Category Archives: Blog

Computer Tips for Travelers and anything else that these Geeks feel like writing about will show up here! For additional articles on Picasa, see our separate site PicasaGeeks.com
. For additional articles on Internet Connections on the Road, see our separate site WiFiSavvy.com

Confused About How Google Photos Syncs Your Edits and Deletions? You’re Not Alone.

Google Photos just changed some wording on it’s app for both iOS and Android. See the announcement here. Instead of Backup and Sync, it now just reads Backup. Wait. What? Does that mean it doesn’t sync anymore? No. According to the announcement, “There are no changes to how your photos and videos are stored in Google Photos, we are only simplifying the terminology.” And, as 9to5Google reports, “It’s interesting how ‘sync’ is considered a given with modern technology and cloud backups.”

“Syncing” may be considered a given, but the devil is in the details. When you delete the cloud copy of a photo, does it delete the original on the phone? When you edit a photo in the cloud, is that edit reflected in the device copy? Read on to learn the nitty gritty of how it works with Google Photos. If you’re lucky enough to have a Pixel phone, these issues do not appy to you. These issues only arise when you have a native photo or gallery app on your phone in addition to Google Photos. On Pixel (made by Google) phones, Google Photos is the only app for managing photos.

Does Google Photos Sync from the Cloud Down?

Let’s test this. You take a photo with your phone, the backup setting is on, and Google Photos uploads the photo to your Google Account in the cloud. You now have two copies of that photo, one on your phone (device, camera roll) and one in the cloud.

  • To see only the Google cloud copy: go to the web (preferably with a computer) and go to Photos.Google.com signed in with the same account as your phone. Here you are looking directly at the cloud, only photos that were successfully backed up will be showing here. You will need to refresh to see the latest changes.
  • To see only the device copy: use the “Native” app for photos that came with your phone. For example, on your iPhone, when you open the Apple Photos app, you will only see photos that are on your device, in the iPhone camera roll. You won’t see all the other photos that may be in your Google Photos cloud.
    "Native" photo apps for different phones

Here’s the test: Viewing the cloud copy, make some edits. Crop it, make it black and white, add a vignette, whatever. Now view the device copy using the Native photos app. Is it the edited version? Next try deleting a photo from the cloud, is it deleted on device?

  • Edit cloud copy, what are your results?
    • View using Google Photos app on phone: I see the edited version
    • View using Native app: I see the unedited version.
    • View again using Google Photos and tap “Review out-of-sync changes” Then tap the photo under “Edited” and “Apply Changes”, Modify. (if you don’t see “Review out-of-sync changes” right away, tap the account button, then “Review out-of-sync changes”
    • Now when I view using the native app, I see the edited version
  • Delete cloud copy, what are your results?
    • View using Google Photos app on phone: photo is gone
    • View using Native app: photo is still there
    • View again using Google Photos and tap “Review out-of-sync changes” Then tap the photo under “Deleted” and “Delete”. (if you don’t see “Review out-of-sync changes” right away, tap the account button, then “Review out-of-sync changes”
    • Now when I view using the native app, the photo is gone

Does Google Photos Sync from the Device Up?

If something changes about a photo on your device, without using Google Photos to make the change, will Google Photos see it and upload that change to the cloud? This time I want you to view your device-only copy of a photo by using the Native App. On an iPhone, use the Apple Photos to edit and delete a photo. On android, use the Gallery app.

  • Edit device copy (using the native app), what are your results?
    • View using Google Photos app on phone: I see the edited version AND the original
    • View using Native app: I see just the edited version.
    • View using Google Photos on the web (Photos.Google.com – remember to refresh) : I see 2 copies, the original and the edited version
  • Delete device copy (using native app), what are your results?
    • View using Google Photos app on phone: photo is still there, NOT deleted
    • View using Native app: photo is gone
    • View using Google Photos on the web (Photos.Google.com – remember to refresh) : photo is still there
Important Note about deleting device copy: if you delete a photo using the native app, what if that photo has not yet been backed up by Google Photos? You will then be deleting your only copy. Don’t use the native app! Google Photos does have a command to delete the device copy while leaving the Google Photos copy in tact. See #s 4 and 5 below.
The most important thing is to have a separate backup, on your computer’s hard drive, or in another cloud storage service like OneDrive or DropBox.

What’s it all mean?

If you use Google Photos for all your photo tasks, you’re golden. It’s when you sometimes use the native app, and sometimes use Google Photos that things get messed up. So, don’t do that!

