What does everyone use to sync / backup their files?

I’m struggling with something. I have an iPhone, a PC, an iPad and now I have a new camera.

At the minute I have Google Drive (paid for monthly) which backs up all of my important files. Camera photos get put in there and backed up too. This system works well for files, but causes me issues when it comes to syncing photo libraries.

I also have the Google photos app on iOS. And I back my iPhone photos up from that when I remember, but it’s really inconvenient as you can’t sort into albums etc, also Google Photos doesn’t pick up on albums you’ve sorted thing into either on the desktop or the iPhone. And I can’t find a way to get sync the albums I create on Google Photos back to the PC. All in all, a bit annoying, I’d really want something that let me organise things and then have that show on every device.

Maybe I’m dreaming :smiley: But just wondering what everyone else is using and whether there’re better platforms out there (or better ways to use what I’ve got) that would backup file but also somehow sync to a single photo library. I’d be willing to use two separate systems but the only photo library syncing platform I know that works across everything is Lightroom, and it’s way too expensive.

I personally use OneDrive, but thats mainly for the syncing of the Desktop and Documents folders on Windows


The thread title says files (I assume files in general) but the post is all about photos.Whilst photos are files I approach photos differently to other files. It may be worth harmonizing the thread title and opening post.

I think Google Photos is pretty much for people who don’t care about manual curation of their photos. I fall into this category and use Google Photos. But if you want more control (and it sounds like you do) its probably better to use something else. I guess any general purpose file syncing tool would be fine (OneDrive, Dropbox, Google Drive, etc).


good point, I have edited, hopefully clearer now.

Drive is what I’m using at the minute, but the problem is getting photos from the iPhone to the same drive. I guess plugging the Iphone in and extracting them to the PC is the only way really. I just forget to do this a lot!

Doesn’t the iOS Google Drive app have a photos backup option? (I don’t use it)

It does, but again it only backs up to google photos, not to a folder in the actual drive which then (as far as I can tell but good chance I missed something) can’t be synced with a PC like the rest of Drive can.

Also annoyingly only syncs when you manually press the button. (side note: really wish it would not sync or could be prevented from syncing the ‘hidden’ album :grimacing:)

Ok sounds like they’re forcing photos to go into Google Photos instead of treating like regular files. I use Google Photos iOS app and it backs up automatically, but I don’t care about having them organised into folders that sync to my PC.

For your needs (sounds like you want to keep things in folders that you control) I’d suggest trying various other file sync tools. Both OneDrive and Dropbox iOS apps have photo backup options and I suspect both place photos in standard folders. Probably lots of other general sync apps would be suitable too. It just sounds like Google Drive is a bit of an oddball in this regard.


Yeah if Dropbox did that it would be perfect. Guess I could try with the free account.

Just looked and Dropbox starts at £7 for 2TB though! hmmm. A lot more than iCloud or google (I need about 100gb max, I’m pretty conservative about what I keep). Might have to be one drive? But it’s Microsoft - just feel like it’ll be shit :joy:

I have a NAS drive so that I can remote connect to it on any device to access files, stream videos and all sorts.

After the initial up front cost, there is no monthly fees and I’m in control of all my data. My biggest fear is that I get banned from Google or whoever and lose access to all my important files and memories.


Hmmm. Never even thought about it! But tempting yeah. How much would that cost to set up roughly?

I found OneDrive had significant performance and reliability issues a few years ago, but I’m happy with its performance & reliability these days. My only significant issue is it doesn’t handle very long file paths. If it wasn’t for this file path issue I’d transfer over all my general file syncing needs from Dropbox (which I’ve used as a paid user for over 10 years) to OneDrive.

Dropbox is excellent (I haven’t had a single issue in over 10 years) but if you’re a Microsoft Office user Microsoft 365 pricing is unbeatable especially if a family plan is useful.


I think I paid around £180 for mine and I have 2 x 8TB drives in it. One is an exact clone of the other so if one dies I simply pop in a new one and it sorts itself out again.

There was a professional photographer who bought a much larger one recently over in the ‘what new technology have you bought recently topic’.

Whichever size you get, it’s great for photographers because you can send your clients links to password protected folders to browse shots directly.


Oh that’s really not expensive! Will take a look at that thread.

btw I do love photography but I’m not quite at the level where I have clients :sweat_smile:. maybe one day though.

Ahh ok :smiley: The one in that other topic was about 8 bays and just shy of £1,000 I think so might be a bit overkill for you just starting out.

So you could get a 2 bay one like mine and put bigger drives in if you wanted.


I’m on the NAS train too - I have a Synology 2 bay (DS218+ I think - maybe £200 at the time), with 2x 4TB hard drives in.

For historic photos, my system was:

  • All my old icloud libraries, I downloaded them all and re-uploaded them to the NAS in folders by Year,
  • All my old random hard drives of photos - did the same thing.
  • Then synced my current phone direct to the NAS via an app.

Then weekly, I back up new photos to the NAS via an App.

Some very important files I keep backed up there too, but manually save them down when I need to.

The other data on my Computer is backed up to Backblaze, which is like £6 a month for all my data.

Also, I really like the Synology Moments photo-app, has a lot of similar smarts to Google Photos - can search by face etc. And since I’ve got all the photos over the years on it, I can search things easily enough.


Ooi what’s the reason you use something else to backup your main files instead of the NAS? Is that because of the risk of a house fire or something taking both things out?

I forgot to say, my NAS is also backed up to the cloud weekly.

I basically started my approach with Photo’s after a hard drive corrupted and I lost a few months.

For the most part, I have a lot of stuff on my PC that isn’t “super critical” in terms of retention - I’d be super sad if I lost a good chunk of the photos I have. but not all my files on my PC would have the same treatment, if that makes sense.

Also I’m terrible at organising day to day files, and I can’t really separate the stuff I need very well from the stuff I don’t. So I opted for Backblaze which runs in the background for that.

I’d probably migrate eventually, but Lazy.

I’m basically about half way through the “3-2-1” back up approach and got a bit bored before I finished!


In terms of backup I’m the same. Lost a Hargrove with a tonne of things on it. Was devastated, have religiously backed stuff up since.

What do you use for this?