Your Android device is not the place to store your photos

When (not if) you lose everything on your phone or tablet, you'll be thankful you backed up the important things

We just got another heart-breaking email from a reader who has lost all their pictures and video because the SD card in their Android device went belly-up. We get at least a few of these every week, and it's horrible having to tell folks that there is a very good chance they'll need to use complicated forensic data retrieval tools to have any hope of getting those memories back if they can even get the media to be recognized in a computer again. Not having a good answer is the worst part of our jobs.

Now, this is not the SD card vs. no SD card debate. The same thing can happen with the internal storage on your phone, and while corruption isn't as common, accidentally erasing everything is more frequent -- especially when folks are tinkering with things and wiping and flashing "stuff". Don't go thinking this doesn't apply to you, because it does.

No matter if you have 64GB SD cards, or 64GB of free space on your phone, or even just 2GB of free space, don't use it to store all those pictures and videos you'll never be able to get back if you lose them.

There are all sorts of methods to save all those pictures of friends and family, some simple and others more complicated. But I promise there is at least one that will work for you. If you're OK with the cloud, I can personally recommend DropBox and Google+ as great ways to store all those pictures and video, and they have fine grained settings to control when to upload, so you can stay away from your data cap and use Wifi. Other services may be the same, so be sure to investigate all of your options.

Or maybe you're not a cloud kind of person. That's fine. Plug your phone into your computer and drag the folders with your pictures and videos to a backup location that isn't quite as volatile as your phone's storage. I promise, one day you'll erase everything, or drop your phone into the pool (or worse). When that day comes, you'll be glad you kept good backups.

Jerry Hildenbrand
Senior Editor — Google Ecosystem

Jerry is an amateur woodworker and struggling shade tree mechanic. There's nothing he can't take apart, but many things he can't reassemble. You'll find him writing and speaking his loud opinion on Android Central and occasionally on Twitter.