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How to back up your photos using Google Photos

Give your phone some space to breathe

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When you’re running out of storage, what do you do? You back up the files you don’t need anymore. But for someone working in a tech-oriented industry, I’ve been a bit old-school.

I used to copy my photos to an external hard drive to preserve my memories and to save space. Before, I didn’t know how to back up my photos using cloud services. Then three years ago, my best friend introduced me to Google Photos.

ICYDK, Google Photos is a photo-sharing and storage service that lets you back up unlimited photos and videos. When I learned how easy it was to back up, it became essential to my life — as a reviewer and as a modern millennial.

Just like some millennials (and partly, the first wave of Generation Z), I have a severe obsession with taking selfies and capturing multiple shots of a single scene. This results in photographs taking a huge chunk of my phone’s internal storage.

A barrage of selfies and photographs I took from a recent trip

Thankfully, Google Photos has my back (up). It helps me with storing, organizing, archiving, and sharing my files. Best of all, I can do all of it for free albeit there’s a compromise. Still, it’s high time you use this app to do some digital de-cluttering. Here’s how you can do it:

Download Google Photos

It’s currently available in Google’s Play Store and the App Store. Older Huawei models still have access to Google, so you don’t have to worry. But if you’re relying on AppGallery, you can only preview and download your photos through a browser. Stock Android users don’t have to do this anymore since their photos and videos are automatically synced to Google Photos — which they already have on their phones.

Choose a backup setting

When you’ve successfully installed Google Photos, open it, and sign in using your Google account. You’ll get an option to back up high-quality photos in exchange for free unlimited storage. If you choose this setting, you can still enjoy great quality but its file size will be reduced. For photos, you can save up to 16 megapixels and for videos, you save up to 1080p HD. Not bad, right?

If you opt to back up the original size, the number of photos and videos you can save will be limited to your account storage. Since this setting will save the full resolution of your files, it’s best to use if you have increased the storage available via Google Drive.

Back up & sync

Backed up flat lays of my cooking adventures while on a lockdown

Upon installation, Google Photos will ask you to turn on “back up & sync”. If you allow it, the app will do its work by backing up your photos to the cloud. Once done, you can sync your photos and videos automatically every time you use Google Photos. It’s just a matter of regularly checking it!

Additionally, you can access Google Photos anywhere. Be it your smartphone, tablet, or even your laptop — this app is definitely a match made in heaven for those struggling with organizing their photos and videos. Just sign in to photos.google.com via your browser or use the app on any device with Google Services. You can also easily search your photos by people, places, and things since Google Photos automatically sort them for you.

Free up space

If you’re done backing up, you can free up space by going to Google Photos’ settings. If it’s backed up, you can remove the photos and videos on your device. Now, you don’t have to run out of space for new memories!

Making and sharing albums

For an even more organized life, you can sort your photos and videos into albums (and make it private even more, though you’re the only one who can really see it).

If you intend to share select photos/videos or an entire album, people can only access the content you want them to see through a magic link.

Totally safe and secure

While there have been issues surrounding cloud services and Google Photos, the app has been safe and secure so far. No one can access your photos and videos except you unless someone has access to your Google account. The photos and videos you shared with friends and the people you know can only preview what you’ve shared unless someone got hold of the link provided.

There are so many things you can do with Google Photos, and there are more features that we could talk about some time. But, for now, get yourself introduced to the app first. Do some digital decluttering and Marie Kondo your gallery. Your phone will thank you in the long run.

SEE ALSO: How to purge your social media accountsHow to download full-resolution Instagram photos on desktopHow to upload Instagram photos on desktop

Apps

Google adds Safe Folder to Files app

For more privacy and security

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Have you ever had to lend your phone to a friend or family member for a quick minute, only to realize that — intentionally or not — they have started browsing on your phone. Smartphones are personal devices, and thus, might contain files that you don’t exactly want other people seeing. This is the situation that Google is trying to address with the Safe Folder.

Safe Folder is a secure 4-digit PIN-encrypted folder. It helps users store important documents, images, videos and audio files securely. This helps in keeping their personal files safe from being accessed by someone else.

The folder won’t allow users to take screenshots or screen recordings of its contents. It’s also locked as soon as users switch away from the app.  This means no content is accessible in the background and the PIN is required upon re-entry to the Files app.

