The Computer Guy: Save Your Photos in the Cloud – For Free!

It’s so fun and easy to snap pictures with a smartphone that just about everyone is doing it. But a common question that I get is about getting the photos off the phone and onto a computer for sharing and printing. 

Some folks email the photos to themselves, or maybe post them in social media, like Instagram or Facebook. Or there is the old way where you plug your phone into your computer and go through the whole download-and-sort-out hassle.

But there is a much, much easier way that is easy, automatic, and free!
Google, Apple, Dropbox, and Microsoft all offer free accounts that include free storage for photos. Google is most generous, offering unlimited cloud storage for photographs in “Google Photos”. Microsoft and Apple both have limits for the free storage, but it is generous enough for most folks’needs.
In all of those cases, there is an app that you download to your phone for Android or for Apple iPhone IOS.  Once downloaded, you connect the app on your smartphone to your free cloud account.  The app will offer to automatically store your photos on the cloud, and you say “yes” and you’re all done!  The app will automatically transfer your photos to your internet cloud account, and from there to your computer or tablet or wherever you would like!

From that point on, about as quick as you can take a picture, it is copied to the cloud and ready for you to use it as you please.

And – this bears repeating -- it is all FREE: for Apple devices, Android, and for Windows phones too.

To get this working for you, here’s what you do.

First; if you don’t already have a free account with a cloud storage service, go sign up for one. Four that are easy and common are Dropbox, Google Photos, Microsoft OneDrive, and Apple iCloud.  (Respectively:,,,

Google offers unlimited photo storage if you allow them to “optimize” the photos. This actually means no changes to most photographs at all, so take that option. So; if you don’t already have an online account, you might as well go with that one.

Microsoft “OneDrive” offers 15 gigabytes [GB] free, and 15GB can hold between 5000 and 6000 high resolution photos. Apple iCloud starts with 5GB free, and Dropbox gives you 2GB.

As I say, all four of these are available for users of Apple, Android, and Windows devices.

Second; from the app store for your device, install the app on your phone or tablet that matches up with your cloud storage account.  This app will do the automatic uploads for you.

Third; set up the service app to automatically upload your photos. All of the services refer to it as “Camera Backup” or “Photo Backup.”

For Google Photos, the settings for it will be found in your phone or tablet’s settings. Ditto for iCloud on iPhone and iPad, though on Android and Windows devices you will have to go to an app’s settings to set it up

If you use OneDrive or Dropbox, open the app and sign in with your account, then go to the settings and turn on “Camera Backup”.

The options for your service app will then ask if you want to back up only via WiFi versus also using your data plan to upload the photos.  Use the WiFi-only setting to avoid using your data plan allotment of bytes. 

It may also ask if you want to back up at the highest quality possible or at a more compressed quality level. More compression means that you can store more photos and use less of your data plan to upload them to the cloud, but the image quality may be degraded. If you want to make prints, upload at the highest quality level.

If you shoot a lot of videos with your phone or tablet, make sure to use the “WiFi only” settings, so that it doesn’t use your data plan bytes.

Fourth; viewing your photos on your computer or TV:

For whichever cloud service(s) you use, there is a corresponding program or app for your computer – and maybe for your TV too. Once you install that program on your computer, log on to your cloud service account, and within minutes, if not seconds, your photos will download to your computer for you to view, sort, edit, enhance, and share as you wish.  Crop them, brighten them, add captions and share on Instagram or Flickr or Facebook. 

It’s fast and easy; but if I can help with this, or anything on your computers, please don’t hesitate to call: Mike Pepper ~ Computer Guy. 845-855-5824