Four simple ways to back up your iPhone photos

By , Aug 15, 2013

iOS 7 iPhone 5 Camera Roll Photos

I have a friend who recently nearly lost all of his photos of his daughter. He had his iPhone for just about two years. He took tons of pictures of her. She wasn’t even two years old yet, so basically her whole life was on his iPhone. One day, his phone crashed and he couldn’t figure out what happened to it. His pictures were lost.

He was eventually able to recover his photos, but not without hours of work and days of anxiety. When I asked him why he didn’t just back his photos up, he had no good response. Always back up your photos. Seriously. Always back up your photos. We’ve got a tutorial on a few different ways you can back up your photos so you’ll never have to face the dreaded lost memories again…

Apple stores your photos in iCloud. This makes it possible for you to save, a lot of photos, but you should find another way to back them up or you will lose the ones that don’t fit into the 5GB of free iCloud storage that you get.

How to back up your photos to your desktop

Backing Up Photos 5

My suggestion is to buy iPhoto or Aperture for your desktop or laptop. If you consider yourself a pretty good amateur photographer, you will find Aperture to be a well-rounded feature-heavy photo application for your Mac. However, if you just like snapping pics at the beach, iPhoto is simple and effective for storing images. Plus, all of the Photo Stream pictures that you take on your iPhone will automatically go directly into iPhoto, so you don’t have to upload them to anything. That doesn’t mean you don’t have to back your photos up though.

When you connect your iPhone to a computer running iPhoto or Aperture, they will automatically upload into one of the programs, not in Photo Stream, but in the application itself. Now, your images are officially saved and you can delete them. Click the button that reads, “Remove Photos from [device name].”

How to back up your photos in the cloud

Automatically back up your photos to Dropbox from your desktop

Backing Up Photos

If you own a Dropbox account, you can also automatically store your photos in their cloud. If you connect your iPhone to a computer with Dropbox installed, you can turn on Camera Upload and photos and videos will automatically download to Dropbox. To do so, go to Dropbox > Settings > Preferences and check the “Enable Dropbox camera import.” Doing so will automatically import your photos to Dropbox when your iPhone is connected.

However, keep in mind that Dropbox has a limited amount of free storage available. When you run out, you have to pay for an upgrade. You get 2 GB of storage with a free account. If you don’t have an account yet, click this link to create one. You’ll get a free additional 500MB of storage space.

Automatically back up your photos to Dropbox from your iPhone

Backing Up Photos 1

Dropbox can also automatically upload images that you take with your iPhone. You’ll of course need to download the Dropbox app first and create an account if you don’t already have one.

When you first launch the Dropbox app, it will offer to save your photos to Dropbox. If you didn’t enable this feature at launch but want to do it now, follow the following steps.

Step 1: In the Dropbox app, go to Settings > Camera Upload > On.

Step 2: Select whether you want Dropbox to only upload pictures while on Wi-Fi (recommended) or while or Wi-Fi+cellular (not recommended if you have a capped data plan).

Step 3: Tap “Enable.” Dropbox will ask permission to access your photos. Say OK. The app will then start uploading all your photos.

Note that Dropbox also allows you to manually upload selected photos rather than upload all of them at once.

Back up your photos to Flickr from your iPhone

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Another cloud storage service that lets you upload images right from your iPhone is Flickr. Flickr offers 1TB of free space, so it is the best cloud storage service for the price around. Uploading photos from your iPhone to Flickr is pretty easy.

You’ll need to download the Flickr app. Then, once logged in, tap the camera icon at the bottom center of the screen. Then, select the images you want to upload. You can select multiple photos for simultaneous uploading. It can take a while, so you should do this often if Flickr is going to be your method of backing up.

You can add filters right in the app before you send them to Flickr. After you’ve added a group name, description, and location, then tap the upload button and they will be added to your Flickr Photo Stream.

Now you have learned about four different ways that you can back up your iOS photos. Don’t be like my friend and think you are immune to the possibility of losing everything.

How do you back up your photos?

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  • Shai

    Or you can just do an iTunes backup.

    • http://www.iDownloadBlog.com Sebastien

      Yes, but the big problem with this is that there is no easy way to access individual pictures without restoring using the backup made.

      For example, say you make a backup via iTunes, then delete all your photos from your iPhone, how will you be able to email me one of those pics? You won’t be able to.

      Backing them up locally (via iPhone/Aperture) or on one of the services we mentioned ensures you can always get access to your photos in a matter of seconds, assuming you have an internet connection of course

      • Amad

        Thats a big problem someone should tell apple

      • ReanimationXP

        lol

      • Tjibbe de Haan

        It is possible to extract photos from a backup, i have used iBackupExtractor before and it worked great. But i agree, a simple backup in DropBox or iPhoto is much easier.

      • deepdvd

        Hasn’t anyone on iDB heard of iTools? It’s so easy to access your backups and do a lot of amazing things that iTunes won’t. I particularly like the app versioning it does. It will tell you what iOS version apps are compatible with. itools [dot] hk/en_index.htm

      • Southern Gal

        Check out the comments on CNET for iTools. LOTS of people found adware and spyware installed.

        no thanks.

