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catfish743

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Sep 12, 2007
311
4
Kentucky
I've been perusing the photos forum recently as my 2013 MBP is looking like it's on its last legs (and that XDR iPad display is so shiny) but I'm trying to determine the best solution for my situation before I buy any new hardware, and photos management, unity and redundancy is my top priority in the steps I take. Here's what's up:

I have 98,267 photos in my Photos Library (and some about 2K videos, but mainly small ones). The size of my library is 1.54 TB (I currently pay for the 2TB iCloud storage option [why couldn't Tim have given me 4 this year??]) which I share with three other family members (who fortunately don't need as much digital space). I shoot RAW and was using a 1D Mark IV before I recently upgraded to a R5 and so my file sizes have only gotten bigger. I've only got 216 GB left of storage space, which at the rate I'm going would easily last me another year I think, maybe two. Currently, everything's only backed up in the Cloud via iCloud Photos > Optimize Mac Storage and I access the 1.54 TB drive both with my iPhone and my MBP (I have copies of my old Aperture libraries on some drives somewhere, but nothing else is duplicated and redundant--which I also want to resolve--which means as this point about 6 years of photos are Cloud only. Even though I trust the "Cloud," it has always felt risky only having one nebulous backup somewhere so feel free to chastise me about this).

When I first came to the mac ecosystem, I used aperture, and loved it, and was even hesitant to switch over to Photos as I wasn't sure it would end up doing what I wanted. But I love all the energy apple has spent on Photos and love the direction it's going. Faces is one of my favorite features. Keeping everything together is my top priority, because of all of the cross-referencing.

Right now, my library is unified, with photos going back to 2007. I also intend at some point to scan all of the family photos that we have, which fit in one or two of those large 2ft x 5ft plastic bins. I would love to be able to see the my childhood as captured by my parents as well as their lives before they had children, easily searchable and in chronological order, in order to pass down the photos to the next generation. I haven't started this process yet, as I would like to continue to have everything in one unified library, and the size required is more than any internal mac storage options (save maybe the Mac Pro). As well, my photography has always mainly been about capturing my own memories, but I have dabbled doing stuff for others in the past, and this too I would like to keep with the rest of my photos. And to make matters worse, I am contemplating starting a side business, which would increase the number of photos i need to store. Still, I would like to keep these too with everything else.

----

At this juncture, I'm basically waiting for the new MBP to drop (and might get an iPad in the meanwhile), and my parents have a mac mini as well that could be used to assist the situation. What I'm thinking I want to do, but I don't know if it's possible, is get a NAS to create a large hard drive onto which I can place my Photos Library. My first problem is problem/question is this: Can you loop multiple hard drives together in this way and store a Photo Library on such a set up? I've seen plenty of people talk about having a library on an external drive, both always plugged into a running device and also one that is removed from time to time, but I don't know enough about Storage to know if hard drives in a raid array function effectively like one drive. If they do, then getting some 6TB drives in Raid 1 or Raid 5 could be one route I could go. As I typed this, it occurred to me to ask why I was presuming I need to set up smaller drives in such an array (other than the fact that it might be cheaper and provide more safety should any one drive fail), and that I could perhaps just get only 2 6TB drives and just do a manual hard copy each time I update (time consuming but oh well).

Either way, I'm eventually going to have to move away from the Apple Cloud as being my primary storage solution, which then raises my next question: exactly how does accessing images on your other devices work when your library is no longer cloud based? Will I need to leave this larger hard drive plugged in and network accessible so when I go to an iPad, iPhone, or other mac, that device can access the full resolution image should it need to? Both my MBP and my phone are 256GB so I already don't/can't have the full drive on local hardware, but when I select Download Originals To This Mac for this larger Harddrive set up, I don't really know what happens to the speed and usage of other devices. Already my iPhone has to load the full image if I pick a random photo from several years ago, but does it being on an external drive connected to a computer that then has to send data over the internet and back to my other device substantially increase access times?

