Two months in the life of Picturelife

Picturelife is a photo storage service based on one very simple principle: people are generally too lazy or too forgetful to back their images up anywhere near as often as they should. So, Picturelife does it for you, automatically and in the background. Across multiple devices.

I recommended it in a recent Telegraph column on photo storage and sharing. As is usual when researching those sorts of articles, I had time to fully test the service. I used it, messed with it, tried to break it, and only then decided it was going to be right for readers.

But what I didn’t get was time to live with Picturelife.

Now I have. So, what do I think after a couple of months’ use?

I guess the best compliment I can pay it is this: I am still using it. I pay for it every month, and it is now the cornerstone of my photo storage routine. The app is installed on my iPhone, and it uploads anything I snap. If I mess with an image in Camera+, Picturelife detects the new version and uploads that (and is smart enough to recognize that two images are near-duplicates).

The app runs in the background on my Mac and detects image files as they appear, and backs them up in Picturelife automatically—even scans. It is all very easy.

So, that’s the good news. There is some bad: the initial photo library upload took a long time.

Scratch that: it took an age.

My photo collection is not huge—about 20 Gb in total, almost 12,000 images. My broadband isn’t slow: 20 Mbps download, 1.1 Mbps up, according to But uploading my photos to Picturelife took over a week, with my WiFi running 24/7. Since the initial pain, though, I haven’t noticed it at all.

The Timeline function on the main website—which displays your images in reverse date order—can be glitchy. It has occasionally failed to show the most recent photos, even though they are there when I click “All Pictures.”

On my app, there’s a quirk in the setting for private albums. Even though I can hide private photos from anyone who scrolls my pictures, if I make an album full of private pictures, one of those images appears as the album cover in iOS. Which may or may not be a problem—depending on what is in your private albums, and who plays with your phone.

More seriously, once, I spotted the iOS app had failed to auto-upload from my phone to the web for a few days. It took me a second to fix that, with a swipe or two.

Overall, though, this is a service for which I am happy to pay $5 a month. Pricing plans are here.

One Comment

  1. Shas June 4, 2014 at 11:10 am #

    Hi Donald,

    Thanks for the post – As I am the process of narrowing down a best way to backup / orgranize / edit / share my photo library – Can you let me know if PictureLife has the ability to do batch downloads of entire album / entire photos in the same structure

    If in case, I need to move away from this service in the future because of any problems or their pricing?

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