Why you should not rely on iCloud Photo Library as your only media backup

“iCloud Photo Library, when it fits your needs, is a great way to avoid having to manage where your images and videos wind up,” Glenn Fleishman writes for Macworld. “You capture video on your iPhone or drag an image into Photos in macOS, and it just syncs everywhere while making a central copy at iCloud. While I hear regularly from people having difficulty with aspects of it, it’s a way to reduce the stress about how much storage you have on any given device, especially iOS devices.”

“(And, yes, once again: if you delete an image on one device that’s linked to iCloud Photo Library, it deletes it everywhere,” Fleishman writes. “Apple’s warning when you try to delete is real.)”

“However, there’s one configuration I can’t advise, and Macworld reader Eric writes in with a question that prompts a discussion. He’s wondering if he could rely on iCloud to be his ‘main backup of images,'” Fleishman writes. “The short answer is no, but it’s not about distrust in Apple’s technical abilities. Rather, about the frailty of all material things, and the risk of putting all one’s digital eggs in one basket, no matter how firmly the basket-storing company is holding that basket.

Much more in the full article – recommended – here.

MacDailyNews Take: Actually, it depends on how much you value your images. If they have no value to you personally, don’t bother backing up. If your photos – or anything else (documents, music, movies, etc.) matter at all to you, then you want to have three backups at all times, two local and one off site.

15 Comments

    1. I negate that. I went to restore a file. Backblaze had lost track of my decryption key. They attempted to blame me for their blunder. They gave me back money for unused time then literally told me to get lost and not return. I’ve never experienced worse, lazier, sillier tech support. I’d recommend them to no one.

      Instead, I use DropBox and Box as well as sparsebundle disk images for encrypted data. The only drawback with Box is the requirement of using Windows safe characters in file and folder names.

    2. I’m using Backblaze for my PC backup and there’s plenty not to be happy about. The worst part of Backblaze is their restore. You can’t restore from the Control Panel – you have to go into their web interface. And you can’t just directly restore files back to their original locations – Backblaze can only restore a ZIPPED file of the original and it’s delivered to your download directory (or you can request USB thumb drive or hard drive to be mailed to you which costs a refundable deposit).

      This PALES in comparison to how well you could restore using Crash Plan – so sad they gave up on the home market.

      Guess I’ll have to try some of the others like Mozy but most of them get bad reviews.

    1. One of the key factors is how much storage space you need. When I was looking around, there seemed to be a significant cost breakpoint at 1TB. But other factors come into play, as well, including the ability to restore individual files, costs for obtaining a full backup in the event of a disaster, etc.

      But, if disaster strikes – theft, fire, flood, earthquake, hurricane – I can almost guarantee that the the amount that you would be *willing* to pay to recover your lost files would be far greater than the actual cost of purchasing an online backup service (in addition to using Time Machine and cloning your own HDD/SSD, of course).

      Monthly cost of online backup — perhaps $5 to $10 or so
      Value of lost files (after you have lost them) — priceless

  1. iCloud Photo library + an external drive that it downloads *everything* to, at full resolution, in real time. Then, on top of that, have a Time Machine backup drive running so that not only do you have your main photo library in your control, you have an encrypted copy in the cloud and a local copy of your local copy.

    1. That’s pretty much what I do. One caveat though, the backup system can fail completely if that Time Machine Mac isn’t properly downloading the images. If you’re using a spare Mac for this, it’s wise to check in on this from time to time.

  2. iCloud/dropbox (for syncing), Time Machine (for versioning and basic backup), Backup to alternating external drives, backblaze. Backblaze also backs up external drives that I backup my other machines to (a lot of which is duplicated due to syncing) along with drives that I have backed up all my dvds to.

  3. I use Google Photos as a secondary backup. It’s automatic, requires no action on my part other than the first time enabling auto backup, and all my photos and videos are there, with unlimited backup storage. Couldn’t be easier.

    1. I avoid Google services. I generally don’t like their terms of service and I don’t like handing my data over to their aggregation factory.

      I have not looked at Google’s terms of service for Google Photos? I have not, but I am curious.

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