What You Need to Do to Save Space on Your iPhone Right Now

We’ve all been there. You’re snapping pics of an important moment – your daughter’s wedding ceremony, your nephew’s bat mitzvah, your trip of a lifetime – when your phone suddenly stops. You’re out of storage space. As you frantically start scrolling through and deleting old photos and videos, you end up missing all the action right in front of you.

It’s an all-too-common scenario, but we have some tips on how to save space on your iPhone so that next time you can snap away to your heart’s content.

How to Save Space on Your iPhone Now

Get Familiar with Your Storage

If you go into your Settings folder, and then click on iPhone Storage, you’ll see a list of everything on your phone, in order of which apps take up the most space.

You might find your Music app is taking up a lot of storage space, or maybe it’s your Podcasts or Movie Streaming apps. Whatever it is, this is a good way for you to determine where you should start your clean-up process.

Are You Using all Those Apps?

Often we see a cool app and download it, only to ignore it for the next year. The first step when trying to streamline your iPhone is to check which apps you can delete or offload. Thankfully, the iPhone makes this very easy.

  • Go to Settings
  • Click on General
  • Select iPhone Storage
  • Now scroll through all your apps and delete the “never used” apps or delete the ones you haven’t used in a long time.
  • If you’re unsure about deleting an app that you haven’t used often, but may in the future, you can choose “offload app” which will save your data for when you reinstall the app.

Clear out Old Attachments

Anytime you send or receive attachments via iMessage, your phone keeps those in a folder, which can take up a lot of space. To review and delete old attachments, follow these steps:

  • Go to Settings
  • Click on General
  • Select iPhone Storage
  • Click on Messages
  • Select Review Large Attachments
  • Here you will find large photos, files and videos you can individually delete to save storage space

Move Photos and Videos to the Cloud

Before you move your pics it’s a good idea to go through your photos folder first and delete any photos or videos you may not want. If it’s blurry or not an essential pic to keep (that yummy brunch you had two years ago possibly isn’t a keeper), then delete away.

  • Open Settings
  • Select Photos
  • Click on iCloud Photos and Upload to my Photo Stream to turn them on
  • Check Optimize iPhone Storage and make sure you uncheck Download and Keep Originals
  • Once you’ve backed your files up to the cloud, you can delete them from your iPhone.

If you’ve tried all the above steps and you’re still having storage issues on your iPhone, it might be time to talk to one of our in-store technology experts. Visit a London Drugs near you to get the latest scoop on all things iPhone.

12 Ways to Make Your iPhone Photos Look Amazing

Think you can’t take stunning photos with just your iPhone? Think again! We’ve got some handy tips to take your iPhone photos from drab to fab.

1. Composition

The best way to make beautiful and impressive photos is by thinking about how the subjects are positioned. In photography terms, that’s called composition. The rule of thirds is a good place to start working on your composition, and below are a few more tips to keep in mind when setting up a photo:

  • Negative Space is the area around and between the subjects of an image. One, single compelling subject will stand out more than a frame cluttered with objects. Try placing your subject against open sky, water, an empty field, smooth table top, or a large wall. Tip: tap the screen of your iPhone on the subject before you take the photo to ensure that it’s sharp and exposed correctly.

  • Perspective – When taking photos, most people stand straight, point the phone at the subject at eye level, and take the shot. If you want to create interest, try changing your perspective: stand above your subject, crouch lower and point the camera up (or even lie down!), move in closer, stand further away, or move off to the side. Take many shots of the same subject from different positions and see what kind of unusual perspectives you get.

