Tag Archives: photos

How to disable iCloud Photo Library everywhere and recover your iCloud storage

Here’s someone who’s been using iCloud Photo Library to keep his photos and videos synced across all devices from day one. You could say I’m a big believer in this feature: it’s never failed me once and makes good use of my paid 50-gigabyte iCloud storage tier. Anyone can take advantage of iCloud Photo Library without upgrading to one of paid iCloud tiers, […]



How to Free Up Space on Your iPhone (& Never Worry About It Again) (Video)

Since most iPhone users don’t stray from iOS they usually upgrade from an iPhone to a newer iPhone. When they do this, things like photos, app data, and a tons of other things are synced and then transferred directly to the new phone. Combine this with the fact that most users don’t upgrade their storage when buying their next iPhone and you can see how we have a pretty easy recipe for running out of space pretty quickly.

Luckily you can free up space on your iPhone with a few simple steps. Things like making sure you aren’t saving duplicate photos (Instagram is notorious for this), saving photos to the cloud automatically so you can delete old ones from the phone without fear of losing them forever, as well as cleaning up some app data and caches that are just taking up space for no good reason.

So let’s see how we can free up storage space on your iPhone and how we can put things in place to make it far less often you’ll need to do this purging.

How to Free Up Space on the iPhone

Check Storage and Find the Largest Cuplrits

First off, we shouldn’t go into this blindly, right? Let’s see what the biggest storage hogs are, then we can tackle this starting with the biggest culprits and move on.

Thankfully, iOS has a way to check this built it. Head to Settings > General > Storage & iCloud Usage > Manage Storage under Storage. From here you’ll see list sorted by the items with the largest size on top.

Now that we can see the biggest culprits eating away at our storage, let’s go through how we can free up the storage they are hogging and also see if we can stop them from taking up so much in the future.

iPhone Storage


After doing the check on the storage, chances are, you’ll most likely see Photos pretty close to the top. Since it is probably the biggest complaint I usually hear about and the one that usually takes up the most data by far, let’s tackle that one first.

Use Google Photos to Automatically Backup All Photos & Videos then Delete Old Ones

Now that we’ve cut down on the duplicates, let’s take care of the big one –your camera roll.

I did an article on this a while ago and named a bunch of ways to backup your photos and you can check that out, but my favorite way is using Google Photos. Essentially, we’re going to use Google Photos, with its free unlimited storage and auto-backup features, to backup all of the photos we have on the phone then delete the ones on the phone since Google Photos allows us to see all of our photos in the Google Photos app without them taking up space on the phone.

Don’t worry, it doesn’t show them to anyone or post them on Google Plus or anything weird like that, and as a bonus, it actually has some cool (slightly freaky?) search features you can then use to find photos once they’re in the app.

Here’s how to use it.

Backup your Photos

Google Photos Backup

  1. Head to the App Store, search for and install Google Photos.
  2. Open it once installed and login/signup (it’s free).
  3. Then click the Settings icon and select to Automatically Backup photos (or select it when prompted during the setup process).
  4. Connect to a Wifi network at this point to speed up the process (and make sure it uploads your videos as well).
  5. Tap the menu icon at the top left and then tap on Assistant and make sure you see it backing up.
  6. Wait. A long time.
  7. Once it says it is done, head to photos.google.com and login with the same credentials you used for the app. Once you do, do a quick scroll through the photos to confirm they all seem to be there (maybe also do some other backup methods just in case as well).

Erase the Camera Roll Photos

Delete Camera Roll

Unfortunately, iOS doesn’t have a way of deleting apps in bulk very easily and would require you to delete them one by one, but thankfully, Google Photos just added the ability to delete them all from inside the app. Here’s how.

  1. Open Google Photos.
  2. Tap the menu icon at the top left then tap Settings.
  3. Under Free up device storage, tap Free Up Space and follow the prompts to finish the job.

From then on, you’ll have reclaimed a ton of storage and still have access to any photo you need from the past by going to the Google Photos app and finding it from there.

Also, from now on, the Google Photos app will always backup your photos and videos if you open the app once in a while while connected to Wifi (it is supposed to do it automatically without having to do that, but I find it doesn’t always so I open it once in a while and let it backup, just to be safe).


Messages on Mac

An app that you wouldn’t really think of hogging a lot of data, but is usually one I see on people’s phones at the top of the storage usage list, is your messages app.

Reason being is that iOS automatically saves all of the photos from your conversations as well as the conversations themselves indefinitely (by default, at least). And since you probably don’t need all of that, let’s change it from Forever to 30 days (the shortest amount it has).

  1. Head to Settings > Messages.
  2. Under Message History, tap Keep Messages and change it from Forever to 30 days


The next biggie for most people is their Music. This usually happens when you have your music actually saved on your phone, say through iTunes, but there’s a better way –streaming.

