Easy way to manage iPhone photos and iCloud photo backups?
June 10, 2014 6:30 AM   Subscribe

I'm getting frequent alerts on my iPhone that my free 5gb of iCloud storage is full. Most of this is from years of photos on my phone--in fact, that's pretty much the only thing on my phone I would care about having backed up. I also think most/all of the images on my phone are already backed up to my computer in Lightroom. Is there a convenient/automatic way to handle what photos stay on my phone and what photos are backed up to iCloud?

Ideally, I guess I'd like to make sure that all the photos and cameraphone videos are backed up to Lightroom, then leave only a small "permanent collection" of images on the phone as well as all the images from, say, the last 12 months. And then just that permanent collection and the last 12 months' photos would be backed up to iCloud in case I lost my phone. This would presumably get me out of alert message purgatory.

This seems like it would be easier if I were using iPhoto, but that's not going to happen.

What's the best way to do this? I don't mind using another photo gallery on the phone for the permanent collection, but I don't want to put those photos on Flickr (etc.). If I purge a lot of photos from my phone, how do I get iCould to purge the backups to free up that space?

Or will it be easiest to live with the alerts for a few more months and wait for the convenience (one hopes) of iCloud Drive?
posted by Admiral Haddock to Computers & Internet (4 answers total) 18 users marked this as a favorite
Read this: The Difference between Photo Stream and Shared Photo Streams, and how to store your photos and videos in iCloud.

From the website:
"My Photo Stream is a running tally, your latest 1,000 photos shot on iPhone or iPad, not permanent storage. If you want to keep these photos, you must download them from Camera Roll on your devices or from Photo Stream using apps like iPhoto and Aperture on a Mac, or with iCloud Control Panel on Windows.

Shared Photo Streams are permanent iCloud albums for storing photos and videos that can sync across all your iCloud-enabled devices. Optionally, these streams can be shared with friends or the public, and you can allow friends to collaborate and add their own media. Shared Photo Streams have a few limits that Apple recently relieved somewhat, but photos in them do not count against your total iCloud storage and will remain there as long as your iCloud account is active."

In short, if you want to keep a "Permanent Collection" of images on your iPhone, create a Shared Photo Stream (you don't have to share it with anyone) and add the photos you want to keep "permanently". Added benefit is that the shared photo streams don't count against your iCloud storage limit.
posted by inviolable at 8:49 AM on June 10, 2014 [1 favorite]

I would just wait - iCloud Photos solves this for a much lower price, and it will "just work", you don't need to manage the photos or anything.
posted by bonaldi at 10:20 AM on June 10, 2014

I just back up to my computer periodically (sync photos, music, etc all at once) and have icloud only for selected items like documents. For photos icloud is turned off. This works for me, but I tend to sync about once a month or 2.
I also used to use a dropbox app to sync photos every day on wifi to dropbox, but it was kind of slow on days where I came home with 50 extra photos and videos, so I now have that turned off and I just know that if I lose or break my phone I might be missing new pics since last sync.
I don't want to pay for icloud storage, but I know you can get more for a price.
posted by photoexplorer at 11:10 AM on June 10, 2014 [2 favorites]

This problem drives me nuts too, especially with the new iOS rapid-fire picture taking annoyance.

I've been experimenting with Flickr, which I know you aren't crazy about, which offers you 1 free terabyte of storage and you basically open the app and it syncs it automatically. Just make sure to set it to private by default and only to sync over wifi to avoid data overages.

The problem is you still have to delete the photos periodically to keep space open on your phone, and, the long-term survival of Flickr is by no means a guarantee.
posted by cacofonie at 11:57 AM on June 10, 2014 [1 favorite]

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