  • Depth – Creating depth draws the viewer’s eye into the scene, especially in landscape photography. One way to create depth is to include leading lines in your composition. Use a road, path, railway track, river, fence or water line that leads from the foreground into the distance. Another way to create depth is to include an object in the foreground. Get rocks, flowers, leaves or other things that are close to you into the bottom or side of the frame, or if you can’t find any foreground objects, just shoot from a lower angle. Long story short, think in three dimensions, not just two.
  • Diagonal Alignment – We crave visual balance, and a creative way to achieve that balance is through diagonal alignment. If you have two main subjects in your scene, especially if it’s still life, try positioning them diagonally. If you can’t control the position of your subjects, you’ll need to move yourself around. (Hint: find a diagonal leading line.)
  • Symmetry is incredibly pleasing to the human eye, and it’s also one of the simplest ways to compose a great photo. This doesn’t always fit into the rule of thirds, but you’re allowed to break the rules once in a while to get a cool photo.

2. Patterns and Abstracts

To make a strong visual impact, capture a pattern or abstract subject. Only showing the essence of something creates mystery and interest without revealing the entire subject. Try cropping a portion of a larger photo, or take a close-up shot of an everyday object that leaves the viewer wondering what it might actually be.

3. Texture and Details

Close-up images that capture intricate or delicate details can make for engaging visual content. Keep an eye out for pleasing textures and surfaces like peeling paint, moisture droplets, frost, wood grain, fabric, or animal fur.

Tip: iPhone lenses are limited, so you can’t get too close to your subjects. Instead, take the photo from a bit of a distance and crop it, and use the “sharpen” tool in your favourite photo editing app to enhance the details. (More on those tips later.)

4. Silhouettes and Shadows

Silhouette photos are always eye-catching. To start, your subject needs to be positioned in front of a light source, and sunrise or sunset is the best time to capture the most beautiful silhouettes. If you’re shooting indoors, place your subject in front of a window, lamp, or a reflected light source.

Shadows are also fun to play with; once you place your subject in front of the light, try focusing on the shadow on the ground and see what striking shapes appear. 

5. Reflections

We already mentioned that the human eye loves symmetry, and a reflection is another beautiful way to capture that. A cool reflection can also create depth and mystery. Of course a calm body of water is a perfect place to find a beautiful reflection, but keep your eye out for other reflective surfaces to shoot: mirrors, a wet street, windows, ice, sunglasses, and glass buildings are all perfect.

6. Colour

Playing around with colour is a fun way to find your photography style. Think about what colours you are drawn to (muted, vibrant, bold, natural, etc.) Learning about complementary colours can also help you know what to look for and create even more visual impact. Whatever catches your eye will probably catch someone else’s eye too.

7. Candids

Posed photos are wonderful for family memories, but candid shots can sometimes tell a more captivating story. Try putting people in a setting where they can act naturally and not have to pose, like walking down a colourful street, chatting happily together, or looking at a beautiful sunset.

8. Natural Light

You may have noticed already that it’s nearly impossible to get a nice photo using the iPhone’s flash, so the best way to light your photos is with natural light. First, turn the flash off: open up your camera app, tap on the little lightning bolt in the upper left corner, then choose Off. Indoors, windows will be your best friend – just avoid direct sunlight, and don’t shoot directly into the window (unless you’re trying to create a silhouette on purpose).

If you’re shooting people, place them next to something naturally reflective like a light-coloured wall. If you are outdoors, overcast days are perfect for taking photos anywhere. If it’s a bright, sunny day, try to find a shady spot with some reflected light, or shoot during the “golden hour” (the period of daytime shortly after sunrise or before sunset). Night time photos can be trickier with an iPhone, so make sure there is some kind of light source nearby like a lamp or a streetlight.

9. Quantity

Now that we don’t have to worry about wasting precious film, we have the luxury of increasing our odds of getting a nice photo by taking lots of them. With landscapes and still life, take at least 3-5 photos for each shot (you never know when the wind will change or the sun will go behind a cloud!) and with people or animals, take even more.

Tip: Before you head out the door on a day you know you’ll be taking lots of photos, back up your phone, then clear out your Photos folder to ensure you’ve got enough memory.

