How to Manage Your iPhone Photos #4 In 5 simple steps

Now it’s time to get down to the “how to keep my iPhone photos under control” part of this series. What you will learn here is an ongoing system for saving and sharing photos and keeping your iPhone’s photo clutter minimized.

If you followed my steps in Part 3, the worst is over.

These are the guidelines that will help you manage your iPhone photos from now on.

First, set a reminder on your iPhone

  • Open Reminders on your iPhone
  • Touch the ‘+’ in the top right and then Reminder.
  • In the title field, enter “Manage Photos.”
  • Turn ON “Remind me on a day.”
  • Beside “Alarm,” select a future day of the week and time (i.e. Sunday, 8:00 PM)
  • Beside Repeat, select how often you will need to clean up your photos. Every week or 2 weeks will keep you from being overwhelmed.
  • Touch Done.

5 Steps when your Reminder goes off

  1. Delete the bad shots from the Camera Roll.
  2. Add any favorite photos to your shared Favorites album (if you did not create this, the instructions are in Part 3).
  3. Create and add photos to other shared albums. (This is also explained in Part 3.)
  4. Connect your iPhone to your computer to download the photos and videos you want to keep.
  5. You don’t have to delete every photo and video on your iPhone, but keep no more than 200 pictures and a few videos on an ongoing basis. Remember, always delete from Camera Roll, unless the computer deleted them for you.

Once you’ve completed these steps, open Reminders and touch the circle beside “Manage Photos.” You will be alerted again, depending on your reminder’s settings.

Backup your photos saved on your computer

This is where I get up on my soapbox and plead with you to pleeeeease use some kind of backup system for the pictures and videos that you have stored on your computer.

These are some options:

  • Automatically or manually copy them onto flashdrives or external hard drives. Theoretically, these should not be kept in the same building as your computer.
  • Automatically or manually upload them to a cloud storage service like Dropbox or Google Photos. Dropbox is not free after 2GB. Google Photos is free for now but does not store full-resolution copies.
  • Automatically have all of your photos, videos and other files backed up to a cloud backup service with unlimited storage. Crashplan is my favorite, and here is an older post I wrote about it. It costs approximately $50/year.

Reduce or eliminate paying for iCloud storage

If you had iCloud Photo Library turned ON before you started this iPhone photo management method and you have been paying Apple for extra iCloud storage, you may want to downgrade or eliminate your storage plan because:

  • You have saved your best iPhone photos on your Mac or PC.
  • You can use Photo Stream to synchronize your recent photos between your devices.
  • You have implemented a backup system for the photos and videos on your Mac or PC (as discussed above).

Below is a screenshot from Apple’s support page Get Help with Your iCloud Photo Library. Follow Apple’s instructions to Disable and Delete iCloud Photo Library.

Apple Support Remove Content from iCloud screenshot

If you have a Mac and it was also connected to your iCloud Photo Library, I recommend that you follow the above instructions for downloading the originals to Photos on your Mac. You may have already done this without realizing it and there won’t be any new photos downloaded.

There’s still another step to downgrade your iCloud Storage plan. Apple explains how with iCloud Storage Upgrades and Downgrades.

You still have 5GB free iCloud storage – use it!

If you have not been backing up your iPhone automatically to iCloud, it’s time to start! iCloud backups will protect your photos in between downloads to your computer, in addition to other data and settings.

If you are unfamiliar about how to turn it on, follow Apple’s easy instructions How to Back up Your Devices Using iCloud or iTunes.

I hope you’ve enjoyed learning my system for keeping iPhone photos under control. If you have any questions or comments, feel to comment below or send me an email through the Contact link.

How to Manage Your iPhone Photos #3 Getting your iPhone photos cleaned up and cleared out

In the first installment of this series, I proposed seven reasons for learning how to manage your iPhone photos. Then, in the second part, I explained the effects of your Photos Settings on your photo management goals.

In this article I will show you how to get your iPhone photos organized and cleared out in preparation for your ongoing photo management system.

With this photo management method, you can:

  • Stop paying for extra iCloud storage from Apple
  • Move your photos from your iPhone to your computer
  • Share groups of photos with friends and family
  • Create albums of your best photos using minimal iPhone storage space

Warning: This is a long post, but aren’t the above rewards worth it?

P.S. Warning: Make certain all of your devices are completely up-to-date with their software and apps before beginning.

