Learning From My Cousin’s Loss – A Story About Archiving

Flickr couleur
Flickr app icon

My cousin Bobbi is currently on a cross country trip visiting various cousins and significant family sites.  It’s a true genealogy lover’s dream trip.  I’ve been enjoying her brief updates on Facebook with a few photos and little stories of her adventures.  But last week, while still on her trip, Bobbi shut her iPhone in her car door.  Broken phone.  Lost photos.

Oh the heartbreak!

I read her post and thought of the many times I’ve heard people say that their phone crashed, was dropped in water, or broke and they hadn’t downloaded their photos and videos in X amount of time.  Those stories are almost always followed by the inevitable lamenting of lost memories.  My sister recently lost a months worth and that month included her son’s 8th birthday.

Every time I hear something like that my heart stops.  I am TERRIBLE about downloading the photos and videos from my phone.  I know you can use iCloud, and I have in the past, but my phone is so full that I have to pay $5/month to use it.

Well, in Bobbi’s post about her phone breaking, someone left a comment and told her that she should use the Flickr app on her phone.  They explained that you can turn on a setting to automatically download every photo you take.


Why, oh why, didn’t I know this before?

I added the app immediately and my phone has been chugging away for days.  Every photo – all 2.9K of them – have uploaded to my Flickr account and now it’s working through the videos.  The videos take A LOT longer than the photos.

I already had a Flickr account and I love it for so many reasons but now I have an app on my phone (and on my husband’s phone) that is doing the work for me and making sure my precious memories aren’t lost.

And… Flickr is completely free!

If you decide to give it a try here are a few tips.  Once you have the app on your phone and have an account set up, click the settings icon in the upper right of the app.


Then click on Auto-Uploadr


Then turn on the Auto-Upload photos option.  That’s it!  Now all of your photos will start uploading and will be stored in a folder called “Auto Upload”.  All photos that upload through this auto feature are automatically marked as private and will only be visible to you unless you choose to change the setting.


If you happen to have a preschooler who likes to take 50+ pictures in a row of absolutely nothing, you will be lucky enough to see whole sections in your new folder that look like this.


And this.


And this.  Isn’t it fabulous?  In all seriousness, I love that he enjoys taking photos.  I should probably clean them out of my phone occasionally.  Now, I will have to clean them out of my phone and my Flickr account.  Maybe not all of them though…


While the videos are waiting to load they look like this.  Once they have uploaded they show a video icon with the length of the video.  I will mention that once they show up it still takes a little while before they will play the entire video.  The first few that popped up didn’t play properly for several hours.  I was getting nervous but I checked again and they work great now.

If you are a bit lazy about your archiving like I am, the Flickr app may be perfect for you!  I am loving it.

By the way – did you know that most TV devices, like the Roku and Apple TV, have a Flickr app that allows you to view your photos and videos right on your TV?  We have that and every now and again we will look through pictures as a family.  Pretty awesome technology!


Happy Monday.  I hope you make a fabulous genealogy discovery today!


18 thoughts on “Learning From My Cousin’s Loss – A Story About Archiving”

  1. Good to know 🙂 I have my phone auto upload to Dropbox, but am thinking now I might add the Flickr app as well as a backup to the backup 🙂 Thanks for the tip! And I so feel for your cousin…

  2. I love the Google photos backup option for my phone. It does pretty much the same thing, uploads all my photos to the cloud whenever I’m connected to wifi. The free option is for standard sized photos and you pay a little for more storage space if you backup your original sized photos.

  3. I also have the Google photos option on my phone. I like how it also sorts my photos by who is in them, where they were taken, subject matter, etc.

  4. Whew, I feel for your cousin. It has to have been difficult to lose those photos. This post is a good reminder to save things in multiple ways.

  5. Trying to figure out how one shuts a phone in a car door . . . . Ugh, how awful for her though. Thank you for the Flickr tip. That might be a good idea for me.

  6. I stumbled across that Flickr feature when I was in Europe last year. It was fantastic as my phone doesn’t have a ton of storage space. Glad to hear I’m ahead of the curve in this archival aspect!

    1. Hi Ian, I just chuckled out loud reading your comment. I’m glad you are ahead of the curve too. It makes life so much better when you aren’t worried about your memories being lost. 🙂

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