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We’ve probably all done it at some point in our lives; taking photos on digital devices is all well and good, until you lose the device you took the photo on, and your photos with it! I last did this a couple of years back after holidaying in Queensland for two weeks, and left my iPad (which had all the photos on it) on the plane… needless to say, it wasn’t ever found (no, I didn’t use iCloud sync).

For those who haven’t really looked into this, Android has an easy solution to keep your photos safe and sound in the unfortunate event that your phone or tablet goes astray. Well, there are many solutions, but this one is one of the easiest, and it’s built into just about every (modern) Android handset.

If you install Google+ from the Play Store (or if it’s preinstalled on your device, as it often is), a companion app is also installed called Photos, with an icon that looks like a pinwheel:

Even if you don’t intend to use Google+ for anything else, it’s worth creating a Google+ profile for your Google account so you can access this service. When you sign up / sign in for the first time on a device, you’ll be prompted to automatically back-up your photos to Google’s cloud. If you’ve skipped that invitation in the past, or want to tinker with the settings, finding the menu again is really easy:

  1. Open the App and tap Settings
  2. Select Auto Backup at the top of the screen
  3. Turn Auto Backup on, and adjust any settings needed

Once you’ve enabled Auto Backup, you can not only sync your new photos as you take them (or when you get back to a WiFi access point), but you can also back up your existing photos on your device, as well as videos. Unless you’ve got mobile data to burn, we’d suggest not backing up without WiFi turned on, but if you know you’re going to be away from one for awhile, and those photos are really important to you, the option is there nonetheless.

You might be thinking that automatically uploading your photos to Google / Google+ is a really bad idea. Won’t everyone see your horrible selfies? The answer is NO! All the photos you upload are private by default, and visible only to you. You can, if you want, then share those photos with family and friends quite safely, without worrying that the photos you don’t want to share will leak out.

How do you back up your data, photos and things from your Android device?

Companies: Google