iCloud Photo Library + Time Machine local backup?


macrumors regular
Original poster
Jan 20, 2013
Does anyone here have experience in combining their iCloud Photo Library with a local backup to an external HDD using Time Machine? My wife & I are considering pushing our full photo library (around 30k photos) into iCloud, but want to make sure that as we continue to build the library we still own a backup somewhere. This is both in case something goes wrong technically (e.g. we accidentally screw up the entire library during an update), but also in case we ever want to switch to another way of working.

I assume we're not the only ones going for such a setup - can anyone here share any experiences and give any tips?


macrumors 6502a
Jun 17, 2015
Ours is about that size. I keep a full copy on our Mac (not optimized) and I periodically manually copy the library to one external drive and use Carbon Copy Cloner to back everything including the photo library to another external drive. As for my time machine backup on the third external drive, I need to go look at how TM handles the photo library so will be interested in this thread.


macrumors 65816
Apr 27, 2003
You can absolutely do what you want. I do the same thing. Just set up your Photos app preferences like the image below. Then as Easttime states above, make sure you have backups anyway. I trust iCloud about as far as I can throw my car.