The only constant is change, or so they say. That is certainly true for online photo services, which have evolved to have some pretty cool features, like powerful search (without keywords) and facial recognition that can pick you out of a crowd…turned sideways…as a teenager! Big changes to online photo services are occurring in 2023, and some of these might affect you directly.
Changes to Online Photo Services Are Here in 2023
Changes to Shutterfly Photo Services
Shutterfly has long had a policy of unlimited storage. On 1/6/2023 I received an important email that reads, “We updated our Photo Storage policy. Shutterfly now requires Active Participation in our service in order to continue to benefit from unlimited storage of your photos. Active Participation means making a purchase – however small – at least once in any 18-month rolling period.” They are also discontinuing Shutterfly Share Sites, long used by sports teams and summer camp counselors everywhere.
So what: Read the recent email from Shutterfly because it probably affects you. Survey your photos stored on Shutterfly and download any you don’t have stored on your own computer. Chances are most of those photos came from your computer, so you still have originals. But if not, consider downloading all to avoid losing any.
Changes to Costco Photo Services
Costco previously removed photo services in their stores, and they are now de-commissioning their online services by either deleting your photos or allowing you to move them to a Shutterfly account. The last day for Costco members to download any photos they have stored at CostcoPhotoCenter.com, to their personal computers, is January 31.
So what: Log into your Costco photo account and download your photos stored there before they are deleted. Don’t just move them to Shutterfly. It’s better to have duplicates on your own computer than to trap those photos in yet another service.
Changes to Amazon Photos
Amazon is making changes, too, although the terminology is a bit confusing. As of January 31, 2023, Amazon will no longer support uploading photo files to Amazon Drive, which is a service that some people use in conjunction with Amazon Photos. We like Amazon as a backup service, but not as your primary photo hub.
So what: If your phone syncs to Amazon’s Photo service, check the connection and make sure that sync is still working. To protect your photos long term, make sure they are all downloaded from Amazon Drive to your own computer.
Changes to Google Photos
Google Photos ended their unlimited free storage for new photos in 2021. Older photos are still being stored for free (for now), but you’ll fill up your free 15 GB of storage fast because it also includes email, google docs, and photos. If you already have filled up your free space, you are getting messages to purchase storage.
So what: If you are an Apple photos user, turn off the sync to Google Photos, as you are paying twice for the same type of service. If Google Photos is your primary cloud photo service, make sure that your payment information is updated on your Google profile so you can pay for the amount of storage you need. If you want to get off the Google merry-go-round, give us a call.
Changes to Apple Photos
Apple’s photo services and charges have remained consistent, but the Ventura operating system released last fall added some cool new features our clients have been waiting for, including sharing your entire photo library with your spouse. The Ventura OS has been stable the last three months, and we recommend that clients can now update to Ventura if and when it’s right for them.
So what: The Ventura update can take two hours or more, and it may also take a bit to re-index your photo library, so schedule your update on a day when you don’t need your computer. If your Mac is too old to update the OS, start saving now for a new Mac within a year. Also be sure to update your iPhone and iPad to the iOS 16, to make the Ventura features seamlessly available on your phone.
Changes to Mylio Photo Management
Mylio is one you probably haven’t heard of. It’s not technically on online photo service, as it is a software that gives you advanced database photo management features while it stores your entire photo collection on YOUR devices, linked and synced so all of the downloads, imports, edits, deletions, and groupings all occur on all of your devices. Instead of a cloud-based service where your photos live elsewhere, Mylio uses the internet to allow your devices to update each other. Your original photos live on your PC, your Mac, your external hard drive, or your NAS (network attached storage). Your mobile devices also stay synced, but the photos are compressed on the mobile devices to save storage, so you can always have all your photos with you, anywhere. It is cross-platform, meaning that it works seamlessly on PC, Mac, Android, and iPhone. Mylio has been around since 2014, and I have been using it since then, personally and for clients.
So what: If you need a way to play with your photos across all of your devices and you aren’t crazy about (or have trouble figuring out) the cloud, get your free 30-day trial of Mylio.com. If you need more help, we can get you set up and loving all the best features of Mylio within ah hour or two. You can book a photo organizing virtual session with one of my team here.