Do you automatically save your Windows Phone photos to OneDrive?


Windows Phone has been able to natively backup up photos you take for a long time. It's an option in your photo settings that allow any photo you take to save automatically to OneDrive. The feature is indispensable in case you lose your phone or if you have a device with limited storage space. Do you have it enabled?

How to back up your Windows Phone photos to OneDrive

  • Go to settings
  • Click on backup
  • Click 'photos + videos'
  • Turn auto upload on or off

It's super easy to turn on or off the ability to automatically save photos to the cloud. You can even select the quality of the photos to be uploaded. We're always around Wi-Fi and therefore choose to upload the best quality photo automatically.

Take our little Friday poll below and let us know which option you've selected for how your photos get saved to the cloud. Also, let us know why you went with that option.

Reading this in our app? Head to Internet Explorer to see and participate in the poll.


Reader comments

Do you automatically save your Windows Phone photos to OneDrive?



Definitely not doing that, ever. If you accidentally take a picture of someone or something that looks remotely like it has some nudity in it, your whole live account is gone forever. I'm not risking that. I understand why its automated and why that feature has to be in place, but it has some serious downsides and false positives. I could never for whatever reason make a slightly exciting picture of my wife or girlfriend or both without risking losing my account. And no that has nothing to do with age.

I don't believe a single word of what they said (and it was two years ago BTW) ... They were hiding something else than some private nudity ...

Yes, that is my understanding for quite sometime and as long as your not uploading child porno graphy which law enforce maybe tracking.

You are mistaken sir, this is not a photo sharing service, but rather a backup drive in the cloud... I've never heard someone so wrong before... Please reassess your knowledge base of this feature, and continue your pornographing as you please!

I think they're overreacting to that guy getting arrested for nude photos on his OneDrive. But they may have forgotten that the photos were of prepubescent children.

If you upload a picture of your child / family pictures, naked from the bath or whatelse, by a mistake, they will ask you to remove it in the next 48 hours. In the same scond you remove it - everything is fine. The system works well and without problems. My daughter had excatly this problem (grandson 4 years old) - but it's a good reminder and effective tool to avoid child porn and such crazy things.

OneDrive is the best! I install it across the entire ecosystem on all devices Windows, Windows Phone, *and* Xbox.

OneDrive works great! I even set it up on the iPhones and Macs that I support. OneDrive is much better than iCloud, and starts with 3X the storage.

OneDrive and OneNote make Office 365 an easy upsell.

I had this installed a while back. I recently logged into it via WP. It does its job. But now I cant logout! I cant even switch accounts... WTF?

I thought they were saved in other storage just until they got uploaded, and the the local backup gets deleted. What's the problem with that?

Saves it for 2 weeks according to what they wrote here. Only way to clear it would be to manually set the date/time to 2 weeks later. 8.1 has moved sharing things to temp files. Occasionally my other storage gets hefty, like today it was half a Gb. Deleted browsing history and cleared temp files and it dropped to 36mb and eventually cleared completely again.

Should add that I don't use storage check anymore. Storage sense seems more consistent.

No it wasn't. GDR3/Black (plus a pre-8.1 update from Verizon). I have around 11 GB in Other Storage on my 928. Finally killed the Onedrive sync but, too little too late.

I have 89 MB in Other Storage on my Lumia Icon... and I've had the sync on since I got it 4 months ago. When you updated, did you do a reset?

I haven't done the factory reset yet. I will lose MetroTalk permanently when I do that. I also have many updates that I haven't updated because the new versions are not improvements, at least for me. EBay, Facebook, Twitter, Onedrive, Amazon. I use Nokia Camera and Creative Studio currently, but the new versions won't be anything I really use either. It took well over a year and didn't get like this right away, unfortunately I don't know when it did get out of control. I deleted my entire Skydrive camera roll to no effect, jumped the date forward by 5, 10, 50 years, deleted media apps like Mytube just in case, copied off and then deleted my whole camera roll. Nothing. Have been slowly erasing music to make room. Will probably reset eventually and then harbor a deep bitter hatred for MS in my heart for all time. /hyperbole

I agree! This is such an easy way to back up all my photos and simple to set up. I have made sure mu dad and mums phones are set up for this and now with the extra storage on offer (I got 1TB) I dont have to worry about memory. Hahahaha

No. Not only don't I always have a good enought internet connection, I'm not going to waste my carrier's data plan on it. I rather connect the photos to the PC and offload them normally.

Then I can separate the High resolution ones from the normal ones into separate folders.

In use I have a 1020 for photos and the 920 as the daily driver (and a useless 930 awaiting for Microsoft to get replacement units to replace it. It was supposed to replace my 920 three weeks ago...).

I connect to a lot of WiFi networks, however not all of them are that reliable. Hence not connecting at all.

Wow. People complaining about carrier data with this feature. No one in their right mind would use anything but Wi-Fi in this scenario.

Correct. It isn't always available for me either. However! when it is, Windows Phone syncs silently in the background. No need to fuss with a stinkin PC.

I only have trully reliable WiFi at home. So why risk the WiFi failing mid-upload? I rather not risk it.

