Why You Should Disable iCloud Photo Library (& What to Use Instead)

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One of the new features in iOS called iCloud Photo Library is definitely not helping. This feature, while in theory, allows you to backup all of your photos and videos on any of your iOS or MacOS devices to the cloud, takes up precious iCloud storage and adds up really quickly. Most people I know have run out of storage just from iCloud backups (another issue I have with iOS, but I digress) so adding this is almost a sure-fire way to guarantee you run out of iCloud storage.

There is a better way though. I touched on this in a video a long time ago about backing up your photos and videos but think we need to revisit the concept. You should turn off iCloud Photo Library and instead use another free service like, say, Google Photos which automatically backs up all of your photos and videos in an unlimited quantity for free.

So here’s how we do that.


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  1. There are some concerns with Google Photos, which would have been nice to include in the video as a full disclosure. Privacy issues and file compression are two reasons why I choose not to use Google Photos. But it is a good how-to video. Keep up the good work.

  2. Correction: There is a common misconception in this Video. All photos are compressed when uploading in high quality mode in Google photos, but photos of larger than 16 MP are both compressed and resized to 16 MP. This is why the Google Pixel 2 has 2 years of unlimited original quality uploads, despite the camera being less than or equal 16 MP.
    If you want to test it out, try uploading using the high res option and compare the MD5 or the file sizes.

    TL,DR: All photos uploaded via "high quality" to Google Photos are compressed, but photos larger than 16 MP are both compressed and resized to 16 MP. Use original quality to avoid compression and resizing.

  3. Are you sure Google doesn't touch your pictures that are less than 16mp? I upload to Google photos and when set on high quality I always see the resolution is less than original (in MB)

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