Syncing photos without using iCloud storage

Discussion in 'iOS 12' started by alex00100, Dec 7, 2018.

  1. alex00100 macrumors 6502

    Mar 17, 2011
    Moscow, Russia
    iCloud is seriously the most confusing piece of software on the planet.
    Because 5gb is obviously not enough for pretty much anything considering how much all these live photos and 4k videos weight, so how do I get this stuff to sync between devices without storing it in the cloud?
  2. harriska2 macrumors 65816


    Mar 16, 2011
  3. tarsins macrumors 6502a


    Sep 15, 2009
    Google photos. My family share one Google ID just for this and it syncs everything nicely between all our devices. iCloud photos is rubbish for sharing when you've got a lot of photos.
  4. Minorite macrumors 6502


    May 8, 2018
    +1 for Google Photos. Forget about iCloud for photos management atm. Maybe some day... When pigs will fly, and Apple will decide to make it user friendly and not so buggy...
  5. Shirasaki macrumors G3


    May 16, 2015
    Without any cloud storage at all, you are gonna find yourself having some tough time getting all photos out. Without a Mac, you need to find third party “phone manager” software to backup your photos without using iTunes (which iTunes 12.7 is unable to do anything about it anyway). With a Mac, image capture could be your best bet.

    For all above mentioning google drive, it IS a cloud storage.
  6. johaen8 macrumors member

    Aug 17, 2010
    Near Montgomery, AL
    I don’t know why so many people complain about iCloud Photos. I have over 28,000 photos and videos and it works admirably for me. I keep the full size photos on my iMac, which then syncs to my MacBook, iPad, iPhone, and Apple TV. It works perfectly for me.
  7. cynics, Dec 9, 2018
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2018

    cynics macrumors G4

    Jan 8, 2012
    I found iCloud is only confusing if you over think it. This is somewhat easy to do because they try to make it so simple it becomes difficult again, at least for me. You MIGHT have the option available to you to do what you are looking to do, I'll explain at the end.

    No matter how much you fight it and how silly it seems eventually you'll be paying cloud storage and it will just be another monthly micro subscription.

    Even the "free" options available today tend to come at an expense. For example, DropBox will have you advertise for them to friends and family to get more "free" space. That is like saying your job gives you free money at the end of the week.

    For Googles "free" storage....

    Screen Shot 2018-12-09 at 9.47.36 AM.png

    The cost is degraded quality. Most people will find the difference negligible and for photos taken from the iPhone I agree. However if they are imported from other cameras or they are 4k video the degradation can be significant. Depending on what you planned on doing with this files such as editing they can be completely ruined. Google does have an "original quality" setting however that is not "free". Googles cloud storage prices are comparable to Apples with the added benefits of 15gb free, savings option if you pay for the entire year in advance, and larger storage tiers.

    Like I said at the beginning, you MIGHT have a solution to your issue already available on your account and devices. Its a feature called "my photo stream", this is a legacy feature that offers you the ability to automatically upload photos to iCloud without any impact to your personal iCloud storage. Like other companies that offer "free" cloud storage this has caveats too. Photo quality when uploaded from an iOS devices is degraded...ahem..."optimized", however when uploaded from a PC or Mac you get full resolution. Photos are stored for 30 days before they are removed from the cloud. You have a limit of 1000 photos, your 1001st photo will remove the first one.

    That may sound complicated and/or similar to iCloud Photos however its very different, this is how to use it after you turn it on in settings:

    You get a new album called 'my photo stream' in the photos app
    Take a photo with and iOS device or import an image to Photos on a Mac.
    That photo is saved to the device it was taken on.
    That same photo is also uploaded to Apples servers automatically.
    On other devices (after you turn it on) you'll be able to view the 'My Photo Stream' album.
    You can manually download to other devices from there.

    Keep in mind the My Photo Stream album is just a view port to your photos on Apples servers. If you want a copy on a specific device you'll need to save it manually from that device.

    Where iCloud Photo Library varies from My Photo Stream is it cost you iCloud storage space. However in return all your photo galleries are matched between all your devices automatically. All your images and videos are stored on your iCloud and synced to your other devices at full resolution, color depth and retain all supported metadata. You are also given the option to optimize device storage by storing a lower quality version temporarily which will download the original when view or share it.

    What I do turn 'My Photo Stream' off and 'iCloud Photos' on. I have all my iOS devices and my MBP set to 'optimize storage' for photos and my iMac set to download the original. By doing this I have an original quality copy on my iMac and in iCloud but I do have access to the original quality copies from all my devices at anytime.

    I do pay 3 dollars a month for 200gb of iCloud storage but I not only have a lot of photos/videos but I use shared desktops, documents and files on my Macs. The convenience of having all my files, photos and videos anywhere I am using any device I own is worth the expense, for me anyway. Dropping a 5gb file on my desktop at home and it being on my desktop at work before I can get there has saved me a ton of headaches.
    --- Post Merged, Dec 9, 2018 ---
    It's generally people with much larger libraries (50gb+). I've personally never had an issue either though.

