Your photo backup scheme working? Don’t trust it.

I don’t trust that my phone will stay working. I’ve been pleasantly surprised the past few years that I’ve only lost a couple of pictures and important things, but I don’t bank on that.

I also don’t expect that once a phone is lost we’ll ever get it back, which is why I have the important stuff (photos, videos, etc) synced automatically to the cloud.

It all started with Dropbox. If you write about Android, snapping screenshots is something you do a lot. I’d snap ’em, they’d appear on my computer. Same with photos. I didn’t sync videos because that’s generally not something I’ve been too worried about, but I don’t want to miss out on my kiddo photos.

So I synced with Google Photos as well. I had my wife’s phone set to sync with Photos as well and for a long time that worked. That long time evidently ended 3148 photos ago when backup stopped working and there was no warning that it did.

I got Kim a new phone and my plans were yesterday to move her over without the photos, but I discovered Google Photos had stopped. Oh, it was still an app, there was nothing wrong, it just stopped. 3000+ photos ago. And never restarted.

I’d like to say it’s a one time thing and a one device thing, but the same thing happens on my phone. Photos are set on Dropbox to auto upload on any condition. Do they? Sometimes. Sometimes not. Same with Google. Sometimes they upload, sometimes they don’t. Unfortunately there’s no alert system in place with these services to tell you that it hasn’t seen a photo in a couple of days and is something wrong?

I think the issue with Dropbox may be that Samsung sometimes doesn’t update the gallery. I think this may be a trigger that’s required to signal Dropbox to go ahead and check for changes. My power saver isn’t hitting it as far as I can tell and it seems to be pretty much photos and not screenshots that suffer the most.

Google Photos – it just goes away. No clue. I’d like to say my third option which I’ve been using Amazon Photos was the savior, but that app needs some work.

Short of it is, don’t trust your photo backups. We’re not at a stage where you can trust you took a picture of a crime in progress and it’s on the cloud as the phone is knocked out of your hands and destroyed.

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Paul E King

Paul King started with GoodAndEVO in 2011, which merged with Pocketables, and as of 2018 he's evidently the owner. He lives in Nashville, works at a film production company, is married with two kids. Facebook | Twitter | Donate | More posts by Paul | Subscribe to Paul's posts