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Free Automatic Photo Upload/Backup Solution for Phones

Camino(s) past & future
CF
I've read many threads regarding how to upload and backup photos and videos taken on smart phones during a Camino. Often the solutions sounded pretty complex or potentially costly. I found a great solution and wanted to share it!

Google Photos allows free unlimited "high quality" photos and videos to be uploaded and backed up from your smart phone with their free app (I use an iphone but see in the video below that they also have an app for Android phones too). It can be set to automatically upload/backup photos taken on your smart phone (or downloaded from emails, social media, etc) anytime you are connected to wifi (you can also use your cellular data however unless you have unlimited data that could run up a big bill). You can also add other photos from your computer later if you want and you can share the photos with others and allow them to add their photos too. Very cool.

Once your photos are uploaded to Google Photos they can be simply stored there or shared in any way you normally share photos or any other use you currently have for your photos. The real beauty of this app is that once you upload/backup your photos to Google Photos you can simply delete them from your device and free up all that space on your smart phone to take more photos and videos as you move along the Camino and never have to worry about going back and deleting anything to make more free space. The video shows everything very clearly and step by step and was very easy to setup.

The only caveat is that if you choose the free unlimited high quality setting, if your photos are larger than 16mb or if your videos are shot with setting higher than 1080p (ie 4K) then Google Photos dumbs them down to those sizes; 16mb and 1080p. Since most phones don't even shoot higher than that shots you take with your phone shouldn't be a problem.

I hope this is helpful for you!

 

April Jo

Member
Camino(s) past & future
May 2016, Sarria to Santiago.
Super brilliant information - thanks so much for telling us!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances, 2015
The real beauty of this app is that once you upload/backup your photos to Google Photos you can simply delete them from your device and free up all that space on your smart phone to take more photos and videos as you move along the Camino and never have to worry about going back and deleting anything to make more free space.
I have been using Google Photos but mostly just to archive my photos, not share them. I did discover through reading (not trial and error) something that would be really nasty: when you use the most obvious method of deleting a photo (in the app you select a photo and then select the trash can) you are actually deleting the photo in the cloud archive too. The way to delete the photo from your device only once backed up is to use a file system app to delete the file. I'll see if I can find verifying information on this.
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF
I have been using Google Photos but mostly just to archive my photos, not share them. I did discover through reading (not trial and error) something that would be really nasty: when you use the most obvious method of deleting a photo (in the app you select a photo and then select the trash can) you are actually deleting the photo in the cloud archive too. The way to delete the photo from your device only once backed up is to use a file system app to delete the file. I'll see if I can find verifying information on this.
Yes, you're absolutely right. They note this in the video I linked above. It is important that you select the option to "delete from device" and not use the trash can. And you raise another good point: one should always do proper testing and practice at home before you take it live with important photo and video memories. Thanks for bringing this up and likely saving some heart break and hate mail!!
 

movinmaggie

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2015) Scotland GGW (2017) Primitivo
I have the Nexus Google phone but an iMac desktop, so I use a USB device. On one end is the USB sized to download the photos from the Nexus, then the other end sized to transfer them to my iMac. It does require a file transfer app.
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Camino(s) past & future
SJPDP-Finisterre X 2 - 2016 & 2017, El Norte - Irun to Vilalba 2018
The only thing I don't like about Google Photos auto upload is that while you can choose to not have pictures from some folders automatically uploaded, the camera folder is always on auto upload. I don't necessarily want every picture I take uploaded. I organize my pictures into folders, then go through the camera folder when I have time and delete pics I don't want to keep. Like pictures of hiking gear that I see in the store that I want to research before purchasing. I don't want all those pics cluttering up my cloud storage.
I have an Amazon Prime account, and their unlimited cloud photo storage lets me opt out of auto upload for the camera folder.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances, 2015
They note this in the video I linked above.
Sorry but on my primary system I cannot view videos (long story) so I didn't see the caveat. Not that I'm putting Google Photos down but I would like to add some other gotchas. They may be problems on other photo backup products as well.

If you delete all or some of your photos from the device then you most likely will not be able to access them if you are not connected to wifi or have a cellular connection to download data. So, for example, if you have taken photos of maps but you don't have them on the device then when you are lost out in the middle of nowhere you are not likely to have the maps.

Another thing with Google Photos is that the pictures are available across devices. So if things are setup correctly I can take a picture on my smartphone while on camino and then Peg at home could see it on her tablet. Nice, but then Peg isn't as techno-savvy as me and she could accidently delete all the photos in the cloud (I believe they could be restored but it isn't something I really would want to do on a smartphone on the camino.)

Something I still have to look into is multiple accounts. On my Google Nexus phone I have a few accounts so I can read mail sent to, let's say, a private email account and a business account. If I take a picture I'm not really sure what Google account it gets backed up to.

I would really love to find a Google Photos user manual with everything to know about it in there but I just keep coming across snippets of information that I have to assemble in my head.
 

movinmaggie

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2015) Scotland GGW (2017) Primitivo
Rick I think you will be very hard pressed to find such a manual anymore. Most of these tech giants have done away with them; at least that has been my experience. There are some fairly decent tutorials out there on line. Have you tried the Nexus tutorials?
 

Latecomer

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
VDLP (Sept 2015)

CF SJPDP-SdC+
(Sept/Oct 2018)
I would really love to find a Google Photos user manual with everything to know about it in there but I just keep coming across snippets of information that I have to assemble in my head.
Movinmaggie is correct, you won't find a single manual. Google Photos is evolving relatively quickly and there are subtle differences between the functionality on iOS, Android, and desktop platforms.

Two good resources:
https://twitter.com/googlephotos
https://productforums.google.com/forum/#!forum/photos

Most (or all) of the Youtube reviews and How Tos are out of date within a few months.
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF
If you delete all or some of your photos from the device then you most likely will not be able to access them if you are not connected to wifi or have a cellular connection to download data. So, for example, if you have taken photos of maps but you don't have them on the device then when you are lost out in the middle of nowhere you are not likely to have the maps
I can't speak for your Nexus Google phone however this is not the case with an iPhone. Yes, they are gone from my "Apple Photos" app however they are fully visible in the "Google Photos" app on my phone. Odd that since this is a Google app that it does not work that way on a Google phone?!

Another thing with Google Photos is that the pictures are available across devices. So if things are setup correctly I can take a picture on my smartphone while on camino and then Peg at home could see it on her tablet. Nice, but then Peg isn't as techno-savvy as me and she could accidently delete all the photos in the cloud (I believe they could be restored but it isn't something I really would want to do on a smartphone on the camino.)
what is to stop her from doing that now? perhaps she is more savvy than you give her credit for ;) The honest truth is that there is no way to ever fully protect any photo. You could accidentally delete an original and it's backup copy or you could accidentally scratch a backup CD/DVD or lose your hard copies in a fire. All those things aside, I think this is a pretty good way to automatically backup photos on your phone for free and if you are technically in a good place, you can even remove them from your device when it fills up so you don't have to stop taking photos and videos (or as my wife did on our last Camino, lose all your photos when your iPhone gets waterlogged :()

It does seem however that some distinct difference do exist across the different platforms so as always it will be prudent to test and practice with this system before you go live!
 

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