Your phone’s photo feed can actually be a lifesaver in a pinch, not just a clutter of selfies and random shots. Saving photos that you need to access quickly in an organized way saves valuable time. You’ll also avoid stress scrambling to find important personal information. Less lifesaving, but I also keep handy a handful of pictures that always make me smile. Here are 10 photos you want on your phone at all time:
Your COVID-19 vaccination card
It’s useful to have this ready to show while traveling or at a restaurant, doctor’s office, or the gym. Plus, carrying around your flimsy paper vaccination card is a recipe for disaster. Some state governments have launched apps where users can access their COVID-19 vaccine card information. In New York, for instance, it’s the Excelsior Pass.
The first step to ensuring important documents are always with you on your phone is to take pictures. Next (to avoid scrolling all over your photo feed to find them) create a folder or album on your phone called “Top 10” or “Documents.” Add the photos or scans and you’re covered.
There are several ways to do this. My favorite is using a folder in the photo organization app Mylio. I like it because it’s not a cloud service. So it’s more secure than the default photo app on your phone. Mylio keeps your photos private, backed-up, and accessible — anytime, anywhere, even without the internet.
Here are more photos you want to have on your phone, organized the way it works best for you.
Your medical and dental insurance cards
In the case of a medical emergency, the last thing you need to be worrying about is where your insurance card is. I also find that health care provider offices now ask you to complete and submit paperwork online before appointments, including uploading photos of your insurance card. It’s easier to grab your phone than try to find the cards.
And with job or life changes, it’s common to change insurance providers more often. Taking and saving a photo of your current coverage ensures you’ve always got up-to-date information at your fingertips.
Your driver’s license
Whether you’re checking in for a flight or adding a photo ID to prove your identity for other tasks, having a photo of your driver’s license at your fingertips will save time. It can also help you out in a bind like if your wallet is lost or stolen and you need proof of identification to start replacing everything.
You need to have your passport information ready when making reservations for international travel. Luckily, your phone is right there. If your actual passport gets stolen or lost while you’re traveling, you won’t be able to board an international flight. But a photo of it still can serve as a form of identification. And having all the information (passport number, expiration and issue dates) on hand will help you replace the physical document faster.
Your current car registration, auto insurance card, and license plate
it’s convenient to have your license plate number accessible for more mundane reasons like entering it into a parking app or for gated neighborhood entry. And if you get into an accident, it’ll be a huge help to have all your car information, from the license plate to insurance details, ready to go.
Your social security card and birth certificate
These less-commonly-used, older identity documents can suddenly take on critical importance if you’re traveling abroad and your passport gets lost or stolen.
Case in point: After a red-eye flight to Japan, the small bag that held my phone, wallet, and passport was either lost or stolen soon after I landed. The next couple of days of recovery attempts in a foreign language — including a visit to the U.S. embassy to get a new passport — were mercifully eased when a close friend was able to locate my social security card and birth certificate at my home and email photos. Now, I never travel without them.
Recent photos of your children and pets
While it’s nice to have photos of your children for sharing and showing off purposes, it could literally save your child’s life. If you get separated, having a current photo of your child on your phone to show people (or the police) can help locate them faster. Ditto if your dog or cat goes missing.
Here are my picks for more touchy-feely photos you want to have on your phone:
Maybe you’re not job hunting right this second, but plenty of apps require or suggest that you upload a photo of yourself. It makes your user experience better and the photo doesn’t need to be professionally shot, just a photo of yourself that you like the most for generic purposes.
An “I’m awesome” photo
This can be a photo of yourself achieving a milestone that’s meaningful to you. Maybe graduating college, finishing a marathon, standing in front of your first home, or holding your newborn. It’s anything that will cheer you up when you’re having a bad day by reminding you that in fact, you are truly awesome.
A family photo (or three)
Whenever you want to show off your family, this photo is the one you’re most likely to want to whip out. It’s the 21st century version of keeping printed family photos in our wallets. You may also want to include a photo of you with your significant other when you’re dressed up for a wedding or fancy event.
Other good picks: Your “fur baby” (or babies) and a favorite recent vacation shot. (These photos also come in handy on bad days.)
Try saving important photos with Mylio
Here’s how you get started. First, download Mylio for free. Once you’ve set up Mylio on your devices, it’s time to create your Top 10 folder. Go to “Folders” and hit the “+” sign to add and name a new folder. Right-click on any photo within your collection, and tap “Move to Folder” and select “Top 10”.
If you do it, please join our Community Forum and let us know how it worked out for you.
Nina Pantic is a New York City-based journalist with nearly a decade of experience covering sports and news. She has a keen interest in videography and photography having produced videos and curated photos for both work and fun.