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pja2536

macrumors member
Original poster
Apr 8, 2015
60
15
Batemans Bay, Australia
Hi! I hope you are all keeping well!

I have a MacBook Air (2013), an iPhone 11 and an iPad Air 3 (2019) - Note: both my iOS devices both use Lightning connectors not USB-C; this is a limitation. Long-term I intend to remove the MacBook from my list of devices and rely only on iOS devices. Currently my MacBook is where I store our extensive collection of family and holiday photos; these are backed up on a Time Machine drive. Most of my "documents" are stored in the Files app on iCloud; I pay AUD1.49 per month for 50Gb of iCloud storage.

If I'm to move away from using my MacBook I need storage for our photos collection. And therefore need to decide what to store these photos on.

Some of the options I considered are:

1. Files/iCloud - I could purchase more storage space on iCloud and have everything up there. I would NOT consider using Photos app storage on iCloud, that is NOT a back-up medium, early a sharing medium. Files/iCloud is a true back-up and is managed (by Apple).

2. Google Photos - This is a possible alternative to Files/iCloud.

3. SMB server - This seemed like an obvious choice. I already have a modem/router (NetComm NF17ACV) which I will need for on-going Internet connection. So adding one or two USB drives (which I already have) to the modem/router looks like a no-brainer. The only problem being that I can't get either iOS devices or my MacBook to connect to the modem/router attached drives.

4. NAS Server - These are expensive and do not seem to interact well with the iOS Files app. I need a storage device that shows up in the Files "Locations" list.

5. WiFi Server disk drive - Cheaper than NAS but also reputed to be very slow for file transfers and video playback.

6. USB Flash Drives - This may be the best answer. I have found that using a Lightning to USB 3 Camera Adapter allows thumb drives to work seamlessly with the iOS Files app. If I then combine that with say a SanDisk 512GB Ultra Fit USB 3.0 Flash Drive I have heaps of storage that I can readily access within the Files app.

There are probably other options that I've not canvased so if you are able to offer any advice it would be most appreciated.

Regards,
Peter
 

Isamilis

macrumors 6502a
Apr 3, 2012
950
226
I was on your route previously, I bought a big few TB storage to backup the photo. Also, I paid for cloud storage and do regular backup from my local to cloud storage. Finally I end up using iCloud for my photo backup. Why?
- iCloud is now becoming photo backup. You don’t have to worry which photo stores on your phone, which are not. Apple will take care for you (nope, I am not Apple fanboy). This will ease your mind to think like a system admin. Just become a good user, take picture, select the good ones, and you get what you want
- There are many good iCloud / Apple photos features, ie. sync across devices, notifications of summary photo (for nostalgia), tag people name in the photo, and if I am not wrong, in iOS 14 / next Mac OS, we can search text in the photo. Also you can have family photos, merge of photos from your family members. In family, it is difficult to be disciplined for them (you can be disciplined for yourself) - especially on technology side.

I haven’t tried using other clouds, ie Google photo or even general one like pCloud to store the photos automatic after we take the pictures. But I saw, for peace of mind, also if you have already Apple environment on your home, iCloud is still the most practical solution (at least IMO for now).
 
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pja2536

macrumors member
Original poster
Apr 8, 2015
60
15
Batemans Bay, Australia
Ismailis, thanks for your response. We will have to differ in our thoughts about iCloud Photos being a suitable backup option. It is a file sharing option NOT a backup option. It's simply too easy to delete photos from different devices.

This might be one of the best external file storage devices for iOS users: SanDisk iXpand Flash Drive 256GB (SDIX30N-256G-GN6NE) or SanDisk iXpand Flash Drive Go, 256 GB, Silver, SDIX60N-256G-GN6NE.

These iXpand drives work fine as a real Photos app backup and and cost around AUD110. Both drives have a Lightning adapter and a USB 3.0 adapter. They can connect to a Lightning port using the cheaper Apple Lightning to USB Camera Adapter (AUD50). Each adapter appears in the Files app as a different drive (depending on which adapter is used.

Regards,
Peter
 
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ApfelKuchen

macrumors 68040
Aug 28, 2012
3,984
2,536
Between the coasts
I'm not sure that it's that much more difficult to delete a file from iCloud Drive than it is to delete a photo from the Photos app. Recently Deleted exists to save us from slips of the finger and momentary lapses in judgement. If we don't catch our errors within thirty days, is that anyone's fault but our own?

iCloud, Google, or any other Internet-based server system does not match the description of "backup." It's more accurate and useful to consider it your master data. You may create or make changes to that data from a local device. You may even have a copy of the master data on your local device, but as with any client/server system, the server is "king."

True backups are saved offline and off-site, independent of whether the master data is stored on local hard drives or on a distant cloud server. They exist in case something happens to primary storage. In a client/server system, the server is that primary storage.

One benefit of server-based data is that there is a major investment in data reliability, whether we're talking about RAID arrays, entire data centers mirroring other data centers, etc. Overall, server farms are designed to be far more reliable than a single HDD/SSD in a PC. Still, high reliability is not a backup. Any system can fail, as anyone who tries to restore from a corrupted backup can tell you.
 
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