Automatic Backup for Apple Photos that isn't iCould?

A friend asked me how to backup their photos automatically to Dropbox. Their current workflow is manually transfer photos from iPhone to Apple Photos via cable. Then the backup Apple Photos to a hard drive occasionally. They are having a baby and want a more automated solution.

They would like to have Apple photos automatically sync with Dropbox. Is this possible or even a good idea? Or do they have to export the library and upload?

They don’t want to use iCloud. I personally have everything outside of Apple Photos in folders. So I don’t want to give bad advice for something I don’t use.

I could setup Hazel rules or something for them, but they won’t troubleshoot it if something goes wrong.

Any advice or suggestions or warnings would be lovely. Thank you.

To clarify:

  1. Do they want something that would automatically back up photo library from the Mac or the iPhone?
  2. Do they want to make a local or a cloud backup?
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Doesn’t Dropbox offer some sort of automatic upload on iOS at least? Maybe on Mac too?

I feel like for a while Dropbox was offering to mirror all my photos every time I so much as thought about the service.


I use Google Photos for this. Once the app is installed and signed into my google account, it will automatically upload copies of any photos in the photo library to my Google Photos account. The Mac app will just run in the background all of the time. The iOS/iPadOS app may need to be relaunched from time to time, but once it is it immediately starts uploading any new photos and will continue to do so in the background until it gets killed. More recently, I have seen less need to relaunch the app (in other words it seems to do a better job of avoiding getting killed).

Note that if you are expecting the Mac to handle uploading, then you still need a way to get the photos from your phone to your Mac. If you are not using iCloud for photo sync, then you can only do so by manually transferring via a cable.

However, if you use the Google Photos app on your phone, then there is no need to manually transfer the photos to your Mac. Google Photos on the Mac will sync them to the Mac from Google’s servers for you.

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both google photos and OneDrive offer this and it works rather well. I use both on my iPhone. I am one of those who believe the more backup locations the better. Plus, google photo search is miles better than apple photo.

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+1 for Google Photos. I’ve been using it as an automatic backup for several years. And search on GP is much better than

And, I would avoid using Dropbox.

“to avoid possible data loss, don’t store your library on a removable storage device like an SD card or USB flash drive, or on a device shared over your network or the internet, including over a cloud-based storage service.”

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Great questions.

  1. Mac. They have the main storage of their existing photos on their computer and add photos from phone to computer.
  2. Cloud.