Patrick Gill My photo backup using iPhoto and iCloud

September 27, 2012 by · 1 Comment 

I’ve written before about how I lost an external hard drive and thus my personal photos from a stupid decision not to have redundant backups. So, as I should, I started looking at how I was going to protect myself in the future. I have a young daughter and though children have been raised before without capturing every moment of their childhood’s, I didn’t want that for myself. Plus, how will I embarrass my daughter when she starts dating (in 30 years), if I don’t have pictures to go along with the stories?

So my first step was to think about what tools I already have that could help me in this situation. I’m a subscriber to iCloud, Apple’s “cloud” offering that spans many things. In this case, all I care about is Photo Stream. With Photo Stream, any picture I take with an iOS device will automatically, after you allow it to, upload to my personal Photo Stream in iCloud. It will then disperse to any other iOS device linked to my account and store a copy locally on each of those devices. So that gives me my wife’s iPhone and iPad as well as my iPhone. However, there is a 1000 photo limitation. Photo Stream will only keep the most recent 1000 photos (it sounds like a lot, but adds up quicker than you’d expect) until it starts kicking the oldest ones out. So how do I store a library of photos in several different locations?

Photo Stream goes a step further than just syncing to iOS devices. You can now setup iPhoto (or Aperture for “professionals”) to not only download, but upload as well, any photos put in my Photo Stream. There is also a client for Windows based computers that will do the same thing, I think it just stores the photos in “My Pictures” or some location of a user’s specification.

Sweet. So that takes care of my 1000 photo limitation, hard drive space permitting. But I also would like my photo library to be stored externally and in a few geographical locations. So what did I do? Easy: I take my iPhoto library and move it to an external hard drive. I do this at home (with mirrored external hard drives) as well as at work. You may or may not know, but my computer at work kinda sits in a building that can withstand 200+mph winds, always has power, and always has internet. It’s pretty cool. You should check it out.

Anyways, I’ve taken all of my photos in the library that are pre Photo Stream, and made sure they are exactly the same at all permanent storage locations. Any photos I take without an iOS device, I simply stick in my Photo Stream on iPhoto manually and they are magically synced up and life is good.

This is my Apple solution, but I’d love to hear other solutions for Android, Windows, Linux, BlackBerry (haha, just kidding about that last one, RIP Rim) or any other solution you like to talk about!

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One Response to “My photo backup using iPhoto and iCloud”
  1. Melanee says:

    Thank-you for sharing your photo storage options, Patrick. I have a huge iPhoto library, and I need help figuring out how to store it externally. Your advice on iOS and Photo Stream is great. Thanks again.

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