Apple Photos Isn’t The Safety Net People Think

Posted May. 23rd, 2022 by Daniel J. Cox

9TO5 Mac writer had iCloud Photos issue

One of my favorite blogs is 9TO5 Mac. A gentleman named Zac wrote a piece about how he got burned by Apple’s Photos. His article about how Apple Photos isn’t the safety net people think piqued my interest since my sister had a similar problem, and I couldn’t help her. Zac mentions on 9TO5 Mac that one way to solve the issue is to get a big enough hard drive on your Mac desktop to store all your images. He also suggested an external hard drive. This brings me to the system I use.

Mylio and Drobo protect my 1.3 million image library

I’ve been using Drobo external NAS storage devices for a long time. I’ve had many different Drobo boxes over the years, some 5 Bay, some 8 Bay. I’m currently using the Drobo 8D, which has 8 bays for hard drives. My total storage capacity is 52+ TB, and of that, I’m currently using 41 TB for my entire image library.

Apple Photos On The Cloud Isn't The Safety Net People Think
A view of the Drobo Dashboard that shows how much space you have left and many other details about your Drobo drives

Along with my Drobo devices, I also use a little known program called Mylio. It’s an amazing piece of software that easily handles my entire 1.3 million images. It syncs them across eight devices, including several Macs, an iPhone, and an iPad. When I load images on my laptop in the field, they start being populated to all my other devices as long as I have an internet connection. Even in South Africa, where I’m writing this from, my images start being shared across the web to my iMac in Montana. It’s hard to believe how efficient it is.

Mylio sees my Photos Library on my iPhone

Just like hundreds of millions of people, I use my iPhone to capture images. They go directly into my Apple Photos library, which Mylio sees automatically. All I need to do is open Mylio, and it starts bringing my Apple Photos over to the Mylio catalog. It’s that simple. That gives me three copies of the images shot with my iPhone, across the cloud and my Drobos.

Apple Photos On The Cloud Isn't The Safety Net People Think

All without having to lift a finger to copy them anywhere. It’s automatic with Mylio. One last step I take happens once a month. I copy all my new folders over to a third Drobo device outside the Mylio ecosystem. This ensures that if there were any issues with Mylio, I would have at least one entire copy on a completely separate drive.


Keeping track of your photos is not easy. I’ve spoken to three different people in the last month that have expressed concern over whether they have all their cell phone pictures accounted for. The conversations came to light with the passing of my precious little buddy, Dice. Dicey was my dog and loving companion for 19.5 years, and he just happens to be the inspiration for Pygmy Wolf Productions.

He had a couple of ladies who took care of him while Tanya and I were on the road. They each wanted to send me pictures of my little buddy, but they were having difficulty finding all his photos. I was sad to think some pictures may be lost forever. As I mentioned, Apple Photos Isn’t The Safety Net People Think.

I always know where Dicey is thanks to Mylio.
Dice running on the shores of Lake Yellowstone at about 1 year old.

Fortunately, I have his memories and several thousand pictures I shot of him over the years. Thanks to Mylio, I know exactly where he is, and I’m extremely grateful for that.

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There are 4 comments on this post…
  1. Bill TylerOn Jan. 2nd, 2023

    In my view, an offsite cloud-based backup system is crucial. These offer a lot of advantages. First, your entire house or office can burn down, but your images are safe in another location. Second, ALL DRIVES FAIL eventually. A Drobo or similar will protect against single drive failures, but not against failure of the Drobo itself. So, just like a single drive, a Drobo system has a single point of failure. Cloud storage providers keep multiple redundant copies of all files and manage drive failures seamlessly. You are extremely unlikely to lose data due to hardware failure. The process is professionally managed, and data integrity is taken very seriously. I happen to use BackBlaze, and have been happy with their service, but they’re not the only supplier of cloud-based backups.

  2. jim lewisOn May. 28th, 2022

    IPhoto or Photos is a consumer product, created for sharing of photos and ease of use for the average consumer. It was never designed as a backup or archive product for scale. In that I have have hundreds of thousands of digital documents (we have nearly zero paper documents in our home) plus a couple hundred thousand photos I use Time machine. It creates a backup of all the files. That way I can protest everything I chose on my computer plus is the back up source for several other machines in the home. As our iPhones backup to the machines they are protected as well. Then we can use Photos to manage which photos we display for enjoyment on the AppleTVs in our family room and kitchen. One backup is not enough for these important documents and files so I create an archive every couple of months of the Time Machine and keep it off site at a friends office many miles away. Anyone that came up thru the IT industry knows one backup is not enough. Media fails over time. The more copies the less chance of loosing irreplaceable files like brith certificates, covid vaccination cars and home owners insurance papers. Then if I need an old document or photo I simply search for it via the finder . With 20 TB hard drives approaching $300 they are easy to get. For a couple hundred dollars one can buy a two drive disk array to create a 40 TB backup option.

  3. Robert VandeVenterOn May. 24th, 2022

    I have never used iCloud photos. IPhone photos import to Lightroom Mobil which then show up in Lightroom Classic on Desktop. All photos are stored on Drobo. Computer and Drobo back up to Backblaze. I also copy Drobo to 2 different hard drives. I have a Drobo 3. Have tried to buy a 5 but they are way back ordered.

  4. Rene ThebergeOn May. 23rd, 2022

    Yeah, Daniel, I’m with you on Apple Photos. I got really upset with Apple (and I’m an Apple user since 1984) when they killed Aperture and replaced it with Photos. How lame was that move!! While certainly not in your league for photos (only 30,000 or so image files and a few thousand still on slides), I would never use Apple Photos as a storage system; just too many problems. On-site external hard drives and cloud back up with Carbonite works for me.

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