Backing up pictures and videos with Google Photos

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There’s no denying you have way too many pictures and videos stored on your phone or tablet. Who’s really carrying around a dedicated camera these days? We all just use our mobile devices because of the convenience and image quality. But the potential problem with doing so is that you’ll be filling up internal storage real fast, and sometimes moving pictures and videos over to a microSD card isn’t an option. Cloud storage is a truly a savior for mobile devices because it removes a large load from being physically stored and allows people to view everything from multiple devices. And it all works silently. Google Photos, which was spun out of Google+ in May 2015, arrived because Android has lacked a media-first cloud storage solution. Now that it’s here, people are storing everything they have there because of Google Photos’ benefits. It basically creates a massive library, organized in the way you want, with little effort on your end.

Let’s get all of those pictures and videos stored in a safe place.

  1. Head over to Google Play to download and install Google Photos on your phone or tablet. Since the app is pre-installed on many devices, the Play Store listing could just present buttons to update or launch Google Photos. Regardless, get Google Photos on your device and open the app.

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  2. To get anywhere, swipe in from the left side or find the dedicated menu button at the top left. Either method will cause the slideout menu to appear. This is essentially your portal to everything Google Photos has to offer. As we’re trying to get things backed up, we want to dive into Settings.

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  3. The list of settings offered in Google Photos’ Settings page isn’t all too deep, but what we’re wanting to do in this guide can’t even be found here. Jump into the first option, Back up & sync, because that’s obviously what will allow you to decide what Google Photos does with pictures and videos from your device. If you don’t, all you’ll be able to do is direct settings for media already uploaded.

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  4. Google Photos has now redirected you to the Backup section of Google Play Services. This is where you get to choose accounts, decide upon upload size and buy more storage, decide when pictures should be backed up.

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  5. The key here is Upload size. Google Photos allows for free unlimited storage as long as it can reduce the file size. If you’re not picky about it, Google Photos will let you store an uncapped amount of pictures and videos. However, maintaining original, full resolution comes at a cost. Storing untouched pictures and videos will eat away at the 15GB of storage Google gives to everyone with an account across Gmail, Google Drive, and all of its other services. Raising your total cloud storage with Google starts at 100GB for $1.99 per month. The choice is yours, my friend.

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  6. If you want to back up specific folders, this is the place to do it. The main purpose, though, is for this to be the hub of Google Photos’ backup settings. At the very bottom of the list is an option to force Google Photos to start backing up all pictures and videos, as long as your device’s current state is permitted by the settings. Google Photos makes it so that backups only occur when the device is on a WiFi network or connected for charging.

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Really, that’s it! Now everything you want to be stored in the cloud will be there, going from your device to Google Photos without any flashy notices or required actions. I’ve been using Google Photos since launch and it has never failed nor disappointed. Google Photos asks you to set it up once before the rest is taken care of magically.


About the Author: Justin Herrick

Born and raised in New Jersey, Justin is a graduate of Fairleigh Dickinson University where he studied marketing with a focus on digital marketing. He's very talkative and enjoys discussing anything from technology and sports to video games and television. As for Justin's current device rotation, he carries around the Google Pixel and Nexus 9. In the rare case that his phone or tablet is not in his hand, he is either flicking through cards on his Moto 360 (2015) or typing away on the Microsoft Surface Book. Justin is patiently waiting for the day that Google replicates the Galaxy Nexus with modern day specifications.