In the past it was a chore to get your photos off of your phone and moved to some location where you could do something with them. Phones in the past also often captured terrible quality photos so it was probably better you couldn't access those photos. Current smartphones can take incredible photos and many people, including me, don't even carry a point-and-shoot camera. Thankfully, there are a number of applications and services that allow you to sync, backup, store, and share your photos with many even doing this for you automatically. You should never lose photos you take with your smartphone if you use one of these services.
There are services supported closely by the mobile operating systems, cross-platform cloud services, and many 3rd party utilities. Apple encourages use of iCloud, Android encourages Google+, and Windows Phone encourages use of SkyDrive for smartphone owners running these platforms. These are solid tools and you can even find Google+ and SkyDrive on other platforms. In addition to these more official tools, you can also try out the following:
- Dropbox: Dropbox is one of my favorite tools for backing up photos and with HTC offering some massive free storage options with a device purchase I have loads of storage for my photos and videos. I have this application loaded on many devices to backup photos automatically.
- SugarSync: SugarSync is similar to Dropbox, but gives me a bit better control of what is synced to the cloud. I have the latest 2.0 betaon my Android devices and use it to backup my photos on iOS too.
- Amazon Cloud Drive Photos: The Amazon Cloud Drive Photos appis an application for Android smartphones that lets you automatically upload photos (new in version 1.2) to your Amazon Cloud Drive account. You can capture photos from within the application, control what photos are synced, and manage storage notifications.
- Box: Another cloud service that also has mobile clients that support photo upload and backup is Box. They have Android, iOS, and Windows Phone apps with the fairly typical 5GB of free space available.
- Facebook: I am personally about ready to drop Facebook and primarily only find value in it through the photos shared by family and friends. They now have automatic photo syncing functionality in their mobile client so Facebook offers another venue to backup photos. Then again, photos and videos get downsized and mostly look like junk on Facebook so I may still just drop the service and stick with full resolution solutions.
Photo specific services, such as Flickr, Instagram, and others, do not traditionally have automatic photo upload capability and these are targeted to the sharing of photos. I would actually like it if I could backup all my photos to Flickr and just keep them private, similar to how it works on Google+ and SkyDrive. Given that Flickr is photo specific that seems to make more sense than using a more general backup/cloud service.
I was paranoid about losing my photos before as I tried to get them onto external storage, then moved to my computer, and then backed up. I now have multiple clients setup on my phones to automatically backup my photos (all set to WiFi only syncing) so now the real issue is having to visit each cloud service to share and archive my photos. I can't seem to just pick one service so just let my smartphone take care of photo backup itself. Make sure to install at least one of these services and enable the auto-upload option to have peace of mind when taking photos with your smartphone.