If you asked me what the most useful app on my phone is, I would say Google Photos. If you’re not using it, let me tell you why you should be. (And if you are brilliant and already using it, maybe some of the things I mention below will be new to you!)
I know there are hundreds of ways to back up photos out there, but I swear by Google Photos and feel the need to tell everyone I know (which is why I’m writing this now).
A quick Google search says, “Google Photos is the home for all your photos and videos, automatically organized and easy to share.” I love Google Photos so much I backed up all of my photos and videos from my old external hard drive to it so all (or most) of my digital photos are in one place.
This is how it works: Download the Google Photos app on your phone. I’m a Team Android gal, but apparently they let you iPhone people use it too. ;) Log in with your Google account. Set up back up and sync options. (I personally back up basically every photo folder on my phone.) There are two options for quality saving: “original quality” (uploading the photos and videos as is, but using storage from your Google account—unless you want to expand your storage) or “high quality” (includes unlimited photo and video storage for photos up to 16 megapixels and videos up to 1080p resolution). Since I take a ton of photos and need very few in original quality, I personally opt for “high quality” and back up as much as I please!
Of course, you can find more by exploring Google Photos yourself (and I encourage you to do so), but here are some of favorite features.
Facial recognition. You can essentially “tag” people in photos, and then label them by name. Then you can type a name in or go through the list of tagged people. From there, you can see every photo that person is in (from your library). Recently, it was my sister’s birthday, and I wanted to make a little collage. I pulled up the photos of her, and—BAM!—I could scroll through all of my pictures of her. (Bonus: As of a year or two ago, pets are now included in facial recognition!)
Search. The search function is amazing! You can literally search your Photos library for ANYTHING & EVERYTHING. This tool has helped me find things I’ve been trying to remember SO quickly. The results are not always 100% accurate, so it is also funny to see what comes up for some searches. Here are a few examples.
Looking for a photo you took of an ice cream? Type “ice cream” in the search bar, and your results will include your ice cream pics.
Trying to remember when you went to Churchill Downs? Type in “Churchill Downs” and it will search your photos by location (assuming that feature is turned on in your camera’s settings) and pull up all of the photos you’ve taken at Churchill Downs!
Want to see all of the pictures from your birthday over the years? Type in that date (ex. “March 21”), and voila… a visual trip down memory lane.
Want to see all of your photos from your trip to Amsterdam? Type in “Amsterdam”, and… you get the picture (punny, I know).
Sharing. Yes, nearly every photo app allows you to share your pics, but I love how integrated this is with Google—which we all already use, right? I can quickly share photos and videos with friends and family. I can also make shared albums for vacations, parties, or whatever else, which allows my friends to add their photos and videos to the albums, too.
Automatic backup. I backup all of my photos automatically, so if something were to happen to my phone, I know I would not be losing all of my photos on that phone.
Accessibility. It’s so easy to use the Google Photos app on my phone, but it is also super easy to pull it up on a computer at photos.google.com. If I am going between my computer and phone for whatever reason, this is awesome. (Bonus: I occasionally want to get photos from the phone of someone who doesn’t use Google Photos. I can easily go to the website on their phone, log in, and upload my photos from there. Just don’t forget to log out!)
Editing. Sure, you can edit your photos in just about any app of your choosing, but if you’re doing all this other stuff in Google Photos, this app also includes some decent editing tools for cropping, color correction, etc.
Assistant. Google Photos will curate a feed of memories (think Timehop or Facebook’s On This Day), make collages of similar photos, make gifs from your photos, make videos from compilations, and so much more. I honestly don’t check this out all of the time, but it’s always very amusing when I do.
Again, if you choose the “high quality” option, storage on Google Photos is unlimited, so if you’re worried about space on your phone, Google Photos is a must use!!
Note: I still suggest an additional backup method (like an external hard drive), because technically Google could discontinue the product whenever they please. Hopefully that will never be the case, since so many folks use this product, but it’s better safe than sorry.
Okay, now go back up those photos and utilize this fantastic app. Share your favorite features of or finds in Google Photos below in the comments.