      • deepdvd

        Suit yourself. Do you believe everything you read on the Internet? It doesn’t have any of that

      • Guest

        If you have iTunes set up to search for new photos to save, you can go into the settings for that to see where they are being saved to. Or change the save location to wherever you want.

      • cjeffery2

        That is to say, if you have it set up to use Windows to look for photos when iTunes starts to backup the iPhone. I mistyped the first time.

      • cjeffery2

        If you have iTunes set up to search for new photos to save, you can go into the settings for that when it pops up to see where they are being saved to. Or change the save location to wherever you want.

  • Jeff Ramirez

    I don’t know how many of you guys know this, but Loom is an excellent app for this. iDB should review this app. I’d choose Loom over any of the above choices any day! The only downside is there’s a long wait list, but it’s worth it to at least check it out. You won’t be disappointed.

    • Héctor Viveros

      Let mee google it, sounds nice.

      • Jeff Ramirez

        It is! It has a really nice interface and the best part off all? It’s universal on any iOS, Mac, or web. (Don’t know if they have an android app though). To top it off, they give you 5GB for free. It’s a freemium.

      • Greg B

        sounds pretty nice, but 5GB? I’d go through that after one sync with my iphone haha

      • Jeff Ramirez

        I hear ya. Their pricing isn’t too bad though. 50GB for $4 a month or 250GB for $10

      • dpacemaker

        AT&T Locker App gives 5gb free then sign up for premium which is 50gb. Last I knew the promotion was still going where the 50gb is free forever. You don’t have to be a AT&T customer either.

    • burlow

      what about google+? they give you unlimited backup of pictures + video

      • Jeff Ramirez

        Believe me, I’ve used google+ for pics and it isn’t as organized as Loom. Google+ is still more of a social site, whereas Loom, their main focus is to provide a high quality user experience aimed at picture and videos (video uploads in near future). Loom should pay me as sponsor lol.

      • burlow

        ah yes – I meant solely as a back up solution. for straight back up and nothing else, I don’t think it gets any simpler than g+

  • George Nowacek

    My problem is deleting photos from the phone and icloud and iphoto on the phone. Any tips on this?

    • Juan Flores

      Easy. Not sure how on a Mac but on windows just plug in your phone and open up My Computer and usually there will be a photo share icon with the sunflower on it. Just click on it and delete all the pictures from there to free up space. To remove from iCloud just unsync your photos from iCloud. Go to settings, iCloud and turn off the photo option. If you also have photo stream then go to settings, photos and videos then turn off photo stream. DONE.

    • T_Will

      On Mac, I think the Image Capture app is what you’re looking for.

      • D.

        +1 for Image Capture. I use that app to import all my photos from iPhone to a designated folder. Does the job perfectly.

      • http://naeko.tumblr.com/ Naeko

        Agreed. It’s so simple and quick and you can choose what you want to keep, what you want to delete and where you want photos to go.

  • Greg B

    i usually just connect my iphone, open my computer (in windows) and transfer all the files listed in each of the randomly named folders on the iphone to a folder on my pc. then i have my computer just backup like it regularly does. it also removes them from my iphone so i have more room for the ungodly amount of photos i take on a regular basis.

  • Flint Bearden

    There is another option (one that I use and find to be a great solution) and thats western digitals personal could storage drives. I upload all my photos from my phone directly to the device from my phone and have access to them 24/7.

  • Edward Pacheco

    How about the other way around. How to import photos from computer into iPhone? How can I copy a couple of photos back to the camera roll?

    • ConduciveMammal

      You can’t, at least not with a computer. What you need to do is save it somewhere on the web: Dropbox, FB etc and then view and save them on the phone.

      • leart

        fu**ing Dropbox needs ios7, so my ipod 4g is out even on 6.1.2

      • ConduciveMammal

        You should still be able to download a previous version, as per Apple’s newest upgrade to the App Store

      • leart

        no, i cant, it should, but it don’t give the option to download a previous version, just say you need to upgrade, i tried to install a cracked old version just to push the app to give me the latest working version, but nothing, in the past this worked :)
        mah

      • DeBragg

        You can transfer pictures from PC to iPhone with iTools or you use Wondershare MobileGo for iOS. Very efficient

    • James Bailey

      You can use iTunes to add pics to your phone.

    • deepdvd

      Just create a folder on your computer that you sync in iTunes to your iPhone. Just put (or copy) any photos you want in there.

    • Ann Mehrman

      If you are on a Mac and use iPhoto, just create a new “album” (a folder) in iPhoto–give it a name (like Ed’s iPhone pix) and put the photos you want to have on your iPhone into this folder. In iTunes, under the “photos” section, click the “sync photos from” preference button for “Selected albums, Events, etc. In the column that shows all the albums, choose the album you just created (Ed’s iPhone pix) and check the box and hit the “sync” button. Now this special album will appear under the photo albums section of your iPhone and you can just have the specially selected photos you want.

  • veda99

    Have google+ with auto-backup on! It does the trick for me!

