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Backing Up Your Photos to Google+

We’ve all been in this situation, your phone suddenly dies and it doesn’t have a microSD slot or you didn’t select the proper setting to save them to your microSD card. Photos are probably one of the most precious things that we store on our mobile devices and companies know this. As such, many cloud service providers like Google, Microsoft, Dropbox, Copy and etc. provide mechanisms for you to easily back these precious photos seamlessly and with ease.

Google provides such a mechanism with its Google+ Photos app that is included with every single Android device that is sold on the market today with Android 4.0+. Your Google account comes with a generous 15 GB of free storage which can also be expanded up to 30 TB with Google’s paid options. Unlike other cloud services, Google provides unlimited storage for photos and videos as long as they’re smaller than 2048 x 2048 pixels for photos and under 15 minutes long per video. So as long as your photo or video meets these requirements, it won’t count towards your Google storage quota. That’s rather generous as no other cloud storage provider offer this.

Table of Contents

Enabling Auto Backup on Android

  1. Navigate to the Photos app that’s preinstalled on your Android device
  2. If this is the first time you’ve launched the app, it’ll ask you to sign in to your Google account. Once the app launches, press the triple dot menu on the top right hand corner of the screen.
  3. Once you’re in the settings menu, select the Auto Backup button.
  4. Select the toggle on the top right hand corner to turn on/off the Auto Backup function of the Photos app. Under Photo Size, it gives you 2 options: full size and standard size. The difference between these 2 options is that when Full size is selected, the app will upload the photos at their native resolution, whereas the Standard size option will shrink the image to fit within the 2048 x 2048px limit. By choosing full size, any photos that are larger than 2048 x 2048px will be counted towards your Google storage quota. By selecting standard size, you will be well within Google’s unlimited photo storage option. For best quality, choose full size.

    In this menu,  there’s also the option to select on what type of connection to backup your photos. By default, the Photos app will only backup your photos automatically when you’re connected over WiFi. However, if you press the button, you can also choose to backup your photos over your mobile data connection. There’s also an option of Backup all which will backup all your media to the cloud and just only future media that you store on the device.

Viewing Photos on Your Computer

So now that you’ve backed up your precious photos and videos to Google’s cloud storage, now how do we get to view our photos and videos and/or download them to our computer? That’s quite easy too! You can easily view your photos on the web as the Photos app backs your photos up to Google+. All the photos you back up are for your eyes only, and only visible to others when you choose to share them. To view your photos and videos, go to: https://plus.google.com/photos!

There are 2 ways to download your photos, either as a single photo  or for a whole album. For auto backup, your photos are sorted by upload date. Each upload date is an album. As such you can download the whole day’s worth of photos in one click. To download your album in Google+ Photos, scroll to the date or album you want, when you roll your mouse over the album, it will pop up 3 buttons: Tag, Share and a downward pointing arrow. Choose the arrow and it’ll open up a menu. Choose download to download the album. It will automatically zip all your photos and present you the download dialog in your browser.

To just download a single image, simply press the image you want in Google+ Photos, the photo will then expand in the photo viewer. on the top is a menu of options, choose the More… button and Download Photo. There will now be 2 options, Original or Enhanced. Original is the original photo you took, it will look exactly like how you took the photo. Enhanced is with Google’s photo enhancements or the enhancements you’ve made in Google+ Photos.

Final Thoughts

With Google+ Photos and its seamless automatic backup mechanism, losing photos is now a thing of the past. You’ll never need to fear of losing those precious moments ever again. Let me know what you think in the comments below. How do you like Google+ Photos?