Question: I have an Android phone and an iPad. How do I get the pictures I take on the phone to show up on the tablet?
Answer: Assuming you’d rather not transfer the photos through whatever computer you might sync both devices with (and why would you, considering the hassle involved and the need to add extra software to sync photos with Android), you should go with Google+.
Install that social network’s Android app on the phone and put its iOS release on the iPad, and its automatic online backup should ensure that every photo you take from the phone will show up in the G+ app on the tablet moments later. That doesn’t mean everybody else on G+ can see your shots — this automatic backup is done in private, leaving it to you to decide later which photos to share.
Make sure you set Google+ to back up full-size copies of each photo: In the app, tap the menu button, choose “Settings,” tap “Camera & Photos” and then tap “Auto Backup.” On that screen, you can also choose when you want this automatic backup to occur. Choose only via Wi-Fi if your phone can’t go any faster than 3G or if you have a particularly restrictive data cap — unless you take photos all the time, they’re unlikely to max out most limited plans — or if both conditions apply.
To download a photo to the iPad’s own storage for offline viewing in Apple’s Photos app, tap the gear icon in the top-right corner above the picture and choose “Download” from that menu. (If only this app offered some way to download your entire album at once.)
This approach also allows your photos to benefit from the “Auto Enhance” automated photo-finishing feature that Google introduced last month, which tries to fix flaws like unbalanced exposure, faded color and graininess. (It even attempts to smooth out wrinkles and pores on people’s faces, which I think is going a bit far.) But although Auto Enhance can do a fair amount to upgrade low-light shots, I haven’t seen it work magic on my phone’s pictures.
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Flickr can also work for this, but I will wager that more Android users have a G+ account than use Yahoo’s photo-sharing site — thanks to the increasing difficulty of doing anything with a Google account that doesn’t have G+ enabled. Plus, there’s (still!) no iPad app for Flickr.
This advice also applies to the smaller contingent of people who have an Android phone and an Android tablet, and to what I suspect is the even more exclusive demographic of users who alternate between an iPhone and an Android tablet.
If both your phone and your tablet run iOS, however, Apple’s Photo Stream is the obvious and automatic choice. That can also get your pictures into your Mac’s copy of iPhoto or your PC’s Pictures library.
Tip: Near-infinite storage means you may never have to delete photos again. Delete them anyway.
Google provides 15 gigabytes of free online storage for your Google+ uploads along with your Gmail and Google Docs files, and that enormous quota seems like nothing next to the full terabyte that Yahoo provides for free, courtesy of the overhaul of the site it introduced last month. And thanks to Google’s new automatic Highlights curation, you can even let Google figure out which photos are worth showing off.
That doesn’t mean you should retire the delete key from your photo-management toolkit. One of the best ways to take better ones is to be cruel to the ones you’ve already taken: Inspect the five or so shots you took of the same subject and find reasons to trash three of them.
Maybe there’s a shadow across somebody’s face, maybe the subject is too close to the edge of the frame, maybe the background is too bright — if you spend a few minutes studying your work, you’ll see what made some pictures better than others and, hopefully, will remember those factors the next time.
(But does this mean I’m going to engage in this exercise with all of the thousands of baby pictures we’ve racked up over the last few years? No. Who has time for that? Maybe when our daughter’s in college…)