no matter how good our device gets in terms of security, it cannot control our browsing habits, and that’s where threats might get into our system.

We surf so many websites in a day, and half of them might not even be safe for our privacy and data. It doesn’t take long for our devices to get infected, which puts our photos and other files at risk of being deleted or misused.

This is precisely why a cloud photo storage platform is useful because it uses encryption and other security measures to protect your photos from unauthorized access.

#2. Better Organization

Despite being able to handle large amounts of data, it offers many organization options that’ll help you keep your photos easily accessible. You can create categories, folders, and albums to sort out your media files seamlessly.

#3. More Storage

If you’re like me, who has much less storage space left on the phone, a cloud storage service can be a lifesaver. With both iCloud and Google Photos, you get expandable storage options as per your needs.

You can store as many photos and videos on it without worrying about exhausting the limitations of your phone.

It can also be an emergency storage option when your device is almost full of photos, and you want to offload some of it.

#4. Easy Access

Unlike storing photos on your phone, you can access the photos stored on the cloud from any device, be it your computer, tablet, or phone.

It becomes truly convenient when you’re away from your phone and want to access some of your photos. All you do is log into your cloud photo storage platform, and there you’ll have it.

It also eliminates the hassle of transferring them physically to your friends’ or relatives’ devices. Instead, you can quickly generate a share link and send it to whoever you want.

Google Photos Vs. iCloud


Finally, the part you’ve been waiting for. Let’s dive into a detailed comparison between the two platforms so you can choose between them easily.

Google PhotosiCloud
Storage Space15GB of free storage capacity and then expandable up to 30TB with paid plans5GB of free storage capacity, and then expandable up to 2TB with paid plans
Automatic BackupYesYes
SharingSharing option via a link or emailSharing requires an Apple device and can be done via iCloud Photo Sharing or Shared Albums
Search CapabilitiesNormal, as well as search based on image recognitionNormal, as well as facial recognition and location-based searching
Editing ToolsIt can be integrated with Google Drive, Google Maps, and other Google appsVarious editing tools, filters, and AI-powered editing options
Platform CompatibilityAvailable on Android, iOS, and webAvailable only on Apple devices
IntegrationsIt can be integrated with almost all Apple services, like iMessage, Apple TV, and moreThe original resolution is stored in iCloud
OrganizationOrganizes photos by people, places, and thingsOrganizes photos by date and location
Privacy & SecurityEnd-to-end encryption for backups, along with privacy controlsAccording to your selected plan
Live Photos SupportYesYes
Video StorageOriginal resolution is stored in iCloudAccording to your selected plan
Photo Storage ResolutionUp to 16 MPThe original resolution is stored in iCloud
PricingFree and expandable up to 30TB with paid plans starting from $1.99/monthFree and expandable up to 2TB with paid plans starting from $0.99/month

As you might have noticed, both Google Photos and iCloud have unique strengths and features that are hard to ignore.

The 15GB storage space for photos and videos in Google Photos can be a great selling point for some compared to iCloud’s 5GB free storage limit. However, the fact that iCloud offers more extensive storage options for ALL TYPES of data and not just photos and videos makes it a platform in its own league.

Both of these platforms offer automatic backups, but the area in which Google Photos has the edge over iCloud are the search capabilities, organization, and AI-powered editing features. Also, Google Photos can be accessed from more platforms, including Android devices, while iCloud is limited to only Apple devices.

You cannot go wrong with both platforms’ privacy and security aspects because they put a lot of emphasis on them. You get security features like end-to-end encryption and advanced privacy controls.

Talking about the pricing, iCloud has a starting plan that costs slightly lesser than Google Photos’ starting plan, but it also doesn’t offer a 30TB of expandable storage option. On the brighter side, it allows you to store any kind of data.

Ultimately, both platforms stand neck-to-neck with each other, and there’s no denying that.

Limitations of Google Photos and iCloud

While both of the photo storage platforms are amazing, they do have their limitations that are important to address.

Google Photos

  • File Compression: While the platform does allow you to store and share photos and videos in their actual size, you may have to compress them beyond a certain point if you’re not planning to buy additional storage. You’ll have to compress long videos and heavy photos for them to upload and not occupy space. This can result in a loss of original quality.
  • No Private Folders: There are no options to password-protect your folders, meaning all your photos can be accessed by people operating/sharing the space with you. 
  • Limited Organization Options: While Google Photos offers some organization options, such as albums and tags, it can be limited for people like me who like advanced organizational tools. For example, creating nested folders is impossible, and moving photos between albums is difficult.


  • Limited Integration Options: It’s a fact that iCloud is designed to work seamlessly with Apple’s own apps and services. However, it might not necessarily integrate as smoothly with third-party apps. For example, all the apps out there do not have the option to save files directly to your iCloud storage. Not to mention, it also has cross-platform limitations.
  • Limited Sharing Options: When you use iCloud, you’ll notice it is not as comprehensive as other cloud photo storage platforms regarding sharing files. For example, you don’t get the option to set expiration dates on shared files or create password-protected links.
  • Storage Limitation: If you’re going to be sticking with the free plan, you’ll only get 5GB of storage to squeeze in your files. For anything more than that, you’d have to get on their paid plans, which might not be feasible for people with budget constraints.

The above limitations of the platforms might not be relevant to your needs, but it’s important to consider them when choosing between the two.

Author’s Note

Even though I am an Apple fanboy, there’s no denying that Google Photos holds well in comparison, and there are some areas in which it performs better as well. However, this does not mean that one platform is better than the other in general terms.

Google Photos can be limited in handling files and organization, while iCloud can be a pain when integrating with third-party services.

Choosing between the two boils down to your requirement and if you’re okay with “adjusting” to their few limitations. Both are feasible on paper and do the job of storing and managing photos.

If you’re already in the Apple ecosystem, iCloud might be your best bet. On the other hand, go for Google Photos if you prefer more storage capacity for the free plan.

Next, check out these free cloud storage options for personal and business needs.

  • Adnan Rehan
    Adnan is a BMS graduate and a senior writer for Geekflare who loves breaking down complex topics into easy-to-understand pieces. He has also written for sites like Sparkian and Techkle. Besides work, you can find him on the football turf or… read more
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