Some definitions

One more important, quick explanation. When you open Photos on your iPhone, there are three options across the bottom.

Albums are the photos and videos saved in your iPhone. The albums Camera Roll (or All Photos) and Videos takes up storage space in your phone.

Shared are iCloud Albums you have created or that have been shared with you. They are actually saved in Apple’s iCloud, for free, with a space-saving copy on your iPhone. The memory this uses on your iPhone is negligible.

Photos are all the photos and videos from Camera Roll and Photo Stream or All Photos (if iCloud Photo Sharing is on), organized by Years, Collections and Moments. It’s simply a reorganization of your photos and a different way to view them, not extra copies.

Getting your iPhone ready for the iPhone Photo Management System

        1. Check your iPhone settings
          • Go to Settings > Photos & Camera
          • iCloud Photo Sharing should be ON.
          • Do not worry about the other settings that you have ON or OFF right now.
          • Press the Home button to return to the Main screen.
        2. Create a Favorites album in Shared Albums
          Apple provides a Favorites Album in Albums that you may already be using. The problem with this album is that it requires you to keep those photos in your iPhone, taking up storage space.

          If you will save your favorite shots to a Shared Album, you can keep many more pictures there and use less space.

          • Open Photos and touch Shared at the bottom.
          • If you see  in the top left, touch it to return to the iCloud Photo Sharing screen.
          • Touch the  in the top left.
          • Type Favorites in the popup.

          • Touch Next.
          • Touch Create, without entering anything for “To:”
          • You now have an empty shared Favorites album.
        3. Add photos to your Shared Album “Favorites”
          • With Photos open, touch Albums at the bottom right.
          • If you see  in the top left, touch it to return to the main Albums screen.
          • If you have photos in the Favorites album on this screen, touch it to open.
            • Touch Select and then Select All.
            • Touch and then iCloud Photo Sharing.
            • In the popup touch Shared Album, Favorites and Post.
          • Touch  in the top left.
          • Touch Camera Roll (or All Photos).
          • Touch Select and touch other photos you want to add to your shared Favorites album.
          • Touch , repeating the steps to add to your Shared Album “Favorites.”
          • Finally, touch Shared at the bottom and confirm that your selected photos have been added to Favorites.
        4. Share groups of photos with others
          When my family gets together for a holiday or vacation, I create a shared album which they can all see and add pictures to. This also works for ongoing sharing of photos with a specific friend or group. To keep the photos private, all sharing contacts must have an iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch or Mac.

          • Follow the steps in #1 above with an appropriate name for your Shared Album (i.e., Christmas 2015)
          • Leave “To:” blank for now.
          • Follow the steps in #2 and add pictures from your Camera Roll (or All Photos) to your new Shared Album.
          • Touch Shared at the bottom and open your new album.
          • Touch People at the bottom and then Invite People… Depending on the information you have for your contacts, you may select to invite someone via email or their cell phone number. I find that inviting via email is seen more dependably by your invitees.
          • Touch as many contacts as you want to invite and then Add in the top right.  You can always add or remove sharing contacts at any time.***There are iCloud Photo Sharing and Photo Stream limits, but most people will not come close to reaching them. If you really want to know more, here are the numbers straight from Apple:https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT202299
        5. Prepare Camera Roll (or All Photos) for saving on computer
          Once you have created shared albums for some of the existing photos on your iPhone, you need to look at the quality and number of photos you have in Camera Roll (or All Photos). Ideally, you only want to save the good photos on your computer. So, it makes sense to delete the ones you do not like first. However, if you have thousands of pictures in your iPhone, the overwhelming task of going through all the photos may hinder your photo management progress. If that describes you, skip the rest of this step, and you can decide what to delete later when they are on your computer.

          • With Photos open, touch Albums in the bottom right.
          • Touch Camera Roll (or All Photos).
          • Touch Select and touch each photo that you do not want to save on your computer and are ready to delete.
          • To quickly select lots of photos, simply drag your finger across any of the photos. As long as you keep dragging, each photo you touch will be selected.
          • When finished selecting, touch the trash can. If you have been using iCloud Photo Library, it will also delete them there.
          • If you delete by mistake, open the Recently Deleted album, touch Select, touch the picture(s) and touch Recover.
        6. Download iPhone photos to computer
          Before you connect your iPhone to your PC or Mac, you need to prevent iTunes from automatically syncing with your iPhone.

