Modern Android phones (and some tablets) have excellent cameras and using the free Google+ photo backup feature makes it so simple to get your precious photos off the device to store securely and share with others. This makes it one of the best features and products from Google in my opinion. So, how do you go about setting this up? Let’s go through the steps together.
The first step, if your device doesn’t already have it, is to install the Google+ app. To quickly check this, open the Play Store on the phone or tablet, and either tap to the left of the words ‘Play Store’ on the title bar or swipe in from the left edge of the screen. Tap ‘My apps’ and go down the list until you reach the ‘G’s and look for Google+. If it is there, tap it to see if there is an update for the app and install this update.
If Google+ isn’t already installed, just use the link at the bottom of this post to install it next. The app takes up around 30Mb on my phone but this varies with device. Not a particularly small app but it’s worth it, so if you need to make some room do this if you get an error saying it can’t be installed.
Now, go to ‘Settings’ on your phone – depending on your version of Android this is often available as a small ‘gear’ icon when you swipe down from the top of the screen, but if it isn’t just show all apps and then find and open ‘Settings’, go down to ‘Accounts’, select your Google account and ensure there is a check mark beside ‘Sync Google Photos’. If not, tap the check mark box to enable this then close Settings.
Next, open the Google+ app. Swipe in from the left side of the Google+ main screen and tap ‘Photos’ then tap the word ‘Highlights’ (if it is there) and choose Photos to see all photos you have already taken – NOTE: if you haven’t taken any press Home and take some first using the camera app, then go back to Google+ Photos and you will see them in the ‘Camera’ tile at top left. Now, tap the menu button on your phone and choose Google+ Settings.
The first setting to check is the Auto backup one at the top. Tap this and see what is set there. The ‘Photo size’ setting is important to check, because many phones take photos of high resolution and hence size – Google allows you to store 15Gb currently of full-size photos, but if you change this (just tap the photo size setting) to ‘Standard size’ you will see you actually get unlimited storage of photos up to 2048px or pixels. This size is still fine for printing 6×4 prints and sharing in emails, so I suggest that if you plan to take a lot of photos to change the setting to this. Note that if you want, you can buy more storage space for full-size photos too – around $2 a month for 100Gb is good value if you need to store a lot more.
The next step is to check the Backup photos and Backup videos settings in this area. I set mine to only backup when there is a WiFi connection available, but if you are travelling you could set the photo backup option to use mobile data or WiFi, just remember that depending on the size of the photos this might use a lot of your monthly mobile data plan. The next two options are for backing up if you are ‘roaming’ (ie: usually overseas and this is not recommended due to the much higher data plan costs) and if you only want to backup when the phone is charging, set this how you prefer.
Phew! I know, there were a few steps there, so apologies if you had trouble understanding the process. I try to make it as easy to follow as I can but sometimes we all need some extra help, maybe ask someone with a little more experience to assist – but once it’s done you don’t need to worry about saving all your precious photos taken on the camera phone – they are automatically stored for you to use or share as you like.
Getting the best out of Google+ Photos needs a whole post by itself as there is a lot you can do to improve the photos you take in there, so I’ll write this one soon – promise!
Price : FREE
Size : Depends on device
Needs : Depends on device