The Best Ways to Automatically Back Up the Photos on Your Smartphone
The best camera is the one you have with you, and most of the time that’s going to be your smartphone. You probably capture lots of important moments with your phone, so you also need to make sure you’re keeping those moments backed up.
When it comes to all-encompassing picture backups, it’s hard to beat Google Photos. It’s available on both Android and iOS, and offers unlimited photo storage. Like I said, it’s hard to beat.
RELATED: How to Use Google Photos to Store an Unlimited Amount of Photos
To back up your pictures with Google Photos, you only need to install the app (Android, iOS) and sign in with your Google ID. From that point forward, it automatically backs up all your photos to the cloud, making them available on all your other devices through the app.You can also find them on the web at photos.google.com.
If you’re a Google Drive user, all your photos also show up in a Google Photos folder in Google Drive, making this the ultimate back up and sync tool for all your pictures. It’s fantastic.
The only thing worth noting here is that in order to qualify for unlimited photo storage, you have to let Google compress the photos. Instead of storing them at original quality, they’re compressed to “high quality.” Honestly, the compression algorithm is really good, so you’ll be hard pressed to tell a difference between the original and Google’s compressed backup. If you want to back your images up at original quality, it counts against your Drive quota.
There is one exception to this rule, however: if you own a Pixel phone. If that’s the case, you get full, uncompressed, unlimited backups from that phone. Lucky you.
Dropbox has spent a long time at the top of the cloud storage game, and its photo backup feature is used by many, many people. It’s not quite as full featured as Google Photos, and it’s limited to the amount of Dropbox space you have. But if you’re a heavy Dropbox user with plenty of storage space, it just makes sense.
Dropbox keeps backups simple without a lot of bells and whistles. The feature—which is actually called Camera Uploads—can be found in the Dropbox app’s Settings menu.
Once you turn it on, you have the option to upload photos and videos, allow backups on cellular data, and a couple of OS-specific options. For iOS, you can choose to allow uploads in the background; on Android, you can choose to upload only while charging or only if the battery is above 30%.
Just like with Google Photos, however, you’ll now have access to all your pictures in the cloud—that means on pretty much any device and on the web.
If you’re an Amazon Prime member and all about living that #AmazonLife, then you really should take advantage of the Prime Photos unlimited uploads. This is one of the lesser-known benefits of Amazon Prime (seriously, a lot of good features come with Prime!), but it’s easily one of the best.
RELATED: How to Back Up All Your Photos with Amazon’s Prime Photos
Here’s how this one works: Amazon offers unlimited storage to Prime members for photo uploads. There is, however, a catch: it’s only for photos. If you also want to to back up your videos, you have to use your Amazon storage. By default, you have five gigabytes for video backups—if you want more, you’ll have to shell out some dollars. You can get 100 GB of storage for $11.99/year or 1 TB for $59.99 a year. If you don’t already have another cloud storage platform (like Drive or Dropbox), then this is an excellent, reliable, and prolific option.
If you’re an iOS user, you have a backup option in place right out of the box with iCloud. You get five gigabytes of storage for photos, videos, and other iOS backups, which…isn’t a lot. Fortunately, you can buy more: 50 GB for $0.99 a month, 200 GB for $2.99, or 2 TB for $9.99. For most users, the 50GB option is probably enough—but hey, you know your digital life better than I do. You can find these options on your phone in Settings > Your Name > iCloud > Manage Storage > Change Storage Plan.
When you’ve picked your plan, you’re pretty much good to go. You can configure your photo backups by jumping into Settings > Photos. You can completely disable backups here (which is completely contrary to everything we’re talking about), along with other options like backing up photos on cellular data.
Regardless, as long as you choose to back up your photos, they’ll be available across all your iOS devices (and on the web).
Since we’re talking about backups here, it’s worth mentioning that redundancy is crucial when backing your data up, so we recommend choosing at least two of the options and using them both. That way if anything ever happens to your data on one service, you still have all your memories (or memes, whatever) saved in another.
RELATED: Backups vs. Redundancy: What’s the Difference?
Cameron Summerson is a die-hard Android fan, Chicago Bulls fanatic, metalhead, and cyclist. When he’s not pounding keys here at HTG, you can find him spending time with his wife and kids, spinning legs on the bike, chugging away on the 6-string, or being disappointed in the Bulls.