Lately, I’m sad to say I’ve seen several of my friends lose images due to not having a proper backup system in place. Here at Photofocus, we have plenty of articles that can help you with that for your photography workflow. Our Flipboard storyboard is an easy place to find them all.

This did get me thinking, though, about backing up mobile images. How many of you actively backup the images you’ve taken with your phone and/or tablet?

What are my mobile backup options?

Many of the services and phones we use for mobile data and Wi-Fi come with backup options. This is a good place to start. Your Android or Apple phones and devices are likely already syncing your data automatically as long as you’ve turned that on in your phone settings. This is worth checking into.

Photo by Daniel Romero on Unsplash

Backing up mobile photos on your Android device

This information is taken directly from the official Google Photos Help page for backing up your photos and videos. Google gives everyone 15GB of storage — shared across Gmail, Google Drive and Google Photos. High quality images are not limited in terms of the number that can be upload, and don’t count toward your storage. Original photos, however, do count toward this limit, so you might need to upgrade your plan.

Turn back up & sync on or off

  • Before you start, make sure you’re signed in.
  • On your Android phone or tablet, open the Google Photos app.
  • Sign in to your Google Account.
  • At the top, tap Menu.
  • Select Settings Back up & sync.
  • Tap “Back up & sync” on or off.
  • If you’ve run out of storage, scroll down and tap Turn off backup.

Things to keep in mind about this setting:

  • Changing backup settings will affect all apps that use Back up & sync, such as Google Drive.
  • If you have Back up & sync on, deleting the Google Photos app from your device will not turn it off. To turn off Back up & sync, follow the instructions above.

Change your back up settings

  • Choose the Google Account to back up photos and videos: Under “Backup account,” tap the account name.
  • Change your upload size: Tap Upload size.
  • Back up device folders: Tap Back up device folders and select the folders you want to back up.
  • Back up on mobile data: If you don’t want to wait for Wi-Fi to back up your photos, under “Cellular data back up,” tap Photos or Videos. Charges from your service provider may apply if you upload using your mobile network.
  • Back up while roaming: Under “When to back up,” tap Roaming.

Check if your photos are backed up

  • On your Android phone or tablet, open the Google Photos app.
  • Sign in to your Google Account.
  • At the top, you’ll see if your photos are backed up, or if it’s still waiting to back up.
  • You can view if the backup is complete or if you have items in wait to back up.
Photo by Jakob Owens on Unsplash

Backing up mobile photos on your Apple device

The easiest way to make sure your photos are backed up for your Apple device is to make sure your iCloud account is backing up and syncing your data.

For an iOS device, go to Settings > Photos > iCloud Photos and enable the setting. This will make sure that whenever you are connected to Wi-Fi and the battery is charged your photos will be uploaded to iCloud. With iOS 11 or later, syncing will happen over a cellular connection as well.

You can see these photos across your Apple devices, including your computer, tablet and AppleTV. Just make sure iCloud Photos is turned on for each device.

Keep in mind that you are limited to the amount of space you have in iCloud. Meaning, if you subscribe to the free tier, you only get 5GB of storage.

Other backup options

You can choose to use other storage services such as Dropbox, OneDrive or Amazon Prime as well. Make sure you set up your account to backup and sync or automatically upload the images from your device.

If you use an Apple device, you might also want to look into the Google Photos app. Like the Android version, it’ll back your photos up automatically. It’s also a great option to free photos from your phone. The free version doesn’t back up originals, but it’ll be great for most photos.

Remember when we used to have to connect directly to our computers to download our images? You can still choose this method as well in order to make sure you have your images somewhere other than your phone memory.

Backup your backup

Now that you have your images safely backed up from your mobile device, it’s important to go one step further and be sure you have a plan in place to keep your backup backed up.

Just because your files/data and images are in a cloud storage space, doesn’t mean something can’t happen. I also recommend using an external hard drive to store or a RAID data storage system to ensure you don’t lose anything for any reason.

If you need ideas or help setting up your backup plan, check out our Flipboard storyboard where you can find quite a few helpful articles on the subject.