Picasa Tip: Google+ Photos Automatically Uploads Pictures from your Phone

InstantUploadI take lots of pictures with my Android smartphone.  But, then what?  They’re just on my smartphone right?  In my case they are also in the cloud – in a private album called Instant Upload on Google+.  The Instant Upload album is also viewable thru Picasa Web Albums.  Google+ Instant Upload is available for Android and iPhone – or other iOS devices.

So, if I take a bunch of pictures with my smartphone, later in the day when I’m at my computer I will be able to view them by going to Google+ and opening the Photo Album called Instant Upload.  I gotta admit, the first time this happened it was a little freaky.  How did those get there?  So, I looked into it a bit and realized that I had recently installed the Google+ App on my phone, and Instantly Upload photos is a default setting.

Unlimited Storage on Google+ Photos

When Google+ does the uploading, it resizes the picture to a maximum of 2048 pixels on the longest side.  So the picture of our dog, Odie above is 2048X1155 pixels and takes up 1133KB of space.  I use my pictures primarily on web pages, and I think 1024pixels is plenty big, so the 2048 limitation imposed by Google+ is just fine with me.  The picture that still is stored on my phone is 3264 pixels on its longest side and takes up 3.25MB of space.  As long as you accept the default size that Google+ imposes, you have unlimited storage space for your photos!  For Free!

For Geeks on Tour Members, here are some tutorial videos that discuss sizing of pictures, see Explanation of Sizing Pictures, Exporting Pictures for Use in Another Program, Resizing a Batch of Pictures, and Resizing Pictures to Width and Height

How to Start

If you want this feature, first you need to be a member of Google+.  If you have a Google account, you almost there, just go to www.plus.google.com and find the blue ‘Upgrade’ button.  This will upgrade your Google account to a Google Plus account.  Be aware that you are joining a social network – kind of like Facebook.  (see member tutorial videos: Picasa 3.9 and Google Plus Sharing, and Removing Google Plus if you Don’t Like it)

googleplus-playNext, you need to download the Google+ App to your phone.  go to your Google Play Store on your phone and search for Google Plus, then click Install. It’s free.

Third, and last, check the settings on your Google Plus App to be sure they match what you want.  For example, if you have a limited data plan on your phone, you may want your photos to be uploaded ONLY when you are connected to a Wi-Fi hotspot – that’s a setting.  OR, in my case, I have unlimited data, so I don’t mind the upload taking place when I’m using my Verizon data, but I don’t want to drain my battery any more than necessary, so I set the setting for Battery to only upload pictures when the phone is plugged into a  charger.  With the Google+ app opened, just touch the menu button on your phone, then Settings, and you’ll see all the options.

From now on all the pictures you take on your phone will automagically be uploaded to your Google+ Photos, in the private album called Instant Uploads.  Then, if you want, you can download them to your computer!  (see tutorial video: Import Pictures from an Android Smartphone – to see how to get pictures directly from your phone to your computer.)

This tip brought to you by Geeks on Tour

Geeks on Tour is a membership website with hundreds of Tutorial Videos on topics of interest to travelers, such as managing digital photos with Picasa, Route-Planning with Streets and Trips, and sharing your travels with a website using Blogger or with friends on Facebook. You can subscribe to our free e-newsletters, or become a paid member and be able to view all of the videos in the Learning Library.

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Chris is a teacher. Although she comes as close to an expert as possible in many areas of computer usage, she can still remember what it's like not to know these things! That means she can communicate with students in a way that teaches and doesn't demean. She really enjoys teaching one-on-one and for groups of people, but she reaches a worldwide audience with her tutorial videos on the GeeksOnTour.com website. She currently travels the country in an RV with her husband, Jim. As Geeks on Tour, they present computer seminars at RV rallies, computer clubs, and Senior Centers all over the US.

8 thoughts on “Picasa Tip: Google+ Photos Automatically Uploads Pictures from your Phone”

  1. As I was scrolling down the page on the Geek Tip on how to I Phone ,etc.,uploading to the cloud,there was a political ad for Romney.
    You just pissed me off for allowing this site to have a political influence.

    You just turned me off to Picasa GeekTips and i’ll tell all my friends and acquaintances not to bother with Picasa any longer..


    1. Stephen,
      Ouch – as an Obama supporter, I would be very upset to see a Romney ad on my page. When I look, I see a Verizon ad?! I did give permission for Google to place ads on my page – in an attempt to earn some income from all the work put into this website ($50 last month) I do not have control over what ads they place. It is supposed to be based on the content of the page – so Verizon would be appropriate – I will indeed check into how a Romney political ad got placed here. If you could take a screenshot and put it in a place where I could grab it – I would appreciate it.


    2. Oh come on, Stephen. You’re going to boycott every TV station (that is, all of them) that broadcasts a Romney ad? Every radio station and web site (thousands of them) that run such an ad? You need thicker skin.


  2. Hi, hope you are well. could you kindly let me know how I can remove picasa photos from my album cell phone?
    with many thanks and best regards,


    1. Every phone is different but, basically, you need to tell your phone NOT to synchronize with Picasa Web Albums, and then go to your Manage Applications for your gallery and clear the cache.


  3. Hi there,

    My question is regarding Google + Autobackup feature. I currently use a Nexus 5 and have autobackup turned on. All my photos get backed up on the cloud and I can view them in Google + Photos.

    Previously, there used to be a folder-like location for Autobackup where you could delete photos that you no longer needed and transfer the ones you needed into Albums for safekeeping.

    In Google’s updated version, I notice that Autobackup is simple a tag to each image. So if you want to look up photos that were backed up from your phone, you would search in All Photos with the hashtag #Autobackup. I tried doing the same thing. I transferred photos that i wanted into albums and tried deleting them from Autobackup. Turns out that this no longer applies. If I delete the photo from #Autobackup it gets deleted from Google Photos entirely.

    With this said, I have two questions about best practices on organizing photos on Google +:
    1) Having transferred a photo from Autobackup into an album, how do I know which Autobackup photos are not in Albums so I can make a decision whether to move them for keeping or delete them?

    2) How does everyone else use Google + Autobackup and Albums to manage photos?

    Appreciate any feedback.


  4. I just recently accidentally deleted an entire album of important pictures. Is there anyway to retrieve them through Picasa? Please help me!!


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