In spite of all the derogatory sentiments that can be harped upon regarding an increasingly wired culture, smartphones and other mobile gadgets are amazingly deft at bringing families, friends and loved ones into the moment, even if they are miles away. From live video chat to easy photo sharing, mobile photos help families stay in touch in a meaningful way. But while it’s incredibly easy to snap a picture and fire it off via email or Facebook, archiving all of this content is somewhat more of a challenge. Instead of letting your precious moments evaporate into ephemera the next time you clear your inbox or refresh your Facebook news feed, consider keeping an organized and permanent shared folder with all of your photos in it. This can be achieved among friends, family and coworkers using Dropbox—a cross-platform cloud-syncing app that works for iOS (iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad), OS X, Windows, Linux and Android. Here’s how to get started:
Download the Dropbox app for iOS, Android, Windows or OS X. It’s not necessary to get the desktop version of the app, but it’s a good idea.
Register for a Dropbox account. All users who are interested in accessing the shared photo folder should do this.
Log in to your Dropbox account via the web. Do this at Dropbox.com from your mobile device or desktop computer.
Create a new Dropbox folder. Click the “New folder” button along the top.
Open the folder on Dropbox.com. Click “Invite to folder” along the top.
Enter the email addresses of each person you would like to invite to the shared folder.
Now, each person who was invited to the folder should log in to their Dropbox account and accept the invitation.
Begin uploading photos to the folder. Whenever anyone uploads a photo to the folder, it instantly becomes available to everyone across all of their devices. The photo stays backed up in the cloud and on your desktop, meaning there’s no need to download or sync the photo from your tablet or iPhone. Meanwhile, you have access to the full library of shared photos on demand from your tablet.
You can also view photos online from any web browser by visiting Dropbox.com and logging in. This method is a safe, secure and convenient way to back up all of your treasured memories and moments—and it’s free for up to 2 GB. If you ever want to remove access to a shared folder, the person who created the folder can revoke the invitation at a later time.
If you want to share an individual photo with someone who has not been given full sharing privileges to the folder, you can choose “Get Shareable Link” from the Dropbox app or from the Dropbox desktop app. Whenever you are browsing a Dropbox folder from your desktop computer, simply right-click it to bring up the Dropbox menu, which you can use to create shareable links. Shareable links grant anyone with the link access to that one file or folder with read-only privileges—so you don’t have to worry about them uploading anything malicious or unwanted to your Dropbox folder.
Tip: To get more free space with your Dropbox account, have one user sign up first and then invite the others via referral code. The invitees and the original Dropbox user will each get 250 MB of free space per sign up.