iCloud - credible back up for photos?

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by KnobbyRusset, Oct 7, 2016.

  1. KnobbyRusset macrumors newbie

    Apr 12, 2009

    I've recently moved from Aperture to Photos. I shoot in RAW and am really enjoying the sync feature meaning my photos are available on all of my devices. When I used Aperture before I'd periodically copy the Aperture library onto an external drive to back up. Is this something I need to do again with Photos? I've clicked 'Optimise Mac Storage' in Photos so I assume they are backed up on the cloud meaning I don't need a local library on my Mac or external drive for a back-up. I couldn't really make sense of what the Apple site says regarding this. Any advice is greatly received!

  2. Fuchal macrumors 68020

    Sep 30, 2003
    Yes, the originals are backed up on iCloud regardless of Mac storage setting.
  3. ApfelKuchen macrumors 68030

    Aug 28, 2012
    Between the coasts
    The answer, as always, depends on the value you place on those images. Neither Apple nor any other cloud storage service would say, "You don't need a separate backup." That'd be a foolish claim to make--unpredictable, bad things can happen - you're putting your eggs in a single basket.

    For example, what would happen if a malicious individual gained access to your account and deleted everything? Items deleted from the cloud account would then be deleted from all computers and mobile devices signed into that account. Perhaps your Mac was not connected to the Internet at the time - you'd still have a library on your Mac, but with "optimize storage" selected, it might not be the entire, full-resolution library.

    It's an unlikely scenario, but possible. The question in risk management is always one of odds - how likely is this particular scenario, what are the costs if it were to happen, and what cost is justifiable in defending against it?

    We don't know the full system architecture of iCloud - is there redundancy, in case a terrorist bomb or natural disaster were to destroy one of Apple's data centers (or one of the third-party data centers Apple also uses)? Just how fault-tolerant is that system? I'd like to believe it's safer than my local storage, and it probably is. There's just no assurance that it is.

    While cloud storage may satisfy the need to have an off-site backup of your data, it's prudent to have a local backup as well - off-site defends against the loss of your local backup, local defends against the loss of the off-site.

    Personally? I'm running a local Time Machine backup of my Mac, which means the Photos libraries are being backed up. It's not solely to defend against loss of the Photos library - backing up only "important" data is a poor move. Sometimes the little, forgotten things turn out to be far more important than we thought. If you lose the data on your computer, it's best to restore everything on the computer, not just the things you felt were important. I've had to recover from more than a few disasters over the years, and I'd much rather restore from a full-machine backup than rebuild a lost machine's data, apps, and configuration on a piece-by-piece basis.

    Between a Time Machine backup and iCloud Photo Library, I feel safe enough - the chances that I would lose my Mac and Time Machine backup to, say, a house fire, and that I'd lose the contents of iCloud Photo Library at the same time, seem pretty remote. But my photos don't have an awful lot of commercial value. If they did, I'd probably want at least one additional backup method.
  4. Partron22 macrumors 68020


    Apr 13, 2011
    I'd keep making backups.
    You never know when crazed Uzbekistani Hackerz are going to take a dislike to Apple and nuke their cloud repeatedly.
  5. KnobbyRusset thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 12, 2009
    Just fired up Time Machine to be extra sure. Thanks for the advice.

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4 October 7, 2016