At Home with Tech

It’s time to maximize the potential of all your gadgets.

Tag: photos

How iCloud Photos Saved my Family’s iPhones

If your iPhone is running out of storage, it may be because it’s housing too many photos and videos. Here’s why iCloud Photos can help.

My wife and I have been happily shooting and collecting thousands of photos and videos on our iPhones over the years. But there’s a problem. We’re running out of storage on our devices.
(As we upgraded from one iPhone to the next, the digital files simply ported over, and our huge visual libraries kept on growing.)

On one level, it’s nice to have access to every photo and video you’ve ever taken on a smartphone. But it’s entirely impractical. It’s way too many files, and more importantly, any iPhone probably can’t handle that much content without being overwhelmed with the storage need.

Sooner or later, your iPhone will become hobbled. And when you find yourself deleting apps to try to free up precious memory, you really know you’ve got a problem.

Yes, I’ve been there. You need a better solution.

Fortunately, Apple’s got one.

iCloud Photos
To access more storage, you have to look to the cloud. You simply activate Apple’s iCloud Photos, and all of your photos and videos will sync to your iCloud account and across all of your other Apple devices.

How does this help your iPhone? Well, just be sure that “Optimize iPhone Storage” is checked in the settings for your iCloud Photos. That’s the magic step.

When you activate this setting, your iPhone will generate and hold onto smaller versions of your photos and videos while the full-resolution versions live in iCloud.

With just the compressed versions of your photos and videos on your iPhone, you’ll suddenly have a whole lot more available local storage.

Plus, you’ll have all of your media backed up in iCloud.

There is a Cost
Of course, there’s a price for this iCloud ‘upgrade.’ (The measly 5GB you get for free will barely cover a week’s worth of content.)

50GB costs 99 cents/month, and 200GB is $2.99/month.
(2TB goes for $9.99/month, but that’s much more data than your iPhone can generate.)

Before your turn on iCloud Photos, you’ve got to upgrade to an iCloud plan that will cover your needs.

I decided to go with the 200GB plan and share it with my wife’s iPhone through Apple’s Family Sharing feature.

No Finish Line
iCloud Photos is a simple solution to solve for the problem of your ever expanding library of photos. Paying a few bucks a month to activate this capability is definitely worth it.

But simply maintaining a disorganized library of imagery over the years isn’t going to do you any favors. You’ve got to eventually go through your photos… choose the best ones, organize them and then delete the rest.

You need to do the work and curate your best images. Otherwise, they’ll get lost in your sea of countless photos.

Sure, they’ll be safely stored in iCloud. And your iPhone will have more storage.

But that shouldn’t be the end of the story.

Good luck as you continue this life-long photo and video project!

How to Really See your Home for the First Time


It’s been difficult to maintain a sense of structure and control. I’ve often used the phrase ‘new normal’ during COVID-19, but that assumes a comfortable level of stability. And I expect there’s plenty of flux ahead.

All we really have is where we are.  And for many of us, that’s spending most of our time at home. And while there are worse scenarios, it can feel like an extended space voyage. Sure, Zoom chats can help with the isolation, but only to a point.

For me, I’ve certainly begun to experience our home differently. Some of the patterns I’ve been able to hold onto have taken on new meaning. And I’ve even noticed things for the first time that have been in front of my eyes for years.

If there’s a silver lining, it’s that we’re forced to be more present. Here’s my take on this new normal…

  • Welcome to the jungle
  • Find the beauty in the mundane
  • See your reality

Now, slow down. Pull out your smartphone. And take the picture…

Morning Lawn Sprinkler Storm
Survival of the Fittest on our Patio
Breakfast Surprise
Summerlong Seltzer Party
A Bee Visits our Flower
Time to Sweep the Deck
Backyard Movie Night
Being Present for Piano Time


A Photo Mosaic for the New Year

One way to celebrate the New Year is to wrap up photos from the past twelve months and combine them into a photographic mosaic.
Happy 2020
Here, I used ‘Photo Mosaic’ software by cf/x to stitch together the photos from my blog over the past year. To create the master image, I repurposed some of my old tech that’s been gathering dust and organized the pieces on my living room rug to visualize the five letters and four numbers.

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then one photo mosaic can really do some heavy lifting for your storytelling!

Happy 2020!

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