But let me run you through some options (and for Android or other smartphone users, the suggestions can be tweaked to work with your phones, too).
Let Apple do it
If you use all your iPhone’s built-in apps, then here’s how to back up your photos.
- Make sure you have signed up for Apple’s iCloud storage. Check by going into phone’s “Settings” and then “iCloud.”
- Staying in the iCloud settings, look for “Photos,” which takes you to the area to configure how iCloud should back up photos. There are four options with toggle switches. This should be self-explanatory. Turning on “My Photo Stream” won’t use up mobile data but only activates when connected to Wi-Fi.
- More tips are at support.apple.com/icloud
- Do this and if you lose your phone, you’ll still have all your photos in Apple’s cloud. However, go beyond the free 5 GB of storage and expect to pay a monthly fee.
To back up photos use a different cloud service
Take your pick: Google Photos, Dropbox, Prime Photos from Amazon, Flickr, Microsoft OneDrive. All have iPhone apps that do the same thing as Apple’s iCloud, including some free storage.
Amazon and Google offer free unlimited photo storage with some caveats (you need to either be an Amazon Prime member or for Google, opt for lower resolution).
Either way, such cloud apps are also configured in the iPhone’s settings so you can set the apps to automatically back up new photps.
Plugging in: Backing up photos to a computer
If you’re one of those people who prefer to have that photo backed up on a computer hard drive, you can do this in one of two ways: Rely on iTunes or drag them to a folder on your computer.
Within iTunes (assuming you’ve installed this on your computer):
- The first time you connect your iPhone, iTunes will ask, “Do you want to allow this computer to access information on “iPhone” (or whatever you’ve named your phone). Hit “Continue.”
- Now, open iTunes and look for the tiny icon of a phone. This is usually near the top — below the play button and below the “File” options — and next to the drop-down box that says “Music” or “Movies,” etc.
- Click the phone icon. This opens the phone’s settings.
- Select the option to automatically back up to “This computer.”
- There’s also an option to “Back up now.”
But if you don’t want to bother with Apple’s software, go old school and turn your iPhone in a hard drive.
- Connect the iPhone to a computer via the proper cable.
- The iPhone will ask, “Trust this computer?” Select yes.
- Separately, create a folder for iPhone photos. This could be part of your existing photos folder. Keep this open.
- Open Windows Explorer to see the directory of your PC.
- Look for your phone, which could be simply “Apple iPhone.”
- Select it and you’ll probably see one folder that says “DCIM.” Open that and you’ll end up in iPhone’s assorted photo folders.
- Then drag and drop photos to another folder you created on your PC.
Use a photo app to print a hard copy
If you’re truly old school and prefer to touch and feel printed photos, check with your favorite photo printer store to see if it has an app that lets you pick and choose images on your phone to send directly to the printer.
- Walgreens: Not only can you fill your prescription with this app, you can order photo prints right on the phone! Pick up is available in an hour. Details at dpo.st/walgreensphoto.
- Freeprints from PhotoAffections — It’s not totally free, but users can pick up to 85 4×6 photos per month and get them printed for a shipping fee that “never exceeds $9.99.” Details at freeprintsapp.com.
- Shutterfly, Snapfish, Photobucket… All have apps that let you pick and edit photos and then order prints.