A Beginners Guide to Backing up Your Photos

If your phone died right now, how gutted would you be?  How about your computer?  How many photos would you lose?

Not a nice feeling is it?

You never think it's going to happen to you until the day it does (oh yes, I've been there) and before you know it your stomach is in your throat and your photos possibly gone for good.

Keeping your phone and computer backed up is so easy, there is no reason you shouldn't be doing it.

Here are the simplest ways to back up your iPhone, Android phone & Computer.


How to back up your iPhone Photos

There are 2 options when it comes to backing up your iPhone - iCloud and iTunes.  
Today I am going to concentrate on iCloud but you can learn more about backing up your photos on iTunes Here.
With iCloud you get 5 free GB of storage in which you can store bookmarks, contacts, calendars, iCloud documents, emails, notes, and your photos.  If you use up your free space you can then upgrade to 50GB for £0.79 a month.

  1. Connect your device to a Wi-Fi network.
  2. Go to Settings > [your name], and tap iCloud. If you’re using iOS 10.2 or earlier, go to Settings, then scroll down and tap iCloud.
  3. Tap iCloud Backup. If you're using iOS 10.2 or earlier, tap Backup. Make sure that iCloud Backup is turned on.
  4. Tap Back Up Now. Stay connected to your Wi-Fi network until the process completes.

You can check the progress and confirm the backup completed. Go to Settings > [your name] > iCloud > iCloud Backup. Under Back Up Now, you'll see the date and time of your last backup.

Automatically back up with iCloud Backup

To let iCloud automatically back up your device each day, here's what you need to do:

  • Make sure that iCloud Backup is turned on in Settings > [your name] > iCloud > iCloud Backup. If you’re using iOS 10.2 or earlier, go to Settings > iCloud > Backup.
  • Connect your device to a power source.
  • Connect your device to a Wi-Fi network.
  • Make sure that your device's screen is locked.

(source: https://support.apple.com/en-gb/HT203977)


How to back up your Android Photos

Photos backed up from your Android device are stored in your Google Photos Library and are private unless you choose to share them.  All changes you make to your photos on your phone (say if you edit a filter onto a picture) are also made to the version in your library.

If your upload your photos in High Quality to google photos you get unlimited storage.  Even if backing up in Original quality you still get 15GB for free, which is 10GB more than apple.  If you want to upgrade to 100GB it's £1.59 a month but considering you get unlimited high quality uploads I'm not sure why you would ever need to!

Turn back up & sync on or off

Before you start, make sure that you're signed in. 

  1. On your Android phone or tablet, open the Google Photos app .
  2. Sign in to your Google Account.
  3. At the top, tap Menu .
  4. Select Settings  Back up & sync.
  5. Tap 'Back up & sync' on or off.

Bear in mind - changing this setting will also effect the back up & sync of other apps such as Google Drive.

Change your backup settings

  • Choose the Google Account to back up photos and videos: Under 'Backup account', tap the account name.
  • Change your upload size: Tap Upload sizeLearn more about upload sizes
  • Back up device folders: Tap Back up device folders and select the folders that 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 'Mobile data backup,' tap Photos or Videos. Service provider charges may apply if you upload using your mobile network.
  • Back up while roaming: Under 'When to back up,' tap Roaming.

(source: https://support.google.com/photos/answer/6193313?co=GENIE.Platform%3DAndroid&hl=en-GB

sun shines on a desk with becki williams photography website on one screen and spotify on the other

How to back up photos from your computer

It is easy to think that photos on your computer or on a memory stick are safe, but there is always a chance of a fire, a robbery, you could lose it or it could just break.

It is important to keep a back up of everything on your computer that would make you feel sick if you lost, whether that's important documents or photos.

There are two main ways to do this:

  1. A portable hard drive, preferably kept in a different location
  2. A cloud back up system

1. Using a portable hard drive

Using a portable hard drive to back up your files is one of the simplest options.  Keep a copy of everything important on the separate drive and your files are safe if your computer fails or is lost or stolen.  Keeping the hard drive in a different location also means that it will be safer during a robbery or fire.
The risk of this method is that you have to remember to back up your files yourself whenever you have something new your wouldn't want to lose.  
There is also of course the possibility that your hard drive itself will fail or get lost or stolen. 

For the best ways to back up either a PC or a MAC, have a read of this wikiHow Article. 

2. A cloud back up system

Backing up your photos 'in the cloud' means you are using an online service to keep your photos backed up on their servers.  You can set a schedule so that backing up is automatic, meaning once it's set up you can relax, knowing that the folders you have chosen will be backed up on the schedule you set until you say otherwise. 
This can sometimes be a little trickier to set up at first but if you put the time in now you'll have much simpler backups for as long as you need them. 

For a good article on the best Cloud Back Up Systems, try this one from PC Magazine

How do I back up my photos?

All my work photos are transferred onto my computer straight after each Newborn Photo Shoot.  They are then copied onto a portable hard drive, which then automatically backs them up to Crashplan, a cloud back up service that I use. 
This way I have the original file, a copy on a separate hard drive and a version in the cloud. 

I'm also extra careful with my phone photos.  Every photo and video I take is backed up to both Google Photos and Dropbox.

I hope this has helped you see just how important backing up your photos is and that it doesn't have to be as complicated as you think.

It's so easy to think that your phone will never get stolen or your computer will never just give up the ghost, but it just might - and wouldn't you rather be safe in the knowledge that you photos and videos are safe if it does?

Do your future self a favour and take 10 minutes today to back up your photos and save a whole lot of regret when you lose all those memories in the future.