Cloud Photo Storage for iPhone?
December 6, 2011 9:01 AM   Subscribe

I have thousands of photos in iPhoto, and I want access to all of them on my iPhone, but don't have space for full-res versions.

I'd like to find an app (or iOs friendly web service) that lets me view thumbnails (decent size, just not full resolution), and quickly pull hi-res versions off the cloud directly and seamlessly to my camera roll, where I can edit or share. The thumbnails must be organizable - preferably in folders assigned via tags intelligently drawn from my iPhoto set-up. And I'd prefer an iOs friendly environment, if not an out-and-out app. Flicker, et al, don't satisfy my needs.

I'd hoped this would be something iCloud would do, but that's not the direction they chose. Are there any decent alternatives?
posted by Quisp Lover to Technology (12 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
flickr's ios app doesn't do the job, but their (regular, not mobile) website in mobile safari does the trick quite well for me—i have thousands of photos in two different accounts, and can find a specific photo in less than a minute just by typing an url because i've tagged every single one.
posted by lia at 11:18 AM on December 6, 2011

Response by poster: Thanks, lia, I'll take a look!

I was expecting dozens of tips, since there are so many companies in the photo storage space. I didn't ever figure that what I'm trying to do might be such an unusual situation!
posted by Quisp Lover at 11:41 AM on December 6, 2011

Response by poster: Hmm. 300mb limit (that's about 100 photos at iphoto full res).

And I see no easy way to download photos to my phone.

So I guess not.
posted by Quisp Lover at 12:41 PM on December 6, 2011

Best answer: flickr has unlimited storage for like $25 a year—well worth it to have a cloud backup of all your photos. you can download an original file with two clicks from its individual flickr photo page.
posted by lia at 5:57 PM on December 6, 2011

Best answer: dropbox / sugarsync have photo capabilities built into their apps. Same cloud idea.
posted by stratastar at 11:57 PM on December 6, 2011

Response by poster: lia, that sounds good, but DropBox has lots more space, and no need to go thru Flickr's maddening uploader scheme.

thanks to both of you!
posted by Quisp Lover at 2:03 PM on December 7, 2011

Response by poster: Only lingering issue is that it will be a major pain to create folder structures in DropBox to reflect tags. The titles of my photos in iPhoto (e.g. "IMG_1467.jpg") are uninformative.

Any solutions out there for filing/categorizing/labeling photo names to reflect iPhoto tags/descriptions?
posted by Quisp Lover at 2:25 PM on December 7, 2011

Hmm I'm not a mac person, and I dont really know how iphoto works; but if you could get iphoto to write the metadata to the photos, you could then rassle up some sort of solution where those tags are used to automatically populate folders along your liking.

I do something similar inside Lightroom with tags and other metadata. E.g. if I rate a photo tagged with friends with >4 stars, it automatically gets pulled into a "Smart Collection," that is automatically synced with facebook, and google plus.*

* Google plus could be another possible solution for you! It has unlimited space, although those are limited to 2048 pixel resolution.
posted by stratastar at 6:49 PM on December 7, 2011

Response by poster: Thanks, stratastar, that's good stuff. But the problem is that iPhoto is supremely unhackable; it's super "user friendly" software, without much geek power.

But you're right....that general approach is the way to go, and there may be some way to make it happen.

Meanwhile, I'm just stunned at the elegance of the Dropbox photo gallery solution (transparent uploading....oh, man, what a relief!). Aside from the categorization issue, it really works like a charm on iphone. No resolution limits, and if I buy more space, it'll be useful for more things than just photos.
posted by Quisp Lover at 6:55 PM on December 7, 2011

Response by poster: Sometimes you need to stop trying to be clever and do things as the devs intend....

Here's the trick. Create a folder in DropBox. Open a smart folder or event in iPhoto. Select the photos therein, and drag them to the DropBox folder. Copies of the image files are sent there, and transparently upload in the background.

They photos themselves are not helpfully named (unless you've carefully named them all in iPhoto, in which case the titles DO pass into the filename, which is great), but everything else is as I need it to be, and you can create a zillion photo folders for neat categorization.

One nice touch: if you mark a photo as a "favorite" in DropBox, it automatically downloads to your iphone.

This is a great solution. I wonder why DropBox doesn't make more of this capability. So much easier than futzing around with buggy upload functions in Flickr et al.....
posted by Quisp Lover at 9:50 PM on December 7, 2011

Response by poster: Nope. Per this thread (which I've verified myself), DropBox greatly reduces the resolution of photos viewed via their iphone app (I'm not just talking about thumbnails), and there's no way to grab originals via the app. So when you view a photo and save it to camera roll, you get a small, blurry version.

The workaround is to go to your dropbox page in safari and grab the original photo there. That's a lot of work, especially if you want to grab multiple photos. And it doesn't satisfy.

posted by Quisp Lover at 6:56 AM on December 13, 2011

Late to the party; If you were to use Smugmug you could then use the SmugWallet App.

Not sure on the limits of a free account at Smugmug, but I think that iPhoto can 'automagicallyconnect' with it - ?

Would be a graceful and straight forward way to solve your question I believe.
posted by DrtyBlvd at 2:30 AM on January 13, 2012

« Older Looking for reading list suggestions for automatic...   |   Should I be scared of hypnotherapy? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.