Help with iPhone photo backups/photo archiving. Two questions...
September 18, 2019 7:52 PM   Subscribe

Question A. How do I offload photos from my iPhone without deleting them from iCloud? Question B. What cloud storage solution should I use to archive my photos?

A. Basically I want to free up space on my iPhone by deleting local photos (primarily taken on the phone, of course) that have been backed up to iCloud. Is there any way to do this without losing the photos entirely? It sounds like deleting them on the phone will also end up in an iCloud sync where they get deleted. Do I have to back them up "physically" (onto a Mac/PC) to be safe deleting them from my phone? What are my options here?

This leads to B. How should I be archiving my photos, and on what cloud storage service?

A few details: I have 2TB of Dropbox storage. I have 100GB of Google Drive/Google Photos storage. I have 50GB of iCloud storage. On my iPhone I have the Google Photos app that backs up using my Google storage. What is the best way to manage my photos if I want the following: a cloud-based archive of every photo I take, well-organized, with all metadata retained AND Live Photos intact? Can Live photos be watched if they are then loaded onto an iDevice? Is there any other way to view them as intended outside of an iDevice? If you don't think it's worth keeping Live Photos, which is my best option in that case (maybe ditching iCloud entirely for more Google Photos storage)? Any other solutions or options that beat any of these? Thank you so much!
posted by arm426 to Computers & Internet (3 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
I don't have a full answer for you but, if you're already using iCloud Photos, you can let iOS/iCloud manage this. In Settings -> Photos, check "Optimize iPhone Storage." The full-sizes of older photos will be automatically offloaded to iCloud. You can still scroll your whole library in Photos, and if you select one that's in the cloud, you'll first get a low-res version while it re-downloads the full res version.

That's basically the way iOS Photos + iCloud wants to work. Between that, and letting Apple Music manage what music is downloaded, I haven't manually managed space on my iPhone 6s (only 64gb) in at least a couple of years.

(I do not use Google Photos, so I'm not sure how to address integrating that.)
posted by dnash at 9:12 AM on September 19, 2019

(Godspeed, arm426: I really want there to be a good answer to this problem this time, and not just Lucy Apple pulling away the football again, because we struggle with this, too -- and the steady increases in camera resolution only makes the storage growth curve steeper over time!)
posted by wenestvedt at 9:23 AM on September 19, 2019

dnash’s solution is what you want.
posted by sideshow at 8:29 AM on September 23, 2019

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