Beyond those two questions about my specific ideas, how does everyone else manage large libraries while also adding in redundancy? I'm really looking for input from people who have the same desire I do to have one unified library, and I am open to software other than Photos. Do you mirror image the library, or do you store the backup photos in folders (by date or place or file name or...)? Is there another cloud solution that you like? Do you know if there's anyway to contact Apple and ask to pay more in excess of 2TB (surely I'm not the only one that has this problem)?

And then how should I best implement new devices for whatever solution I decide on? My family mac mini typically stays logged into either my Mother or Father's user profile (with their iCloud account), but I could easily add a user profile for myself complete with my attached iCloud information, and attach the NAS to that system. However, if they are logged in to their user, by my phone is trying to access a photo in the library which is on a non-logged-in user, what happens? Does it, succeed or fail or how does any of that work.

And I know there will be at least a few people that say "why in the world do you need to have access to everything all in one library" and trust me I already ask myself that question a lot, but it's what I've decided that I want. Storage will only get cheaper with time (and money to pay for it isn't the issue, it's figuring out how to rig it together for the easiest use case). And there will be some who say "delete some d^&G files!" and yes there are a few spread throughout that are just blurs or dupes but everything I have truly does mean something to me. And there will be some that say "okay but do you really need everything RAW" and yes I've asked myself that too but you never really know what you may need until you need it and if you kick out that compress and delete you'll never get that data back. Will I want to print a hi res large photo of a random college event in the future? Probably not, but that soccer player I went to college with might contact me in the future wanting to have a print of his glory days or that sorority might want to publish something on one of their members that I captured (I was the campus newspaper photo editor and main photographer).
 
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mackmgg

macrumors 68000
Nov 2, 2007
1,567
374
Eventually you may still run out of storage, but you actually can get 4TB now! So you may not actually need to worry about this for a while (and hopefully by then we can get even more storage). If you sign up for an Apple One plan, you can get 2TB in addition to the 2TB you already have.

 

Clix Pix

macrumors demi-goddess
I guess I'm old-fashioned but I much prefer to use physical external drives rather than trusting "the cloud" for keeping my valued photo files safe and accessible. So I want to participate in the Photo Associations thread and know I've got just the image which will fit into whatever is going on in it right now? No problem, just plug in an external drive, look for the particular image I've got in mind, add the image file to the thread right from my external device and we're done. I use both external HDDs and SSDs. Over time I have been transitioning from HDDs to SSDs and at this point it is only the archival drives which are still the older HDDs. Now that it is possible to purchase 4 TB SSDs at a somewhat reasonable price I'll begin shifting my archival files over to SSD, too, but that still will take some time as funds permit.

I do not use Photos at all. Back in the day I did use Aperture and loved it, and still miss it! For image processing now I use DXO PhotoLab 4 and occasionally Luminar AI, and at times when needed also Topaz Sharpen, Topaz Studio, Topaz DeNoise and Topaz Gigapixel. Also I've got a couple of filter-type programs that I play with once in a while. For fast reviewing and culling of images, I use Photo Mechanic, which is great for this purpose. Trouble is I often do not do it right at the time of initial editing and so later on develop a backlog of RAW files which seriously need to be culled before being stored/archived.

For me it is important to have control over my images and to know that I can quickly access any that I suddenly have a need or urge to see/use, and I find it is a whole lot more convenient to simply plug in an external drive when I need or want to access something......and it is a whole lot safer and more private to keep all of my files locally rather than depending upon some Cloud entity which may or may not always be around or which may have some sort of hacking or other issues at some point in the future which wind up destroying my images and my access to them.
 

jz0309

Contributor
Sep 25, 2018
4,019
11,387
Temecula, CA
I am similar to @Clix Pix in that I do not have any of my photos in the cloud, and I have no intentions at this point in time to change that. I do have currently ~ 75k photos and I use Lightroom Classic via the photography plan @ 9.99/month.
I have currently a 1TB SSD external that has a year/month folder structure that holds all my photos (raw, jpg, tif). So all photos are in a LR-folder following the folder structure on the disk; ~740GB
The index (previews, catalog) is on my internal SSD (it's faster); ~140GB.
Backup is a external 8TB HDD.
I use Photos only on the iPhone and transfer all images from there into LR via airdrop.