Different goals:

  1. You want to edit photos sometimes on your phone, sometimes on the web, and know that those edits are reflected everywhere in Google Photos.
    As long as you use the Google Photos app on your phone, and the Photos.Google.com web interface then that is exactly what will happen.
    OR
  2. You want to edit photos on the web and know that the original on your phone is also edited. You’ll need one more step: open the Google Photos app on your screen and tap “Review out-of-sync changes” and tap “Change All” under Edited.
  3. You want to delete photos from your device and have them also be deleted from the Google cloud. As long as you use the Google Photos app and tap the trashcan, that’s exactly what will happen.
    OR
  4. You want to delete photos from your device and not from the cloud. Use the Google Photos app, select the photo(s) to delete and then the “Delete from Device” command.
    OR
  5. You want to delete all device copies of your photos to free up space on your phone. Use the Google Photos app on your phone, tap the account button (top right) and then tap where it says, “999 items to delete from this device.” On an iPhone, you’ll also need to delete the contents of the “Recently Deleted” album before the space is freed up.
    OR
  6. You want to delete photos from the cloud while leaving them on your device. Use the web interface to delete the photos, then ignore the “Review out-of-sync changes message in the Google Photos app.

Lesson Learned

If you’re befuddled by all of this, the main lesson is to not assume that your expectations are correct when it comes to syncing or not – check it out. The second lesson is to pick one photo management app and stick with it, there’s a lot to learn. If you’re going to use Google Photos, we think it should be your primary photo app. Do not use the Apple Photos or Android Gallery app that came with your phone.

As with everything in technology, YMMV (your mileage may vary.) Leave a comment below if you have further questions. If you want to learn more about Backup vs Sync, here’s another article: Backup or Sync? What’s the Difference?


About the author

Chris Guld is President and Teacher-in-Chief at GeeksOnTour.com. She has been teaching technology since 1983. She is currently a Platinum Level Google Photos Product Expert and the author of Learn Google Photos.

The best way to share photos – with a link

Sharing photos with a link

Recently we did our show on the multitude of ways to share photos using Google Photos. See Episode 247 here. This article is to reiterate that the best way to share is by using a link. There are 3 benefits to sharing with a link:
  • Anyone with the link can view the photo(s)
  • It doesn’t take up any space, it’s just a link
  • If you share an album, and they ‘join’ the album, they’ll see future additions

Share one photo with a link

On Computer/Web: Open the photo you want to share and click the Share button. Find the “Create Link” button and click that. Copy the resulting link, and paste it wherever you want. In an email, a Facebook post, a text message, etc. When your friends see the link, they can click on it and see the photo. Like this: https://photos.app.goo.gl/76xiyHARwLNpxNMN9
On iPhone: Open the photo you want to share and click the share button (square with up arrow) Next tap the ‘Share To:” link and scroll down to find Create link. Follow the prompts to Create link and it is copied. Now go to where you want to share it and paste. If you don’t know how
to copy/paste on a phone, check out the video at the end of this message.

Share an Album with a Link

If you have an album of photos and you’d like to share them all, it’s easy with a link.
On Computer/Web or Mobile
  • Open the album
    and tap the share icon – you should see it just above the top of the album
  • Now find the “Create Link” button. On iOS you’ll find it under “Share To:”
  • Once you’ve copied the link, you can paste it anywhere your friends will find it. They don’t need to use Google Photos, they don’t even need to have a Google account. Anyone who clicks that link, will see the
    photos in the album.
  • IF they do use Google Photos, they can “Join” the album. That means that they will be notified any time you add new photos to that album.
  • Here’s a sample album about scuba diving. All you have to do is click the link to see it: https://photos.app.goo.gl/7AKacWFZVtqzSYpy9

To learn more, make sure to review Episode 247: Sharing with Google Photos

Memories are improved with sharing!
Jim and Chris, aka Geeks on Tour

How to copy and paste on a mobile deviced

How to set multiple reminders for an event on your calendar

Have you ever created an event on your calendar then missed it anyway? I have several online events that are on my calendar, they even give me a one hour reminder notification, and I still miss it because I started doing something else and completely missed one hour mark.

Wouldn’t it be nice if you could get an additional reminder at 10 or even 5 minutes before the event? Yes, you can! You can try it now with this important event you don’t want to miss! Our next Live Show – What Does This Button Do? Episode 249 is scheduled for Jan 15, 2023 at 2pm Eastern time. Our topic will be How to transfer photos from your phone to your computer.

