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Continuous photo backup on iPhone?
July 29, 2014 5:51 AM   Subscribe

How do I get my photos on my iPhone 5 to be automatically made available online permanently, wirelessly, and SUPER-easy to access? iCloud? Do i need a third party service? I just want every photo I take on my iPhone to be continuously backed up online somewhere, so that even if I delete it on the iPhone, it's still preserved, and I can grab it on a computer without having to sync the phone. Thanks.
posted by shivohum to Computers & Internet (22 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
I like Dropbox Camera Upload
posted by exogenous at 5:55 AM on July 29 [1 favorite]

The Dropbox app does this quite well.
posted by Captain_Science at 5:55 AM on July 29

Thirding dropbox for this. It does exactly what you're asking for.
posted by jeoc at 6:15 AM on July 29

iCloud does it. I have the $25 a year package. I take a picture with my iPhone and it immediately uploads. I can access it from my iPad and my mac mini.
posted by myselfasme at 6:22 AM on July 29

You can use Google+ too.
posted by interplanetjanet at 6:25 AM on July 29

nthing Dropbox. I use it on my Ipod touch and my Android phone. Came in SUPER handy when I had to restore my phone to factory settings last week.
posted by Twain Device at 6:26 AM on July 29

This is coming in iOS 8, which will likely be released in September.
posted by smackfu at 6:37 AM on July 29

Flickr does this too.
posted by O9scar at 6:47 AM on July 29

Awesome, thanks. Is there any app that would upload these to your computer automatically and/or to an FTP server of your choice, so you don't have to pay a fee for storage?
posted by shivohum at 7:03 AM on July 29

That's actually the model that Apple's current Photo Stream uses. You take photos on your phone, they get added to your Photo Stream, and then your Mac or PC downloads them as the permanent storage, which you backup in the normal ways. This works without paying for any extra iCloud storage, but only the last 1000 photos are actually stored in the cloud.
posted by smackfu at 7:09 AM on July 29 [1 favorite]

I keep thinking I should drop a couple of bucks on PhotoSync, as it seems to be a very good tool for this kind of thing, but I can't really endorse it as I haven't tried it yet.
posted by Rock Steady at 7:20 AM on July 29

"so you don't have to pay a fee for storage?"

The Flickr app for iPhone has the ability to do auto-upload. Their free account offers up to 1 TB of space so that should take care of your iPhone photos for a long time. They have decent tools for bulk editing so you could set your default upload to private and make public any that you actually wished to share, or use the Guest Pass function to share private images with others.
posted by komara at 9:34 AM on July 29

Note: the Flickr app for iPhone has not been totally reliable in my experience.
posted by sciencegeek at 9:50 AM on July 29

>Note: the Flickr app for iPhone has not been totally reliable in my experience.

I've noticed the same. As I understand it, it's supposed to automatically upload photos in the background, but it appears to only do it (for me) when I've actually launched the app.
posted by BurntHombre at 10:30 AM on July 29

IFTTT will do this, but it has the potential to use a lot of data. You can use it to send your pictures to one or multiple places.
posted by soelo at 11:09 AM on July 29

I believe it's an app called Carousel by Dropbox that will automatically backup all your phone's photos and keep them in a place to easily share them. I'm not 100% clear on how Carousel differs from Dropbox. But I do know that Dropbox, in whatever form, is exactly what you want. Dropbox is free up to a certain amount of storage space. Invite friends and get even more free space.
posted by AppleTurnover at 12:36 PM on July 29

The Flickr app only works when you have it open. And it doesn't always upload all the pictures. I still use it because I want my things on Flickr, but I give it the stink-eye a couple of times a week.
posted by sciencegeek at 12:37 PM on July 29

Came in to suggest iPhone's photo stream but... not to thread-hijack... if you, like the OP, are using iphones, can you explain the differences between Dropbox and the iPhone photo stream/iCloud? is there an advantage using Dropbox instead of iPhone's photo stream?
posted by NikitaNikita at 12:42 PM on July 29

Re: NikitaNikita. I do not use an iPhone, but Dropbox allows you to easily access previous versions of all your files and deleted files. With iCloud, it sounds like a simple file-by-file recovery system is not part of it, just an overall "backup" which means you could lose new data by restoring an old backup. And Dropbox is not limited to any platform -- it's designed for everything, from Windows and Android to Macs and iOS, etc. I use Dropbox across everything I own, which is a mix of all platforms, so I can access my stuff anywhere.

Dropbox is also excellent for collaborating with groups of people -- you can have private folders, shared invite folders and public folders. I manage a team and we do all our work out of a shared Dropbox folder. But then I have a personal Dropbox folder of all my stuff so it's on every device I own.
posted by AppleTurnover at 12:53 PM on July 29 [1 favorite]

In this instance, Dropbox and iCloud Photostream do the same thing. Both require you to have the photos available on a computer to truely back them up.

With Dropbox, you're limited to how much you can have in your Dropbox at once before you have to buy more storage, but you can always copy files out of your Dropbox folder into a different folder on your computer. Additionally, unless you pay for it, Dropboz doesn't back up your files, so if you delete or remove something from it, you can't recover it using their service.

iCloud photostream is much the same way. It keeps the last 30 days or 1000 photos available online. You can then use iPhoto on a Mac or iCloud control panel on windows to download the photos to your computer.

You can also use iCloud backups to backup your camera roll, but that will use your icloud storage allowance relentlessly, so I don't recommend that once you're using another method.

One thing to note is that most of these apps or services require syncing over wifi. With some you can enable syncing over the cell network, but that eats your data quickly.

If you want all of your photos available online all the time, I'd recommend Flickr, Picturelife, or Trunx. Archvr might also work for you.
posted by reddot at 1:53 PM on July 29

Dropbox and iCloud Photostream do the same thing. Both require you to have the photos available on a computer to truely back them up.

That is false. Dropbox Carousel backs up the photos directly from your phone's camera roll to Dropbox as you take photos.

Additionally, unless you pay for it, Dropboz doesn't back up your files, so if you delete or remove something from it, you can't recover it using their service.

Again, that's not true. You can recover any file you've deleted. I've accidentally deleted and recovered files from Dropbox several times. They even have a button called "show deleted files."

(Can anyone tell I am a really big fan of Dropbox? I've been using it for four years and I love it.)
posted by AppleTurnover at 2:56 PM on July 29 [2 favorites]

Can you use Carousel without installing the Dropbox client on your computer?

Also, Dropbox's site says they will keep track of deleted files for 30 days unless you subscribe to their "PackRat" option, which is what I must have been thinking of.

Thanks for the corrections!
posted by reddot at 10:54 AM on July 30

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