Automatically backing up photos from iOS using PhotoSync and PhotoPrism

Posted on Saturday July 17, 2021
Reading time: 3 minutes

Previously my phone-photo-backup process involved connecting it to a computer, then manually copying photos to a folder on my NAS. This was inefficient, and I'd often forget to do it for months at a time. I wanted something that'd backup my photos automatically, and do so to my own hardware. I found PhotoSync to be an awesome app and setup PhotoPrism as a backup target for it to use.

PhotoSync

I can't remember what I searched for to find PhotoSync, but it appeared in a list and looked like a great candidate for backups.

I already had a NAS at home, and was running docker (and portainer) on it as I host a bunch of services locally to use, including remote backup services for friends of mine. (Yes they encrypt their data before sending!)

PhotoSync has a lot of backup target options, and a bunch of technologies it can use, some of those options are:

  • SMB
  • FTP / SFTP
  • WebDAV
  • Backblaze
  • PhotoPrism
  • Dropbox
  • Google Drive
  • OneDrive
  • Amazon S3
  • Google Photos

This isn't the full list! (that can be found on the website)

PhotoPrism

Looking at the list of configurable targets, there were some obvious ones there. I use Google Drive for some things already. I use Backblaze B2 as a place to store off-site encrypted backups of my most important data. But I decided to give PhotoPrism a try, as it can be self-hosted, and they even have a guide on their website for running it on Docker on a Synology NAS!

I won't cover the guide in any great detail here, as it's in-depth on their website and includes the docker configuration you'll need.

I did find that on initial setup, the MariaDB container took a while to come up and caused the app container to stop running. I waited a few minutes and restarted the app container. After that it worked fine. The same thing seemed to happen after I upgraded docker. Something to note.

I have my NAS running a reverse proxy to PhotoPrism with a Let's Encrypt certificate on the subdomain it's running on. This means I can configure that URL as the one to use within PhotoSync with my credentials.

Automatic backups

I've configured PhotoSync to backup at 02:00 each day if the phone is connected to power, or if a target location is reached. That target location is set to my home address. With that, I've set my PhotoPrism configuration as the target to backup to.

PhotoSync Configuration

So far

As of right now, I've paid £5.99 for PhotoSync Premium for a year, and as it's been going so well, I'll likely pay for the lifetime subscription.

PhotoPrism I really like, though the automatic categorisation of images has been a bit sporadic, though I don't mind about that.

Long-term, I still haven't worked out a good photo archiving / sorting / folder structure. Usually I use a {Year}/{Event} type folder structure, but for non-time specific things like pets etc, I feel like I'd want those separate, if anyone has any good ideas, please let me know on Twitter!

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