In two days Photobookgirl.com will turn 10 years old! A decade in cyberspace is like 70 years (kind of like dog years – you know what I mean?) So much has changed since I started this site. If I were starting this site now I think it would be very different because of how the technology has changed. Do you think I should sign up for TikTok? Haha… But one thing I hope would stay constant are the really nice people that I’ve encountered in the last decade – and that’s not meant to be sappy! I was really encouraged today when I saw all the messages and well wishes from my readers when I posted about our upcoming anniversary. Every time I pen a post I wonder if anyone is going to read it. So, if you’re here let’s hope I can share some useful information with you!
Let’s Back Up Our Phones!
This series is going to focus on backing up your photos. If there’s one thing I preach at least every year to my readers is to please back up your photos (and videos)!
Now I’m sure at least everyone has heard of a photo loss horror story or unfortunately has had it happen to them. For Part One of this series I’m going to focus on our smartphones because I would venture to guess that the most used camera for most people is on their phone. Data loss can happen at any time. Additionally, you could lose your phone altogether, damage it physically in some way or it could be stolen. It would be a pain to have to recover phone numbers but for me losing photos and videos would be the most distressing. So, I think we can all agree that it’s important to back up your phone. Let’s avoid the heartbreak and just do it!
Backing Up an iPhone
If you’re an iPhone user, you can back up your phone using iCloud or your computer.
Backing up on your computer
Before I signed up for iCloud I was backing up manually on my computer via iTunes. Whenever I plugged in my phone via USB to my computer I would back up all of my data to my desktop. You can also back up your phone wirelessly with Wi-Fi syncing. You can do this on a Mac and on a Windows PC. For more details on backing up your iPhone on your computer check out this info on Apple Support.
Pros: Doesn’t cost anything if you already have a computer.
- If you don’t have a lot of open hard drive space you may run out of room, BUT you can easily buy an external hard drive to use for back up. Nowadays you can get some very large capacity hard drives for not that much. For example, a USB 3.0 external hard drive with 8TB capacity runs about $150.00. If you do a little math, 1TB equals 1 million MB. My iPhone photos are about 3MB each so approximately 333,333 smart phone photos can fit on 1TB. That means 2,666,666 photos can fit on a single 8TB hard drive. If you have a lot of videos that will eat up a lot more space, but 8TB is still a lot of storage. Anyway, in the end I don’t really think this is a “con” but I’ve explained my reasoning.
- You have to have a computer and if you don’t regularly update your computer with the requisite updates, syncing may not work. (This is a pretty minor negative in my opinion.)
Backing up using iCloud
You can turn on iCloud backup by going to Settings > iCloud > iCloud Backup. It will automatically back up your phone when your iPhone is connected to power, locked and on Wi-Fi.
Cost: In the U.S. 5GB: FREE / 50GB: $0.99 / 200GB: $2.99 / 2TB: $9.99 per month
Pros: It’s automatic. You can also share iCloud storage with friends or family with the two higher plans.
Cons: If you need more than 5GB then you have to pay for more storage.
For more details on iCloud storage check out this helpful Computerworld article.
Backing up using Google Photos
You can download the Google Photos app for free and have your iPhone photos automatically sync to Google Photos. Google Photos provides free and unlimited backup for your photos. However it will limit the size of your photo to 16 megapixels and videos to 1080p. (iPhone X and 11 photos are 12 megapixels.) If you want to keep full sized photos you can, but it will count against your Google Drive storage limit. A free Google Drive account gives you 15GB of free storage.
Backing Up an Android Phone
I am not an Android user so I can’t write about it first hand, but in summary, you can backup your phone to your computer similar to how you it’s done on the iPhone. Android users also have an automatic backup service similar to iCloud. The service is free and does not count against your Google Drive account (your first 15GB are free). Google Photos is also available with the same specs as listed above. Note that the Google Pixel 4 takes 16 megapixel photos. For more information on how to back up your Android phone check out this article from cnet.com.
Cost: 15GB: FREE / 100GB: $1.99 / 200GB: $2.99 / 2TB: $9.99 per month (annual plans offer a 16 to 17% discount)
Pros: It’s automatic. You can also share the storage space with friends or family with the three higher plans.
Cons: If you need more than 15GB then you have to pay for more storage.
The Big Caveat
The important thing to remember is that these cloud backups and computer backups mirror the content on your phone. If you delete a photo on your phone, it will also be deleted from your backup. At some point you may run out of memory space on your phone and your phone will give you the dreaded alert that your phone is too full to take another photo, so you also need to think about more permanent storage for your photos. No worries! We’ll talk about that in another part of this series.
So, now you have the basics on backing up your phone. If the only thing you do is turn on the cloud services on your phone, you have a huge measure of protection from losing your cherished photos. Even doing at least one backup on your computer will at least ensure that you don’t lose the photos on your phone to date.
In the next part of my multi-part series we’ll take a look at backing up the photos you take with your DSLR or other digital camera. If you’ve read some of my past posts on backing up your photos, you’ll know that I recommend having more than one backup. Stay tuned!
Lori Jurgiel, Personal Historian says
Great information, I’m looking forward to the rest of your articles.