So I have instant access to all my photos and I can easily browse through thousands in a very short period of time, and, most importantly, I can beat @Clix Pix at the photo association game :p

I do use Onedrive to share photos with family, the 1 TB version comes with my office 365, works ok for that purpose.

As @mackmgg pointed out, you can simply increase your iCloud storage and continue "as is".
There certainly is no right or wrong answer, different needs, perspectives and experiences.

I was a big Aperture user until ~ 2.5 years ago when it crashed on me and I could not restore. I had a managed library and I was able to recover all of my photos, but let me tell you, it was a major PITA. Part of my learnings from that experience was to simply use a disk folder structure that is under MY control.

I also just today purchased a 2TB portable SSSD s it was on sale for prime day on Amazon, a Sandisk Extreme (same specs as Samsung T7) for 239, quite a deal. That SSD will eventually replace the 1 TB external ...
 
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Clix Pix

macrumors demi-goddess
I am similar to @Clix Pix in that I do not have any of my photos in the cloud, and I have no intentions at this point in time to change that. I do have currently ~ 75k photos and I use Lightroom Classic via the photography plan @ 9.99/month.
I have currently a 1TB SSD external that has a year/month folder structure that holds all my photos (raw, jpg, tif). So all photos are in a LR-folder following the folder structure on the disk; ~740GB
The index (previews, catalog) is on my internal SSD (it's faster); ~140GB.
Backup is a external 8TB HDD.
I use Photos only on the iPhone and transfer all images from there into LR via airdrop.

So I have instant access to all my photos and I can easily browse through thousands in a very short period of time, and, most importantly, I can beat @Clix Pix at the photo association game :p

I do use Onedrive to share photos with family, the 1 TB version comes with my office 365, works ok for that purpose.

As @mackmgg pointed out, you can simply increase your iCloud storage and continue "as is".
There certainly is no right or wrong answer, different needs, perspectives and experiences.

I was a big Aperture user until ~ 2.5 years ago when it crashed on me and I could not restore. I had a managed library and I was able to recover all of my photos, but let me tell you, it was a major PITA. Part of my learnings from that experience was to simply use a disk folder structure that is under MY control.

I also just today purchased a 2TB portable SSSD s it was on sale for prime day on Amazon, a Sandisk Extreme (same specs as Samsung T7) for 239, quite a deal. That SSD will eventually replace the 1 TB external ...


Hee, hee!!!! :D. I've kinda fallen by the wayside with the game recently for various reasons but eventually will get back up to speed.....

SanDisk Extremes are really nice SSDs -- I've got a couple of them now and they're terrific! Speedy and they get the job done and you're good to go.
 
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jz0309

Contributor
Sep 25, 2018
4,019
11,387
Temecula, CA
Hee, hee!!!! :D. I've kinda fallen by the wayside with the game recently for various reasons but eventually will get back up to speed.....

SanDisk Extremes are really nice SSDs -- I've got a couple of them now and they're terrific! Speedy and they get the job done and you're good to go.
actually my external SSD is a 1 TB Sandisk Extreme (?) SATA that I got in 2015, obviously very reliable as I am still using it :) ... but, 6 years is a long time too, so it will get replaced with the new 2TB one after I'm done upgrading to Big Sur (Mojave currently).
Also my 8TB WD easy store is almost 4 years old, I think I will retire it once I find a good deal on a 8 or 10TB one ...
 

Clix Pix

macrumors demi-goddess
A few months ago I needed another external SSD and found that the SanDisk Extreme 2 TB that Amazon was offering exactly met the criteria, being a little bit smaller in physical size and yet still speedy with regard to collecting and storing the material that I wanted on there...... I also wanted to differentiate this from my Samsung T 7 SSDs, which are also in active use with all of my other important data aside from photos. This new drive was destined for my safe deposit box at the bank, which is a small, but long and narrow thing. I was more than ready to finally have a smaller drive to put in there -- my larger HDD was happy to come home and be given other responsibilities! The next month I bought a second SanDisk Extreme 2 TB to swap out on a monthly basis with the first one and that has been working out very nicely so far.

