Before we get into solving your iPhone photo problems, I’d like to take a second to introduce myself. This is Micah, Sarah’s less savvy husband. I am going to be stopping in from time to time to help out on the site. I thought I’d start by sharing one of the things that I’ve always found incredibly frustrating. I recently went to a conference in Hawaii, and realized when I got there that I forgot to transfer my photos to my computer before I left. At the time, I had heard about Google Photos, but never took the time to install it. I was beyond grateful when I found I could transfer my photos wirelessly to my Google account.
We’ve all had that must-have moment when you needed a quick photo or video, only to be confronted with this:
After a long sigh of frustration (Ohhhh), chances are the cute moment of your kids or pet is now long gone. The Google Photos app has recognized the frustration of this situation, and provides a free solution to your photo/video storage problems! Let me explain how you are just one app away from having ALL your pictures/videos always at your hip without ever worrying about running out of storage again (Note: this post is written for iPhone users, and may be slightly different for other phones).
Getting Started Basics:
- If you have a Gmail account, skip to step 2. In order to use Google Photos, you will need a Gmail account (gmail.com). This will allow you to sign into Google Photos and access all your photos and videos from any device (computer, tablet or mobile device).
- Download the Google Photos App from the App Store (iPhone) and install on your phone.
- The Google Photos app will now give you the following choices during the initial setup – I recommend the following settings:
- Upload Size: Choose the High Quality (free unlimited storage) Option. The Google Photos app will give you unlimited storage at 1080p video quality (HD) and hiqh quality pictures (16 MP). Unless you are a professional photographer, this storage quality is perfectly adequate for the everyday user.
- Backup Options: I recommend turning OFF the options that say “Use cellular data to back up photos” and “Use cellular data to back up videos.” This will help to save your monthly cellular data usage. If you have cellular option turned “OFF”, google photos will only backup your photos and videos when you are on a Wi-Fi network. If you have unlimited cellular data on your cell phone plan, then you can turn it “ON”.
- Google Location History: I recommend turning ON this option. While some people are concerned about an app tracking your location, this makes for a richer Google Photos experience. If you take a trip to Florida, and a year later you want to show people pictures from Florida, all you need to do is log into Google Photos app and search “Florida”. It will automatically find the pictures that were taken in the state of Florida.
- Now you are ready to take pictures/videos and have access to them from any electronic device that supports Google Photos (essentially all computers, phones and tablets).
Hey wait a minute, I still get a message that my memory is full!?!?
Just because you have the Google Photos app, this does not mean you will never get a message stating “cannot take picture or video”. However, now you have a quick way to solve this problem even if you are on the go. No more “deciding” which pictures to delete to make room for a higher priority one. Just follow these easy steps to free up space on your device anytime. If you do this every so often, you will probably never run into the dreaded “out of memory” pop up again. Follow these steps to free up memory on the go or while on the couch:
- Open the Google Photos App on your phone or tablet.
- Click on the top left drop down menu tab.
- Click on “Free Up Space”
- Click on “Remove” and then “Delete”. All of these items have already been safely backed up to Google Photos.
- Now Google Photos has sent your pictures in your Photos Library to your Recently Deleted folder, so it is telling you how to permanently remove them from your iPhone (but don’t worry, they are already backed up to your Google Photos account). *DISCLAIMER*: this is only true for items deleted by using the Google Photos app. If you deleted a picture or video outside of the Google Photos App, it may not have been backed up).
- Open up the “Photos” app on your iPhone.
- Click on the bottom right corner and select “Albums” and then scroll until you find the “Recently Deleted” folder.
- Now on the top right tap “select” and then in the bottom left the option to “delete all” will appear.
- Now the pictures and videos are permanently deleted from your device!
So What Is Really So Special About Google Photos?
Some of you might be asking, why is this app better than just regularly transferring my photos/videos to my computer or external hard drive? The following are some of the best perks of having Google Photos.
- You don’t have to worry about backing up because Google Photos just did it! For some of us, we might barely be able to make it a few weeks without running out of memory. Almost instantly after taking a picture or video on your iPhone, the next time you are on a WiFi network, it will be already be uploaded to your Google Photo account (it can even be updated using cellular networks, but this will use up your monthly data).
- Google Photos allows you to literally have ALL your photos/videos with you ALL the time. Say you are visiting friends or family, and you really want to show them that awesome picture from a year ago. No problem! Google Photos allows you to see all your photos/videos from any compatible device. So not only would it work on your phone, but you could also log into a computer or tablet to show off your photos. If you just traditionally backed up your photos/videos to a home desktop, you likely would not have easy access to them away from home.
- Great for bloggers: If you just took a picture or video and want to add it to your website, you no longer have to worry about transferring it from your phone to computer (we have all emailed ourselves photos many times). Simply just log into your google photos account online (https://photos.google.com/) and instantly use it for any purpose.
I hope you will enjoy Google Photos like I have. I left a couple of Pro-tips below for those that want more info.
Pro-tip 1: Google photos will only help free up memory from your iPhone Photos library. Pictures and videos in your text messaging history will also fill up your phone’s memory fast, and the Google Photos app will not solve that problem! To delete photos and videos in your text messages, open the message and click on the info icon at the top-right of the screen. You can scroll down and see all photos/videos in that text message thread – you can select the pictures and choose to save to your own photos library, or delete them to free up space.
Pro-tip 2: Both the Google Photos app and the Photos app on iPhone have built in picture editing. Easily crop your photos, enhance your original images, and apply various filters all from your smart device. Google Photos will also automatically create new collages and videos, and if you like them just click to save to your library!