My favorite app for 2015 was Google Photos. while our smartphones and service providers have made great strides over the past few years to bring us better cameras and much larger local storage capacity, cloud backup solutions have remained messy and expensive. Google is addressing this with an app and cloud storage/backup system that’s affordable and easy to maintain.
Here are a few key points to be aware of before jumping in with Google Photos on iPhone. For Android users I’ve read that these are generally the same, but haven’t tested them yet.
- You’ll want to manage your photo library primarily through the Google Photos app on iPhone, and no longer through Apple’s Photos app. This includes 2-way sync with the option to delete photos and videos from both locations, or from your phone only in order to free up storage space. Either way, you will retain instant access to all of your photos and videos through Google’s cloud on the app.
- For most users, Google offers a free plan with unlimited storage that will suit your needs, however it does compress photo and video files above a certain size and there could be some slight data/resolutions loss for very large files. I chose the 100 GB plan for $1.99.month which keeps all of my files in their original quality. I’m also using Google Photos to backup my DSLR developed photos from Lightroom.
- Google photos syncs with your devices and with Google Photos online. Additionally, your library is accessible online through Google Drive which makes it a great way to share all of your photos and videos automatically with family, friends or colleagues.
- Google’s Assistant feature will automatically create movies, stories, collages, panoramas, and animations from your library. You can choose to edit, save or delete them.
To date, I’ve been able to backup all of my DSLR images going back to 2009. I’ve also got iPhone backup images on an external hard drive going back to 2008 and earlier that will also be uploaded. And the best part, all of these images will be accessible from any device going forward.
Google’s search engine leverages meta-data and facial recognition (optional) to help you quickly find and group images for certain dates, places and people.
It should be noted that iPhone users will need to perform an extra manual step to delete photos from the “Recently Deleted” album in Photos in order to completely free up local space, but it’s easy enough to do.
Google has done an excellent job out of the gate with Google photos. It’s well designed and the integration is really nice. There is also some peace of mind when hosting all of your current and future photo and video memories with Google and not a smaller service that may not be around in a few years.