Please help me understand iCloud & Dropbox for storing vacation photos.
February 10, 2013 6:54 AM   Subscribe

Please help me understand iCloud, Photostream & Dropbox for storing vacation photos, and maybe a better workflow.

I am vacationing in Greece and taking lots of shots I'm proud of with a Canon EOS. Ive become paranoid about losing them each day so my workflow has been to come home at night, plug into an iPad, import all, then send everything to Dropbox which takes awhile.

Being kind of iOS ignorant, I noticed that my photos were also being stored in a local "album", plus Photostream. My questions:

1) Is there much point to backing up to Dropbox if photos are automatically going to Photostream?

2) The Photostream tab I'm seeing in the Photos app on my iPad is indeed in the cloud, not local, no? Importing sends the photos to Photostream so fast (compared to Dropbox, I began to suspect what I was seeing was local storage.)

3) Do the photos get compressed or sacrificed when syncing with iCloud? If so I guess that would be one advantage of Dropbox.

4) Is it safe to just delete the files/albums locally since they're automatically being sent to Photostream?

Any other comments on a workflow for this scenario would be great, thanks!
posted by deern the headlice to Media & Arts (5 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Keep doing what you're doing and backup to DropBox. Apple's reputation with iCloud (and other related "cloud" services) is less than stellar, as much as it pains me to say it.

If you're using an iOS-only strategy (i.e. you don't have a laptop with you on your trip so all of your synching is going through the iPad, and you didn't set up some kind of system at home with iPhoto or Aperture to continuously update and store your Photo Stream), Photo Stream only holds your last 1000 photos and iCloud only stores 30 days of photos.

I don't have an answer for #2 although I assume it's doing background uploading at the system level and DropBox isn't allowed to. As for #4, it's too easy to accidentally delete photos without being certain they've been stored elsewhere when using Photo Stream.
posted by bcwinters at 7:14 AM on February 10, 2013

Backing up to Dropbox is a good idea. It's always a good idea to have a redundant set of backups. What happens if you lose your iPad or drop it in the water, etc.?
posted by dfriedman at 7:47 AM on February 10, 2013

I believe the photo stream photos you're seeing are on your iPad still. I'm the world's biggest fanboy but I don't think photo stream is fully baked. I have 4 devices (my MacBook Pro, iPhone, iPad and Apple TV ) that I can see my photo stream and they show me 4 different sets of photos.

So I would recommend uploading to Dropbox and think of the photo stream copies as another backup.
posted by birdherder at 8:14 AM on February 10, 2013

I agree with the above. In addition, get some extra cards for your camera, and don't delete them until you are home and have the photos safely on your main computer, and its backup drive. (You do have a backup drive right?) Memory cards are pretty cheap these days, so there's no point in skimping. (Once I fill a card and dump it to the iPad, I lock it and put it in a Ziplock.)

As far as Photostream, yes it backs up your original file, even if it's a RAW file. Just heed the 1000 photo limit.

If the photos are in Photostream, you can delete the local iPad files. But I don't until I have to, or until my photos are safely in their permanent home. If you don't need to free up the space, then don't worry about it.
posted by The Deej at 8:16 AM on February 10, 2013

I believe the photo stream photos you're seeing are on your iPad still

Photostream caches a local version for viewing, but the originals are in iCloud.

I have 4 devices (my MacBook Pro, iPhone, iPad and Apple TV ) that I can see my photo stream and they show me 4 different sets of photos.

From the troubleshooting page.

I see different photos in Photo Stream on each of my devices.

Your device will keep up to 1000 photos, even if they are older than 30 days. Photos older than 30 days are removed from the iCloud server, so all devices may not have the same photos, depending on when you enabled Photo Stream.

If you'd prefer to have only the most current photos in Photo Stream on each of your devices (and, delete the older photos):

Save any photos that are not already in your Camera Roll. Learn more about backing up your Camera Roll.
Disable (My) Photo Stream in Settings > iCloud by moving the slider for (My) Photo Stream to OFF. Confirm that you wish to Delete Photos.
Next, re-enable Photo Stream by moving the slider to the ON position. iCloud will automatically push your stored photos to your device.
Repeat these steps for each device.

Also Photostream FAQ.
posted by The Deej at 8:49 AM on February 10, 2013

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