Backing up photos to the cloud

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Modern iPhone and Android smart phones don't just take incredible quality photos and videos - these smartphones automatically back up your photos to the cloud - so that you can't lose them. But what about your old photos? Remember when you used to own clunky digital cameras and download the photos to your computer? As your laptop ages, those photos are now in danger.

I've had a friend recently who lots all his photos from his laptop. If you don't already have your files and photos all backed up yet, you should now! It's easy and pretty much free (for Android at least).

What method you use will depend on your phone... if you are an Android phone you will use the wonderful free Google Photos to backup all your photos to the cloud for free. If you own an iPhone you might have to pay a little for iCloud (depending on how many photos you have), but it's still worth it. You don't want to lose all your photos.

Backup All Your Photos to Google Photos (best solution if you own an Android)


(1) Make sure your Android photos are backing up

Chances are you Android photos and video are probably already backing up, but you will want to double check.

These instructions are sourced from the official article "Back up photos & videos on Android":

  1. On your Android phone or tablet, open the Google Photos app.
  2. Sign in to your Google Account.
  3. At the top right, tap your account profile photo or initials.
  4. Select Photos settings and then Back up & sync.
  5. Tap "Back up & sync" on or off... and then you might have to wait a long time to them to upload via your wifi!

Now let's double check it has worked (for peace of mind):

  1. Open Google Photos on your laptop using the same Google Account and you should see all your recent photos. Now you can be sure they are backed up. Hooray!
  2. Now open Google Photos on your Android and long press your most recent photo to select it.. then click the hamburger icon (the three dots at the top right) and it should show "Delete from Device" if your photo is backed up, else and option to back the photos up... typically photos will back up automatically when you have wifi, but might take a while... it is safe to remove backed up photos and videos from your phone to save phone space.

HOT TIP: You can actually back photos from an iPhone to Google Photos as per these instructions, but you might already be backing those photos up to iCloud and you might not want to switch if you are already deeply embedded/trapped in the Apple ecosystem.

(2) Back up your old photos and videos from you laptop

No matter what laptop you have, you can backup all your photos to Google Photos very easily! You can use any browser, but it's best you install Google Chrome.

  1. Open the Google Photos website in your browser ( using the same Google Account as your phone photos.
  2. Click the "Upload" button on the top right and select all your folders of photos.
  3. Hopefully you have good wifi, because it may take a long time (hours) to upload everything.

Okay, now breath deep that your precious memories are preserved!

HOT TIP: If you haven't yet shared photos, I would encourage you to select a few photos on your phone (shift click) and then click the big plus button to create a new Shared Album. This will give you a link which is easy to share with friends... what's really cool, is that friends who receive your album can chose to have those photos copied into their Google Photos account. Even cooler... if your friend has lots of photos of you, there's a way that they can click the search in Google Photos and see different faces. If they see your face they can click it to see all the photos of you... and then a button to turn that into an automatic album which will automatically share with you (into that album) any time they take a new pic of you, without needed to do anything (see Google Photos). Cool beans indeed!

HOT TIP: Google Photos stores as many photos at you want at resonable resolution, and stores them via Google Drive. If you just backed up all your photos from your laptop, you should probably open Google Drive and make sure you upload all your valuable files to Google Drive while you're on a roll.. Some of these files might be more valuable than your photos. Google Drive makes it pretty easy to share files also.

Backup All Your Photos to iCloud (if you own and are owned by your iPhone)

It's been a long time since I owned an iPhone, but I have heard that, unlike Google Photos, most iPhone users go beyond the free threshold and end up paying a few dollars a month for cloud storage of photos and videos. People who care about every dollar might consider using Google Photos, but if you love apple enough that you already have an iPhone, it is probably easier to stick with Apple and just take the extra cost.

Follow the offical instructions to "Set up and use iCloud Photos".... in a nutshell:

  1. On your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch, go to Settings > [your name] > iCloud > Photos, then turn on iCloud Photos.
  2. On your Mac, go to System Preferences > Apple ID. Click iCloud in the sidebar, then select Photos. If you have an earlier version of macOS, go to System Preferences > iCloud. Click Options next to Photos, then select iCloud Photos.

See Also