I've been using Samsung and G-Drive external SSDs, but for some reason hadn't been aware of the SanDisk ones until now. Glad I finally discovered them!
 

kallisti

macrumors 68000
Apr 22, 2003
1,751
6,667
I've been perusing the photos forum recently as my 2013 MBP is looking like it's on its last legs (and that XDR iPad display is so shiny) but I'm trying to determine the best solution for my situation before I buy any new hardware, and photos management, unity and redundancy is my top priority in the steps I take. Here's what's up:

I have 98,267 photos in my Photos Library (and some about 2K videos, but mainly small ones). The size of my library is 1.54 TB (I currently pay for the 2TB iCloud storage option [why couldn't Tim have given me 4 this year??]) which I share with three other family members (who fortunately don't need as much digital space). I shoot RAW and was using a 1D Mark IV before I recently upgraded to a R5 and so my file sizes have only gotten bigger. I've only got 216 GB left of storage space, which at the rate I'm going would easily last me another year I think, maybe two. Currently, everything's only backed up in the Cloud via iCloud Photos > Optimize Mac Storage and I access the 1.54 TB drive both with my iPhone and my MBP (I have copies of my old Aperture libraries on some drives somewhere, but nothing else is duplicated and redundant--which I also want to resolve--which means as this point about 6 years of photos are Cloud only. Even though I trust the "Cloud," it has always felt risky only having one nebulous backup somewhere so feel free to chastise me about this).

When I first came to the mac ecosystem, I used aperture, and loved it, and was even hesitant to switch over to Photos as I wasn't sure it would end up doing what I wanted. But I love all the energy apple has spent on Photos and love the direction it's going. Faces is one of my favorite features. Keeping everything together is my top priority, because of all of the cross-referencing.

Right now, my library is unified, with photos going back to 2007. I also intend at some point to scan all of the family photos that we have, which fit in one or two of those large 2ft x 5ft plastic bins. I would love to be able to see the my childhood as captured by my parents as well as their lives before they had children, easily searchable and in chronological order, in order to pass down the photos to the next generation. I haven't started this process yet, as I would like to continue to have everything in one unified library, and the size required is more than any internal mac storage options (save maybe the Mac Pro). As well, my photography has always mainly been about capturing my own memories, but I have dabbled doing stuff for others in the past, and this too I would like to keep with the rest of my photos. And to make matters worse, I am contemplating starting a side business, which would increase the number of photos i need to store. Still, I would like to keep these too with everything else.

----

At this juncture, I'm basically waiting for the new MBP to drop (and might get an iPad in the meanwhile), and my parents have a mac mini as well that could be used to assist the situation. What I'm thinking I want to do, but I don't know if it's possible, is get a NAS to create a large hard drive onto which I can place my Photos Library. My first problem is problem/question is this: Can you loop multiple hard drives together in this way and store a Photo Library on such a set up? I've seen plenty of people talk about having a library on an external drive, both always plugged into a running device and also one that is removed from time to time, but I don't know enough about Storage to know if hard drives in a raid array function effectively like one drive. If they do, then getting some 6TB drives in Raid 1 or Raid 5 could be one route I could go. As I typed this, it occurred to me to ask why I was presuming I need to set up smaller drives in such an array (other than the fact that it might be cheaper and provide more safety should any one drive fail), and that I could perhaps just get only 2 6TB drives and just do a manual hard copy each time I update (time consuming but oh well).

Either way, I'm eventually going to have to move away from the Apple Cloud as being my primary storage solution, which then raises my next question: exactly how does accessing images on your other devices work when your library is no longer cloud based? Will I need to leave this larger hard drive plugged in and network accessible so when I go to an iPad, iPhone, or other mac, that device can access the full resolution image should it need to? Both my MBP and my phone are 256GB so I already don't/can't have the full drive on local hardware, but when I select Download Originals To This Mac for this larger Harddrive set up, I don't really know what happens to the speed and usage of other devices. Already my iPhone has to load the full image if I pick a random photo from several years ago, but does it being on an external drive connected to a computer that then has to send data over the internet and back to my other device substantially increase access times?