Using Google Calendar

Open Google Calendar, either on computer at Calendar.google.com or the app on your phone. Click the + and choose Event, then fill out the

  • Date = Jan 15, 2023
  • Time = 2pm – making sure to specify the Time Zone of Eastern (New York) For more information about the time zone settings, see this video:
    697.OT-Google Calendar and Time Zones
  • Location: https://youtu.be/uJRZ2wfPpdo (or just YouTube.com@geeksontour
  • Description: How to transfer photos from phone to computer

Setting multiple notifications

When you see the section for Notification, there may be a default notification for 1 hour already added – if not go ahead and add it yourself, then you can “Add another notification for 5 or 10 minutes. You can even add a “Custom notification” via email 1 day before. There doesn’t seem to be any limit to how many reminders you can add to an event using Google Calendar.

Your screen should look something like this:

After clicking “Add Notification” you should see “5 minutes before, 10 minutes before, 30 minutes before and Custom. Just tap the ones you want.

On iPhone’s – Apple iCalendar: it’s called “Alert” rather than notification, and you can only have 2. We recommend using Google Calendar, even on your iPhone.

See you on the 15th!

Have questions? Leave a comment below.

How to add video to a printed gift card using QR codes

If you have a video that you’d like to include with a card, I have good news. It is SO easy to create a QR code of the video, print it and put it inside the card!

In this example, I’m using a Christmas card and, if you scan the QR code you can watch a cute little JibJab video of Chris and Jim singing a Merry Christmas song.

You could use this same technique to include a home video of your family in a birthday card, or a favorite YouTube music video to add to a Graduation card, or an Introduction to Our Business to print on a business card. The only limit is your imagination.

Try it now

On a computer, using the Chrome browser, find a favorite YouTube video.

  • Open the video to play it, then pause the playback
  • Click the Share button in the address bar
  • in the menu that appears, click the “Create QR code” button
  • That’s it! you have a QR code for that video. Scan the code with your phone to be sure it works as expected.
  • Note: if you’re sharing a video from your Google Photos, you must share with a link first, then follow that link to see the video. Create the QR code from there.

Now you need to print that code on a piece of paper you can insert in the card

  • Click the Download button below the QR code to put it on your computer’s hard drive. it will be a .png image file. Hopefully, you have your browser settings so that you can specify what folder to put it in. If not, it probably will be found in your Downloads folder.
  • Now you can open the file and print it, but it’s better to create a document and insert the QR code file. Then you can control the size and add some other text

Learn more

If you need to review how to scan a QR code, this video should help

Episode 248 of our What Does This Button Do? YouTube show is all about creating QR codes. They can do much more than you think. A QR code can add items to your calendar, give you a map, or a person’s contact info. It’s all quite easy.

Dec 8, 2022 Webinar: Do more with Google Photos

Do you use Google Photos? Do you want to do more with it?
Finding the photos you want quickly.
Making your photos look their best with easy built-in editing tools and then sharing them with friends. You can even make fun collages.
This is a one hour webinar.

Private link for Chris to edit slides

Replay of the live webinar

Notes:

Continue reading →

December 2022 News: Auto-Rotate on phone, Choosing frame of Live photos, Roadtrippers, and more …

  December 2022 | Issue 184  | Archives
This Geeks on Tour monthly newsletter will always be free, but we also have a premium membership with perks like private Zoom meetings, eBooks, tutorial videos, and complete classes. Our premium members support us, making everything else possible. It’s $58 yearly or $68
for one year only
.
What’s up with Jim and Chris – the Geeks

November
The photo above comes from the Occidental resort in Cozumel, Mexico. Do you like it? I sure do – it was taken with my Samsung S21 Ultra using the night mode. Without the special night mode feature, teh foreground was too dark to see anything. We had a great week of relaxation and scuba
diving for Chris’ 70th birthday. Life is good! We also took a Carribbean cruise with family over the Thanksgiving week. It was a full month of travel.

Classes

You can see all classes from
past months on our Classes page. We presented 2 classes during November (and yesterday – why we’re late with this newsletter!):

We did 1 of our Sunday YouTube shows:

In this newsletter:

As usual, we have an eclectic mix of smartphone and technology
tips for you.
  1. Roadtrippers – a cool trip-planning tip
  2. Controlling auto-rotate on your phone
  3. Changing the frame of a Live Photo
  4. Cruise ship Internet connections
  5. Blast from the past 2004: Get the right Wi-Fi adapter
  • Thank you to our premium members for supporting us and making this newsletter possible! If you learn something from us, and you’re not a member, consider joining us now.
What’s coming up – Our Calendar December and January

December Happy Holidays!