Use a Streaming Music Service

Spotify Streaming Music

I swap phones so often that I can’t be bothered with putting my music on each one every time so I opted for a streaming service like Spotify instead. You don’t need your entire library on your phone at one time, so instead I save the songs offline from Spotify that I listen to the most often (or know I’m going to want to listen to this week) and then the rest I stream when I feel like I need to hear a specific song. You can download Spotify and pay for the Premium service to be able to do this yourself, or, if you’re engrained in iTunes, you can add iTunes Match to your iTunes to achieve something similar.

Using iTunes Match instead of regular iTunes allows you to keep all your music on your computer, or in the iTunes cloud, and then just download to the phone ones you want to have offline and stream the others like with Spotify. The benefit of this over Spotify is really for those that have their own downloaded music library and want to be able to access it instead of relying on Spotify’s audio library.

To Setup iTunes Match

Sign Up for iTunes Match

  1. On the phone, head to Settings > Music > Subscribe to iTunes Match.
  2. Download and open iTunes on your computer and add your music to it so it can upload it to iCloud.
  3. Once done, head back to the phone and go to Settings > Music > Turn On iTunes Match

Extra Ways to Free Up Space

That probably covers the biggest ones, but there are a few other things to try and reclaim some more storage if you want.

Stop Saving Duplicate Photos

You might not know this, but your phone is saving duplicate photos.

The biggest offenders of this are your normal camera app and Instagram. Your regular camera app does this whenever you take a photo using HDR (which is a software for helping take low-light photos) and Instagram just infamously saves any photo you upload to Instagram as a photo in your camera roll for no reason.

Since neither of these is really very useful in my opinion – use your own judgement though, of course – let’s turn them both off.


Turn Off Keep Normal Photo

  1. Head to Settings > Photos & Camera
  2. Scroll down and turn off Keep Normal Photo under HDR.


Turn Off Instagram Photo Saving

  1. Open the Instagram app.
  2. Tap on your profile then tap the Settings (gear) icon.
  3. Turn off Save Original Photos.

Delete Voicemail Messages

Deleted Voicemails

  1. Head to Phone > Voicemail.
  2. Swipe on each voicemail and tap delete until you delete them all.

Delete Old Podcasts

Podcasts App

  1. Open the Podcast app.
  2. Swipe on each one and tap delete until you delete them all.

Delete Unused Apps

Removing Apps

We all hate to see apps go, but as a last resort, it might be a good idea to check that manage storage list and see which apps use a lot of data that you simply don’t use that often (think video games, apps that do a particular thing you could just as easily do in the browser, or ones you just haven’t touched in forever).

There you go.

Read More: How to Free Up Space on Your iPhone (& Never Worry About It Again) (Video)


Here’s how to add location to photos and videos in Photos for Mac

With Photos for Mac, Apple pulled an iWork: that is, the re-imagining of how you should organize and manage your photos across devices originally wasn’t as feature-complete as the now phased-out iPhoto used to be. That’s especially the case if you consider the need to edit location for some photos in your library: it wasn’t before the OS […]



How to Change the Camera on Your Android Device

Continuing with my new series on getting the most out of customizing Android (since it seems most people don’t realize to the extent you can actually customize an Android device), I’m moving on to something that can change the way you see the world –the camera.

Just like with changing the home screen launcher or the keyboard, there are a ton of camera options to choose from. Some have fun filters and photo features (like the oh-so-popular photo blur effect originally found in the HTC One M8’s camera), while others have a ton of more professional grade settings for the more hardcore photographers out there. Regardless of your level of expertise though, changing the camera can definitely make using your device on a daily basis a more pleasant experience.

Here’s how to change the camera on your Android device and some of the more popular options available.

I. Download the New Camera

1. Open the Play Store.

2. Search for “camera”.

3. Choose one of the many camera options to try and install it.

II. Use the New Camera

Unlike the keyboard and home screen, you don’t need to set the camera as a default right away to use it (but you can select it whenever another app tries to use the camera. It’ll give you the option to use the new camera by default and you can decide if you want to when that happens on your own).

1. Whenever you want to take a picture with the new camera, simply tap that camera app instead of the normal camera app. I also highly recommend putting the camera app icon where ever you had the original camera app icon (i.e. on the home screen or in the dock on the homescreen) so that it’s where you are used to tapping for taking photos.

If you do use a gesture or a button to open the camera normally, simply do that like normal and Android should prompt you to choose what camera app you want to use as the default for that action now that you have more than one suitable option for it to choose from. Simply select the new camera to help make the transition to it a bit more seamless.

You can also always uninstall the new camera to get back to using the old one instead.

That’s it! Try it out and let me know what your favorite camera apps are that you’ve found in the comments below!


