These days, photo files are huge; it’s not uncommon to capture over a hundred gigabytes worth of RAW images during a single photoshoot. Fortunately, storing high volumes of files isn’t difficult – high-capacity external hard drives are cheaper than ever – but what if you want to view or edit your images on multiple devices, such as your laptop, your tablet, and your phone?
One option is to use a cloud-based program like Adobe Lightroom CC. But while Lightroom CC works great for small photo libraries, the larger your library gets, the more expensive it is to maintain. If you produce several terabytes of photos each year, you’ll soon be paying hundreds of dollars per month to manage your Lightroom photo library, which is wildly inconvenient (if not completely unsustainable).
Another option is to keep all of your images on a standard desktop hard drive. But while hard drives are far cheaper than Adobe’s cloud storage plans, they come with a major drawback: loss of mobility. Yes, you can view your photos on your computer at home. However, if you want to edit your files while traveling with only a laptop or show your clients recently edited photos on your phone, then you’re effectively stuck.
Fortunately, there is a third solution: Mylio Photos. Mylio Photos is a program that combines the low cost and large storage capacity of a dedicated desktop hard drive with the real-time syncing, portability, and flexibility of cloud storage.
With Mylio Photos, you can fit your entire image library – even if it contains terabytes of RAW files – on each and every one of your devices, including phones, tablets, laptops, and desktop computers. You can access all of your images instantly, and you can even make changes to folders, Albums, and photo files on one device and expect immediate syncing with the other Mylio-connected devices. (Note that, for syncing, the devices should be connected via Wi-Fi, and on tablets and smartphones, you’ll need to have the app up and running for syncing to occur.)
And because Mylio Photos utilizes the drives and devices that you already own to store your images, you won’t pay a penny for cloud storage, either (unless you want to connect a cloud service to Mylio, that is!).
In this tutorial, I explain:
- How Mylio Photos fits your entire library onto phones, tablets, and laptops while maintaining significant file-management and even editing capabilities
- The simple, step-by-step approach you can use to access, manage, and edit your library on a smartphone or tablet
Let’s get started.
Managing your photo library from a smartphone or tablet: How it works
As I emphasized above, Mylio Photos allows you to access an entire catalog of files from each and every one of your devices, including limited-capacity tablets and smartphones.
How is this possible? It’s all thanks to Mylio’s clever compression algorithms and intelligent syncing technology. Here’s the (slightly simplified) process:
- You capture images and store them on your computer, your phone, your laptop, your external hard drive, etc., (and you give Mylio Photos access to the files).
- The Mylio Photos app creates various compressed copies of these images (without modifying the original files).
- The Mylio Photos app serves up these compressed images to any Mylio-connected devices.
- You view, organize, and edit the images on any of your Mylio-connected devices.
- Any changes you make to files on one of your Mylio-connected devices are synced with the other devices.
Note that Mylio Photos creates two types of compressed files:
- Thumbnails, which take up a tiny fraction of the original’s file size. Thumbnails aren’t editable, but they’re easy to view and manage on any device.
- Smart Previews, which are about 5% as large as the original RAW file. Smart Previews are impressively small – a million smart preview files take up about 1 TB of storage space – yet they offer sophisticated editing, sharing, and even printing capabilities.
Hopefully, you’re starting to understand how it all works. Mylio Photos evaluates the storage capacity of your different devices; then, based on the available storage space, the application serves up Thumbnails and/or Smart Previews, which you can then use while traveling, consulting with clients, and so on.
If you have hundreds of thousands of images, your phone’s Mylio Photos library may consist primarily of Thumbnails. Your tablet and your laptop, however, will likely be capable of storing the entire library as Smart Previews; this should come in handy if you plan to edit, share, or print your images on the go.
Note that you can also choose to store uncompressed copies of the master files (called “Originals”) on your devices as needed (and Mylio may even sync Originals automatically depending on device storage capacities). In fact, what’s especially impressive about Mylio Photos is that you can customize the size of the image files depending on your goals and interests.
For instance, while Mylio might automatically store only Thumbnails on your smartphone, you can instruct the application to create Smart Previews or even Originals for files in specific folders or files with certain characteristics (e.g., 5-star ratings). That way, you don’t fill up your phone with unwanted Smart Previews, but you can have a few editable files to show clients or edit while sitting on a plane.
