Google takes a slightly less morbid approach. You can configure Inactive Account Manager so that if you ever don’t log in for three, six, 12, or 18 months, your chosen contacts will be emailed with a link to download all your data.
These solutions, though, seem a little blunt. I certainly don’t want to give any hypothetical future children unfettered access to my Camera Roll. Without getting too graphic, let’s just say Elon Musk couldn’t bequeath enough cash to cover the therapy bills.
Sort Them First
Now, the hard part. If you want to leave your kids all the family photos without the screenshots, memes, blurry food photos, and questionable nudes, you are going to need to sort them yourself.
There are a few options here:
- Go through all the photos on your smartphone and add the best ones to an album. You can use apps like Gemini Photos or Slidebox to make the process a bit faster, but it’s still going to take a lot of time.
- Come up with a list of events, memories, and trips you’d like to leave photos of, and deliberately go through your photos to find images of them. This will probably take less time but will require more effort. Plus, you can use Apple Photos’ and Google Photos’ machine-learning-driven search tools to help.
- Get better at adding photos you love to your favorites when you shoot them.
No matter what age you are, this process isn’t going to get any easier the longer you leave it. How many photos have you taken in your first smartphone decade? Now, imagine having to go through 30 years’ worth on your deathbed.
Seriously, if you’ve got a young child now and want to leave them their baby photos, start an album today and add your favorites to it. Plus, it will make backing them up easier.
Store Everything Physically
Digital data lasts a surprisingly short amount of time. A hard drive might last three years, an SSD perhaps five years, and an SD Card or USB drive a few more—though none of these are guaranteed. Web services are, if anything, less reliable. They might not lose your data to bit rot, but you can’t count on the companies sticking around.
That’s not to say don’t keep the photos on your hard drive or stored in Google Photos, but if you want your grandkids to be able to access them, you will need to do better.