iCloud Is NOT a Back-up

iCloud is not a back-up system.

An iCloud Cautionary Tale

Once upon a time, there was a woman who kept way too many photos on her iPhone. Like 30,000 photos. Seems like a lot, no? And then when some IG story asked her to post a photo from when her baby was born, she couldn’t find one. Turns out, she accidentally deleted the first month of her baby’s life from her phone. And if you haven’t guessed already, that woman is me. I did that. Poof! Gone!

But if you have iCloud, can’t you get those photos back? And the answer is surprisingly, NO. iCloud is not actually a back-up system. It *is* a sync system. My fellow iPhone/Apple users, anything you accidentally delete from your phone disappears across all connected devices. Once iCloud syncs everything, they vanish for good. You can not rely on iCloud to be your back-up.

I was lucky – I had uploaded all my photos to the cloud (both Dropbox and Amazon Photos). Plus, I printed them. Although those photos no longer exist in my Photos Library, I can still easily access them from both my phone and my computer. In fact, when I create our family yearbooks, I use Dropbox as a starting point. First, I organize the year’s photos into months. Second, I download those folders to my computer. Once the album is designed, all of those folders are backed up onto an external hard drive. I follow what’s known as the 3-2-1 System. I keep three copies of my photos stored on two different types of storage (hard drives and in the cloud), and at least one of them is off-site (the cloud storage – Dropbox & Amazon Photos for me).

The 3-2-1 back-up strategy is recommended by photo organizers and photographers. It emphasizes redundancy and reliability, both very important when it comes to saving your memories and ensuring you can find that photo of your newborn when you want it!

A graphic explaining The 3-2-1 Back-up System.

Moral of the Story

Please remember that iCloud is not a back-up system. If the photos on your phone are truly important to you, back them up properly. Use the cloud. Use external hard drives. Print them. And I’m always happy to help if you don’t feel like dealing with it.

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Margaret Belanger Photography | iCloud Is NOT a Back-up

Meg Belanger