MyShoebox for Android and iOS backs up your photos for free, for life

Daniel Bader

November 9, 2012 2:51pm

Toronto-based startup MyShoebox has taken a well-worn idea and made a great product out of it. The problem of photo consolidation is very real; most cloud storage providers give you some way to upload those photos from both mobile and desktop, but few do anything beyond being a dumb repository.

MyShoebox is a new entry into the space, and advertises free photo storage, from any device, for life. It has clients for Android, iOS, Windows and OS X, with a Windows Phone version coming soon, and the service does its one thing very, very well.

On Android it allows background uploading of photos with granular quality — it uploads lower-quality photos over the cellular network by default, with high-res versions added over WiFi. This can be changed, but the beauty is in the set-it-and-forget-it nature of the program. This is not a social network, though: photos are private and secure, and can only be accessed behind a login. The iOS version cannot upload automatically due to background app restrictions, but once open the app does the same thing as on Android, and can continue to upload for 10 minutes once the app is closed.

MyShoebox also uses your photos’ metadata to good use. It sorts based on date, obviously, but can separate albums by device used or location, and has intelligent search if you’re looking for something more specific. This is something that neither Google+, Dropbox or Skydrive does very well. With millions of users uploading photos from digital SLRs, phones, tablets and point-and-shoots, it’s helpful to know the source of the shot as well as its context.

The company has yet to address early complaints about the app, namely that it does not allow mass deletion of photos, or detect photos stored on an external SD card. While these changes — and a Windows Phone 8 version — are likely forthcoming, MyShoebox is still a fantastic 1.0 product.

The free version uploads lower-quality snaps, while full-sized photos can be stored for $5/month.

Download MyShoebox for Android and iOS.

  • Awais

    Can’t I just use Instant Upload on Google+? I have a feeling Google’s for life service might outlast other for life services.

    • Martin

      I personally like the tight integration on my GS3 with g+.
      Unless I haven’t enabled some setting, dropbox isn’t automatic like instant upload.

      The drawback is instant upload isn’t full sized.
      Comparing the details between the same picture on my phone and instant upload yields these results;
      Phone – 3264×2448 2.4megabytes in size.
      Instant upload – 2048×1536 464kilobytes in size.

    • SAM


  • Richard Singh

    Google+ Instant Upload and Dropbox does the same thing already.

  • 45

    This is kind of cool. I’ll check it out.

  • Brad F(anboy)

    Really makes you wonder how they’re making money.

    • Bazinga

      Daniels last sentance says it all $

  • Mike Johnston

    You mean backed up for free, until they go out of business.

  • Martin

    From their website

    “Currently the free resolution is 1024 pixels on the longest side.”

    I think I will stick to Instant upload instead, thanks.

  • Amos

    1 megapixel max isn’t really a backup. The $5/month is quite reasonable for full res, but for $40/year you can save everything full-res to and for $60/year (same!), you can also save all your HD video. SmugMug also has a *ton* of features and has been around for a long time. I’m using SmugFolio on Android to do background uploads. Camera Awesome is SmugMug’s iOS app.

    Anyway, I’m happy to see a new Canadian startup with possibly some new features to add to the space. Not sure “Lifetime” means what they think it means though. 🙂

  • Jonny

    I’m liking Sugarsync but all of the auto-uploaders seem to have a craptastic web interface. Maybe the mac/windows app for this is better?
    $5 a month for full res picutures is pretty insane though.

  • Amos

    Also, I’m curious about the encryption. They may well be encrypted, but if the AES encryption they talk about isn’t happening on your device before sending (which I doubt given their list of features) then they can’t claim that nobody else can access your photos because they are encrypted. The key would be on their servers (probably using encrypted Amazon cloud storage) and it could be accessed and used by employees, hackers, Vic Toews, etc. to decrypt.

    I have asked for clarification on Twitter. We’ll see if I get a response.

  • Wilson Fisk

    2 issues with cloud services.

    1. security.
    2. loss of information (ie. megaupload)

    this would be ideal if it was a true cyber locker. I have 25gb for free on skydrive. Why would I pay for this?

  • Will Lam

    Guys, you gotta try it to believe it, it’s simple and beautiful way to browse through your photos and resurface old ones. It is such a solid product from two awesome founders out of Extreme Startups

    • schultzter

      I tried it, and I agree it looks really slick.

      But like others have said, other services are way beyond in terms of features and value (ex.: G+ Instant Upload does the same thing but quadruples the size of the free image and has a lot more features via the web interface).

  • Thomson

    I’ll stick with Flickr. Just no auto upload. But that’s ok.