  • What Does This Button Do? Episodes on chosen Sundays at 2pm Eastern
  • Backstage Pass after every live Button Show for Premium Members only
  • Dec 5, Noon ET –Tech for Seniors – Chris will be a guest on the show
  • Dec 8, 2pm ET –  Get More from Google Photos Webinar (Register)
  • Dec 21, 7pm ET – Snapseed Presentation on Zoom for PC-Tech Users Group @ CPHL

Happy New Year! January 2023

  • What Does This Button Do? Episodes on chosen Sundays at 2pm ET
  • Backstage
    Pass after every live Button Show for Premium Members only
  • Jan 16 7pm ET Valencia Reserve Photo/Computer Club Presentation

Be sure to subscribe to our YouTube Channel, click on the bell for notifications, and Like us on Facebook.

That way you’ll get notified when we go live.

Ask the Geeks Q&A forum. Anyone can read the forum, only members can ask questions. This is a valuable benefit of membership. Join Today! Here are some recent discussions

  1. Reading EXIF data
  2. Tracking someone on Google Maps
  3. Create a group text message
  4. Photo viewing on
    iPhone

We’re on a cruise ship, here’s what the Internet is like

The last time we cruised was in 2010 – using the Internet was expensive and slow. What is the Internet connection like now? It’s still expensive and slow,
but we did learn a few tricks.

Read More


How to change the frame of an iPhone Live Photo

Question from Mary:

Sometimes when I take a photograph with my iPhone 7, the snapshot moves briefly when I view it. Why?Sometimes this exceedingly brief “video”
has an image I would like to save and print at the beginning and not at the end of the movement. Specifically dolphins leaping from the water. Is there anyway I can stop the motion where I need to?

Yes! You can get the photo you want from a frame on the Live photo. And lots more!

Read the article


How to control the auto-rotate on your phone



Isn’t it cool that your phone or tablet automatically rotates the contents when you change the way you’re holding it to see a picture take up more of the screen? That is unless it doesn’t! Or it does and you don’t want it to. This article explains where the setting is to control this feature on both iPhone and Android.

Read More


Blast from past 2004: Wi-Fi tip: Get the right Wi-Fi adapter

When we were brand new fulltime RVers, Jim helped our RV park get set up with Wi-Fi. We also helped a lot of other RVers get connected via Wi-Fi. Things haven’t changed much have they?  Read the old article here.

The biggest change is that we don’t have to teach that anymore! First of all,
cellular connectivity has gotten so good that most people have all they need with their smartphone. Secondly, for people like fulltime RVers who do need to know more, our friends at the Mobile Internet Resource Center do such a good jub that we refer to them anytime someone asks us.

Leave us a Review

Have you learned something from Geeks on Tour?

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How to Change the Frame of an iPhone Live Photo

Question from Mary:

Sometimes when I take a photograph with my iPhone 7, the snapshot moves briefly when I view it. Why?
Sometimes this exceedingly brief “video” has an image I would like to save and print at the beginning and not at the end of the movement. Specifically dolphins leaping from the water. Is there anyway I can stop the motion where I need to?

The snapshot that moves is called a Live Photo and it has been a feature of iPhones since the 6s. Turning on the Live option in the camera will result in 3 seconds of video being captured along with the still shot. You know if your Live option is turned on if the bullseye at the top center of the camera is gold. If it’s white with a line thru it then Live is OFF. Just tap it and you will briefly see the words LIVE or LIVE OFF.

live

When I learned  about Live Photos, my first reaction was “Cool! A way to pick the best frame from 3 seconds of video for the perfect photo, without using Burst shot.” This is what Mary wants to do in order to get the shot of the dolphins in mid-air, not just the splash.

How to See the Video Portion of a Live Photo

Using the Photos app that comes with your iPhone, you will see a brief glimpse of the live photo as you view the photos in your camera roll. To see the entire 3 seconds of video, you must press and hold on photo. You will see – and hear – the 3 seconds of video.

Using the Google Photos app, when you view a Live Photo on an iPhone, you will see a button that has two positions, play and pause. When it is in the play position, the video portion will play over and over. When in Pause, you see the still photo.

play-pause

The Easy Way to Change the Frame

What shows up as the still in an iPhone Live Photo is called the Key Photo. It is easy to change the key photo to another frame using the Apple Photos app that comes with your iPhone.

A different procedure using Google Photos

Using Google Photos, you can view the Live Photo, play it, then tap the 3-dot menu in the upper right (or just swipe up on the photo) scroll to the right and you’ll see an option to Save as Video. This will separate the 3 seconds of video and make a standalone .mov file. Then, when you view the video, you can tap the edit button and see a filmstrip of every frame. Tap the frame you want and then tap “Export frame.” This results in a new photo of just that frame. If that’s all you want, then you can delete the original Live photo and .mov file since they are all separate files.

Learn more about Live photos, as well as motion photos on Android?

