In this post I mentioned I would be reviewing back up and sharing software for digital photos. My goal is to evaluate how various applications manage the following features.
- Automatically backup my photos from my phone to either my computer or the cloud.
- Manual options to upload photos from your computer to the cloud (if you prefer to work that way).
- Instant access to the images and an ability to view them in case my phone or computer dies.
- What are the storage size options and corresponding fees.
- What are the online sharing and upload options with family members. How do they get access, can they add images etc.
- What are the privacy settings. Can albums be set up with passwords.
- Can everybody comment and like images (similar to Facebook).
- Can images be grouped into events, or albums. Can they be tagged.
- Can members download images for printing or send out to be printed, book creation options.
- Are there image editing options.
- Can you email an album or slide show to members that may not be so tech savvy.
Microsoft Photos and One Drive
I have to say I have worked with PCs my whole life and I still marvel at how Microsoft can make things more confusing than they need to be. After a few fits and starts I was able to sort out the following.
If you have the latest version of Windows (10) you should have an application Photos already installed on your computer. In the set up process, Photos will automatically direct itself to your Pictures folder on your hard drive. Similar to applications like Picasa or iphotos, Photos allows you to view, edit and sort your images on your computer. If you want to share your images or back them up to the cloud you need to have the One Drive application. As we purchased the Microsoft 365 application package, we received the first level of Premium storage. That means we get up to 1T of storage each for up to 5 family members. If you didn’t purchase 365 and you want to use One Drive, your storage capacity is quite limited. See below.
Auto Back Up (One Drive)
- You can auto back up images from your phone or tablet using One Drive application
- One image at a time or have it set up to always sync.
- Set up information
Manual Upload (Photos and One Drive)
- If you have images on a digital camera, you can save them to your PC and into your Pictures folder.
- Photos instantly connects to your Pictures folder. Open the Photos application to view, edit and sort your images.
- You can tell Photos to sync to other folders on your hard drive by going into the Setting (dots on far right).
- To back up and view images in the cloud, save your photos from your PC to your One Drive folder or upload directly from Photos.
- You can set it up in the One Drive settings to have all images automatically uploaded to One Drive when you connect a camera or other device to your PC. Right click on the One Drive folder in your Finder window and choose settings.
- Or you can upload images from your PC while signed into the One Drive online app.
Viewing Area (One Drive)
- You can view any files you have uploaded to One Drive on your phone through the app or on another computer by signing in to One Drive.
Storage Options and Fees (One Drive)
- One Drive basic 5G storage – free
- One Drive 50G storage – $2.99/month
- Plan information
Sharing Options (One Drive)
- You can share albums to an email address or various social media apps or you can copy a link.
- People you shared the photos with can view and download the images.
- For people to add or delete photos they must sign in with their own Microsoft One Drive accounts.
- If you allow a recipient to Edit your folder and they share it with someone else, that person will have the same editing access.
Privacy Options (One Drive)
- Your Microsoft account password means that only you can access the files that you saved to One Drive.
- When you share the photos with another One Drive account user through email, the files are only visible to them and they must sign in to view them.
- When you share the photos to Facebook or another social media platform, the files are now public.
- You can determine if the people you share the content with have the option to edit the files through the settings.
Commenting Options (One Drive)
- I couldn’t find any commenting options but you can add a caption for each photo.
- You can also embed a photo into a blog or webpage, making it open for public viewing.
Categorizing Options (Photos and One Drive)
- Yes, in both Photos and One Drive.
- It automatically sorts them by day. If you want them to be sorted another way, say all the pictures of your dog, you need to create an album.
- You can manually tag your photos in One Drive.
- The application does have a form of auto tagging but I didn’t find it to be too accurate.
Printing Options (Photos and One Drive)
- You can get images printed through Walgreens, which is great, if you live in the States, near a Walgreens.
- For the rest of us, you will have to save them to your hard drive and get them printed through one of the many other online printing websites like Adoramapix.
Editing Options (Photos)
- Photos has a very basic editing feature, similar to Google Photos.
- You can make slide shows that can be viewed on your computer.
Send Options (One Drive)
- You can share an album to an email address. They will receive an email with a link to the web page with the photo album.
I get the feeling that the Photo sharing options through One Drive is really an after thought. One Drive was set up, I believe, to work with Microsoft office products so that teams could share, edit and download working documents. It can however, work as a back up to your own personal documents and photos just in case you have computer trouble or are away from your computer. If you don’t share anything, your files are protected with your One Drive password. The photo sharing side of the equation doesn’t really allow for privacy for sharing between family and friends.
Next posts will cover Apple icloud, then Amazon Photos, then Flickr (where is it at now?)