Protecting memories: Tips to keep your cellphone photos safe

It’s so easy to capture moments on our cellphone cameras, but those moments can add up quickly.

All those memories can be gone in a flash if you’re not careful.

WFXT spoke with a technology expert about the steps we should be taking to protect those photos. In Charlotte, Channel 9 spoke with several people about the photos they currently have on their phones.

“Thousands? Yeah, I have a ton, way too many photos, videos. I feel like we’re always snapping pictures of the kids,” one Charlotte resident said.

“Just never delete them. I take them and just don’t delete them,” another person said. “Say since so, in my recent photos, I have 3,057.”

“I think I have like 40,000 but my phone’s only 256 gig. Some of them are backed up to the cloud. Some of them aren’t -- but that’s pretty much all I do is trust the cloud.”

“You’re carrying around your entire photo library in your pocket.”

Technology journalist Chris Rowlands told WFXT while trusting the cloud is easy, it’s not a guarantee that your memories are being protected.

“But there are times when it doesn’t happen, whether you have a connectivity issue, photos aren’t backed up, then you lose your phone, they’re gone,” Rowlands said.

Rowlands said phone companies want you to use their clouds but storage space can become an issue.

“And obviously once you hit that limit, if you have, for example, 30,000 photos on your phone, you’re probably going to need to shell out a few dollars a month, basically to expand the storage capacity,” Rowlands said.

Rowlands said if your family has different types of devices, paying for Google’s photo storage might be worth it -- so that everything is in one place.

Amazon Photos is another option -- it offers unlimited storage for Prime customers.

It’s also a good idea to have a physical backup.

“It sort of seems like an old school suggestion,” Rowlands said. “But it’s never a bad idea to have a second kind of physical copy of your photos on a hard drive.”

“Jump drives. Great idea,” Rowlands said. “The only risk obviously, is they’re also quite small. So you can lose those almost as easily as the phone.”

Rowlands said apps like Backblaze and Flickr can help with the backup process.

And if that all sounds too complicated and you’d rather just stick with the cloud, he says make sure you’re using two-factor authentication to protect yourself from potential hacks.

“it’s just that peace of mind thing, right? Because the whole thing of backing up is so that you know that your photos are safe,” Rowlands said.

If you delete a photo from your phone by accident, they should still be in the cloud for 30 days. Check your backup settings to make sure they’re saved.

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