'I've lost all the photos on my mobile!!!'

'I've lost all the photos on my mobile!!!'

I have heard this from friends and family a few times now.  What do you do when you pick up your mobile and the screen just refuses to turn on?  Or your mobile is lost or stolen?   You've lost your photos, your videos, your memories.  However, there ways to save you from this heartache.  You can make your mobile phone automatically back up all your photos and continue to back them up as you shoot away.

In the past decade, mobile phones have become such a huge part of our lives.  Most of my time using my phone isn't to actually about making calls. It's for emails, texts, browsing and most of all..... taking photos.  We take hundreds, if not thousands of photos using our mobiles.  It is the one camera that is always with us.  We have hundreds of impromptu photos stored on our mobiles; our children playing, the school Christmas panto, sports day, birthdays, family and friend gatherings, after work drinks etc etc.

We take 1000s of photos to preserve the memories but never really think about what will happen to the photos if we lose our mobile.  Well, there are a few things that we can do that can save us from losing our photos and videos; our child's first steps, the win in the 3-legged race, the night out with the mates and of course that best selfie ever!

Here are a couple of apps and strategies we can all employ. NB I have an iPhone and my experience is limited to that but all these methods will work on other smartphones.


Google Photos app:  Most people use Gmail or have a Google account and with this comes Google Photos.  Sign up for a Google account and download the Google Photos app onto your mobile.  Google Photos now offers unlimited storage of your photographs and uploads your camera roll from your mobile automatically.  There are then options to back up full size images or low res one etc.  The first time you install the app, make sure to hit the 'Back up all photos and videos' button and it will back up everything already on you mobile.  You can also access and share your photos from your PC as well by logging into your Google account.

Flickr app:  Flickr is undergoing a renaissance lately and it's mobile app as undergone is major revamp.  Just go to Settings and turn on Auto-Uploadr.  It will then back all your photos and videos and continue to do so.  Seriously consider using this app, see below.

OneDrive:  This is from Microsoft for everyone with a Hotmail/Outlook/Office 365 accounts.  Same as the others in that it uploads all your images to the cloud.  Go to Settings and press Camera Back-up.

iCloud -  from Apple.  Obviously this is only for iPhone users.  There is no app to download, just go to Settings on your iPhone and Photos and turn on.  You can set it so that photos taken from your iPhone, MacBooks, iPads etc all backup to the same account and are all saved in the same place and accessible from all your Apple devices.


Dropbox:  Anyone who has ever needed to share a document or photo has thanked the computer deity for Dropbox.  It is simple to use and the end user does not need to install or set up anything.  Everyone should have a Dropbox account and a basic one is free so you have no excuses!  Just install the app, click the Photo icon and turn on Camera Upload

Things to consider;

  1. Do not turn on the 'Use cellular/mobile network' to back up.  Photos and especially videos will use up your mobile data in a flash.  Leave them on wifi only.  I have unlimited data on my mobile, so I actually keep the mobile upload turned on!
  2. Space.  Photos and videos take up space and these free account levels do not usually offer huge amounts of space.  G+ and OneDrive offer around 15GBs which is enough for a few thousand photos.  However, iCloud (5GB) and Dropbox (2GB) offer much less.  The daddy of them all is Flickr, which offers 1000GB!!  This should be enough for a lifetime for most people.  However as cameras improve with higher resolutions, more pixel density and we take more video (4K, 8K, super mega 100K!) who knows if 1000GBs is enough.  For now though, I think that this is the best option.
  3. The apps are all great but I've found that it helps to occasionally go into the app refresh it or press Back-up now.  Every now and then a photo can be missed and this makes sure it uploads everything.
  4. Depending upon how may photos and videos are already on your mobile, the first time you run the auto backup can take a while.  Use a fast wifi network where possible!

It doesn't matter which method you choose, just make sure choose something.  The easiest option is to use the the one that comes with your mobile; iPhone (iCloud, photos), Android (Photos, Settings, Auto Backup) or Windows Phone (really???) (Settings, Backup, Photos).  You can also plug your mobile directly into your laptop/desktop and back it up manually but that involves discipline and who has time to do that regularly.  Sometimes it is months before I plug my iPhone into iTunes!

Now that your photos are safe and backed up..... it's time to get back to taking those selfies!