10. In-phone Settings

  • Gridlines – An easy way to improve your photos is with the Grid function. It will superimpose gridlines on the screen that are based on the rule of thirds. Go to Settings, choose Photos & Camera, and switch Grid on. Experiment with lining up your subjects in the sections going up and down or across the screen.
  • Focus and exposure –  You can use the auto focus feature by tapping on what you want in the sharpest focus, and a square will appear and focus on the area you tapped. (This will also automatically adjust the exposure, too.)
  • Avoid zooming inIf you’re far away, it’s tempting to zoom in on your subject, but because the iPhone doesn’t have lenses that focus like an SLR camera, all that will do is make the photo look blurry or pixelated. Instead, get closer to your subject or take the photo from a distance and crop it later.

11. Filters and Editing

Photos filters are everywhere these days, since there are so many to choose from and easy to use. There are a few handy built-in filters in your iPhone. When you open a saved photo, tap on Edit in the top right corner of the screen, then tap on the little 3-circle Filters icon at the bottom. Scroll through the filters to choose the one that suits your mood. You can also adjust the levels manually by clicking on the dial icon, then choosing Light, Colour, or B&W. The Crop tool (the little turning square icon on the left) will help you change the size or zoom in to your photo, or you can turn it if necessary. These options could get your photo where it needs to be, but they are fairly limited. An editing app will take your photos to the next level, and there are many good ones in the App Store that are free or inexpensive.

12. Accessories

  • Mobile tripod – Smartphones make photography very easy, but if you want to elevate your selfie game, get yourself a mobile tripod. It will ensure your shot stays level and balanced, and because mobile tripods are barely bigger than your mobile device, they are easy to take anywhere.
  • External lenses – If you want to experiment with more angles and perspectives in your iPhone photography, invest in an external lens. From macro to fish-eye to wide-angle options, these add-ons can bring an entirely new look to your photos, without breaking the bank on a bag full of expensive gear.

We hope you will use these tips to start getting creative with your iPhone photos. Want to show off your best photos for all the world to see? Take them to our Photolab!

4 Quick Tips to Spring Clean Your Phone

With spring just around the corner, and spring cleaning and decluttering well underway, it’s time to turn our attention to one item that probably needs the most cleaning but often gets overlooked: our trusty smartphones. A study by researchers at the University of Arizona showed that cellphones carry 10 times more bacteria than the average toilet! And an accumulation of digital clutter means they may be working less than efficiently, too. Here are four quick tips to effectively clean and declutter your smartphone.

Spring Clean Your Smartphone

Wipe it Down

Before you deal with the digital clutter on your device, get rid of germs by giving it a good wipe down. In order to avoid damaging your phone, clean your screen with a micro-fibre cloth and a non-drip gel. Give the phone a quick spritz with the gel and rub it gently to avoid scratching the screen. Don’t forget to also wipe the camera lens. 

This may also be a good time to freshen up your phone case.

Back it Up

Before embarking on any kind of digital cleaning mission, it’s best to back up your device first. If you have an iPhone, select your Settings. Click on your Name and then iCloud. Select iCloud Backup and click Back up Now. To back up an Android phone on the Google cloud, follow these instructions.

Purge Old Apps

Take a look through your apps. You may find you actually only use a few of them regularly. If you have an iPhone you can easily check how much you’re using your apps. Click on Settings, General, and iPhone Storage. There you’ll see a list of your apps and exactly how much storage they’re taking up and when they were last used. This is a pretty quick and easy way to offload old, unused apps. The apps you use daily should be on the first page of your phone. Everything else can be put into folders. So, for example, all your hotel and airline apps would go into a folder marked Travel and your Candy Crush and Words with Friends apps can be put into a Games folder.

Delete Old Music, Photos, Contacts, and Texts

It’s really tempting to never delete anything from your phone because, hey, you never know when you may need it! The reality, though, is that music and photos take up a lot of space on your device. And after you’ve played Lady Gaga’s Shallow on repeat for two straight weeks, you might just be done with it for awhile.

After you’ve backed up your phone, consider deleting older music, any blurry photos you’re needlessly saving, and while you’re at it, take a look through your contacts and texts. You don’t need those outdated message threads cluttering up your phone any more than you need those old texts from your ex. Delete, delete, delete.