            • On a PC:
              • Open iTunes
              • In the top menu, click on Edit and then Preferences (if you don’t see the menu, follow these instructions from Apple: https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT202662)
              • Click on Devices.
              • Check the box beside “Prevent iPods, iPhones and iPads from syncing automatically.”
              • Click OK and close iTunes.
            • On a Mac:
              • Open iTunes
              • In the top menu, click on iTunes and then Preferences…
              • Click on Devices
              • Check the box beside “Prevent iPods, iPhones and iPads from syncing automatically.”
              • Click OK and close iTunes.

          Now, follow Apple’s excellent instructions for importing your photos
          https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT201302 and select either Import to your Mac or Import to your PC for the instructions.

        7. Delete photos from Camera Roll (or All Photos)
          Following the instructions in the link above, on a Mac, you will have the option to let Photos automatically delete your pictures from your iPhone after they are imported. If you did not check the box to do that or you have a PC, then you will need to delete the photos on your iPhone as described in item 5 above.
        8. Change Settings on your iPhone
          • Go to Settings > Photos & Camera.
          • If ON, turn OFF iCloud Photo Library and then touch Remove from iPhone (twice).
          • My Photo Stream should be ON.
          • The other settings are a matter of personal preference.

Doesn’t it feel great to have your iPhone photos cleaned up and cleared out?

Although your Camera Roll (or All Photos) will be empty, your shared albums that you created are still there to see and enjoy.

Don’t miss my last article which will teach you how to keep your photos under control going forward!

How to Manage Your iPhone Photos #2 iPhone photo settings you need to understand

In my last article, I suggested seven reasons for learning to manage the photos on your iPhone.

From simply saving time in the long run to leaving a cherished legacy to your loved ones, mastering your photographic chaos will pay you back in spades.

In this, Part 2, of the iPhone photo management series, I will explain the iPhone settings that affect your photo management: iCloud Photo Library, My Photo Stream, iCloud Photo Sharing and Summarize Photos.

iCloud Photo Library is called a cloud storage service, but it’s really a cloud synchronization service and should not be used for keeping a permanent backup of your photos. When iCloud Photo Library is turned on, all of your photos and videos from your iPhone, iPad, and even computer (if set up for it) are synchronized and can be seen on all of your devices.

There are two problems with iCloud Photo Library if you use it:

  1. You will quickly run out of your first 5GB of free iCloud storage from Apple and have to pay monthly for more storage space.
  2. It is not a backup for your photos. It is a synchronization service. Do not fall victim into thinking that iCloud Photo Library keeps a copy of all of your photos forever. If you delete a photo from your iPhone or iPad, it will delete it in iCloud Photo Library also.

My Photo Stream acts like iCloud Photo Library in that it automatically synchronizes photos taken with your iPhone or iPad so they can be seen on all of your devices. So what’s the difference?

  1. It only synchronizes your most recent photos and not the videos. According to Apple, it will keep up to 1000 photos for 30 days. In my experience, it keeps photos until you reach the 1000 photo limit and then removes the oldest ones as newer ones are added.
  2. It does not synchronize your videos.
  3. It does not have the capability to synchronize photos that are saved in your computer, which iCloud Photo Library can do.
  4. It only works over WiFi.
  5. It does not count against your free 5GB of iCloud storage.

Functionally, iCloud Photo Library and My Photo Stream are so similar, that I am surprised that Apple still offers My Photo Stream. As long as it’s available though, My Photo Stream is my preferred photo synchronization service.

iCloud Photo Sharing is another free photo synchronization tool from Apple that is under-used by most people. Instead of synchronizing photos among your own devices, it lets you synchronize specific pictures and short videos to the iPhones and iPads of your friends. You create what is called a Shared Album and then invite your friends and family to view the album on their own Apple devices. Other benefits are:

  1. Your invited friends and family can add photos to the shared albums for all of you to see.
  2. You can create a shared album and not share it with anyone. It’s a way to keep special groups of photos in your iPhone without taking up as much space as they do in Camera Roll (or All Photos).

Summarize Photos is an option to reduce the number of photos displayed in Years, Collections and Moments. If you keep a lot of photos from lots of years on your iPhone, it may be helpful to have Summarize Photos ON. However, since my intent is to help you reduce the number of pictures on your iPhone, Summarize Photos can be OFF. 

In Part 3 of this series, I will provide detailed instructions on how to organize, share and download your photos.