Beyond those two questions about my specific ideas, how does everyone else manage large libraries while also adding in redundancy? I'm really looking for input from people who have the same desire I do to have one unified library, and I am open to software other than Photos. Do you mirror image the library, or do you store the backup photos in folders (by date or place or file name or...)? Is there another cloud solution that you like? Do you know if there's anyway to contact Apple and ask to pay more in excess of 2TB (surely I'm not the only one that has this problem)?

And then how should I best implement new devices for whatever solution I decide on? My family mac mini typically stays logged into either my Mother or Father's user profile (with their iCloud account), but I could easily add a user profile for myself complete with my attached iCloud information, and attach the NAS to that system. However, if they are logged in to their user, by my phone is trying to access a photo in the library which is on a non-logged-in user, what happens? Does it, succeed or fail or how does any of that work.

And I know there will be at least a few people that say "why in the world do you need to have access to everything all in one library" and trust me I already ask myself that question a lot, but it's what I've decided that I want. Storage will only get cheaper with time (and money to pay for it isn't the issue, it's figuring out how to rig it together for the easiest use case). And there will be some who say "delete some d^&G files!" and yes there are a few spread throughout that are just blurs or dupes but everything I have truly does mean something to me. And there will be some that say "okay but do you really need everything RAW" and yes I've asked myself that too but you never really know what you may need until you need it and if you kick out that compress and delete you'll never get that data back. Will I want to print a hi res large photo of a random college event in the future? Probably not, but that soccer player I went to college with might contact me in the future wanting to have a print of his glory days or that sorority might want to publish something on one of their members that I captured (I was the campus newspaper photo editor and main photographer).
Excellent post. You did a great job of explaining yourself and providing enough information for people to offer helpful replies.

I think a NAS would solve your problem.

Last fall I purchased a 4 bay Synology NAS and filled it with four 10TB drives. I chose a RAID 10 configuration (the Synology site offers a RAID calculator that helps you determine storage size vs data redundancy for each RAID type—and also explains each RAID type). The RAID 10 configuration lowered my total storage to 20TB (which is more than enough for my needs) but offered the best safety/redundancy for my data—any two drives can fail at the same time without me losing any data. For added peace-of-mind, I enrolled in Amazon’s AWS (a secure cloud storage solution). For ~$14 a month, all my data on the NAS is stored off-site to secure against catastrophic local failure (my NAS explodes, my home burns down, etc.).

The Synology NAS is very easy to set up. Not quite plug-and-play (it takes a little bit of tinkering to get everything to work the way you want it to), but they have instructions and tutorials to help you. They also offer free software to set up file shares (you can think of them as virtual hard drives) for everything from music, photos, clones of your computer drive, Time Machine backups, etc. You can have separate virtual hard drives all on the same NAS, so it isn’t limited to just your photo library.

I personally use Lightroom for all of my photos. It was very easy to create a virtual drive on the NAS with my Lightroom catalog. When I import photos to LR, they import to the NAS and not my MBP hard drive. I can work with the files just as if they were on my computer hard drive. Anything I could do with an LR library stored on my computer I can do with it stored on the NAS. While it would be possible to directly connect the NAS to my computer via Ethernet, I chose to put it in a closet and access it via my home WiFi network. So I can access and edit photos on my MBP from anywhere in my house. Any computer can access the NAS, so multiple family members can access any or all of the virtual drives. You are able to set up individual accounts for access to the NAS and you can adjust permissions to give anyone access to everything or to limit access to specific virtual drives for individual accounts.

It is also possible to make the NAS accessible via the internet (or you can close it off from the internet if you wish). I haven’t set mine up for remote access as I don’t personally have that need, but it is possible to do and possible to do in a secure fashion. You can grant remote access for yourself or for family member accounts.

The NAS is just an enclosure with drive bays. It is a standalone device. It doesn’t need to be physically connected to a computer or to have a dedicated computer assigned to it for it to function. But it does need to be plugged in and always on if you want to access the files stored on it.

