In brief: Smartphone ubiquity means a camera is always within arm’s reach, and their digital nature allows users to snap photos and videos without reservation. But what happens to these memories after they’ve been captured? In most instances, they are never looked at again.

According to a recent survey from Mixbook, most people (80 percent) have pictures or videos on their smartphone that they haven’t looked at since the day they took them. Half of the nearly 2,000 Americans polled said they do nothing with the photos and videos on their phones. Fewer than one in three people said they send images or videos to friends or family, and only 17 percent post them on social media.

The average American has more than 3,100 pics and videos stored on their mobile device, and 55 percent said they feel overwhelmed by the amount of media they have accumulated.

What people most often take pictures of is equally as fascinating. Many camera rolls are littered with photos of pets and family members. In states like Alabama, California, Georgia, and Oklahoma, photos of scenery reign supreme.

Given that digital cameras aren’t limited by the same constraints that hampered film users, it’s no surprise that duplicates are quite common. Mixbook found that 63 percent of people have taken multiple pictures of the same subject but never bothered to analyze the shots and delete the worst examples.

As Google once said, photos are more than just pixels. Memories fade but the pictures and videos you capture with friends and family last a lifetime.

Photos and videos are the closest thing we have to time travel, a way to freeze a moment in time. We often don’t realize what we have until it’s gone, and photos and videos fall into this category. If the subject or event was important enough to pull out your phone and take a picture of it, you will likely want to revisit it at some point in the future.

What I’m trying to say is, make a backup to minimize the risk of losing those memories forever.

Image credit: Camera by Screen Post, Camera Roll by Kerde Severin, Family by Askar Abayev

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