Bits and Bytes May 2021

In this section of the newsletter, I will include some items related to managing and using technology - including computers, email, the Internet, and mobile phones. I hope you find it interesting.

Keeping on top of your photos on an iPhone

Few mobile devices offer you better photo quality than the iPhone. From its high resolution to its ease of use, Apple's smartphone cameras are usually the number-one choice for capturing images. Unfortunately, because it is so easy to take good pictures, that means you'll end up with a lot of them. If you have thousands of pictures and are running out of space, there are a couple of things you need to do.

1. Review your photos. It's easy to take a few photos and forget about them, but those "few photos" can add up. It's best to get into the habit of looking over your photos after you've shot them. Then you can quickly decide which ones to delete. If you do this every few days, it may take a few minutes. Leave it for a few weeks and the number of photos may be so large that it seems overwhelming, and you don't do it.

2. Don't keep near-duplicate photos. Taking a group of photos back-to-back is a good way to give yourself a lot of options, but if the photos are nearly identical, you don't need all of them. Get in the habit of deleting redundant copies to reduce photo storage clutter. One very useful app which can help you with this is Remo Duplicate Photos Remover, which you can get for free from the App Store. When you run the app, you will firstly get a screen looking something like this:

Remo1

Touch the Scan button and the app will sort through all of your photos and report on exact duplicates and similar photos.

Remo2

Touch OK and the next screen will show you the duplicates side by side. You need at that point to select the photos you want to get rid of. Touch the yellow squares in the top right corner of each duplicate photo. This is easy when the photos are exact duplicates. If you touch on Similar, you will get some pairs of photos which may take a little more judgement.

When you've selected the photos you don't need, just touch the dustbin at the bottom right of the screen. You will be asked to confirm the action (Touch Delete on the next screen), and the duplicates will be removed.

3. Optimize your iPhone storage. On your iPhone under Settings > Photos, you'll see an option called iCloud Photos. If you turn this setting on, your phone will automatically upload and store your full-sized photos in your iCloud account. You should also touch the Optimise iPhone Storage. This saves all your photos and videos in their full resolution, while keeping only a smaller version on your actual iPhone. You can now safely delete the photos on your iPhone, secure in the knowledge that you have full resolution backups of them all in your iCloud account.

4. Alternative backups. Many of you will have a Dropbox account. If you don't, then you should get one, as this is definitely the best cloud storage system. Just go to Dropbox.com and sign up. A basic account is completely free, and will give you 2 gigabytes of storage space. This probably enough for 300 or so photos, depending on the quality (and thus size) of each photo.

Once you have your Dropbox account, you need to set it up on your iPhone. Just go to the App Store, search for Dropbox and install it. DropboxNow go to the Dropbox app on your iPhone and touch the Account button (bottom right). On the screen that pops up, scroll down to Photo backup and touch it. There are several options you can select here but the most important is the top one 'Photo Backup'. If the slider switch here shows green then every photo you take with your iPhone will almost immediately be backed up to your Camera Uploads folder on your computer.

Obviously, once your photos are safely in your Dropbox, you no longer need them on your iPhone, so delete away.