Regarding your specific situation, I am pretty sure you could place your Photos library on a NAS with all of the above advantages. Since I don’t use Photos, I can’t speak from experience but I think it should work fine. I also can‘t speak from experience about accessing the NAS with an iPhone or iPad. I think it would work, but it isn’t something I’ve ever tried.

I would encourage you to go to the Synology site and do a little digging. Or Google Synology NAS and Apple Photos. Or it’s possible some other members will be able to offer some advice that is more specific to your use case.

Again, great post! The details you provided should help get you some solid answers. Hope it works out for you :).
 
Last edited:

catfish743

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Sep 12, 2007
311
4
Kentucky
Thanks everyone for all the helpful comments!

Eventually you may still run out of storage, but you actually can get 4TB now! So you may not actually need to worry about this for a while (and hopefully by then we can get even more storage). If you sign up for an Apple One plan, you can get 2TB in addition to the 2TB you already have.

I actually had no clue they had upped it (I hadn't migrated over to Apple One or whatever the unified payment thing was until the other day and then I saw it). That's a nice addition and allays a lot of my fears about needing a solution in the immediate future. I'll probably take advantage of that when I cross the 2TB mark

For me it is important to have control over my images and to know that I can quickly access any that I suddenly have a need or urge to see/use, and I find it is a whole lot more convenient to simply plug in an external drive when I need or want to access something......and it is a whole lot safer and more private to keep all of my files locally rather than depending upon some Cloud entity which may or may not always be around or which may have some sort of hacking or other issues at some point in the future which wind up destroying my images and my access to them.

I 100 percent agree, I opted into Photos for convenience but the more I've researched about all this the more certain I am that I need at least a second back up. Paying for it every month does suck, but the convenience has always seemed worth it to me, but I'm still not fully covered.

I was a big Aperture user until ~ 2.5 years ago when it crashed on me and I could not restore. I had a managed library and I was able to recover all of my photos, but let me tell you, it was a major PITA. Part of my learnings from that experience was to simply use a disk folder structure that is under MY control.

This is definitely what I'm going to do as my back up: one large hard drive with a Date structure, which seems the easiest way to organize. The Massive export will take forever but it needs to be done. The more I've read recently, the more paranoid I'm getting about the library crashing at some point. Eventually maybe a redundant copy of it as well that gets updated monthly but isn't always on. Seeing the price of 4TB HDDs has encouraged me.

Excellent post. You did a great job of explaining yourself and providing enough information for people to offer helpful replies.

I think a NAS would solve your problem.

Last fall I purchased a 4 bay Synology NAS and filled it with four 10TB drives. I chose a RAID 10 configuration (the Synology site offers a RAID calculator that helps you determine storage size vs data redundancy for each RAID type—and also explains each RAID type). The RAID 10 configuration lowered my total storage to 20TB (which is more than enough for my needs) but offered the best safety/redundancy for my data—any two drives can fail at the same time without me losing any data. For added peace-of-mind, I enrolled in Amazon’s AWS (a secure cloud storage solution). For ~$14 a month, all my data on the NAS is stored off-site to secure against catastrophic local failure (my NAS explodes, my home burns down, etc.).

The Synology NAS is very easy to set up. Not quite plug-and-play (it takes a little bit of tinkering to get everything to work the way you want it to), but they have instructions and tutorials to help you. They also offer free software to set up file shares (you can think of them as virtual hard drives) for everything from music, photos, clones of your computer drive, Time Machine backups, etc. You can have separate virtual hard drives all on the same NAS, so it isn’t limited to just your photo library.

I personally use Lightroom for all of my photos. It was very easy to create a virtual drive on the NAS with my Lightroom catalog. When I import photos to LR, they import to the NAS and not my MBP hard drive. I can work with the files just as if they were on my computer hard drive. Anything I could do with an LR library stored on my computer I can do with it stored on the NAS. While it would be possible to directly connect the NAS to my computer via Ethernet, I chose to put it in a closet and access it via my home WiFi network. So I can access and edit photos on my MBP from anywhere in my house. Any computer can access the NAS, so multiple family members can access any or all of the virtual drives. You are able to set up individual accounts for access to the NAS and you can adjust permissions to give anyone access to everything or to limit access to specific virtual drives for individual accounts.

