Instant Upload on Google+

Phones crap out. It happens. This summer, my wife and I were waiting in line to buy rush tickets to a Broadway show when my phone went into a reboot loop. There was no hope of reviving it. In that kind of a situation, you start going through all the stuff you don’t want to lose: contacts, pictures, music, texts, etc. Luckily, I was covered and didn’t lose a single thing.
The biggest fear for me is always losing pictures. When my phone died, we had already been in NYC for over a month, and I had snapped probably hundreds of pictures with my phone. Losing those would’ve been horrible.

The Google+ app for both Android and iOS includes Instant Upload, a feature that automatically uploads photos you take with your phone to your Google account. Your photos are then available from Google+, Picasa, and any other service that connects to your Google photos. From there, you can download them or share them across Google products.

You’ll find the option to turn on Instant Upload under Photos and Videos in Google+ Settings. From there, you can tell Google+ to only upload via Wi-Fi, for example, or to only upload when charging. I like to make sure that all my photos are saved instantly, so I upload photos via Wi-Fi or mobile data. I’m less concerned with my videos, so they upload only on a Wi-Fi connection.

Dropbox also has this feature, but each photo counts against your total storage limit. Even with the 3GB of extra storage Dropbox offers for turning on their auto upload feature, you’re going to run into that limit eventually.

Google, on the other hand, will let you store any photo up to 2048×2048 and any video less than 15 min for free. Anything larger will count against the default 1GB. With my phone camera set to take photos at 5MP, all my photos stay under that threshold. I essentially have unlimited storage space with Google for any picture or video I take on my phone.

If you haven’t turned on this feature in Google+ or Dropbox on your phone, I’d recommend doing it right now. And if you’re worried about all the photos you’ve already taken, the Google+ app has the option to Upload All photos currently on the device (see screenshot above).

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