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How to Back up Photos to iCloud

While working on laptop man doing cloud uploading on his smartphone at outdoor cafe

Reading Time: 10 minutes read

Don’t lose your precious memories. You can never predict when, or how disaster may strike. It’s highly recommended that you keep a backup of your photos. There are a number of different ways you can do this, some of which are automatic and online based while others are simple manual procedures. We cover all possible options that will give you a better idea of how to back up photos in this comprehensive guide. Find out which system works best for you.

Why you should backup your photos?

The main reason why you should consider creating a backup of your photos is to keep them safe. If anything unforeseeable should happen to your device, for instance if it were to be damaged or lost, all your photos would be lost forever.

Having a reliable backup is like an insurance ticket for those hard-to-predict situations. You may never need it, but it’s always better to plan for the worst case scenario. Investing in a reliable backup system for your photos may seem a daunting technical undertaking at first, but it isn’t a difficult procedure. Once you get the hang of it, you can back up your photos to a safety platform in just a few easy steps.

Choosing a backup method

You may ask what is the best way to back your photos? There are many options available. Remember that a photo backup is different to photo storage. Photo storage is designed to allow for easy access and sharing of images while a photo backup is a safeguard designed to automatically protect your files. Let’s get started by discussing various backup systems in a bit more depth.

7 top cloud-based backup systems

Cloud-based backup systems are a reliable and efficient way to backup your photos. This backup system guarantees quality retention of your images and allows for a great deal of photo storage space. And, once you have an account with a reputable service provider, it’s fast and automatic. There are free and paid cloud-based backup systems. Let’s unpack the different options available, which will explain how to backup photos to the iCloud, including the advantages and disadvantages of each one.

Windows Photos App


How to backup photos from an iPhone? You can backup photos from iPhone using your Windows PC. This is a free photo backup method that allows you to import your images directly to your computer. You will need to download the latest iTunes version onto your PC and connect your iOS device to the computer in order to make use of this app. One of the advantages of the Windows Photos App is that there is a great deal of storage space. It’s also quite easy to use once you’ve had it installed. However, it must be noted that restoring transferred images back to your device can be difficult and time consuming.



Using Dropbox as a photo backup system will allow you to upload photos from your iOS device automatically. It’s considered the superior option for storing digital files and has a good reputation in the industry. This is a paid backup system. You will need to open a Dropbox account and install the app onto your iPhone. The costs vary according to which package you choose, but you can get up to 2GB of free storage with a basic Dropbox account.

Some of the advantages of Dropbox include the option to restore folders to a particular time, automatic backup and a comprehensive filing system. On the downside, you won’t be able to restore your photos to your device in one go and it can be quite expensive in comparison to other cloud-based options.

Google Drive


The Google Drive, also called Google One, is a paid photo backup system with multiple productivity apps. In addition to backing up digital photos, it can also store videos, music and documents. It has the advantage of keeping items safe and secure and allowing for easy access and sharing options. Just be advised however, that reports show that users found it a bit difficult to operate. It can also get a bit pricey if you’re looking at a cost-effective backup system.



The Flick app for iPhone photo backup allows users to upload their photos to Flickr for safekeeping. In order to use it, you will need to download the latest Flickr version onto your device. Then launch the Photos app on your iOS device and select the photos or entire albums for backup. One of the best benefits of Flickr is that a standard account is free – offering users storage of up to 1,000 photos and videos. Unfortunately, you won’t be able to restore your photos directly using this system. In addition to which Flickr cannot store RAW files (those uncompressed images taken by a digital camera).

iCloud Photo Library


The iCloud Photo Library is an optional feature of Apple’s iCloud service where users can automatically backup and sync their photos. While there is a free basic plan (with a free 5GM storage space), there are also more superior, paid options available. The iCloud Photo Library is great for accessing your files from wherever you are and for syncing multiple copies of your images for editing purposes. The backups also occur automatically. Some of the disadvantages are that it’s only suited for iOS and Mac devices; and once you have reached your free storage space, you will have to pay a fee for an upgrade.



