Photo Backup / Cloud Storage vs Minimalism

I had the same issue some years ago when I moved to Switzerland.

Back in my home country I was using a local NAS (with an extra hard disk in another location for disaster recovery).
Then I moved and I needed a solution to backup ALL my files (documents, source code, pictures, …). I wanted something that could move with me, no way I’m moving around my desktop pc, the NAS, the hard disks every time I relocate.

I decided to use Google Drive. Yes, it is costing something but you get:

  • security for your data and replication
  • the Google suite to edit the documents
  • availability everywhere in the World 24/7
  • extra space for emails

You won’t become a Google slave: the day they decide to increase the price or lower the quality of their services I’m going to move to some other data storage provider (e.g.

I’m still keeping an offline copy of the data, and the only annoying thing with Google Drive is that the sync has to be done using rclone, because they don’t provide any app/program to do it (which is a shame…).

Another solution is to have your own storage on Google Cloud Storage or Amazon S3 (and it’s a bit cheaper than Google Drive) and still use rclone to sync the cloud with your local copy. But this solution requires more time and it’s more advanced to setup.


I feel that’s what I’m most likely to end up doing. Still hesitating on 1 CHF / 50 GB vs 3 CHF / 200 GB. In the second case, it could serve me, my mom, my sister and my girlfriend. However, I wonder how they solve this family sharing option? Any experience with that? Like, if at any point, you break up with your girlfriend and remove her from the group, does she lose access to all photos? Or only the ones not taken by her? What about her iPhone backups? I don’t want to setup something that will be difficult to untangle.

Don’t underestimate the power of a Pi 4, I was running once most of my services on a Pi 4 before moving to the Intel NUC. Where ot starts to show its limits is with AI stuff, streaming high quality movies to multiple devices or other GPU heavy tasks.

Please let’s keep the technical enthusiast discussions about NAS solutions out of this thread :smiley: . I think setting up and maintaining NAS really goes against minimalism and can be a huge time sink. OK if you like that, but in this thread I’m more interested about that whole attachment to preserving the past memories, and how big corporations are monetizing that. Is there a way out? Is it better for our sanity to just delete anything older than, say, 4 years, and only keep the few best photos? (probably of people rather than places).


I used a VPN and a tuto found on the web to get 2tb of google cloud storage with turkish price (approx 15 chf per year). I created a family and i am sharing photos with my family through albums.


It’s quite easy actually. I pay CHF 10.- for the 2TB option for me and my partner. You can add up to 5 people to your family plan. To “familiy users” it looks like they have a normal iCloud drive but they are just not paying for it and you will be the only one charged for it.

Your girlfriend would not loose access to her photos if she is not part of the group anymore. In that case she will be downgraded to the free 5GB option. If her total amount of data on iCloud is more than that, then she get a notification that she has to upgrade her iCloud storage (I think the grace period is 30 days). With 2TB there should be more than enough space for everybody for full iPhone backups.

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You could use a separate Google account just for storing photos if you have a significant portion of your quota in Drive, Gmail, etc. It’s easy to switch between Google accounts in applications.

BTW, my limit is somehow 24GB, not sure how I arrived there. Maybe through using (a company provided) Pixel at some time that came with a promo.

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Do people print out old pictures even? Everything is digital for aeons. One of the nicest features of both icloud and onedrive are the ‘this-day-in-2012’ pictures which show you nice memory. Plus face identification etc. Self-hosted options - ugh, good luck keeping that secured and updated, onboard family members. Besides photos, do y’all not store (encrypted) cloud backups? :open_mouth:

Both 200G google plan and yearly M365 family (60CHF/year for 6 users and 1TB/user onedrive) are useful, together or separate. Google if you are in their ecosystem, I guess.

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I bought a 2021 office lifetime licence for EUR 1 on Rakuten. No storage but not subscription to pay.

Thanks! But how does Apple assign ownership and access rights of files & photos? Everybody still has their own private space right? And then you can create shared photos album, yes? Is the album shared with the family by default, or do you pick the users manually with each new album? If then one user leaves the family, do they lose access to the photos? Or can they somehow copy the photos that I added to the album into their own space?

Or maybe put differently (and this applies both to Apple and Google Photos):
If someone is granted on an album, and then loses access to the album, they lose access to the photos. Can they somehow copy the photos into their own space so that when they lose access to the album, they still keep the photos? The thing is: i’d like to get rid of some really old photos (I have thousands of photos of my gf, I guess), but I’m sure my gf would notice if they went missing :laughing:

I do the same thing. But I can see how even for that, a cloud solution can be practical if you have a number of people with their own devices/cameras.

That’s true.
But for now I am the one collecting most pictures. But I agree with you.

I am not against cloud actually. I use Google.

I think you are confusing shared albums with private space.

As you correctly stated, everybody gets their private space for pictures using their own Apple ID. If you want you can create a shared album in which you can add other Apple users. They don’t have to be part of your family. They can access these shared albums, upload and download (copy to your own iCloud Apple ID) pictures from there at their convenience.

If someone loses access to the shared album, they won’t be able to see the pictures anymore but they could have still copied the pictures to their own device / Apple account.

Hope that made sense. If not Apple has a great post about it here.

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Thanks a lot, maybe I’ll finally go for it!

Actually I prefer the new-ish Shared Photo Library. You don’t have to create and manage Shared albums and add photos to them, you simply mark photos as being in your “Personal Library” or “Shared Library”. If they’re in the latter, they automatically appear in other peoples library. You can also choose where they end up by default when using the camera.

Do you have Microsoft Office? You get 1 TB storage for Onedrive which can back up your pictures too. I hate to say, that it’s much worse than Google photos though. But yeah, the slave thing doesn’t change.

I’ve found another nice solution Create your free online drive or select a paid plan | Proton
Proton offers a package with a “Drive-like” online cloud + email, vpn , calendar and password storage.

That’s nice if you are already looking for vpn or other stuff.

If you have a home Internet connection, there’s also the option of getting a private cloud device (e.g. Western Digital My Cloud series). It’s a big one-time investment, but can pay off over time vs. ongoing fees for paid cloud services.

This is the best cloud offer I found: Storage Share
5€ a month for 1TB and infinite accounts to share with your family. And it uses nextcloud instead of some weird proprietary system.

But you’ll need to sync the data to a different location to safeguard it against e.g., a fire.