Episode 223 from November of 2021 is a show we did on “Why do my photos move?” On December 5, 2022, we were guest speakers on the Tech for Seniors show and presented lots of smartphone photography tips including Live and Motion photos. The video below starts at the point we demonstrate Live and Motion photos.

How to Control the Auto-Rotate on your Smartphone or Tablet

Isn’t it cool that your phone or tablet automatically rotates the contents when you change the way you’re holding it to see a picture take up more of the screen?

Isn’t it annoying that your phone or tablet automatically rotates the contents when you lie down to read your book in bed?  Especially when you’re in that reclining position just between vertical and horizontal and your book keeps flipping back and forth!

image

Or – maybe your screen doesn’t rotate at all?

There’s a Setting for That!

On an Android device, access your quick settings by swiping down from the top of the screen.

  1. You should see an icon for auto-rotate. It may be labeled “Portrait” – meaning it’s locked in Portrait (vertical) mode.
  2. If it’s ON your screen will adjust
  3. If it’s OFF your screen will stay the same regardless of how you are holding your phone. Note that, if you were holding the phone vertical (portrait) when you tap the Auto-Rotate button, then your phone will be locked in portrait mode. If you were holding it horizontal (landscape) then it will be locked in landscape.

auto rotate android.gif

On an iPhone or iPad, access your quick settings on the Control Center. 

  • iPhone X or higher: Swipe down from the upper right corner
    or
    Earlier iPhones: Swipe up from the bottom of the screen
  • This will reveal the Control Center
  • You should see the Auto-Rotate/Orientation Lock icon right there

 

Still doesn’t rotate?

If your rotate setting is correct but your phone still isn’t cooperating, you need to “kick it.” You do that by turning the setting Off and On again. If that doesn’t work then restart your phone.

On the Kindle App

If your only need for controlling the rotate is for reading books on your Kindle App, there is an option right in the Kindle App to override your system settings. I want my phone to rotate my pictures, but I don’t what my Kindle book to rotate.

  • With the Kindle app open, tap the screen and find the settings for Layout. On iPhone it’s under Aa, on Android it’s under 3-dot menu and “Reading Settings.” Scroll down and turn On the Orientation Lock.

We’re on a cruise ship, here’s what the internet is like

Cruise ship Internet connections

The last time we cruised was in 2010 – using the Internet was expensive and slow. What is the Internet connection like now? It’s still expensive and slow! We were hoping to find out otherwise. Maybe it’s better on other cruise lines, we are on Norwegian Cruise Lines. If you buy the high-speed Internet package for the whole week, it will set you back $279. We did not do that, so our experience is on the basic (low speed 150 minutes) package that came with our dining/drinking plan..

Norwegian Encore

We are currently in port in the Dominican Republic. During the cruise we’ve spend about half time at sea and half time in port. We have 2 options
for accessing the Internet.

In Port:

While in port we have cellular connections because our phones are on a Google Fi plan. Google Fi is an international plan, no extra charge, no pre-planning, and it works well. Just like cellular service anywhere, sometimes it’s fast and sometimes it’s slow, but it does work. We’ve even used the mobile hotspot
on Jim’s Pixel phone to use the Google Fi connection on my Chromebook.

On board the ship, we can usually get the cellular connection from a tower on shore, but if we’re indoors, the signal was blocked. We found that we could only connect if we were on our balcony, or at some other outside area of the ship.

As soon as we left the ship and wandered around
the port there was usually a free Wi-Fi network in the port shopping area and, of course, if you visited a bar or restaurant, they would often have free Wi-Fi.

See Episode 233: Cellular phone and data for International travelers for more info about Google Fi.

At Sea:

I did get a message on my Verizon phone that connection was available on board ship. It would cost $20 for 500 MB! That’s megabyte with an M, not Gigabytes. I would run thru that with the first day of photos uploaded. No Thanks.

Other than that, when we’re at sea there is no cellular available so we need to use the Ship’s Wi-Fi or nothing. Here are the things we’ve learned about
the Shipboard Wi-Fi on NCL.

  • For free, you can connect to the Wi-Fi just for reading the cruise information, making reservations for dinners and shows and shore excursions. Just turn on Wi-Fi on your device and connect to the NCL signal.
  • For a one-time $10 charge you can use the Wi-Fi for communicating with fellow shipmates. We had 6 family members on this cruise, so we all paid the $10 to be able to message each other and send photos.
  • The cruise plan that we chose included 150 minutes of standard Internet access. You can pay more for high-speed access.
Luckily, we didn’t plan to do much work during the week. This email is the extent of our work this week.
Bon Voyage!
Jim and Chris, aka Geeks on Tour