Are Your Photos at Risk? -- Save Your Photos in the Cloud

January 12, 2021

Personal photographs hold power. We're transported through time into that space. The emotions. Smells. Laughter. Tears. Don't lose those memories. Save your photos in the cloud.  


I know what you’re thinking. This is a post on SeniorLifeFYI.com about tech. Don’t be ageist, friend. Tech is for everyone. Older Americans have the leisure time to stream more than ever. 


Yes, Older Americans Use the Internet


You’re reading this and maybe you don’t identify as a senior citizen yet. My grandmother didn’t consider herself “old” until she turned 90 and she lived until 101! That’s totally fine. No matter what phase you are in your life, you’re most likely using more and more of the Internet. You’re streaming your favorite TV shows, blogging, creating YouTube videos, and FaceTiming with your grandkids weekly. Why not store your data in the cloud.


“In 2000, 14% of those ages 65 and older were internet users; now 73% are. And while smartphone ownership was uncommon at all ages around the turn of the 21st century, now about half (53%) of people 65 and older are smartphone owners.” Pew Research


Digitize Your Memories 


We’ve all been there. Water damage, rodents in the garage, someone took an album that wasn’t there’s (Janet!), or lost in a fire or flood. Photographs are fragile pieces of our external memory. They hold our soul and trigger our memories. After my husband passed away, our photos were the most treasured items I owned. 


If you have the resources, invest in digitizing your photos. Your nephew may offer to do this for you but he’s often distracted with that cute girl at the yogurt shop, right? A service like Legacybox will do this for a reasonable price.


But once you digitize your photos, how will you store them? Are they on CDs or (worse, floppies)? Does your computer have a CD drive anymore? Will they be on an external drive? If you don’t have an offsite backup do you even have them? This is where the cloud comes in.


What is the Cloud?


We like to call any data service that isn’t our physical machine “the cloud.” Basically it is a server, a network of servers, or some other configuration of several temperature control Costco-sized warehouses around the world. It’s so nebulous, we call it the cloud. For anyone who isn’t a system admin, “cloud” works. 


You’re basically paying for self-storage like you do for your kid’s stuff that he won’t come pick up (but that’s another blog post). Only it’s not Public Storage you’re paying, it’s Apple, Dropbox, or Google. There are others but those are the top services and they all have a free tier! That’s way better than Public Storage! If you’re crazy about storage and duplicity like I am, you use all three. (Yes, I use and pay for all three.)

Apple’s iCloud


If you’re an iPhone user, Apple’s iCloud is your one-size-fits-all cloud solution. Seriously, you can store and sync the photos and videos you take on your iPhone as well as store notes and documents. For the low-low price of free it is a great deal! Of course they have other pricing if you want more storage, but wow. That’s too awesome to pass up. 


“You can do more with Photos on your Apple devices when you turn on iCloud. And with the iCloud for Windows app, you can also access your photos and videos on a PC.” Apple


“When you sign up for iCloud, you automatically get 5 GB of free storage. You can choose which apps and features store information in iCloud by turning iCloud features on or off.”


Search and Store Photos in Google Photos


Google photos is device-agnostic meaning you can use this service equally as well (and free) on an Android device as you can an iPhone. We love that! Your phone’s settings will determine how you back up (WiFi or Data) and sync your photos. You get up to 15GB of storage with your Google account so go hog wild. If you want more, you can always upgrade. 


They even have an integrated service to create photo books and prints. How cool is that? That, of course, is an upsell. You can even search your photos! Google, of course, is the leader of search technology. Type “red” in the search bar in Google Photos and all of the photos with red in them will show up. This works for items, too. Try “table,” “cake,” and “dog.” If you tag people, you can search for those photos, too. It’s powerful and very helpful. Search is a big deal because your phone likely names the photos some random name with a number. Who knows what that photo really is?


Uploading Photos to Dropbox’s Cloud


Dropbox is a great choice for storing and saving your photographs in the cloud. What’s even better is that up to 2G of storage is free for individuals. Your phone’s settings determine whether or not you allow Dropbox to sync (upload photos to the cloud) while you’re on cellular (data) or only on Wifi. If you have cellular turned on, this will count against your data on your plan. The best option is when you’re in Wifi. Even if you don’t have WiFi at home, you can always access WiFi from hotspots.


“Store photos from smartphones, digital cameras, and even film—all together in Dropbox.” Dropbox


How Will You Store Your Photos?


Storing your memories is so important for you, your friends, and, of course, your whole family. How will you do it? Oh and hey, if you like this article, we have plenty more when you sign up for our newsletter. (And we always appreciate a share on Social Media. Thank you!)


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