The great thing about Android has always been the extreme customisation options. Android is flexible and you can pretty much make it your own. The standard operating system has plenty of options when it comes to tweaking, but you can go even further by using a custom rom. But this article isn’t about that, it’s simply recommendations on how to use Android to make your life easier.
Automatic Backups & Autoawesome
With the great range of handsets out there at the moment there are plenty of phones with high quality cameras but even those that don’t have great lens or a high megapixel count still take reasonable photos. Smartphones are great because they have the convenience of being a camera in your pocket. Pull it out and snap away at your convenience.
One problem with this has always been getting photos off your device and ensuring you don’t lose them if your phone gets lost/stolen/broken but with all the ‘cloud’ solutions now available it’s easy. Sure you can plug your phone in and copy and paste the photos onto your PC but why bother when there’s an easier way.
I discovered the joy of auto upload a while ago and am always surprised when people aren’t using it. The premise is simple, you snap the photo and your phone uploads and backs it up for you automatically. If you have the right software (or link) on your computer the file is then almost instantly available on there as well.
There are plenty of options open to you as well.
Dropbox has been around for a fair while. You are probably already familiar with it. Before I discovered the Android app I used to use Dropbox for work purposes in order to send large files securely without having to attach stupidly big files to email.
The Dropbox app offers similar solutions but has a much better personal use – auto back ups. You’re probably already familiar with the Windows version of Dropbox and the software you can install and sync on your PC. Well, if you have that software installed then this makes the process even quicker.
Install the Dropbox app on your phone and you get the option straight away to auto backup your photographs. You can choose to do it via wifi only or data and wifi.
Nice and simple.
Like Dropbox, Google Drive has been around for a while. It’s another capable cloud backup system for making sure your important data is safely backed up. I use it for all sorts of things from spreadsheets to photos. For photographs it works just like Dropbox. Choose to upload your photos and when and its just a case of snap and forget.
Choose to upload over wifi only or data and you’re away. Drive gives you a substantial amount of storage space and it’s easy to use.
Being a Google product it’s probably the most logical one to use, especially for avid Android users. But newbies should certainly download and start using it as well. Like Dropbox, Drive also has software to install on your PC (or you can access it via a browser at http://drive.google.com) and your photos will almost instantly be available.
Google+ & Autoawesome
Google+ is the (not so new) social network from Google that most people grumble will never replace Facebook. However, now if you buy an Android device (or setup a Google account) it is a requirement that you have a Google+ profile. And even if you never have any intention of using the social network, there’s still plenty of reasons to use the app.
Google+ has had automatic photo backups for a while. In much the same way as Drive and Dropbox any photos taken will be uploaded according to your settings. The advantage of doing this via Google+ has historically been the ease of sharing. Photos are backed up privately but then when you login to your Google+ account or the app you have the option to share the photos on the social network.
Just recently Google improved this system even further with the addition of something they call ‘Autoawesome’. Basically this is a system whereby your photos are automatically improved and enhanced for a better end result. Lighting, sharpness, contrast, etc is tweaked for a nicer photo. You’d think this system would be flawed being automatic but it’s actually very impressive.
Better still, Autoawesome has some special tweaks that’ll make your photos even more special. Take a series of photos and it’ll convert them into animated gif files or create a collage. This system has had some pretty spectacularly accidental results which I’ve thoroughly enjoyed.
So there you have it. Three recommendations for improving your Android photo experience. Personally I use all three. No reason not to have multiple backups for safety’s sake, especially when the storage is free!