Microsoft’s OneDrive cloud-based photo backup system will automatically sync your images (along with other documents) to its service platform. OneDrive is considered to be one of the leading backup systems available. It offers a free basic package and it’s easy to navigate and organise your files. Popular social networks like Facebook can be linked to your OneDrive account, allowing for sharing options. On the downside, there are some privacy concerns as Microsoft has reserved the right to scan files. Users are also cautioned to use strong passwords as Microsoft Windows remains a popular platform target for hackers.

iCloud and iTunes


You can use both iCloud and iTunes to manually backup photos from an iOS device. This backup service platform will create a full backup of your photos provided that the pictures were taken from your iPhone’s camera and were not downloaded elsewhere. Use both options simultaneously for added protection and peace of mind. This is a free and reliable backup system, but it must also be noted that once you restore the backup created by these systems, you will need to overwrite all your current data.

5 things to look for in cloud storage

With so many super options available for cloud-based storage, it can all get quite confusing. Here are some of the main things to consider when deciding on a cloud storage solution:

1. Flexible storage

Photo backup files need quite a bit of space. Most cloud storage platforms offer free storage options as a perk. However, you need to be mindful that you’re opting for a solution with enough storage space. Think about your current and future needs when making a decision. If you run out of storage space, you may have to invest in a costly upgrade or switch service providers, which is likely to be inconvenient.

2. Customer support

Ascertain whether your backup platform offers adequate customer support. Having a reliable responsive support network will go a long way in helping you resolve any issues you may encounter. As good as the system may be, there are always going to be problems that need to be sorted out. So keep this in mind when choosing a backup system.

3. File formats

Find out what sort of files the cloud-based storage system supports. Some platforms don’t support certain digital images such as RAW files (like Flickr), which could pose quite a problem if the unsupported files make up the majority of your camera roll. Ascertain the file support capabilities upfront before signing up for an account.

4. Security

Security is of paramount importance. Be sure your cloud-based photo backup system has top-notch security features. They need to ensure protection of your data from damage or hacking. Security features may vary according to different providers. We suggest taking a look at the privacy policy in order to ascertain how your files will be stored and protected.

5. Automatic syncing

This is a feature that automatically loads your files onto your cloud-based storage platform. The feature usually comes as a standard default but the capabilities may vary according to the service provider. Select a solution where the automatic syncing enables offline access. This improves both accessibility and security. Take a look at your solution providers automatic syncing options so you can make an informed decision.

Back up your photos to your computer

It is possible to backup photos to your computer. You can do this by connecting your device to the PC and using the Windows Photo app. You will also need to download the latest iTunes version. While this an option for backing up your photos it’s also not the most reliable. This is because is takes up quite a bit of space on your PC and is difficult to organise. Furthermore, because your PC is not cloud-based, you run the risk of losing all your digital photos if something were to happen to your computer. We suggest backing up your photos across multiple libraries.

Back up your photos with hard drives

You can keep your photos safe using NAS (Network Attached Storage) drives. This is a physical hard drive that you own and is connected to the Internet. It will allow you easy access to your files, from wherever you are, over an Internet connection. The advantage in this is that it gives you instant control over your photo files so you don’t have to worry about payment options, opening accounts or data privacy concerns. However, like backups directly to your PC, you also run the risk of losing all your photos if something disastrous happens to your hard drive system. We strongly advise using a cloud-based storage option in addition to having hard drive storage. Alternatively you could also use multiple hard drive backups.

Back up your photos with SD cards, USBs or CDs

Backing up photos using removable storage media, like SD cards, USBs, CDs or even DVDs are all viable photo backup options. However, the downside to this is that you can end up with a large collection of media, which is difficult to organise. The storage space on these units is also limited. It must be noted that removable storage units are not suitable for long-term use. Ultimately, you will have to refresh or transfer the photo files every few years to preserve their quality.

Does iPhone backup include photos?

Yes, iPhone backup does include photos, provided you use an iOS data management service, iTunes or iCloud app. iTunes and iCloud can backup photos from an iPhone. If iCloud Photo Library is disabled, your photos will be backed up about once every 24 hours (along with the rest of your data). When the iCloud Photo Library is enabled, your photos will be uploaded to the iCloud every time you’re on Wi-Fi.

What’s the best way to store digital photos?

We are often asked: what’s the best way to store photos? We believe in being prepared. You run quite a risk if you don’t backup your digital photos. By taking some basic backup precautions you won’t ever have to suffer losing irreplaceable memories due to a hard drive failure or by accidentally deleting precious images off your phone. There are many different ways to backup your photos. We recommend creating photo backups across multiple platforms for increased protection. Make sure you have multiple copies of your photos stored in more than one location. And be aware that systems change, evolve and upgrade. You will need to keep moving your data to the latest system and you will need to convert the files to the most used format before the old one becomes unreadable or redundant.

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