What is Amazon Photos and how do you use it?

(Pocket-lint) – If you subscribe to Amazon Prime then you have access to a number of different benefits. Those benefits include everything from discounts during Prime Day to free shipping on your purchases, access to Prime Video for your TV streaming needs, as well as Amazon Music Prime, Prime Reading, Prime Gaming and more.  One of the most overlooked Amazon Photos, but what is it and how does it work? 

We’re exploring Amazon’s secure digital storage service and what it means to you. 

What is Amazon Photos?

Amazon Photos is a perk of being an Amazon Prime member. As part of your Prime membership package, you get access to secure digital cloud storage for your photos and videos.

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This is a better way to browse the web. This includes up to 5GB of video storage for your personal video files as well as unlimited storage for your photos.

Those photos can also be stored at full-resolution meaning you can easily back up your precious family memories at no additional cost.  Amazon Photos is designed for personal use and not commercial photos but otherwise, you can store images and even set up a “Family Vault“. 

What is Family Vault?

Amazon Photos gives you the ability to add as many as six members of your family to your Prime account so you can upload photos and videos together. This means your family can access the digital photo archive and add to it. 

Better still, the people added to the Family Vault get access to their own Amazon Photos account at no extra cost, with the same benefit of unlimited photo storage and 5GB of video storage too.  Once uploaded to Amazon Photos your images are then available to view in a number of ways. You can set them to display on various devices including Amazon Fire TV, Amazon Echo Show devices and Amazon Fire Tablets

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What are the other features of Amazon Photos?

Amazon Photos does more than let you just store your favourite photos, it also lets you organise them into albums, share them with loved ones and even filter through them in various ways. 

Amazon Photos uses some intelligent tech to scan your photos and identify things, people and objects in the images. You can then use the filters to select and show specific images sorted by this type. For example, you can click on a face on the filters and it will automatically sort the photos to show that person. 

There’s a search function on the desktop version of Amazon Photos that you can use to find particular things based on a quick search term. We managed to use this to filter photos of family members based on a description but you can also just search for things like BBQ for example with ease. 

How to upload to Amazon photos

There are various different ways to upload your photos to Amazon Photos so you can securely store and access them. Some of these options allow for automatic upload too. 

The easiest way to back up your photos with Amazon Photos is by using the Amazon Photos app. 

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Uploading to Amazon Photos on Android

If you have an Android smartphone then you can download the Amazon Photos app from Google Play. Once that’s done you’ll need to sign in.  You can then upload photos already stored on your phone.

The app will show you a gallery of the various images in your camera roll and the various folders already on your device. You can then upload your images by following these steps:

  1. Press and hold on an image that you want to upload
  2. You’ll then see a menu appear at the top that includes an image of an arrow pointing into a cloud
  3. Click that to upload

If you want to select multiple images, you can press and hold on one image to access multi-select, then just scroll through tapping on all the other important images you want to upload to Amazon Photos.  You can also upload individual images by just tapping the photo to see the larger version of it, then by clicking on the three dots menu icon on the top right and clicking upload. 

Alternatively, you can share a photo from here with other apps too. 

How to automatically upload on Android

You can set your Android phone to automatically upload images to Amazon Photos in future so you never need to think about it and your images are always backed up.  To do this:

  1. Click to open the Amazon Photos app on your phone
  2. Click on “more” on the bottom right of the app
  3. Click on settings
  4. Then click on Auto-save
  5. You can then select various options for auto-saving videos and photos

You can also tweak some of the settings here including managing which folders are uploaded so you can avoid uploading screenshots or Whatsapp images which might not be as important. You can also limit auto uploading to Wi-Fi only if you want to avoid uploading and wasting your mobile data. 

Uploading to Amazon Photos on iPhone

Alternatively, if you have an Apple iPhone then you can use the iOS Amazon Photos app in the same way as the Android version. 

To upload photos on iOS follow these steps:

  1. Click to open the Amazon Photos app
  2. Top on the more icon on the bottom right
  3. Click on “upload photos and videos”
  4. Select camera roll on the next screen
  5. Tap on the photos you want to upload and then click the upload button on the top right

How to automatically upload on iPhone

Automatically uploading images makes your life a lot easier when it comes to storing and saving your important photos.  To automatically back up your images follow these steps:

  1. Click to launch the Amazon Photos app
  2. Tap on the more icon on the bottom right then click on settings
  3. Select uploads
  4. Then click to button to auto-save 

You can choose to select photos or videos for auto uploading and select whether you want to save photos using mobile data or not. 

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How to upload to Amazon Photos on a browser

If you have photos on your computer that you need to upload to Amazon Photos then the good news is it’s fairly easy to do. 

  1. Head over to the Amazon Photos website and click to sign in
  2. On the top right there’s a button marked “add” 
  3. Click that and you select to upload photos
  4. Alternatively, you can upload entire folders by clicking “upload folder”

On the left-hand navigation, you have the option to create albums and organise photos in a logical way. You can also sort through in other ways, including sorting images by the year they were taken or by the “things” or “people” they contain. 

How to use Family Vault

The Family Vault feature of Amazon Photos is a great way to collect family photos and share them with the most important people in your family. 

You don’t need to share everything you upload to your Amazon Photos account to your Family Vault. You can choose to upload images from specific devices or even choose the images you want to add with relative ease.  To setup and use Family Vault we’d recommend the following steps:

  1. Head over to the Amazon Photos website and sign in
  2. Click on Family Vault on the left-hand side navigation
  3. From there you can click to invite other people to your family vault
  4. Then scroll down and click to “select photos to add” or “add all photos”

You might not want to add all your device or phone photos to the family vault.

So you can choose which ones to add and maintain your privacy.  You can also access the Family Vault from your phone. Open the app and click “more” then click settings and then Family Vault.

You have a number of options there including:

  • Add uploads from all your devices automatically
  • Add uploads from your phone only
  • Add just photos and videos from the device you’re using

You can also choose to remove all your photos and videos from the Family Vault with just a few clicks.

This is one of the settings in the app and ideal if you’ve added photos you didn’t mean to and you don’t want others to see. 

Writing by Adrian Willings.