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14 Essential Phone Photos People Don’t Think to Save

How many essential phone photos do YOU have stored?

A recent study asked people what types of essential phone photos they store the most. The immediate answer was family photos, followed by travel, pets, scenery, friends, spontaneous screenshots, selfies, food, work-related content, and memes.

The basic theme here is that 97% of adults keep a large number of photos stored on their phones or in the cloud. And on average, most folks go through old photos once a month.

Moreover, 70% of us will transfer old images to new devices without ever going through and organizing or filtering them. But did you know that your phone’s library is good for more than just a bunch of selfies and pictures of food for social media?

The truth is that most of us have so many memes, screenshots, and other junk clogging things up that it’s hard even to see the pics we need to access quickly.

So on that note, we’ve come up with a list of 14 essential phone photos you should have stored at all times for one reason or another. Look through it and see if you have any of them on YOUR phone.

…And be sure to read to the end for some genius tips!

Essential Phone Photo
Photo by evgenii mitroshin at Shutterstock

Driver’s license

If you lose your purse or wallet, you’ve also lost a valid photo ID. Having this essential phone photo as a backup while you wait for a replacement can solve some serious headaches.

A pic of your driver’s license won’t be accepted by a police officer if you’re ever stopped. But it may come in handy in identifying yourself in other situations.

Auto insurance card

Most of us never leave home without our phones nowadays. But many of us forget our wallets every now and again. You don’t want to be in a situation where you get in an accident and can’t find your insurance card.

Even if you have the proof in your car, is it an up-to-date version? Also, having to dig through your glove compartment when dealing with physical injuries or emotional shakeups isn’t anyone’s idea of fun.

Find your car

This essential phone photo can be considered the “old man trick,” but that doesn’t make it any less useful! The next time you go to the mall, take a picture of where you parked your car, particularly if it’s a rental.

There’s nothing more frustrating than aimlessly walking around a vast parking lot, especially when you have no idea what kind of car you were even driving.

Your Airbnb or any other rental property

Just like with a rental car, you’re probably responsible for damage caused to an Airbnb, VRBO, or whichever other rental property you’ve chosen.

The first thing you should do after you get your bags inside is to take a photo in each room of your rental. And be sure to zoom in on any damage you see, like a big spot or hole in the wall.

Model number of your printer

What’s more annoying than running out of ink when you desperately need to print something out? Going to the store and realizing that there are about 12 printers that look exactly like yours. Just snap a pic of your printer model and serial number. You’ll thank us later!

Any new place you love

If you have location services turned on, the pictures you take with your phone are specifically geotagged.

So if you forgot to write down the name of that incredible restaurant with the best chips and queso dip, opening an essential phone photo you took will let you to find the location most of the time.

Essential Phone Photo
Photo by Ground Picture at Shutterstock

Individual photos of loved ones

There are few things more horrifying than getting separated from a loved one in a massive crowd. But having a current photo of them will be a big help in enrolling help from security guards and others around you.

A before and after of  your rental car

You’ll probably be renting if you’re traveling in a city where a car is an absolute must. Snapping photos should be your first step once you get to the car, even before you turn it on. Don’t forget that the rental agency will inspect the vehicle once you take it back in.

If they see any scratches, stains, or dents, they’ll make you pay for the repair. This is an essential phone photo because you always want a record of the car’s condition before you drive it. And be sure to snap a picture of the odometer while you’re at it.

Also, take some photos once you’re in the parking lot, dropping it back off. Nowadays, digital images contain metadata with the time and date you snapped the pictures. You’ll have all the proof you need should anything happen.

License plate and VIN number

Do you know your license plate number or VIN by heart? Don’t worry. Most people don’t. So having an essential phone photo like this avoids having to run to your car and check your info when you’re paying to park at a pay station.

In the not-so-fun scenario that your car gets stolen, having the VIN and plate number on hand allows you to inform the police as fast as possible.


When heading to destinations outside the US, the best tip we could give travelers is to photocopy and photograph their passports. This makes it much easier for you to go to an embassy and prove you’re a citizen in case you ever lost yours.

Medical and dental insurance cards

Suppose you didn’t have your card on hand for an emergency room visit or accidentally given an expired insurance card.

In that case, you know the unpleasant process of figuring out the mix-up or worse: Clarifying the issue with billing agents trying to collect the money you don’t owe. That’s why this essential phone photo is a MUST!

Computer serial number

This essential phone photo will make reporting if your device gets stolen easier. Also, if you’re calling technical support, you’ll most likely need this info, typically printed in microscopic type.

Simply take a picture and zoom in, rather than frantically trying to find a magnifying glass or a younger pair of eyes. This goes for any significant appliance as well.

COVID-19 vaccination card

It’s helpful to have this ready if you ever need to show it to a healthcare provider, in a restaurant, or for travel intents. It’s also safer than saving it in your wallet, where it can get crumbled and ultimately ruined.

Banking account and routing numbers

Bank fraud and identity theft account for billions of dollars lost annually. Screenshots of your routing numbers and accounts will help you freeze accounts faster if you notice any suspicious activity.

And on a less criminal note, having that information on hand for pay-by-phone is also helpful if you don’t want to keep stacking your bills on your credit card.

But this essential phone photo tip comes with a HUGE warning: Keep in mind that anything you take a pic of doesn’t just live on your phone.

In most cases, they’re simultaneously shared with all your devices and the cloud, so strong passwords are critical to your security and privacy.

Essential Phone Photo
Photo by Kaspars Grinvalds at Shutterstock

Bonus: Essential phone photo hack!

Don’t you want your essential phone photos to get lost in a sea of pictures? Follow the steps below:

  1. Open Notes and tap the Camera icon
  2. Choose Scan Document if you use an iPhone.
  3. Your phone’s camera will open. Snap a pic of your essential phone photo.
  4. When you’re happy with the picture, tap on the three dots in the corner and choose Pin.
  5. This way, it’s always at the front of the picture pile.

It’s easy on an Android too:

  1. Open the Google Drive app and tap Add.
  2. Now tap Scan.
  3. Take your picture, then tap on the three dots to add it to Starred documents.

Did you know you can also lock your notes with a password? We recommend doing this for everything if you want to avoid others getting their hands on your important files.

Also, while it’s vital to protect what’s inside your phone, don’t forget about the outside either! We highly recommend this durable iPhone case from Amazon.

We hope you found this post informative. Be sure to comment below if you have any more tips and tricks you’d like our readers to know about.

Meanwhile, we think you should check out: 16 Random Facts to Impress Everyone in the Room

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