Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Tech Column: Save Your Photos!

by Bill Adler

Summer's here and along with the dangers posed by undercooked barbecue meats, ravenous mosquitoes, thunderstorm-canceled airplane flights and Metro meltdowns, comes the greatest danger of all: lost vacation photos.

But that danger need not exist if you take photos with a smartphone. You can tell your smartphone to automatically back up your photos whenever you're in range of wifi. Once your phone is set to do this, you can have the peace of mind that goes with knowing that while you may have left your favorite sandals at the beach, at least your photos weren't lost there, too.

Let's start with the most ubiquitous app of them all: Facebook. If you have Facebook's app on your phone, you can set the app so that every photo you take is synced with Facebook. Facebook keeps your uploaded photos private unless you release a particular photo to the universe. To set up photo syncing on Facebook visit https://www.facebook.com/help/photosync.

Google+ does essentially the same thing, and is another great way to back up all your photos. As with Facebook, once you've set up automatic uploads, you can forget about it. Also like Facebook, the photos that you automatically upload to Google+ are private unless you specify otherwise. Here's how: http://bit.ly/ZmEMzg.

Dropbox offers the same feature: www.dropbox.com/help/289/en. As with Facebook and Google+, it's easy to set up and the app will automatically upload your photos whenever you have wifi on.

Flickr, owned by the revitalized Yahoo, just added a terrific new feature, 1 terabyte of free storage for everyone. Now that's a lot of photos. Flickr is set up for sharing, but if you want to use it as a backup service and not have every photo you take be visible to the universe, tweak your Flickr privacy settings so that the default privacy mode for your sets is "private" and your search visibility is hidden. Once you've done that you'll have virtually unlimited photo storage. You can get the mobile app here: www.flickr.com/mobile, or a third party app for Android here: http://bit.ly/13a0CTR and for iPhone here: http://bit.ly/12a7Vzh.

These apps should have auto upload on wifi only as their default setting, but that's something you might want to double-check, especially if you have a limited cellular data plan. You can have more than one auto photo uploader, too, for sharing or backup.

Smartphones rock!


Bill Adler is the co-publisher of the Cleveland Park Listserv, www.cleveland-park.com. He is the author of "Boys and Their Toys: Understanding Men by Understanding Their Relationship with Gadgets," http://amzn.to/rspOft. He tweets at @billadler.

1 comment:

  1. I second the motion! Losing pictures is less expected when you capture images through a smartphone, which has an integrated online storage service, depending on the brand. Some automatically upload mobile pictures, some work manually. But the thing is, either way, photo security is so within our reach now.