  • Om

    Hey guys. I was just wondering if there’s any app that back up my photos while my phone is charging, in a similar way to what iCloud does? Any help would be appreciated. Thanks.

  • Guest

    I like copy they give 15 gb and a extra 5 gb here’s the link for an extra 5 gb you need to register and download the app.

  • Hermès Vainstar Chu

    Copy is also another really good one, it works like drop box but better, you get 5gb per person you refer

  • Bob

    Thanks. I once had to restore my iPod and had saved my photos the day before.

  • ConduciveMammal

    The thing that annoys me about using iCloud to backup my pictures is that I can’t delete them from my phone afterwards to start afresh without them being removed from iCloud as well

  • dpacemaker

    Another one that I use is the AT&T Locker App. You don’t have to be a AT&T customer and I think they are still giving 50gb for free. You sign up and get 5gb free, then go into the settings and choose upgrade and the 50gb option is free. I use it along with Flickr, Skydrive, and Dropbox. Can never have too many backups. The interface is clunky and uploads fail sometimes when your uploading a few hundred photos, but 50gb for free, it’s worth it.

  • diggitydang

    Do Flickr and Dropbox do video syncing as well? I use software called iPhone Explorer (it’s free) and back up manually each month. It can be a chore to hook up to my Mac to do but I just keep a hard drive of all my pics that way… No messing with exceeding storage, paying fees and I can backup my videos all at the same time too.

    • dpacemaker

      Dropbox does allow videos to be backed up, but Flickr is photos only. I use AT&T Locker. It’s free 5gb, but they have a promotion where you go into the settings and choose premium and get 50gb for free. You don’t have to be a AT&T customer either.

  • Al

    I’ve heard good things about everpix. Anyone using this app/service.

    • Mike Moses

      I have been using it for about a week. It’s really nice. You can add pic’s from everywhere and it takes care of dups also.

      • Al

        Thanks Mike I’ll give it a try.

  • Adam Bowman

    Picasa! Along with the app Web Albums — that’s the way I’ve been backing up my photos (and videos) to the cloud for years. That’s the way to go. Check it out.

  • sam445

    Dropbox is best for me

  • Johannes Mertens

    As a Student in Germany you get 25GB for free on Dropbox. They started a contest called “Space Race”: The more students from each university registered the more space everyone got :) Great Service for me.

  • O Al Marar

    I just connect my iphone to my desktop PC then i open My Computer>then you can see your iphone connected as camera>(your PC thought your iphone is camera not phone)>> open it and you will see all your photo and copy what you want to copy or select all and copy it to your computer…
    this is the easiest way to backup your photo and no need for any apps

    IDB pleeeeease try this way and do review to show it for all..

  • D.

    I use Image Capture to transfer photos and videos from my iPhone to Mac. Sure, it’s not in the cloud, but it’s a free option. Photo Sync is also a great app to transfer files over wifi from iPhone to Mac/PC

  • Khalid Tahhan

    I am surprised no one has heard of Bitcasa…. Unlimited storage in the cloud and the ios app can auto upload your camera roll. I am uploading everything to it from the external hardrives. $10 per month ot $100 per year. Cheaper than buying hardrives and backing up everything locally.

  • Razick Rilshad

    Sky drive is also good one

  • burlow

    I use google+ to back up all pictures and video taken on the phone. opening the app automatically starts the back up process, and will run in the background when you close the app (up to 10 min). You can choose wifi or wifi+cell depending on the media type (pic/video) and the best part is that it’s free and unlimited for everything, including videos less than 15 min long. For videos longer than this, you have to buy storage from google.

  • Shane Sepeda

    I use Picasa/Google+. It’s basically free and unlimited storage for photos and videos.

  • Matthew

    iCloud? Edit: Oops I didn’t see the thing at the top.

  • http://www.iDownloadBlog.com Sebastien

    Correct, but Photo Stream only keeps up to 1,000 pictures for up to 30 days. So that means that in 30 days, all these pictures will be gone from your Photo Stream and will be replaced by the one you took in the last 29.9 days.

  • Anastasia Maier

    I back up all my photos on Shutterfly app. Unlimited free storage and can always access photos and save to camera roll if need be. Both the iPhone and iPad version have a simple UI as well. App also reminds you which photos need to be uploaded.

  • CrystalR

    HELP! So I was recording a video on my ipad on the ” video zoom ” app … And when I finished recording I played the video but I was thinking it went in my camera roll thinking it was there but it wasn’t till I notice that I didn’t turn on my privacy for the app ..? Is there anyway I can get the video back ?!???

  • Patrick

    the reason i want to back up is because my photos use 2.3gb space, i thought flickr stores my photos in the cloud but it turns out it stores photos on my phone memory the whole whole app is 2.4gb so it’s pointless flickr should say that on their website apart from dropbox know any app that don’t store anything on your phone???

  • nadia

    i need help i havent backed up my iphone and ipad since 6 months and i deleted a video at that time is it forever gone????

  • john

    can i retrieve

  • john

    can i retrieve deleted photos using itunes wifi sync without backup

  • Cindy

    How Did he eventually end up recovering the pictures because that happened to me????