How to backup smartphone photos and why you should

Relying on iCloud or GoogleDrive backups as the only safety net for your smartphone photo backup could lead to troubled waters. At worst, losing the irreplaceable. Do you want to understand the potential pitfalls and what to do if you don’t want to live with them? In this article, we discuss the risks of cloud-dependancy and options that offer additional safety for your valuable smartphone photos. With the popularity of mobile phone photography, they might be your only photos! Read on to understand the risks and what you can do about them.

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Why iCloud or GoogleDrive only photo backup is risking your images

The cloud is super-convenient for smartphone users. When your phone is low on memory, it optimises the photos by putting the full size files in the cloud and leaving smaller one in their place; it gives a backup (of sorts) in the cloud; it syncs images across all devices. It happens in the background, with little need for user involvement. So what’s the catch?

  • If you delete a photo (perhaps by accident), there are only 30 days before it is gone forever
  • If you loose access to the cloud ecosystem, through loss, theft, hacking or changing to a rival brand, there could be complications in recovering your photos
  • The downside of having access to your files everywhere (on different devices), is that they are also deleted everywhere.

It’s never a good idea to have all of your data in one basket. While we’ve never experienced issues with loss of iCloud photos, we do have alternative backups in place as insurance. After all, there is no way to replace the irreplaceable!

Ways to back up smartphone photos

Computer (Mac or Windows) for backup

iphone computer backing up

Your smartphone photos can be backed up to a computer, assuming you have enough free disk space. However, this is not a given if your computer has a smaller solid state drive – remember that the size of your photo library may be larger than you expect with off-loads of the full sized files from your smartphone to the cloud.

The weakness in this approach is that each subsequent backup, overwrites the earlier one. So older photos could still be lost. It’s a bit like painting over an existing painting. This is unless you have installed a backup application to manage the process. For example TimeMachine on Apple devices.TimeMachine will keep older files as long as there is space on the disk it is using. There are of course Windows equivalents.

External hard drive for smartphone backup

Our research found some people who claim to have used cable adaptors to connect and backup iPhones to external drives. However, the process seemed complex and inconvenient. We’re not sure that this is a practical option and likely to be off-putting when it comes to regular backups. Therefore, we don’t recommend it.

Amazon Photos smartphone backup

If you are an Amazon Prime member, you already have unlimited free storage space for your photos included in your membership. Therefore, it makes sense to try it! We tested it and it is as simple as downloading the smartphone app, allowing it access to photos and setting it to backup. The first backup could take quite some time depending on the size of your library and internet speed – it uses your full size images. However, after that, it runs quickly in the background.

If you’re not a Prime member, there are free and paid options to join. However, you might find the iDrive option below better value, if you don’t see other benefits in Amazon Prime. Also, there are many other options out there offering similar services, so think about your own needs and what works best. To find out more about Prime and whether it makes sense for you, here is a free 30 day trial offer …

iDrive backup

We’ve been using iDrive for years for all of our cloud backup requirements, including computers and network attached storage (NAS), as well as iOS devices. If you are thinking about your backup plan beyond just iPhone photos, iDrive is well worth a look. However, if you are only concerned about photos, there is also a ‘mini’ plan with 100GB of storage. The plan we use offers 5TB (terabytes) for cloud backups, plus an additional 5TB for a cloud drive (a similar syncing mechanism to iCloud).

IDrive Cloud Backup

When it comes to handling a backup of your photos, the mechanics are similar to Amazon Photos. You just download the iDrive app, allow access permissions, and set it running. However, it is significantly different under the bonnet. This is because iDrive is specifically designed as a backup and recovery service, providing snapshots of your files at different points in time and up to 30 different versions.

If you have wider cloud backup needs than just smartphone photos, it is more convenient to find a single service that will meet all of your requirements. There are a large number of different services available, so do your research. However, if you think iDrive is the solution for you, please click our limited time 90% off offer above. If you miss this, there is still a heavily discounted option!

Create – one snap at a time

Something that can become a barrier to creativity is unwanted noise interfering wit thinking. Anxiety about what would happen if you cannot recover an image that you’ve spent a long time making, or irreplaceable photos of special moments can add to that noise. Therefore, using some of your time to consider and put in place your backup approach will not only free you from future distractions but save considerable upset if you do lose photos. And, on the subject of creating, read our 7 tips for making the most of your smartphone camera!

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