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“How on earth can I sort through it all?” 


It often happens like this. Jake was standing in the line at Starbucks when his friend Tonya walked in. Jake had just returned from a vacation at the beach and wanted to tell Tonya all about it. That reminded her, Tonya took an amazing picture of a seagull on a vacation several years ago. She wasn’t sure when or on what beach she took the photo. As a result, thus began “The Great Scroll.” For the next 10 minutes she swiped through her photos looking for the elusive seagull photo. She checked her summer vacations for the last few years, then the vacations around Christmas, but try as she might, she just couldn’t find it. She knew she had taken a ton of photos but it felt like the more she searched the more photos appeared on her phone. Finally, in absolute frustration she stuffed her phone back in her purse.


How to sort through various media is the most common question customers ask.  It’s usually asked with great urgency.  They’ve got boxes filled with printed photos, home movies, 8mm slides, and more. Plus, their cell phones have literally thousands of videos and pictures on them. Truly, it can feel overwhelming. 


Here’s the bottom line. Sorting through it all will take some work and time. But there are tools that can help you in the process.


In this article I’m not going to bombard you with a list of different apps to choose from. Instead I will focus on two resources that can help you sort through and organize your digital files on your cell phone.


Most cell phones today come with rather extraordinary cameras allowing us to easily take pictures and film short videos. Since we carry cell phones with us everywhere we go, we can end up with thousands of images and videos stored on our phones. 


Step one in sorting through these images is to look through them and decide what to keep and what to delete. If you have thousands of digital images and videos it’s likely you have hundreds that can be deleted because they are duplicates, are no longer needed, or they are of a poor quality.


Recommendation #1- Slidebox. Slidebox is an app for iPhone and Android Phones. (It will also work on iPads and Android Tablets.) With a few simple swipes or taps of your screen, you can delete pictures and organize them into folders. Even better news, before items are permanently deleted, you can sort through them one last time. What a time saver! For details on how to use Slidebox, click here.


Now that you’ve decided which photos to keep and which to delete here’s the next question, “How can I actually find the photos I’m looking for?”


Recommendation #2- Google Photos. (For details on how much free storage Google provides click here.) This incredible app, using image recognition, can actually search through your photos in a variety of incredibly useful ways and give you specific results based on that search. 


For example, you can search for photos by:

  • Type- the kind of photos taken, i.e. selfie, panorama, etc.

  • Location- The location they were taken from, i.e. vacation spots, grandma’s house, etc.

  • Date- The date when they were taken

  • Person- The person you are looking for (yes, Google Photos uses facial recognition.)

  • Animals- The type of animal, i.e. your dog, cat, etc.

  • Activity- The activity happening in the photo


Plus, on your smart phone app, you can actually search photos to discover what’s in them. You took a photo of a famous work of art and don’t remember its name, use the Google Photos app. Want to identify what kind of flower you photographed, use the Google Photos app. To learn the basics of Google Photos, click here. For more details about how to maximize the use of Google Photos, click here.


If you maximize the use of these two tools, you can tame the unwieldy beast of your seemingly endless collection of photos and videos on your phone and find what you are looking for… even a picture of a seagull.