    I think the biggest problem with iCloud Photos is the lack of understanding the average customer has. We went from My Photo Stream is which essentially a different copy of the same photo to iCloud photo which is more of a tool/extension of iOS/MacOS. I could delete a photo from my phone and still have it in photo stream, now if I delete a photo it will delete from my personal iPad, my work iPad, my iPhone, my MBP, and my iMac. that could be catastrophic for someone that just didn't want a specific image on their iPhone.

    Once you realize its an extension of your device(s) and it will sync ANY action including deleting and editing the easier it becomes.
  8. alex00100 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Mar 17, 2011
    Moscow, Russia
    So there’s no way to simply take a photo with iPhone and make it appear downloaded on other device with without being stored in the cloud?
  9. cynics macrumors G4

    Jan 8, 2012
    Not without compromise.

    Keep in mind "the cloud" is just remote servers designed to store your data for extended periods of time. All data you are sending to another device is technically stored for a certain amount of time regardless if you want them to your not.

    To reliably send a photo from your iPhone to a remote device for download will require the data to sit on an Apple server for some period of time. Even an iMessage does this while the recipients iPhone downloads the photo.

    To avoid all remote servers storing your data for any period of time you'll need to send the file peer to peer, across your home network or via USB. Airdrop can do peer to peer and its seamless but requires you to be in close proximity to the receiving device. 3rd party apps generally require you to be on the same wifi so you'd need to have both devices in close proximity again and typically they aren't seamless.

    If this is functionality you need and security, photo quality and convenience is your concern then pay for more iCloud storage space. Apple doesn't alter the image, the photos automagically appear on your other devices as if you took the photo with that device and they use end to end encryption.

    However If money is your concern then use Google Photos/dropbox/my photo stream/whatever and just download your the photos from their servers and/or move them to photos then delete them from their servers. However at that point you might as well manually transfer the photos to avoid any loss in quality. I don't know how much you feel your time is worth but 50gb of iCloud storage is 99 cents a
  10. Squillace macrumors member


    Feb 22, 2016
    I agree that it would be awesome if there was a solution to sync all our devices automatically trough WiFi, but even that solution, if it would exist, would be limited to local networks. The condition would be all devices needing to be in the same WiFi network to let this "solution" work. As far as I know there is no app/solution to provide this.
    There are some 'media transfer' apps but you need to trigger a share/sync job manually for single or multiple files, not an entire media gallery and not automatically.

    However, there is no miracles and if the idea is to sync a device that is, let's say, at your home; and a device you keep at work, OF COURSE it would need some cloud magic to transfer the files and get them stored online while the 2nd device haven't downloaded it yet. And like others said above, if you gonna use the cloud, you pay or you're gonna make compromises.
  11. doubletap macrumors regular

    Jan 2, 2009
    Ashburn, VA
    The cost is your privacy. The penalty for larger photos and videos is the degradation in quality.


  12. worldvga macrumors member


    Nov 21, 2018
    try out to purchasing the extra space on cloud where you an save of them.
  13. alex00100 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Mar 17, 2011
    Moscow, Russia
    This is so ridiculous. I just want the photo to be sent to the cloud, then get all my devices to download it and then immediately get it automatically deleted off the cloud server. I don't want to pay for iCloud because I don't need it and I believe it doesn't provide a good service for the price. I have unlimited google drive where I keep 100s of GBs of all kinds of data, why the hell would I pay for another cloud service? Problem with google drive or google photos is it doesn't sync photos automatically.
  14. Ruggy macrumors regular

    Jan 11, 2017
    You can do it if you set up your own server.
    This involves either using an old computer, or setting up a NAS- the two most popular ones being Synology and Western Digital. There's a cost to this of course.
    This you connect to the router in your home and you can access it from anywhere.
    What you do with it then depends on how you set it up but typically, it will have two drives in a RAID so you can back up, and back up the back up.
    You can set up a NAS with two 1Tb drives for about $400 (perhaps less now). If 2TB isn't enough then you can choose bigger drives but it's better to choose the ones designed to be servers as they are made to run quietly and constantly.
    That may be too much but it is one off and it is entirely yours. Yo can upgrade it later.
    You can upload all your photos, videos etc and then all your devices will have access.
    I only know Synology but I have uploaded photos to my server from their phone app from bars and cafe's abroad, for sharing with other family members. I have all my music, important documents etc.
    There are a lot of things it will do. It's a very complete set of software so you can host your own blog, have your own email, it'll work with Wordpress, it's got a suite of tools to create and edit document on line which you can share like google docs, antivirus software.
    You can choose what to share, with whom. Loads of things. If you are interested they you really need to look into it yourself as there is so much.
    How fast it is depends on your upload limit at home and the wifi you are uploading to from outside. Sometimes, it can take 30 seconds or so to wake the thing up properly but once it's awake it works pretty well.
    Setting up is ok. I have found the help files to be pretty useless but fortunately, most things are pretty easy to work out.
    Don't know if that's interesting but it is a solution.

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13 December 7, 2018