Facebook wants to make it easier and quicker for you to upload photos taken with your smartphone or tablet, and it's now testing a feature that may just do that.
Photo syncing, as the feature is called, uploads your phone's pictures instantly after you take them and puts them in a private section of your Facebook account. By having your pictures in Facebook's servers, you can share them very rapidly when you're ready, or you can also keep them private if you don't want to post them.
"With photo syncing, you can sync photos taken on your phone, store them privately, and then choose which ones to share," Facebook told The Times on Tuesday.
For now, only a few users have access to photo syncing. Those who do have to enable the feature before it will start uploading your images on its own.
To use the feature, you must have an iOS or an Android device and download the Facebook app. Once that's done, open the app and go to the menu sidebar by tapping on the icon at the top left of the app.
Scroll down and click where it says "Apps," and then look for "Photos." If you have the feature, you will see a section at the bottom of the page that says "Synced." Tap that and a page will open that asks if you want to turn on the feature.
If you choose to enable photo syncing, Facebook will begin to upload all of your phone's photos to the private folder. The pictures upload at a 2,048 pixel size.
You can access the photos using your desktop or laptop computer by going to the "Photos" section of your Facebook profile and clicking "Synced From Phone."
To share your synced pictures with Facebook friends, click the check mark icon on the images you want to post, and from there you can share them in various ways, including posting them to your Timeline or sending the photos in a message.
On your smartphone or tablet, you can share synced photos the way you normally would. Synced photos will post faster than those that are not because they've already been uploaded to Facebook's servers.
However, there are some limitations to the feature.
For the test, the social network will store up to 2 GB of pictures in your photo syncing folder. That's about 5,000 pictures. Fortunately, you can delete pictures by selecting them and clicking the trash can icon.
Additionally, photo syncing may not upload photos if your phone is running low on battery. Also, if you are using a cellular network, the feature will upload smaller 960 pixel versions of your image so that it won't use too much of your data plan or your battery. If you want, you can also choose to turn off cellular uploads entirely by going into the feature's settings on your mobile app.
Facebook isn't the first social network to test such a feature. Google+, for example, has had a similar feature for its mobile apps for some time now.
If you are one of those who share a lot of photos and have the feature, it can be very helpful. However, if you have sensitive images that you'd hate to accidentally share, I strongly recommend you don't enable photo syncing.