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Where’d My Smartphone Photos Go?

Share and access holiday photos with your friends and family, using your phone’s built-in photo app.

The holidays are here! It’s time for making memories, taking pics, and sending and receiving photos with our smartphones. (Psst: if you need a new smartphone with a killer camera, check out these.)

If you’ve ever struggled to figure out where your sister’s pics of baby Ella with candy cane smeared all over her face disappeared to, you’re not alone.

Here are some ways to answer the question, “Hey, where’d my photos go?”

Instead of texting individual photographs, which can take forever if you’re sending to the whole family, share them in bulk with these collaborative tools.

Share with Google Photos

google photo app iconOpen up your Google Photos app, and sign in to your Google account if you’re not already signed in. Select an image, then tap “Share.” You’ll see a screen where you can type a name, phone number or email of your recipient. Add a message, like “Ella’s first candy cane!” then tap “Send.” You can also create an entire album and share that, rather than a single image.

To see a shared album from a fellow Google Photos user, tap “Sharing,” and scroll through your shared photos and albums until you find the one you want. If they’re not titled, they’ll be listed by date.

iCloud Photo Sharing

iphone photo app iconiPhone users can share pictures and albums with iCloud, by activating iCloud Photo Sharing in Settings. Others can even add their own pictures to your shared album.

For this feature to work, inside the Photos app, go to Settings>Your Account (note: this shows up as your name and picture)>iCloud>Photos>turn on iCloud Photo sharing. Make sure your friends and family have it turned on, too.

To make a new shared album, select your pictures and touch “Send” in the Photos app, then the “Share” icon. Name your album and add a message, then touch “Next,” then add friends and family you want to share with. Click “Create” and start adding pictures to the album!

If someone has shared their pictures with you, go to “Albums” in the Photos app. Shared images should appear under “Shared.”

Note: for some phones, or after certain system upgrades, the exact flow of menu selections may vary. If these instructions aren’t working for you, go into your nearest Cellular Sales store. The staff there know all about this stuff, and they’ll be happy to walk you through it. Really.

Looking for a great Christmas present? Try making an album (a paper version) from your shared album. Our blog, here, tells you how.