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How to share photos – without using Facebook – Naked Security

Security Watch

How to share photos – without using Facebook – Naked Security


Ah, Facebook. We don’t know how to quit you.

Some pundits tell us blithely: Just delete the app, delete your account! Extricate yourself forever. If only it was that easy.

Many of us who want to quit would do it in a heartbeat if we could replicate the functionality that keeps us coming back. Aside from its massive user base, the other major hook Facebook has for many of us is that it’s an one-stop-shop for a number of different tasks.

One of the key features that keeps people going back to Facebook seems to be photo sharing. Especially with far-flung family and friends, folks with little kids and/or much-loved pets at home really, really want to share those photos with their adoring grandmama. And since grandmama is on Facebook, and all the aunties and uncles are too, photo sharing there is the path of least resistance.

But there are other options for photo sharing that don’t hand over every pixel to the Facebook megamind. These options fall under a few categories, so let’s explore:

Smartphone-native photo sharing apps

Smartphone makers have their own solutions to the problem of photo sharing as well, as both Apple and Google have ways to share photo albums stored on their phones with other people — iOS Photos for Apple and Google Photos for Android.

They work pretty well if you are sharing with other people who are also fellow Apple iOS or Google Android users; however, rather predictably, they get a little clunky if you try to share your photos across platforms. Generally if you’re trying to share a photo album from one smartphone OS to another, the photo recipient will get an email invitation to view the photos in their browser. It works well enough, though it might get a little daunting for some people to manage with a larger volume of photos.

Cloud-based file storage services

Photo sharing exists well outside of Facebook and the smartphone walled garden. There are a lot of choices out there, from photo-specific services like Smugmug or Flickr, to cloud storage services like Dropbox, all of which offer photo sharing from within their services with varying levels of security – the ability to view photos is often invite-only, or in some cases requires creating an account with the service.

They’re usually easy enough to use, though in many cases, you’re limited to how much you can upload before you end up needing to buy a subscription plan, so unless you’re already paying for these services they may not be the best option.

Third-party photo sharing apps

There is a burgeoning category of photo-sharing apps out there, many of which are marketed at new parents who undoubtedly will soon have their phones bursting with snaps to share with family. The majority of these apps tout not only how easy it is to share photos straight from the phone, but also that the photos are ‘private’ to the recipients, not blasted on a social network.

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Most of these apps work in a straightforward manner: The person sharing the photos (let’s say a parent) sends invitations to people they want to send the photos to (let’s say grandparents and friends). The photos are sent via the app to the recipients only. As the parent takes photos, they choose the photos to send via the app, and off they go to the recipients.

Some of the popular apps in this category know that they’re often used as a replacement for Facebook photo sharing, so they’ll often go through pains to mention that they have no interest in monetizing your photos or selling your personal information – instead, they make money often through add-on services like photo prints or albums, or charge a small fee to users who might want to remove in-app ads (if they exist).

The benefit of this kind of service is it’s very friendly to those who aren’t super-tech-inclined, as many of these apps work outside of the smartphone app itself, and can work within a web browser or send the photos to recipients by plain old email. For folks looking for something that’s operating system-agnostic and easy to use for both sender and recipient, these third-party apps can be the easiest Facebook alternative.