Google didn’t just come up with this out of the blue. They conducted research and found that in certain countries — especially those with limited smartphone access — device sharing is a common occurrence.

Asked if this is a feature that can be extended to apps installed on the phone too, the Google representatives discussing the Safe Folder feature said they understand the need but can’t speak to any implementation or development of such.

That said, this is still a welcome addition for anyone who has ever encountered this scenario.

SEE ALSO: Nearby Share which is ‘Google’s AirDrop’ now rolling out

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Nearby Share which is ‘Google’s AirDrop’ now rolling out

Now supporting Pixel and Samsung phones

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After a long time in development, Google’s Nearby Share feature is now available on some Pixel and Samsung phones. The file-sharing feature enables direct transfer of files locally, improving speed as well as ease-of-use.

Apple’s iOS and macOS have a feature called AirDrop for a very long time now. Using local WiFi protocol, any large file can be swiftly transferred within the ecosystem. Android users have long been asking for a similar feature and it’s now available on a few phones.

If you want to share a file, just tap share, and wait for the nearby device to show-up. Select the device and the file will be off within a few seconds. This eliminates the need to upload the file on a cloud and later download it on another device. Bluetooth connection is radically slower than WiFi protocol and hence cannot be used for larger files.

The concept is on the same lines as third-party apps like Xender or Me Share. But, with a direct app from Google, Nearby Share can become a deeply rooted part of the operating system, much like the Play Store.

The receiving device will always have the option to “accept” or “decline” the file, so files are never transferred without explicit confirmation. However, the best part about Nearby Share is its cross-platform compatibility. It’ll work with Chromebooks, Windows, and Chrome browser. iOS support isn’t mentioned yet.

Nearby Share leverages Bluetooth and location, along with WebRTC, or peer-to-peer WiFi sharing. Lastly, the feature is backed by Google Play Services, so Huawei phones will again miss out on a simple app.

Although, Chinese tech giants like OPPO, vivo, Xiaomi, realme, and more have created a consortium that shall support a similar file sharing app seamlessly across all their devices. Google is quite late to the game and these Android phone makers were kind of tired of waiting.

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Apps

Firefox for Android about to become faster, sleeker

Expect big changes in version 70

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One of the main Android browsers out there is Mozilla Firefox. For a long time though, Firefox for Android remains largely unchanged. Also, some people complained about performance issues compared to other browsers. That is set to change, however, as a new version of the browser land on these coming months.

This new version is actually in development by Mozilla for a long time now. Internally referred to as “Fenix”, the upcoming Firefox version is actually rebuilt from the ground up. As such, the Firefox browser that most people are using now is actually a legacy browser. Mozilla stopped the development of this legacy browser until versions 68-69 but continued issuing minor updates along the way.

Version 70 marks the new browser that will slowly roll out in the coming months. This new version is focused on speed and simplicity. One of the biggest changes is the location of the navigation bar. Users will now find it on the bottom along with the menu button, making navigation much easier with one hand. Plus, Firefox is introducing a new “Collections” feature which is basically a list of your favorite sites.

Also new is support for dark mode, and enhanced tracking protection. The latter is a feature that Mozilla has been pushing to its users across its desktop and mobile users.

Firefox is also getting a much-needed performance and speed boost with the latest version. Mozilla reworked the Gecko engine that powers this browser. Developers put an optimized version of the Gecko engine — GeckoView — inside. Aside from a revamped UI and faster browser engine, Firefox promises support for add-ons. For now, however, users can only install a limited number of add-ons.

Coming sooner than later

Mozilla has already begun the process of updating existing Firefox users to the new browser last February. For users to receive the update, they have to be on Firefox 59 or higher. Plus, they should be running Android 5 Lollipop or higher. They must also have automatic updates enabled.

Eligible users don’t have to do anything to upgrade to the latest Firefox. Mozilla will handle the update process for them. Most browser data from the legacy browser will also be migrated to the new one. These browsing data include history, bookmarks, cookies, default search engine, add-ons, and more.

Meanwhile, ineligible users won’t receive the new browser. Mozilla is devoting its development resources to the new browser, so there won’t be any more updates to the legacy browser after 2020. Users who upgraded to the new browser can’t downgrade too.

Indeed, the beloved Firefox browser had come a long way. Recent developments to the browser mean that Firefox users can expect more on months and years to come.

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