I currently have 278 photos saved to my iPhone camera roll. I would have more had I not lost all my data when I somehow clicked a wrong button in a backup attempt. The lost contacts, calendar events, and playlists can be recreated. But those 700 photos — of my daughter’s dance recital and our trip to the West Coast — are gone forever.
If you’re like me, start the New Year by becoming more tech-savvy. Here are some cost-effective, easy-to-use ways to save your photos.
A tiered service that not only saves photos and other important documents, but will also syncs between all of your devices. When ready to share your pictures, simply click the share button (from your computer or phone) and enter the email address. Friends and relatives who don’t have to have a Dropbox account can see the photos with a link you send. Dropbox also has several built-in safety feature, so, if your phone goes for a swim, your pictures will still be available via your account and can be restored to a new phone.
Cost: Free for 2 GB of storage space; $9.99/month for 1 TB (1,000 GB)
Ease of use: Simple. Dropbox tutorials and help are available.
iCloud Photo Library
Best for Apple device users. Similar to Dropbox, all photos from any connected device are saved (by date and location) into the Cloud, making them easily searchable. iCloud Photo Sharing allows you to create photo streams that other iCloud users can view and save. If you have less than 1,000 photos, My Photo Stream might be enough for your needs.
Cost: Free for 5 GB of storage space; 99 cents/month for 50 GB;
$2.99/month for 200 GB; $9.99/month for 1 TB
Ease of use: Takes a little getting used to. You manually save each individual picture when using the My Photo Stream option.
Best for Android users. Functions like the iCloud Photo Library.
Ease of use: Searching pictures is easier because Google technology allows you to search keywords.
External hard drive
Best for basic extra storage. Often bigger than internal hard drives in your home PC, an external hard drive holds more and bigger files. The downside is they are just as susceptible to failure as your computer. If the external hard drive crashes, you lose your stored data. Sometimes a data recovery service can save some files, but they don’t always work and are very expensive.
Cost: $60-$400, depending on storage space
Ease of use: Saving photos or files requires the drag-and-drop method, which is tedious. Also, an external hard drive is similar to putting all your photos in a big cardboard box. Searching for just one photo will be time consuming.
Same-Day Photo Developing
If you prefer actual photos you can touch and scrapbook, look no further than your corner drugstore. CVS, Walgreens, and Wal-Mart have on-site, same-day photo developing. Choose photos from your phone, crop or enhance, then walk out with pictures in hand. I’ve made my children’s birthday party invitations this way for the past two years. And recently, my teen daughter printed 72 pictures from her phone to make a collage for her bedroom. Thanks to a coupon, we paid $10 and change for her photos.
Ease of use: Simple. Bring a USB cord to download pictures from your phone to the store kiosk.