iPhone an Synology Backup - Guidance on this cluster I’ve found myself in

Ok, I’m in the midst of backing up my iPhone pictures to Synology.

Here’s my initial dilemma. We subscribed to the 1tb storage/backup iCloud. At some point, probably at work, I had iCloud turned on for my computer and iPhone, likely before I upgraded my 11 Pro Max for a 15 Pro Max. In fact, I think I tried to get all my pictures to iCloud so I could make the transfer faster. And maybe forgot to turn it off.

It’s the voodoo of how iCloud works that is killing me at the moment.

Two days ago, after doing an initial setup of my Synology NAS and starting to download pictures from my phone to my NAS via the Synology Photos Mobile app, my phone started filling with photos. So, because I do have them backed up in a few places, I started using the “Free Up Space” option on the Synology app, which I believe is supposed to remove the photos from my phone (ie put them in deleted folder). Much of last night, I continued to get messages that my phone was too full or full. I offloaded some apps last night, but still couldn’t access email. This morning, I can, but I keep getting messages that it is near full.

I don’t understand point 1: how the umber of pictures is calculated. At the moment, it’s 51064 items. It’s gone up and down a few times. 57234, 55312 yesterday, then back up to 56000+. I started the same process in my iPad, which has behaved similarly, except I’ve not turned off iCloud photo storage.

I don’t understand point 2: I don’t remember actively changing my phone settings (though I must have) but all of a sudden my phone is full of pictures. That said, it would seem that by constantly backing up pictures from my phone to the Synology, I should see a dent in the overall storage. And I guess since I can use my mail this am, there is some dent, but what kind of voodoo is this?

I don’t understand point 3: Since my iPad and iPhone are both backing up, is there the chance that I’ll have duplicates I need to root out once they are both done?

Actual logistical question: my laptop, which is at home this am (I’m at work with my phone and iPad), I have some files in Photos on the laptop, but iCloud is NOT turned on for that device. Is there an easy way to export photos from that machine to the NAS? I’ve never found Photos that easy to “escape” as a system, so hoping there is.

Finally, I imagine I’m doing something wrong. Any of y’all who are true Power Users (I’ a newb at best and have about 3 things I do well I think but wish to be…) can point out and set me straight on?



Does your Photos Library.photoslibrary file on your Mac contain a complete copy of all your photos? If not my first step would be to set it to “Download Originals to this Mac” and after it finishes make sure it is backed up.

I’ve never used a Synology but it sounds like your phone doesn’t have enough room for the Synology Photos Mobile app to do its job. If so perhaps someone here can tell you how to accomplish the backup to your NAS using your Mac.


I think that Optimise Photos only works when you use ICloud Photo Library, not with other photo systems like synology.

To be honest, I’m not entirely sure what I did. I already have the Photos in this library backed up in multiple different places, I’m tempted to just shut it all down, but… I’m trying to figure out some of those other confusion points before I do.