All of this may seem fairly complex, but it’s actually pretty simple. In the second half of this article, I share the step-by-step process for storing your images on a mobile device. I also walk you through a few customization scenarios, so you can adjust your storage settings depending on your interests.
How to access your library from a mobile device: step-by-step instructions
If you haven’t already, head over to the Mylio website and grab a Mylio Photos free trial or purchase a subscription. Make sure that you download the program on a device with significant free space; that way, it can easily store any imported files.
Follow the installation instructions, open the application, and sign into your account. You’ll be prompted to set up a Mylio Library Folder, which will act as a sort of “hub” for imported files.
Once this process is complete, proceed with the first step:
Step 1: Import your photo library into Mylio
Before you can view your entire library on a mobile device, you must first gather together all of your images.
Select the Add Media icon:
Then choose Add media accessible from this device:
Select a folder containing your images, then hit the Select Folder button:
You’ll be given the option to link your photos (i.e., add them to the Mylio Photos app without copying or moving them from their location), copy your photos (by default, the files will be copied to the Mylio Library Folder you selected when setting up the program), or move your photos (by default, the files will be moved to the Mylio Library Folder and the originals will be deleted).
If you like your existing folder structure, I’d recommend simply linking your photos – but if you want to start fresh, adding the photos is a solid option.
You may need to repeat the process detailed above until you’ve given Mylio access to all of your device’s images; remember, the goal is to locate and import your entire photo library. Note that you can also import images from Flickr, Facebook, Instagram, or Google Photos; just select the Add Media icon, then choose Add media from an online service and proceed as instructed.
At this point, you should have imported all the images stored on your device (don’t forget to plug in your external hard drives and import all of those photos, too!). You may still have some photos residing on your smartphone, laptop, tablet, etc., but we’ll deal with those down the line.
Step 2: Connect all additional devices
Now it’s time to give your other devices – including your smartphone and tablet – access to the Mylio library.
Click on the Dashboard tab in the main menu:
(You can also select the Devices icon in the upper right-hand corner.)
Make sure the Devices option is selected, then click the Add button:
You’ll be prompted to choose a device. If you have a desktop or laptop computer you’d like to connect to Mylio Photos, go ahead and choose the Computer option. However, for this tutorial, we’re going to select Phone or tablet:
You’ll be shown a QR code, which you should then scan. Follow the remaining instructions, launch the app on your device, and sign into your Mylio Photos account.
(You’ll be given the option to add photos taken with your mobile device; feel free to follow the on-screen instructions, though I’ll guide you through this process in the next section.)
Repeat Step 3 for all your remaining devices, including any other smartphones, tablets, laptops, and desktop computers. Note that laptops and desktops use an email download rather than a QR code, but the process is fairly similar. However, upon signing in, you’ll need to choose a Mylio Library Folder, just as you did when setting up Mylio on your main device.
(You can also connect external drives and even a few cloud storage services to Mylio. This will allow the drive or the cloud service to create a secure backup of your Mylio library, which is a great low-effort way to keep your files safe!)
Now when you open Mylio on each and every one of your devices, you’ll be able to access your photo library. However, we still have some work to do:
Step 3: Add any images from your additional devices
If the devices you added in Step 2 don’t contain any important photos or if you already added all relevant files to Mylio Photos, you can skip this section and head on to Step 4. However, if the devices do contain important photos that you’d still like to add to your Mylio library, you’ll need to use the process described in Step 1.
Depending on the device, the precise instructions may vary slightly, but you’ll always start by selecting the Add Media icon. From there, simply follow the prompts to select your remaining images and import them into Mylio Photos.
Once you’ve added all your files, they’ll be visible in the Mylio Photos app, and you can continue with the next step:
Step 4: Adjust the device quality settings as needed
Mylio Photos automatically stores your photo library as Thumbnails and/or Smart Previews depending on each device’s individual storage capacities. However, you have the option to customize file storage based on your own device-specific requirements.
Open the Devices tab (found in the Mylio Dashboard).
