Amazon ends its unlimited cloud storage plan

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Image Credits: Paul Sakuma / AP

Another cloud storage party is over, guys: Amazon has sunsetted its unlimited cloud storage plan for Amazon Drive — although members of its Prime subscription club will still get unlimited cloud storage for photos.

From today, people signing up for Amazon Drive will not be able to select an unlimited cloud storage option. Instead they can choose either 100 GB for $11.99 per year, or 1 TB for $59.99, with up to 30 TB available for an additional $59.99 per TB. (The prior pricing was $11.99pa for unlimited photos or unlimited everything for $59.99.)

All sign ups still get 5GB of storage gratis. Best to think of that as getting your first hit for free.

As for unlimited storage, Amazon only introduced the option in March 2015 — when it was couched as an aggressive play in an increasingly competitive consumer cloud storage market. And lo and behold, two months later Google announced its own free unlimited photo storage service.

Two years later Amazon is now tightening the screws on those who have locked their data inside its vaults — an all too familiar story in the cloud storage space.

Though the photo exception is notable, and not just because Google’s competing unlimited photo storage offer persists but because photos offer a rich stream of personal data extractable by third parties via machine learning technology. tl;dr your personal photos are a lot more valuable than your storage-heavy digital entertainment collection.

Current Amazon Drive customers who have the old unlimited storage plan will keep it through its expiration date. After which, those with auto-renew turned on — and less than 1TB of data stored — will be automatically renewed into the 1TB plan/$60pa.

While those with auto-renew turned off, or who have more than 1TB stored, will have to visit the Manage Storage page to opt in to one of the new limited storage plans.

Those who don’t take action to switch to a new plan — and who are storing more data than their free storage quota — will find their account in “over-quota status” once their subscription expires, meaning they won’t be able to upload additional files, and can only view, download, and delete content.

Amazon says users in this position will have 180 days to either delete content to bring their total content within the free quota or else sign up for a paid storage plan. After 180 days, the company will delete data automatically to get the account back within quota — starting with the most recent uploads first. (You can read Amazon’s Data Retention Policy here.)

While Prime members don’t have to worry about their photo storage, which continues to be unlimited, non-photo content can be considered over-quota even for Prime members — so these Amazon customers may still need to take action to save some of their data.

Amazon notes that Drive users can change their plan at any time. While files from Drive can be downloaded to a computer using the Amazon Drive Desktop Application.

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