Also, I don't see much fuss in selecting photos and draging them to the appropriate folder on the PC (I should add, I don't keep my thousands of photos on the cloud).

That's not how it works at all. Error handling is properly done. If uploads are interrupted, they are retried later when a connection is available. You may be over thinking this.

I know that. It's just pointless to have the photos uploaded if the only reliable network I normally have access to is at home.

I also move a lot during the day. Even with a good WiFi connection, the phone would just upload a couple of photos at once and I can take several hundreds of them.


Again, I don't keep photos in the cloud. I would have to then download them at home again from the cloud to the PC.

Why do you have to download them from the cloud to the PC? That is kind of 1990s thinking. That's not the point of cloud storage. Let the cache do it's thing.

You're risking a lot more by not backing up your photos automatically.   This is really a no brainer because you have nothing to lose by enabling this feature.

Just time. The time it takes to upload them and the time it then takes to download them.

It's very simple: cloud upload is just not beneficial to me. So I don't use it. For those to whom it is, great. ;)

I'd get it but it doesn't seem likely at all. If they were preparing a WP device, it would have leaked by now.

I don't use a whole lot of data. Typically 2 GB per month. (I'm usually near wifi). I use my carrier plan as much as possible and let the photos fly. I do take a lot of pics, but wifi handles most of them.

The only time I come near 5gb is she I do a lot of tethering.

DCJBS... You don't have Wi-Fi?.... Man, you are a difficult one.. Lol!! I bet there's a lot of foods you don't like, right??... Finicky eater, are you❓❓❓

Re-read my comment, Rod.

"Not only don't I always have a good enought internet connection". AKA WiFi.

I have good WiFi at home. Outside home, that's not always the case. If the only reliable WiFi I normaly have access to is at home (where I pay for it), there's no point in uploading. If I'm home, I can just connect to my PC or tablet, whatever is closer at hand.


(Sort of. I'm an easy to please guy when it comes to food. As long as there's meat, I'm fine. Put vegetables or fish in front of me and things get trickier...lol Don't worry. I'm pickier with my girls. They very very very seldom go away from the blonde hair/blue eyes combo lol)

I only have good WiFi at home, too, but when I'm at home I don't have to plug my phone in to sync it with my PC. So I still don't see your problem. In my opinion it still is more convenient. But hey, everyone is free to do as one wants.

Ok, you're not so much an abnormal eater.... Nevertheless, setting your phone to auto upload the second you come within the vicinity of your house, and never having to think about it, is way better than manually duping pictures onto your PC... I bet you don't use the feature because it's a MS service... You know its true❗❗❗❗

Even if I auto-uploaded it to the cloud I would still have to then download them all to the PC for further treatment and separation (I keep the _Pro and the _highres photos in separate folders).

There's nothing to be gained from auto-upload as I don't keep photos in the cloud.


And no, it has nothing to do with being a Microsoft service. I use almost all of them with no problem and I intend to keep using them even on Android. It's still not practical to me nor does it benefit me in any way.

Why wouldn't you just separate them into different folders on One drive?.. I mean, if you want to manage them then at least work smarter... Really, DCJBS???? You know that OneDrive supports those higher resolution photos now..

Rod, what part of "I don't keep photos in the cloud" didn't you understand? lol

I have two types of photos: those who need treatment (usually vacations, monuments etc) and those who simply can't be uploaded to an unencrypted cloud storage (confidential legal papers, private photos etc).

The second batch is out of the question. Period. The first ones, even if uploaded and organized separately would still require to be downloaded again to the PC or the Surface Pro 3 (yes, I have one. Ah ah! ;P) to be used with editing software.

I simply don't have the patience to wait for photos to download from OneDrive everytime I want to use them. I already suffer with that with Office where normally the Word documents are in the cloud for access on multi-devices. Word always takes its sweet time opening the cloud folders, downloading the documents (and they are normally documents with a couple hundred pages) etc.

Just mark the folder as available offline and it will automatically download, so the photos will always be on your surface ready for editing without any waiting.

I know that. And? It will still have to download everything when I turn on the PC. It's still pointless. By passing from the phone to the PC or tablet directly, I'm cuting a unnecessary step: the cloud.

It seems I have if you didn't understand by now that I don't want nor see the need to use cloud services, Rod. They're. NOT. Useful. To. Me. Got it? ;)

Well, I have a 920 so they upload nice and easy :) but with a 1020 I think I would do just the same and I don't even have confidential stuff on my phone. Uploading that amount of data with bad Wifi connections over the day will only asure you won't have any battery left at the end of the day! Plus I don't even recomend anyone to save their photos to one place only. Adding that to a slow server service like Ms has and the fact that nothing beats a fast USB 3.0 external drive, I think here is a no-brainer issue!

(you have a very good taste, by the way. We'd never be close friends :p)


All you do is specify to use Wi-fi and they upload when you get home or connected on some other wi-fi, so no data used and they are (In my case) full quality, and they are almost instantly viewable through OneDrive on your Xbox or any other device.

No need to actually do anything, it's sorted for you.