It is also possible to make the NAS accessible via the internet (or you can close it off from the internet if you wish). I haven’t set mine up for remote access as I don’t personally have that need, but it is possible to do and possible to do in a secure fashion. You can grant remote access for yourself or for family member accounts.

The NAS is just an enclosure with drive bays. It is a standalone device. It doesn’t need to be physically connected to a computer or to have a dedicated computer assigned to it for it to function. But it does need to be plugged in and always on if you want to access the files stored on it.

Regarding your specific situation, I am pretty sure you could place your Photos library on a NAS with all of the above advantages. Since I don’t use Photos, I can’t speak from experience but I think it should work fine. I also can‘t speak from experience about accessing the NAS with an iPhone or iPad. I think it would work, but it isn’t something I’ve ever tried.

I would encourage you to go to the Synology site and do a little digging. Or Google Synology NAS and Apple Photos. Or it’s possible some other members will be able to offer some advice that is more specific to your use case.

Again, great post! The details you provided should help get you some solid answers. Hope it works out for you :).


First, love your name. Nice to see a fellow discordian.

After all the researching i've done the past few days about the way in which the Library structure works versus how a drive stretched over a few combined disks works, I'm leaning towards not going down that path because even though it sounds Doable, it doesn't sound at all stable, at least as everything currently exists. I do think I need to get a NAS as a separate thing to offload a bunch of stuff that's in my iCloud Drive that I don't really need access to, and may have a copy of the Folder Date Structure in there as well. I have a lock box which I think I'll end up putting some copy in just as an extra precaution.

Just for any future poster who wonders what I do end up doing I think it will be the following:
1) Maintain iCloud Library
2) Plug 1 HDD into Mac Mini and have that photo library on that external drive, and store a copy of the library as it exists on that drive
3) Another External Drive/NAS with a Year/Month/Day Structure.
4) 1 rather large External drive with a copy for the lockbox that gets updated monthly.
 
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kallisti

macrumors 68000
Apr 22, 2003
1,751
6,667
Thanks everyone for all the helpful comments!



I actually had no clue they had upped it (I hadn't migrated over to Apple One or whatever the unified payment thing was until the other day and then I saw it). That's a nice addition and allays a lot of my fears about needing a solution in the immediate future. I'll probably take advantage of that when I cross the 2TB mark



I 100 percent agree, I opted into Photos for convenience but the more I've researched about all this the more certain I am that I need at least a second back up. Paying for it every month does suck, but the convenience has always seemed worth it to me, but I'm still not fully covered.



This is definitely what I'm going to do as my back up: one large hard drive with a Date structure, which seems the easiest way to organize. The Massive export will take forever but it needs to be done. The more I've read recently, the more paranoid I'm getting about the library crashing at some point. Eventually maybe a redundant copy of it as well that gets updated monthly but isn't always on. Seeing the price of 4TB HDDs has encouraged me.




First, love your name. Nice to see a fellow discordian.

After all the researching i've done the past few days about the way in which the Library structure works versus how a drive stretched over a few combined disks works, I'm leaning towards not going down that path because even though it sounds Doable, it doesn't sound at all stable, at least as everything currently exists. I do think I need to get a NAS as a separate thing to offload a bunch of stuff that's in my iCloud Drive that I don't really need access to, and may have a copy of the Folder Date Structure in there as well. I have a lock box which I think I'll end up putting some copy in just as an extra precaution.

Just for any future poster who wonders what I do end up doing I think it will be the following:
1) Maintain iCloud Library
2) Plug 1 HDD into Mac Mini and have that photo library on that external drive, and store a copy of the library as it exists on that drive
3) Another External Drive/NAS with a Year/Month/Day Structure.
4) 1 rather large External drive with a copy for the lockbox that gets updated monthly.
Hail Eris! All hail Discordia! ;) Though in the current political climate, the “joke” has become reality in a very disturbing way….
 
