Managing Photos on your Android – Part 2 of the Photos Collecting Dust series

Keeping your Photos from Cluttering an Android Device

In Part 1 of this series we discussed our general process for taking photos, often on a phone, and actually being able to find them later.  We then went into detail on how to manage them on an iPhone.

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On the Tamiami Hwy, Florida

This article is just for Android users.  iPhone users have access to iCloud and their tools automatically sync with that system.  If you are an Android user, you have easy access to Google apps, especially Google Photos.  If you are a Picasa user, you will find this especially simple as Google Photos is the new version of Picasa.

Part 3 of the series will go through some long term (and large) photo storage options for both Apple and Android users.

As you recall if you read Part 1, our steps are as follows:

  1. Take pictures!
  2. Delete the garbage.  I know all of your pictures are perfect, but I tend to snap whenever i feel like it and some are truly useless.
  3. Get the rest to long term storage
  4. Organize enough to be able to find things.
  5. Edit the really good stuff
  6. Share to friends and family (or just to your own scrapbook!)

It turns out Google makes this easier and harder than iCloud does.  Mostly, it is just different.

Step 1. Take Pictures

This one is pretty easy and you probably don’t need me to explain.  But just in case …

There is a [camera] icon on your home screen.  Click it!  This opens a camera view where you can see what the camera sees.  Browse through the [modes].  Some of them are pretty helpful.  After selecting a mode, just tap the [camera] icon again and “click” you have a photo.  Easy!

Now there are a lot more options than that for taking photos, but that’s not the focus (sic) here, so we’ll move on.  See GeeksOnTour for some great details.

Step 2. Delete the Garbage

This is urgent.  Especially if you pay for data transfer costs (i.e. data plans with your phone provider) you will want to get rid of anything you don’t want to sync to the cloud as soon as possible.

To delete photos, find the [Gallery] icon.  The left side of the screen is a list of folders.  The first folder is [Camera]  Click it once.  Select any photos you want to delete by touching them.  Each selected photo will have a check mark in the corner.  When you have them selected just tap the [garbage can] in the upper right hand corner of the screen and poof!

You might notice in gallery view  that some pictures have a camera icon in the corner and others have a little colored pinwheel.  The ones with a pinwheel are already loaded to Google Photos.  We will deal with those later.

Step 3. Long Term Storage

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The next step is to send your files to Google Photos.  Because I am assuming you are paying for data costs, we will set up the backup process to be on-demand rather than automatic.  This will give you time to delete the junk before the phone backs everything up to the cloud!

Open the [Photos] app.  This is your phone’s view of Google Photos.  (You can see the same thing by logging into from your web browser.)  In the upper left of this app is a little [menu] icon (Three horizontal lines – some people call it a hamburger!  Go figure.)  In that menu select [Settings] and find [Backup and Sync].  Turn it OFF.  Backup will not happen.  After you have done your deletes, turn it back on.  Be sure to turn it off again before taking more pictures!

Since we are in this menu, lets look at a couple more helpful choices.  The first is [Upload Size].  Your options are High Quality and Original Size.  As of July of 2015, you have unlimited storage space on Google Photos if you upload as High Quality.  If you upload as Original you will be using up your 15 GB storage space.  Do you care?  If you are taking pictures with a phone, you are probably not worried about getting maximum pixel depth.  The high quality setting is very good for any web style sharing.  However, if you plan to have an 8″x12″ photo printed and framed, it should be as dense as you can get.  Go with original in that case.

The next menu item is [Free up device storage].  So here’s the deal.  Normally if you delete a photo from your device it will be deleted from Google Photos and any other device connected to the same Google account.  That’s good right?  Yes, especially if you are deleting garbage.

However, you often want to have your photos stored online and taken off of your phone.  Eventually your phone will fill up with photos.  My daughter in law told me recently she couldn’t take any more photos of my new grand-twins because her phone was full.  Ouch!

So, after you delete the junk, turn on [Backup and Sync].  This will get all of your photos to the cloud.  THEN select [Free up device storage] which will clear out your phone by removing photos that have already been backed up.  Slick right?

Now your phone is backed up to Google Plus and cleaned off ready for more photos.

Step 4 – Organize!

Now here is the question, would you prefer to organize your albums on your phone or using your computer using a web browser?  That’s your call with Google Photos.  In either environment you can create albums and select photos to put into those albums.   You can review and edit these albums in the [collections] menu of Photo Plus.

Just so you know, you are not “moving” the photo to the album and you are not “copying” it to the album.  Basically the album is just a grouping so you can see several photos together.  To remove a photo from the album, select the photo, select the [dots] (three vertical dots) menu in the upper right hand corner and select [remove from album].  This will not delete it.

To delete it you need to go back to the [Photos] menu, select the photo and click the [garbage can], as described above.

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Harris Lake, Florida

Step 5 – Edit

This is where Google Photos really shines.  Right on your phone, with a photo selected, click the pencil to edit.  There are an amazing array of options here.  For detailed editing training, see .  They have great information and they describe it much better than I can!

Step 6 – Share to family and friends

Google Photos does this very simply, but not especially securely.  Just select your collection, find the [three dots] menu in the upper right corner and select [Share Album].  You then copy the link provided and send it to friends in an email of share it on Facebook.

Please note the warning – Anyone with the link can see this album.  That is pretty close to being “public” because if you email a link, the recipient can forward it to someone else.  If you are really security paranoid, remember that anything going through email can be sniffed and stolen.  The protections are better than they used to be, but so are the hackers.

Do you need more storage?

If all of your photography is done with an android device connected to Google Photos, you probably don’t need to keep reading.  This system works well for you.

However, perhaps you have photos from a digital camera as well as the device?  Perhaps you don’t really like the sharing system with Google Photos?  Maybe you need more sophisticated editing tools than Picasa provides?  (That one’s a stretch; Picasa is pretty darn good).

If so, take a look at Part 3 of this series on Photo Storage.  If you are a Google Photo user, there is an app you can download to your laptop (Mac or Windows) that allows you to sync your Photos to your hard drive.  You can then manage them on your hard drive and then remove them from Google Photos if you are using another long term storage option.

Organize and sort and then move them to your long term storage.  You can see the details in Part 3.






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