We know it’s hard to let go of things, and just as you agonize over letting go of old books, clothes, or appliances, it’s just as nerve-wracking to delete digital clutter from your phone. But you’ll feel lighter for it, and so will your trusty phone.

If you have any questions about optimizing your technology, our in-store technology experts are always happy to help.

Your Guide to Creating a Cozy Plaid Life

The changing weather and cooler temperatures are bringing out our cozy side. What better way is there to prepare for the winter ahead then by wrapping yourself in layers and layers of comfort.  From a sturdy plaid flannel, to accessories that make a statement, this is your guide to creating a totally cozy plaid life this fall.

Invest in a Great Plaid Shirt

The red plaid shirt is a classic for a reason. Aside from being the unofficial Canadian uniform, a good plaid shirt is durable, warm, and relatively weather-proof (particularly if you go for a flannel). Whether you are sitting around a campfire on a chilly fall evening, or running holiday errands in the slush, the plaid shirt just makes sense.

Cozy Plaid

Photo by Javier Canales

Throw Down for Cozy Plaid

Expert cozy-ists know that a plaid throw is a must-have for fall. The thicker, the better. Curl up on the couch under your plaid throw with a good book or your favourite old movie. Bonus points if you casually sip hot chocolate.

Cozy Plaid

Photo by Cory Bouthillette


Take Plaid With You

Bring the spirit of coziness along with you everywhere you go with a Roots 73 Plaid Folio Phone Case. It’s a stylish and durable case that subtly showcases your commitment to the cozy plaid life wherever you are.

Cozy Plaid iPhone Case

Paint the Town Plaid

Really go for the gusto by turning an old tabletop into an eye-catching statement furniture piece. The Rain on a Tin Roof blog has a no-measure method for painting a plaid pattern using painter’s tape.

cozy plaid

Photo by Jenna LaFevor

There you have it. That’s everything you need to create a plaid-tastic fall. Wrap yourself in layers of flannel and warmth, and indulge in that lumberjack-chic life. And please, snap some photos of your #PlaidLife and share them with us on Instagram (@LondonDrugs) or Facebook.

LD Experts: Choosing The Right Camera

Our London Drugs experts can help you with almost anything, but one product we’re especially associated with is cameras.

Photography Primer

In fact, our decision to sell cameras in the 1940s first helped us stand out and paved the way for our technology departments today. Of course, not everyone is defined by photography. Most of us just want great pictures of our family, friends, and experiences.

In 2016, that could mean using an SLR, smartphone, or even a drone. And we find it can be hard for shoppers to know which option is best.

So we created this primer on choosing the camera type that’s right for you.


6 Things You Didn’t Know About Your iPhone

The iPhone may be the most common smartphone in Canada, but that doesn’t mean we all know how to use our iPhones. Behind the simplicity of iOS lies incredible complexity, so we’ve decoded some of the best tips. Here are 6 changes you should consider making with your iPhone habits.



7 Tips for Taking Better Smartphone Pictures


take better smartphone pictures photolab app

Flickr photo: “iPhone Photography” by Olle Eriksson

The capabilities of most smartphone cameras have increased enormously over time. Using iPhone as an example, you can see dramatic improvements with each iteration. Celebrating these advances, Apple has even used snaps by users in the recent Shot on iPhone 6 ad campaign.

Screen Shot 2016-07-08 at 3.00.52 PMIt’s also becoming more common to professionally print smartphone pictures; they’re getting that good. Our own Photolab iOS app makes this process fast and easy — available soon for Android, too.

Of course, smartphone picture quality still lags behind results you’ll get from a high-end DSLR camera, or even from an advanced point-and-shoot model. With this in mind, we offer this collection of useful tips and tricks for taking better smartphone shots. (We hope by now everyone knows to press the screen to auto-focus!).

Here are seven ways you can improve your smartphone photography today.