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Ray2

macrumors 6502a
Jul 8, 2014
867
228
The first thing I did was understand the cloud is for convenience, not backup/redundancy. iCloud helped me get there after losing 5 gig of data and medical imaging. Apple worked with me for 3 weeks but could not recover. We could see the files but nothing would open.

My feelings is the size of your unified library is not so large. Many of us have that scale. Pros have far larger.

Including video, my stills library is about .5 TB. I have it spread between a 1 TB internal and a 2 TB Thunderbolt external. Both ssd's. Both Photos and Lightroom are referenced. As a former Aperture user, you are accustomed to library management utilities. Do you see any of those in Photo’s? That’s why I suggest you also use a referenced, rather than managed, approach in Photos.

I use Lightroom, the Classic plan but with the 1TB cloud add on. For convenience across devices. It works great. $20/month.

Since you already use Photos, I’d stick with it since you like it. Size an ssd appropriately and you’re done. An NAS is more tech. If that’s an attraction, go for it. But recognize all its going to do is probably slow you down and create more to maintain.
 
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AlaskaMoose

macrumors 68020
Apr 26, 2008
2,188
5,151
Alaska
1. What I do is to save all my photos and libraries to external hard drives. A 2TB/USB 3.0 Seagate "Rescue Edition" (or WD hard drive) costs around $60.00. A 4TB hard drive costs twice as much. But I also have a SATA/USB 3.0 dock, and several SATA hard drives that don't have enclosures, and move the photos from my iMac to the hard drives as follows:

a. Connect the "USB 3.0/SATA dock to my computer.
b. Plug the appropriate hard drive that has already been formatted, and plug it into the dock's SATA connector.
c. Then I drag all the folders with the photos (and files if I so desire) to the hard drive.
d. Eject or disconnect the hard drive and dock from the computer, and stack the drive on top of the other hard drives.

2. All the folders and files are titled or named and dated, and each hard drive assigned with an ID that is different than the rest. Also, the hard drive ID matches a table of contents that shows every folder stored in the hard drive by name or title. I usually type and print the table of contents on paper, but one can also create a "Read Me" file within the hard drive.

3. All the photos I post in this and other forums are small in size (under 800kb), and I store them at SmugMug for a little over $46.00 per year.
 
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400

macrumors 6502a
Sep 12, 2015
556
215
Wales
I bank on something failing and work within my means to mitigate it. I figure on one system failing, possibly 2 at the same time. My pockets are only so deep. 40,000 or so images.

I use iCloud as a means to access the pics through apps and as a sort of backup of but understanding what it is and deletions can be a mare (so not really a backup for me).

My non Apple cloud backup does versioning and none of those are deleted unless I tell it to, they are not timed out, meaning I delete on Photos, it will be held in the bin in the cloud until I say delete not some 30 day policy or something. Also I point it at the master folder holding the Apple Photo originals, I don't need that to back up the rest of Photo. Caveat is I forget or lose the password, it is a zero knowledge system so I lose the lot. As long as the hard drives are OK it is just time to re upload, it is slow as it encodes on the Mac before uploading.

Then I have three hard drives, one of which is Time Machine only. Two are Carbon copy cloner controlled, the third of in that bunch is updated periodically and kept off site in case of dire events at home.
I used to use more.
 

Steven-iphone

macrumors 6502a
Apr 25, 2020
713
4,209
United States
I don't have a huge collection. OneDrive is primarily cloud storage, and Icedrive is a redundant solution.

Icedrive has Lifetime subscriptions, with the highest tier 5TB for a one-time payment of $499 (150GB and 1TB plans are also available). Monthly and Yearly plans are offered. I opted for a life-time subscription. Multi-platform access.

 

ericgtr12

macrumors 68000
Mar 19, 2015
1,595
10,817
I still like to store all of my raw files on local drives, they just keep getting cheaper and bigger. As far online backup goes for all of my keepers I still use Google, it's a great service and still pretty cheap overall.
 
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