Seamless Photo Transfer and Backup with Android

If you want to keep your photos safe when travelling, you don’t need to schlep a notebook or netbook around: an Android device can be used to pull photos from the camera’s storage card and back them up on an external hard disk or upload them to a cloud storage. The easiest solution is to use a USB On-The-Go (OTG) cable to connect an external storage device like a portable hard disk or a high-capacity USB stick and use them for storing backup copies of the photos. However, this approach requires an Android device which supports the USB OTG functionality, and not all smartphones and tables do that. This also means that you have to remember to pack yet another piece of hardware. An alternative solution is to set up a wireless backup system which enables you to seamlessly back up photos on a remote storage device or service using your Android device. Here is how this can be done.

Eye-Fi Android app

The first piece of the puzzle is a Wi-Fi-enabled SD card. Eye-Fi is probably the most popular choice, but there are other Wi-Fi SD cards out there, including Transcend Wi-Fi SD card, Toshiba FlashAir, ez Share, and PQI Air. I use an Eye-Fi Pro X2 16GB SD card and the accompanying Eye-Fi Android app. The card is configured to use the Direct Mode, so it automatically connects to the camera and downloads RAW files to the Android device.


Another important component is an Android app that takes care of backing up the transferred photos to an SD card and a remote server. There are several apps in the Google Play Store that can do the job, but you can’t go wrong by choosing FolderSync. This app can handle a wide range of protocols, including SFTP, FTP, WebDAV, and SMB. In addition to that, the app supports popular cloud-based storage services, such as Amazon S3, Dropbox, Google Drive, and All you need to do is to configure FolderSync to push the photos from your Android device to a server or service of your choice. The described backup solution does have its weaknesses, though. The amount of storage available for backup is limited to the free space on your Android device. You can, of course, use a microSD card for backups (provided the Android device has a microSD card slot), and replace the card when it gets full. Also, uploading photos to a remote server or storage service requires a relatively fast and stable connection which might not be readily available at your travel destination.

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