Select a device, then click the Device Quality option:
You’ll see a fly-out menu that offers an array of customization tools. If your device has lots of space and you’d like to store only copies of the Master files, you can select the Vault button:
This comes in handy if you have images stored on multiple devices, yet you want to keep high-quality versions on a single device for comprehensive viewing and editing.
(The Vault option is also useful if you want to create a complete backup of your images; simply plug in a spacious external drive, set the Device Quality to Vault, then rest easy knowing you have a perfect backup of your entire photo library.)
For more options, tap Advanced Settings:
If your device has very limited space or you need to keep some space free for other purposes, you can select the Thumbnails option:
That way, your device will only store tiny, non-editable (but still viewable and organizable!) photos.
Note that – if you select the Thumbnails or the Auto Optimized option – you can selectively create and sync higher-quality files as needed. Tap the Show Customizations button:
Then select either P for Smart Previews or O for Originals:
Here, you can choose to sync Smart Previews or Originals based on image ratings, labels, or keywords. For instance, on your smartphone, you might wish to sync Smart Previews for 5-star photos only; that way, you can edit, share, or print your best shots even when away from your main computer. Or you might wish to sync Originals for all images with a blue label (where you only apply the blue label to images that are currently in need of printing or images that you plan to show to clients in the near future).
The possibilities are essentially endless, and by customizing the device quality, you can optimize file sizes to fit various scenarios.
Step 5: Use Tap to Sync to adjust the image quality in specific folders
Adjusting image sizes via the Device Quality settings is certainly useful, but what if you want to sync Smart Previews, Originals, or Thumbnails depending on the location of your files?
Fortunately, Mylio Photos allows you to override your Device Quality settings on a folder-by-folder basis. Start by enabling the Tap to Sync option in the Device Quality menu:
You can also select the Folders view, then enable Tap to Sync in the More menu:
You’ll see a small icon appear in the upper right-hand corner of each folder:
Tap the icon, and you’ll be given the option to sync Thumbnails, Smart Previews, and Originals for only that folder.
What’s especially convenient is that, once you’ve selected a quality setting for a folder, all future images added to the folder will be subject to the same syncing policy.
When might this Tap to Sync option be useful? If you know you’ll be on a long plane flight without internet, you could create a folder called “Travel Edits,” add a handful of images you need to retouch, then use the Tap to Sync option to sync the Smart Previews for post-processing on your tablet.
Alternatively, you might create a folder called “Portfolio” that includes all of your best images, sync the files on your smartphone as Smart Previews, then show the high-quality versions to potential clients at your next consultation.
Step 6: View, organize, and edit your images from any connected device!
If you’ve followed the instructions I’ve shared above, your entire photo library is now completely accessible on your mobile device – and you’ve customized the file sizes to fit your requirements.
All that’s left to do? Spend some time working on your images! Fortunately, Mylio Photos offers plenty of image organization tools; you can create Albums, add keywords, add stars and flags, and apply Categories. You can also locate specific images via the Search and Filter features, and you can remove similar images using the Photo DeClutter tool.
While Mylio Photos doesn’t market itself as a replacement for your favorite post-processing program, it does offer a surprisingly sophisticated editor, which includes preset support, tonal adjustments, color adjustments, sharpening, and even the option to add a vignette. And if you prefer to edit your files in a program such as Lightroom, Photoshop, or Capture One, that’s okay, too; you can easily send images to your favorite third-party program, make your adjustments, then send them back to Mylio Photos. (Mylio even offers streamlined integration for Lightroom users!)
Finally, just remember that everything you do on your smartphone will be reflected on your tablet, laptop, and desktop (and vice versa). That way, you can organize and edit your photos whenever you get the time – even if it’s while watching TV in bed – and the changes will instantly sync with your other devices.
Access all your files with Mylio Photos
Now that you’ve finished this article, you’re ready to have some Mylio photo-organization fun! So make sure you get your photo library set up with Mylio Photos, then start testing out the different organization and editing features. You can start organizing your photos into different Albums, or you can browse through your images and rate your best shots.
See what it’s like to have your entire photo library at your fingertips. You’re going to love it!
Mylio is a paid partner of dPS.