I've Been Lazy - Is iCloud The Best Backup Solution For All My Media?

boltjames

macrumors 601
Original poster
May 2, 2010
4,267
2,499
Ashamed to say that I don't have backups of my photos, videos, and music and its time that I take this seriously and get a cloud solution.

As I have zero experience in this area I ask- is Apple's iCloud very simple to use, competitively priced, and fast on the up/download?

I have:

About 50,000 hi res iPhone photos.

About 25,000 MP3 (ripped) and AAC (iTunes purchased) songs.

About 200 iPhone 1080p home videos (probably 100 hours).

What I am looking for is a fast/easy/affordable way to put these up into the cloud with the following conditions:

1. The resolution/quality of the files does not get compressed or compromised.

2. I can be selective as to what I put in the cloud; not every photo I shoot or every video take is appropriate.

3. I can share download access with family but prevent uploads and/or deletions from family members.

Is iCloud what I want? Or do you see any issues that would lead me to something else?

Thanks!
 

AustinIllini

macrumors demi-goddess
Oct 20, 2011
10,853
7,462
Austin, TX
iCloud is DEFINITELY the safest bet, particularly for videos and photos. You can use Dropbox but I have become less and less satisfied with them as I use them.

iCloud costs a little bit extra but I would still call it affordable overall.
 
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boltjames

macrumors 601
Original poster
May 2, 2010
4,267
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iCloud is DEFINITELY the safest bet, particularly for videos and photos. You can use Dropbox but I have become less and less satisfied with them as I use them.

iCloud costs a little bit extra but I would still call it affordable overall.
Thanks for the response.

With iCloud, do they offer selective syncing? Meaning, if I have 10,000 photos on my iPhone and only want to sync/backup 2,000 of them, will iCloud allow me to do this?
 

nouveau_redneck

macrumors 6502a
Sep 16, 2017
551
851
iCloud is not a backup solution. It is a sync solution. Using iCloud, anything that happens to your files on any of your devices is immediately replicated to iCloud and other devices. So if there are any mistakes made such as deletions or modification, it's replicated. If you realize that too late, it's too late.

There is no long term path to recovering your files with iCloud, or means of getting back to an earlier version of a file. If recovery is important to you then you should be looking at a proper backup solution, of which there are many local or online options.
[doublepost=1562859663][/doublepost]
Thanks for the response.

With iCloud, do they offer selective syncing? Meaning, if I have 10,000 photos on my iPhone and only want to sync/backup 2,000 of them, will iCloud allow me to do this?
No, it's all or nothing--unless you divide your photos into separate archives on macOS, and then only your primary archive will sync.
 

Clix Pix

macrumors demi-goddess
Buy yourself one or two (or more if needed) 2 TB external SSDs or external Thunderbolt 3 Drives (Samsung makes the T5 external SSD and the X5 external Thunderbolt 3 drive). They're more expensive than larger-capacity external spinner drives but in my opinion they are worth it for the speed. Prices have been coming down, too, which really helps. Once you've got these in hand, first thing you want to do, assuming yours is an all-Mac household, is to reformat them to APFS. Then go into your Pictures folder and copy the whole works right on to the external drive. Once that's done, do the same with your Music folder. Ditto with the Movies folder. Put the backup drives in a safe place, and periodically update them and you're all set.......

That's for backup/archiving purposes. As has been mentioned, that's somewhat different than syncing everything. While you're at it, you also ought to back up any important documents you might have in your Documents folder as well.
 
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AustinIllini

macrumors demi-goddess
Oct 20, 2011
10,853
7,462
Austin, TX
definitely backup your documents locally. I lost a ton of moderately important documents a couple of years back when I accidentally let my dropbox expire AND my mac died.
 

WebHead

macrumors regular
Dec 29, 2004
192
29
After being unnerved by a spate of HD failures, and not fully trusting cloud storage, I've actually settled on Blu-ray as a long-term backup solution (at least until holographic or molecular storage is a reality).

