In today’s digital world we seem to always have a camera with us. For most it’s built right into our phone making it very convenient to shoot anything anywhere and for others it’s a combination of a cell phone camera and a DSLR. Because of this whether you know it or not, your life is full of digital files that if you were to lose would be devastating. Imagine taking pictures of your baby’s Christening, only to have the pictures accidentally deleted from your phone or your computer hard drive. These are memories you just cannot get back.
Picture this – you just bought a gorgeous Christening Gown for your little girl or a charming Christening outfit for your boy, you have spent months planning your event, everything is just right. You take some beautiful pictures with your phone of your child during this special time and you can’t wait to share your pictures with your friends and family. You get home and go to post some of your new pictures and something is wrong with your phone… Why can’t you get to your pictures? What happened to them?
How do you prevent this from happening? It’s really quite simple and most people think it’s too complicated to setup so they just don’t – BACKUP your photos!
There are two backup types, your phone and your home computer – we’ll discuss both here so don’t worry.
BACKING UP YOUR PHONE
Let’s start with your phone since this is going to be the most commonly used device to capture your everyday moments that tend to be the best pictures!
Do you have a Google account? Good, then backing up your pictures on your phone is very simple. If you have an Android device then the Google+ app will already be installed, if you have an iPhone, go to the app store and download the Google+ app (keep in mind everything below also applies to the iPad).
You do not need to be an active member of Google+ to use the backup feature, so just launch the app, sign in with your Google account and follow the steps below and you will be good to go.
FOR ANDROID – Open the Photos app > touch the menu icon/button > Settings > Auto Backup > Toggle On or Off
FOR iPHONE –
- Open the Google+ app > touch the menu icon.
- Touch the gear icon at the top right > Camera and Photos.
- Switch the Auto Backup setting on or off.
If you tried to turn Auto Backup on and saw this:
That means you need to allow the Google+ app to access your photos & videos:
- Open your device’s settings > touch Privacy > Photos.
- Switch Google+ on.
** For both Android and iPhone there will be an option to backup only when using WiFi – I would highly recommend checking this option so you don’t use your data plan to upload your photos.
Once you turn on Google+ auto backup, you are pretty much done. Your existing photos will start backing up and any picture you take from here on out will be automatically backed up to your Google+ account where you can go and view all your pictures on any computer or directly through the Google+ app on your phone.
Now if anything happens to your phone, you don’t need to worry about your pictures because they are all safe.
How much does Google+ cost? Well, you can backup an unlimited amount of “standard” size photos and videos for free! What does “standard” mean? For photos it’s any image that is 2048px on the longest edge (most phones will be just fine for this) and any video that is less then 15 minutes long. That’s a pretty good deal!
If you don’t have a Google account or prefer not to use Google+, here is a good alternative to backing up your phones pictures:
Dropbox is one of the most popular online storage/backup services as it is one of the most seamless integrations available. With a dropbox account all you need to do is install the app on your phone and choose to automatically backup your photos and it does the rest for you, simple as that. You can then install the app on your computer, iPad, etc and see and access all your photos from anywhere.
The biggest drawback to dropbox would be the amount of storage you are provided. All new users get 2GB for free when signing up and you can earn more by referring friends and family or you can use one of their payed plans to expand your storage. While I really like dropbox I think 2GB is not enough for long term backup, but if you can refer enough people you might be able to build up a large enough amount to fulfill your needs.
If you don’t have a dropbox account, click here to sign up! (this link will get you an extra 500mb for free).
BACKING UP YOUR COMPUTER
If you have a camera that you transfer all of your pictures to your computer, then you need to make sure that those pictures are being backed up as well. It’s not a matter of if your hard drive will fail, but a matter of when.
Backing up your home computer can be as simple as backing up your phone. There are services that will automatically backup any file or folder on your computer automatically, so you can set it and forget it.
There are two online backup services I would recommend – Crashplan and Carbonite.
Both allow you to choose what folders/files you want to backup and will then back those up anytime a change is made automatically.
When you first install and start your first backup, depending on how much data you have it could take a very long time, but just let it complete and from then on, the backups will be much smaller as it’s only backing up any changes and not everything all over again.
One of the great things about both of these services is they give you an unlimited amount of backup space for about $5.00 or so a month. Believe me when I say that when your hard drive crashes and ALL your photos over the last several years are gone, that will be money well spent to be able to get all your pictures back!
That’s about all there is to it. Not as complicated as some would make it out to be.
If you have any questions, please comment below and I would be happy to answer you directly!