How to Hide Photos on Android

Your pictures are important. So is your reputation. Sometimes the reputation you want people to see and the photos saved in your phone don’t quite go hand in hand, which is why you need to learn how to hide photos on your Android phone.

Need more persuading? Humor me by imagining the following:

You’re at a family birthday party. Your phone is stealthily maneuvered out of your pocket by your 3 year old niece, who, with her nimble hands and modern toddler mind, is more adept at navigating technology than you are. Oh crap. You wish you’d deleted those special photos you take a peek at “once in a while.” But it’s too late. Her mind — and your reputation — are corrupted forever.

photo credit: huffingtonpost.com
photo credit: huffingtonpost.com

Before this horrifying scenario unfolds in reality, learn how to hide photos on your Android, STAT. From do-it-yourself steps to smartphone apps, here are simple ways to hide pictures on Android phones.

Get an App to Hide the Photos

photo credit: play.google.com
photo credit: play.google.com

First things first — if you want an app to do everything for you, there are many options to choose from for top security. Built-in passcodes, “stealth modes,” and multiple “vaults” are some of the ways these apps can help you to secure your photos and documents from prying eyes. The following steps in this article aren’t labor intensive, but for those of you who want an app to be able to take care of everything, here are bunches of app options, most of which are Android-compatible. If you want to learn how to do it yourself, though, read on.

Hide Your Photos in a Hidden Folder

photo credit: ubergizmo.com
photo credit: ubergizmo.com
  1. Download a file explorer, such as ES File Explorer, File Expert, or OI File Manager.
  2. Open the file explorer.
  3. Add a new folder which starts with a period (.) followed by a name, like “.hidden data”.
  4. Move your photos into this folder.

These pictures will no longer show up in your main photo gallery — they’ll only be accessible from this hidden folder. They aren’t protected by a password, but in an ideal world, only you know how to get to them.

Hide the Hidden Folder from the File Explorer

photo credit: ubergizmo.com
photo credit: ubergizmo.com

To hide the folder even further within the file explorer, follow these steps (this is specifically for ES File Explorer):

  1. Tap on the main menu in the upper left corner.
  2. Tap “Settings” at the bottom.
  3. In “Settings,” tap “Display settings.”
  4. Uncheck “Show hidden files.”

Now these photos will be hidden within the file manager as well, and in order to see them you will have to uncheck the “Show hidden files” box.

The one glaring problem with any of the above steps is that anyone who knows how to follow these steps can find your photos. Hopefully your 3 year old niece isn’t that insanely awesome, but if you’re worried about needing even more security, say, when you’re showing your mom pictures of your new apartment and you don’t want any sneaky ones to get in there, you’ll need to password protect your pictures. Read on.

Password Protect Photos

If you can’t take the risk of just hiding your photos in a hidden folder, you can password protect them, but you have to use third-party tools. The best option is the free app, Vaulty.

photo credit: ubergizmo.com
  1. Download Vaulty.
  2. Launch the app.
  3. When prompted, enter the password or PIN you want to use to open the app.
  4. Click on “Hide Pictures & Videos.”
  5. Tap each photo you want to hide/lock.
  6. Tap “Pad lock” when you are done.
  7. To access the file again, open the application.
  8. Provide the required password or PIN.
  9. Voila! Here are your secret photos, all in one place.
photo credit: ubergizmo.com
photo credit: ubergizmo.com

Keep Reputation Intact

And there you go, now you can parade those vacation photos around to anyone on the street. I really hope you do, because your other pictures are safe, sound, and out of the way.

Have any other ideas on how to hide pictures on Android phones? Tell us below in the comments!


Server-side patch fixes vulnerability that allowed access to Contacts and Photos on iPhone 6s

An iOS vulnerability that permitted nefarious people to gain access to Contacts and Photos data has been fixed swiftly without the need for a software update. A server-side fix has patched a security hole in Siri which allowed the personal digital assistant to use email links in tweets to gain access to contacts and photos on a […]



Easy to fix iOS bug bypasses Lock screen on iPhone 6s, giving access to Contacts and Photos

First spotted by Jose Rodriguez, who last September found a similar flaw in iOS, and highlighted by The Daily Dot, Apple’s mobile operating system contains a vulnerability that lets others access your Contacts and Photos using Siri on the Lock screen of your iPhone 6s, bypassing your passcode. Fortunately, there’s an easy fix for this which involves […]



Easy to fix iOS bug bypasses Lock screen on iPhone 6s, giving access to Contacts and Photos

First spotted by Jose Rodriguez, who last September found a similar flaw in iOS, and highlighted by The Daily Dot, Apple’s mobile operating system contains a vulnerability that lets others access your Contacts and Photos using Siri on the Lock screen of your iPhone 6s, bypassing your passcode. Fortunately, there’s an easy fix for this which involves […]