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iCloud is not a Backup

Take care if you think you can use iCloud as a simple backup system. iCloud is doing something different to that.For travelling I was going to take an iPad mini, and use it to store all my photos (including putting photos from my came onto it via an attachment). I was going to backup these photos to iCloud and then, I thought, as the space on the iPad filled up, I would delete the photos from the iPad.

Thankfully, I thought again.

Because iCloud is not a backup system, it is a syncing system. The intention is that iCloud syncs your different devices – tablet, phone, laptop, etc.

Let me illustrate. If I make an appointment to meet you next Wednesday at 2pm, I put that onto, say, a phone, and if I’m using iCloud this appointment will appear on my work computer, iPad, etc. Now if you contact me and we change the day of the meeting to Friday, I change it on my phone and the old appointment disappears from the other devices through iCloud. If we decide to cancel the meeting, I delete it from one device, iCloud syncs to delete it from all devices.

If my photos on iPad are “backed up” in iCloud and I delete photos (say to make more room) then those photos are deleted everywhere!

When I realised this (and thankfully I did) someone recommended shoebox. They were using a very expensive digital camera and using shoebox as their backup. The opening page of shoebox has it as “Free unlimited photo storage”, and that’s how these people were using it. Again, they sadly had not read the fine print. Shoebox stores photos free, but reduces the original quality of photos to 10 megapixels. That high-quality camera was just so much extra weight if the results were being drawn from shoebox.

I haven’t looked at Google Photos yet, whether it stores at original resolution, and what the privacy of the photos is, and who owns the photos, etc. Maybe you have?

Extra suggestion: You may not need to delete photos from your iPad if, on your iPad, you go to Settings> iCloud> Photos: Optimize iPad Storage. This keeps the full-resolution photo in iCloud and a poorer-resolution copy on your iPad. I would still suggest you need to keep a second full-resolution version of your photo.

This is one of the posts on this site trying to help us live better in this digital world. Others include how to produce your own, free website; using a facebook page;… I hope for at least one more person this post may stop a disaster of losing precious photos, or the quality of photos.

What backup systems do you suggest?

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12 thoughts on “iCloud is not a Backup”

  1. You are mixing, and so confusing, two different services of iCloud. You can use iCloud Photos as photo backup. By properly configuring your Mac and iOS devices to do so you shouldn’t have to delete photos at all unless you no longer wish to retain that photo.

    To use iCloud Photos as storage you should be running the latest version of OS X Yosemite 10.10.4 on your Mac and the most recent version of iOS 8.4 on your iOS devices. That will give you Apple’s newest photo app, Photos, on all of your devices. Then in Preferences for Photos on the Mac be sure to select Optimize Mac Storage. And in Settings>Photos & Camera on your iOS devices select Optimize (device) Storage.

    By doing that, the full resolution version of your photos (and videos) will be stored in iCloud Photos, and the version stored on your Mac or iOS device will be optimized for the device. Everyone gets 5 GB of iCloud Photos storage for free. You can buy additional storage up to 1 TB.

        1. I think I may have tidied up some parts, and some spelling (I often do) after it first went live. I don’t know how RSS feeders function – for example, is your reading of the post counted in the numbers who read it? If not, the total we’re publicly aware of is understated. Blessings.

  2. We use Dropbox. You can store 3.25 gigs free and I’m sure you’d get a lot more space if you paid for it. My pastor puts the text of his sermon in a folder. On Sunday morning I download it to my computer and upload it to our website. But I’ve had a lot of things in my Dropbox that have been there for a long time.

  3. Google Photos is similar to Shoebox, in that the unlimited “free” storage is for “high quality” resolution, while full resolution storage only goes up to whatever storage level you have from them.

    Flickr is a good alternative, as they offer free storage up to one terabyte (essentially unlimited).

    1. Thanks, Alan. I was not aware Flickr is a photo-storing site at original-quality resolution. I thought it was more a public displaying site. That’s very helpful. Blessings.

  4. I’ve started using FLickr, which gives you a terrabyte’s worth of storage for free. Needs a bit of sorting at their end, but it does pick up all photos off your computer.

    1. Thanks, Mike. You’re the second to mention Flickr, and as I said above, I’d missed that as a photo storage facility. Can you put them there without displaying them, or what? Blessings.

  5. Yes, you can designate whether you want them private or public. I don’t know how long they’ve been offering this: I only came across it about a month ago.

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