While we love having high megapixel cameras on our phones, it does come with a few drawbacks, such as the photos you take using up plenty of storage space on the device itself. Space shared with apps, music, video and all manner of other software. So what’s the solution? In Apple’s case, it’s iCloud. You get 5GB free with each phone and your pictures are uploaded for safe keeping, leaving it up to you if you want to keep them on the phone too.
However, that 5GB is also shared with other things, and it quickly runs out, leaving you to buy more storage space. There is another option, use an app which takes the pictures out of the iCloud and local storage space equation, and sends them to another instead. One such app is CloudCam, and it does exactly what you’d want it to.
Open the app and you’re presented with the option to sign in to either your Google Drive or Dropbox account. Both of these are popular cloud storage services, with Google Drive offering 15GB of free space, and Dropbox with a more lowly 2GB, however there are many options for increasing this amount for free or by paying extra. So, you enter your account details and you’re away.
Next you’ll see the familiar camera view, just as you would in the standard iPhone camera app, complete with a large shutter release button, flash options and the chance to change from the rear camera to the front. Snap your picture and then tap the image to the right of the shutter release button, where your picture is automatically uploading to Drive or Dropbox.
Along the base of the screen is an option called Cloud, which acts like an album view for all the pictures you’ve taken and uploaded. It’s also easy to create folders in Drive or Dropbox from within the app, so everything is kept neat and tidy. Under settings, you can choose not to save pictures to the iPhone’s Camera Roll, and to wait for a Wi-Fi connection before uploading them, saving you from eating up your data allowance.
Additionally, you can tap the plus sign in the top right, then select pictures already stored on your phone and send them into the cloud. If you really wanted to, you could clear your phone of pictures completely, without fear of losing them. Handy if you own a 16GB iPhone and are continually running out of free space, but still want access to your pictures on the move.
At the moment then, CloudCam sounds great; but there are one or two drawbacks. First, it’s impossible to sign in to both Dropbox and Drive, then chose which one to upload your pictures to on the fly. To change, you must sign out, then sign into the other. It’s not the end of the world, but it is a pain if you maintain an account with both services. Second, the camera app is basic, and doesn’t include the grid or panorama features on the standard app, nor can you swap to video. Once the picture has been taken, none of the editing or social media sharing options are present either.
So, it’s not perfect, but CloudCam does make it easy to sidestep the restrictions of your phone’s memory and the need to purchase additional, expensive iCloud storage space. Due to its limitations as a camera app, it’s probably better suited to casual photographers, but as that’s most smartphone camera users, it should do fine.
If CloudCam sounds like something you’d like to try, at the moment it’s on offer as a free download, but it’s listed as being for a limited time only. It’s previous price was £1.99, which is quite expensive, but far less than buying more storage space from Apple. It’s impossible not to recommend it as it’s free, but at full price you’ll need to be a prolific photographer to make full use of its talents.