The isn't an option if you want to enjoy an app like Nokia Storyteller. It only seems to work with local pictures.

I love my 1020, but damn it needs expandable storage bad!

Besides the fact that my computer is a Raid 5 I also store all my pictures, music and movies on a NAS box. Plus I have two external HDs for backup only. I also backup my data on Onedrive but everything I upload is previously encrypted....

And you have it all in one place?

I hope not, because if you have a fire, a flood or something like that, you can only save the things you've uploaded...

So you basically need four or more hdd just for your backup .... Nice. And you clearly work for the NSA to keep all that critical data ...

Windows profile in my pc is a Virtual disk mirrored on 2 laptop, one desktop with an lsi hw array and a nas

Maybe an earthquake could male me loose all my data :D

Whoever does not have a backup plan... is someone looking for troubles. If you drive a car you are also supposed to know that you need to check the oil level, same for computers: you are supposed to know the basics.

Pff ... I'm way too lazy to make a backup :P
Also I don't have that important data stored locally. Most things I really need are stored online. And if those online storages screw something up I see it as my fate :)

I do both! Have my 1520 set to auto upload best quality over WiFi and then a couple days a week, I import all the pics to my desktop PC via USB to a backup folder. (yes, the same PC has my Onedrive folders synced to it as well, so it's basically like I have two copies of everything... but you never know.. Hard drive might crash.. PC get struck by lightning etc.. I giant sinkhole could open up and swallow the house, PC and all.. .( Good thing that cloud is there I say!))

Well in that case, I'll have my PC backup burned to disks :)
And I'll be willing to bet our Onedrive cloud isn't only at one physical data center... if it is, can you name it?

I'm experiencing the same on 8.0.
I'm uploading in full quality which requires wifi.
It seems as If the problem occurrs more frequently If i snap alot of pictures in a short timeperiod, without wifi connectivity.
Are you seeing the same?

Yes, it is shady. With that they bring people to give them all their private information voluntarily.
No need for them any longer to tap your landline, bug your home, or sneak in your bedroom whole you are at work.
Just offer the folks "free" storage. Hahaha. Nothin' is for free!

I have done since i first got a Windows Phone back when 7.5 one of my favourite features as I've lost photos in the past i cant ever get back while the auto back-up to onedrive saves a copy on the cloud for me, such a minor feature but I'm happy its there

They ARE a problem. Read the TOS. I've read horror stories about people accidentally uploading topless pictures and having their MS accounts permanently deleted, so I always keep a local copy on my PC. Who knows what their algorithms will consider "offensive".

And then you'd lose not only your data, but your purchased apps and everything. This is why I only use cloud for sharing files, NOT for storage. There's much higher chance of MS banning you for some stupid reason and causing more damage for you than your hard drive spontaneously combusting.

I had another account that got flagged. Of course, I had created a secondary account for such foolishness. So, it didn't hurt. I only lost access to (then) SkyDrive. My email still works.

If you create a shareable link, it'll almost definitely get flagged. Not sure if they scan for nudes if you never share the pic. I don't know much about this stuff, but they could be using a "flesh algorithm" to I.D. nudes.

Have it set to upload all pics and vids to one drive full resolution. As soon I got my 920 I enabled it. And why not unlimited WiFi at home plus 2gb from O2 and of course 48gb from OneDrive... Cheers Microsoft

No, if you have the backup on the photos will appear in your OneDrive and will also stay on your device.

Yes, but I wish the folder it was uploaded to could be dependent on location. I take a lot of photos at work and a have to manually select and move to another folder on a regular basis.

Does onedrive only upload pics,videos,and office files only ? Can it upload orher files like .pdf files and other unknown files like .dat files. I know it is weird but for example i can upload a game maybe with .dll or .dat files in it?!?!?!?!?

Really ?!awesomeeee now i wanna save all my pc games in it. Say it this statement with me : Microsoft is the best and others sucks. Microsoft is the best and others sucks.Microsoft is the best and others sucks.Microsoft is the best and others sucks.Microsoft is the best and others sucks.Microsoft is the best and others sucks.Microsoft is the best and others sucks.

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Haha... absolutely not a good idea for me! Not a bad suggestion for my wife though since she has thousands of pictures that suck up every bit of her 1020.

Of course, this feature is really nice, the photos are safe in the cloud, and OneDrive works great on Windows so you can view the images on your PC without connecting your phone everytime with the PC to load the pics on the hard drive. And it's ideal for phones with not much storage. One of the best features on the phone.

Well, in most cases I would say yes. What I meant by safe was that, even if you lose your device or hdd your data is still in the cloud, I don't see that crashes in the cloud happens so often that your data is totally erased. In case of privacy, well, it's the Internet und we now 'bout NSA and other criminal orgs.

1TB OneDrive space is a recently added perk for office 365 subscribers. So you could consider that you're getting all that space free, or paying for space and getting office 365 desktop apps free. Either way, very worthwhile.

I remember a story about a guy getting work done on his roof. He couldn't physically get on the roof but gave the builder his Lumia to take a picture (auto upload on) and hey presto could see them on his PC... Saw the problem and told builder what he wanted done!