I'll be using 50GB discs but you can get 100GB and even terabytes depending how much you want to invest.

If you go that way, use Panasonic discs, as their non-organic dye lasts a lot longer (like, decades).
 

boltjames

macrumors 601
Original poster
May 2, 2010
4,267
2,499
iCloud is not a backup solution. It is a sync solution. Using iCloud, anything that happens to your files on any of your devices is immediately replicated to iCloud and other devices. So if there are any mistakes made such as deletions or modification, it's replicated. If you realize that too late, it's too late.

There is no long term path to recovering your files with iCloud, or means of getting back to an earlier version of a file. If recovery is important to you then you should be looking at a proper backup solution, of which there are many local or online options.
[doublepost=1562859663][/doublepost]

No, it's all or nothing--unless you divide your photos into separate archives on macOS, and then only your primary archive will sync.
This was excellent, thank you. iCloud won't be the answer for me as I'm not looking for a sync solution but rather a backup solution.
[doublepost=1562978317][/doublepost]
Buy yourself one or two (or more if needed) 2 TB external SSDs or external Thunderbolt 3 Drives (Samsung makes the T5 external SSD and the X5 external Thunderbolt 3 drive). They're more expensive than larger-capacity external spinner drives but in my opinion they are worth it for the speed. Prices have been coming down, too, which really helps. Once you've got these in hand, first thing you want to do, assuming yours is an all-Mac household, is to reformat them to APFS. Then go into your Pictures folder and copy the whole works right on to the external drive. Once that's done, do the same with your Music folder. Ditto with the Movies folder. Put the backup drives in a safe place, and periodically update them and you're all set.......

That's for backup/archiving purposes. As has been mentioned, that's somewhat different than syncing everything. While you're at it, you also ought to back up any important documents you might have in your Documents folder as well.
Thanks, and I do have hard drive backups in my house. I was thinking that if we have (heaven forbid) a house fire or a flood or a burglary. Also, eventually I will pass away and emailing userid's and passwords to my kids right now for use many years down the road instead of relying them to rummage through drawers and boxes of my stuff to find physical drives. In those instances having everything up in the cloud is comforting.
 

Clix Pix

macrumors demi-goddess
This was excellent, thank you. iCloud won't be the answer for me as I'm not looking for a sync solution but rather a backup solution.
[doublepost=1562978317][/doublepost]

Thanks, and I do have hard drive backups in my house. I was thinking that if we have (heaven forbid) a house fire or a flood or a burglary. Also, eventually I will pass away and emailing userid's and passwords to my kids right now for use many years down the road instead of relying them to rummage through drawers and boxes of my stuff to find physical drives. In those instances having everything up in the cloud is comforting.
Once a month I make a trip to my bank safe deposit box and swap out the backup drives that are in there for newly-updated ones, bring home the other ones and update them. Since I am retired and no longer am working with an office or a desk to call my own in a workplace, nor do I have relatives or friends who live close enough that a monthly swapping of drives for storage there would be convenient, I figure the bank is the best place. I also store in the safe deposit box a printout copy of my “cheat sheet” where I have important information such as email addresses and passwords, domain information, email address, user name and passwords used for forums I’m registered on, etc., etc. That way if any disaster strikes at home, my data and my image files are protected and safely stored off-site without relying on the cloud.
 
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Weaselboy

Moderator
Staff member
Jan 23, 2005
29,166
8,820
California
Thanks, and I do have hard drive backups in my house. I was thinking that if we have (heaven forbid) a house fire or a flood or a burglary.
I'm using the app Arq to backup online to BackBlaze B2 servers for exactly this and it works well.

https://www.arqbackup.com

https://www.backblaze.com/b2/cloud-storage.html

https://forums.macrumors.com/threads/arq.2017935/page-13

There is a long thread here ^ discussing how others use Arq. Might have some good info there for you.
 
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