I’ve been obsessed with photo management and photo backup for years now. Before iCloud Photos, I used services like Everpix (RIP), Loom, and others. I’m all in on iCloud Photos, but I also let Google Photos and Amazon Photos upload my photos as well. My iCloud Photo library has grown to the place where I can no longer keep it all offline on my laptop (500GB) and still have room for other things. This situation makes my Time Machine and Backblaze backup useless for my photos since the majority of them are in iCloud. I’d love to see Apple or another company offer a way to backup iCloud Photo library. Since iCloud Photos is a syncing service, it’s not a real backup. Why isn’t iCloud Photo a backup of your photos?

iCloud Photos is a syncing service for your photos, albums, and edits. Since you can delete items from any of your logged-in devices, an accidental mistake from one device can wipe out your entire library. With a backup service, it’s a one-way sync. If you have your photos backed up with a service like Backblaze, deleting it from your iPhone doesn’t immediately remove it from your backup set. The problem is that our photo libraries are growing faster than device storage is growing. With every new iPhone having a better camera than the last, it’s not going to be reasonable for people to have offline backups of their entire library for much longer. As a backup focused person, I struggle not having an offline copy of my most precious data, though.

This scenario is an opportunity for another company, though. If Backblaze offered an iOS app that was $50/year, and it would create frequent backups of my iCloud Photo data, I would sign up immediately. Even if my iPhone cannot download the entire library at once, there are methods to download, upload, and discard the offline copy (Google Photo iPhone app works this way).

What happens if someone grabs your iPhone unlocked and accidentally deletes your data? What happens if you get locked out of your iCloud account with no way back in? What happens if a spouse passes away, and you cannot get logged into their iCloud account to copy their photos? This situation is where a third-party backup service for iCloud Photos would come into play. It would have an offsite backup where you could log in and restore. Another option would be to pay for Dropbox’s premium service to upload them, but not sync it locally to a laptop. Dropbox is still a syncing service, though. It’s not what I would consider being a real backup.

Wrap-up on iCloud Photo backup

How are you backing up your iCloud Photo data? I’d love to hear different tips and tricks that our readers could implement to protect their iCloud Photo data. As we continue to get more detailed photos, it’s going to be important to ensure we always have access to them.

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About the Author

Bradley Chambers

Bradley lives in Chattanooga, TN.

Tips, feedback, corrections and questions can be sent to Bradley@9to5mac.com.