Over the years since we entered the digital age, there’s been one problem that has persisted despite all of the advancements in our devices and the internet. Everyone knows someone (possibly yourself) that has lost, destroyed, or had a device that just stopped working for any number of reasons. One of the top requests for help I receive is “Can you get my pictures off of my (insert device here)?”. We take our great technology for granted and assume that our precious data is safe… but the fact is, our priceless memories are more vulnerable than the photos in grandma’s shoebox ever were. However, that doesn’t have to be the case. This Android basics article will explore options to keep your photos safe, secure, and more accessible to you than ever before.
When it comes to to backing up irreplaceable data, we nerds adopt the philosophy One is none, two is one. In other words, if you only have one copy of your photos… say, on your smartphone, you have none. Having a backup copy in a separate location means you have one. Odds are high that a device you utilize will catastrophically fail in some way at some point in your life.
Great, so you backed up your photos to your computer at home. Have you ever heard of anyone losing a home to a fire, flood, tornado, or earthquake? How about a home break in? Thieves would never take your high end electronics would they? You probably see where I’m going with this… one of your backups should be completely off site. Luckily, there are very easy solutions to reliable backup of your photos. As a bonus, you may gain some functionality that you didn’t know you needed! Let’s take a look at some options.
This is by far my favorite option on Android. You can set the app to automatically synchronize with your photo gallery and your photos will automatically back up to Google’s servers. If you’re worried about data usage, you can set the upload to only take place over wifi. Once the photos are uploaded to the cloud, you’ll have access to them from within the Google Photos app just as if they were still on your device. You will also have the added benefit of creating albums that you can collaborate with others on… example: every member of the family can add photos of the family vacation to one album. Now all of the photos are available to the whole family from within the app!
How to setup Google Photos automatic backup
- Download and install the app
- Tap the 3 bar button in upper left corner
- Tap Settings
- Tap Backup and Sync
- Choose quality level. High quality is free, full resolution uses your Google Drive space.
- Choose options for backing up photos and videos (wifi only, wifi and mobile data)
- Choose to upload while charging only or not
- Select what folders you would like to backup.
Now that you’ve set it up… you don’t have to worry about it any further. It’s automatic so it takes the pain out of backup. It’s also cross platform… backup your tablet photos and even photos on your computer to Google Photos. With the high quality setting selected you have free and unlimited storage space to keep your photos safe and sound.
Amazon Photos- Cloud Drive
Amazon also offers a free, automatic backup option for your photos if you are an Amazon Prime member. It’s not as feature rich as Google Photos but it works well for what it does. Setup is very similar.
- Download the app
- Tap the three bars in upper left corner
- Tap settings
- Turn on Auto-Save
- Select options (wifi only, charging only… ect)
- Select folders you want to keep backed up
Like Google Photos, you can access your photos from any device. I utilize Amazon’s service as my second backup (one is none) so no matter what happens, I have an option to go retrieve my photos.
Shoebox developed by the Canadian company Couch Labs INC specializes in exactly what we’re talking about here. Web resolution photo storage is unlimited and free, you will need to pay a subscription fee for full resolution photo storage. Most users will find that the free option is sufficient. Setup is easy and with bank level encryption it is secure.
- Download the app
- Create an account
- Follow the steps to select quality, data connection, power options.
- Connect to Facebook (if you want Facebook photos backed up as well)
The app has some bonus features such as Lock Screen Photos, which will make your stored photos visible on the lock screen of your device. How nice it would be to turn on your device and be greeted by a 10 year old image you had almost forgotten about.
My only reservation about Shoebox is the fact that it’s a much smaller company than the heavyweights listed above. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but smaller companies don’t always hang around forever. If you’re utilizing one of the other options above, Shoebox would be a great backup #2 option.
Backup doesn’t have to be a mystery or a dreaded task that eats up half of your day. Every option listed works automatically once it’s been setup and allows you to backup all of the photos you have on your computer at home as well. I personally enjoy being able to access decade old photos I’ve taken just as easy as yesterday’s right on my smartphone without having to go through the trouble of finding and moving it from my computer to my device again. I have thousands of photos from over the years and I appreciate the cloud backups every time I purchase a new device. I install the above apps, log in, and my photos are immediately there.