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6 ways to make the most of Google Photos for Android and iOS

Ben Patterson | Aug. 11, 2015
So long, Google+ Photos, and a big hello to Google Photos. What's the difference, besides the missing plus sign? Plenty, as it turns out.

5. Pinch to see more--or fewer--photos

The Photos section of Google Photos defaults to what's essentially a daily view of your snapshots, good for perusing the pictures you took on a given afternoon.

If you'd rather see all the photos you took in a month, a season, or a year, there's a clever way to do it: Just "pinch" the screen. The more you pinch in, the more photos you'll see. Spread your fingertips apart to zoom in. If you spread your fingers enough times, you'll end up opening an individual photo.

Bonus tip: If pinching isn't for you, just tap the three-dot button in the top corner of the Photos screen and select a zoom option: "Comfortable," "Day," or "Month."

6. Tweak your backup settings

One of the first things Google Photo's Assistant will do is suggest you back up all your photos to your Google account. Turning on the backup feature is just the first step, however. Tap the top-left Menu button, then tap Settings > Back up & sync to customize your backup settings.

You can (and probably should, if you have a capped mobile data plan) set your photos to back up only when your phone is connected to Wi-Fi. There's a separate setting for videos, although Android users will notice the setting is grayed out if photo backups are set to the "Wi-Fi only" option.

You can also choose whether to back up "high quality" versions of your photos or full-resolution images. Why choose mere "high quality" (which offers "great visual quality at reduced file size," according to Google) over full resolution? Because photo backups using the "high quality" setting are free. If you choose full resolution, you'll have to pay up for extra storage depending on the size of your image library. The first 15GB of online storage is free (including whatever's in your Google Drive account). After that, you'll need to pay $1.99 a month for 100GB of storage or $9.99/month for a terabyte of storage.

Android users have two more backup settings to consider: whether to allow photo backups when roaming on a different data network than your carrier's (not recommended, unless you love big surprises on your monthly wireless bill) and the option to restrict backup unless your device is connected to a power source.


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