FotoFox: compress photos and videos on mobile devices

Martin Brinkmann
May 13, 2015
Google Android

Photo and videos that you capture on your mobile devices can take up a sizable chunk of storage space. If you are an avid photographer for instance, you may have run into storage issues previously on your device.

This is usually resolved temporarily by moving photos to local or remote servers before deleting them on the device you took them on.

FotoFox is a new application for Android and iOS devices that offers another approach. Instead of saving the full version of photos or videos on the device, it saves a highly compressed versions on it instead on it which saves storage space.

To make sure that you still got access to the full version should you need to, it is uploading all media files to cloud servers so that you get access to the files whenever the need arises.

According to the company, photos taken with FotoFox take up only 10% of the space of original photos. This may vary though from device to device as it depends on several factors.

The app reduced 1.5 Megabyte large photos taken on an Android 5 device to 0.1 Megabyte each and 2.6 Megabyte photos to 0.3 Megabyte during tests.

FotoFox supports video as well. If you use it to capture video it will use compression to reduce the size of the video that is stored on the device. It reduced the size of videos to less than 20% of the original size during tests.

All files get uploaded to the cloud automatically when you use the app to take photos or capture videos. The manage page enables you to check the savings for each individual media file and the total savings up to that point in time.

Download options are provided for each file to save it to the local device. One thing that is missing is an option to transfer the photos or videos to a computer instead for storage.

Cloud storage is unlimited according to the application's description. I'm always skeptic when claims like these are made as it is usually too good to be true. It remains to be seen how the company plans to finance the storage, operations and development  as it is not charging for the app, storage or extra features right now.

You may use the app to compress and upload photos and videos that are already stored on the device. This has the potential to save lots of space depending on how many photos and videos are stored on it at that time.

The compressed photos and videos look fine on small screen devices.


FotoFox offers an interesting service that should appeal to mobile users who take photos or videos regularly provided that you don't need access to full versions on the device at all times.

I recommend to make regular backups of photos and videos uploaded to the service though until the company reveals how it plans to keep it sustainable.

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  1. Fahad said on July 28, 2015 at 4:41 pm

    Just checked, FotoFox’s website says they are shutting down the service. WTF

  2. Blue said on May 14, 2015 at 10:50 pm

    For those of us who know about photo size and compression, there is a reason why we take photos at those sizes to preserve image quality and print quality. As for those with devices without removable storage or no USB connection. I can see where this may become useful but I choose my phone for it’s micro SD slot capability. Sixteen gigabyte isn’t that BIG of a storage if all we’re shooting is raw JPG lossless format. But for those snap-n-go people then they don’t need to use maximum size raw photos if they are not going to be printing them.

  3. Min said on May 14, 2015 at 7:48 am

    Hello, my name is Min, and I’m one of the developers that are working on FotoFox. First of all, thank you for the great review!

    We believe that there are many smartphone owners that take lots of photos and run out of space very often. We see this particular pain point especially among moms and teens. And, in many cases they are not tech savvy enough to leverage services such as google drive or dropbox to offload their photos and videos. Most of them end up deleting old photos/videos or rarely used apps on the phone to free up enough space just to take a few more photos. We personally felt this pain and wanted to address this issue and help others in process. That’s how FotoFox got started.

    While we do back up your photos and videos to our cloud so you can download them whenever you need to print or share high-resolution copies, our main goal isn’t to create yet another backup service or social networking site based on photos and videos or build a full-featured website like flickr. Our primary goal is to save space on our mobile device so we can continue to take more photos and videos without worrying out running out of space. We remind ourselves 1000 times a day on our primary goal to make sure we don’t deviate from our core mission and waste our energy on fancy, superfluous features. We want people to take more photos and keep them all on their mobile device! If you have a 16GB device, you shouldn’t have to move them off to your laptop every month. 16GB is actually a lot!!!

    Yes, monetization is important to our sustainability, so we are considering various options to monetize from our service. However, we don’t believe in holding your precious photos and videos for random. Storage costs are constantly going down, and with some creative solutions in both engineering and product behaviors, we think we can keep our operating cost fairly minimal. Even if we do introduce premium features or subscriptions, we will do our best so that it doesn’t cost an arm and a leg for our users. We hope to provide truly unique and valuable service to our users first, then ask for their support in return.

    Regarding your concern on downloading the original photos and videos to a computer, we are currently working on our website so that you can view & download all your photos and videos via browser. It won’t be as fancy as flickr, but we think it serves the core use-cases of our users.

    We are a small team, but working very hard on something we truly believe in. We welcome any feedback from you or your viewers regarding our product. Thank you!

  4. Niks said on May 13, 2015 at 4:33 pm

    What type of compression ? Lossless or lossy ?

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on May 13, 2015 at 5:17 pm

      It is reducing the dimensions of the image. In my case, it reduced the resolution from 1944×2592 to 888×1184.

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