Back Up and Protect Your Family’s Digital Photo Library

How To  /  Mylio Features
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Description: Will your camera roll cut it when disaster strikes? Mylio can make sure your family photo library is secure with a simple back up workflow.

Isn’t it a load off your mind when everything is tucked away where it belongs? Don’t you breathe a big sigh of relief when you know the things that are most important to you are secure, safe, and accessible right when you need them?

The flip side of that coin is today’s convenient, but fragile, camera roll approach to family photo storage. Most of us know we should have a serious approach to protecting our everyday photographs long term. We’ll get to it eventually. Then eventually becomes someday, and someday becomes meh…it’ll be fine. And maybe it will.

But your memories deserve much better than maybe. That’s why we’re going to demystify backing up your photos and show you step-by-step how to do it with Mylio. Backing up your digital family history is so much easier than most people realize, and it’s a process that gets easier over time when you’re using the right workflow. 

What does it mean to back up photos?

A Seagate Backup Drive
A Seagate Backup Drive

Backing up is a phrase that still genuinely bamboozles some of us. How safe is safe enough? Do I need to spend hours each month uploading, naming, dragging, and dropping?

Take a deep breath. It’s all pretty simple.

All backing up means is that you have a full copy of your information (in this case, your family photos) in the event that something ever happens to your originals. For example, if your house burns down, your photo albums just went up in smoke unless you have another version of all of those prints stored elsewhere. Or, say you’ve run out of storage on iCloud and your camera roll stopped syncing. If your iPhone gets dropped off the boat on your next fishing trip, you’re really up a creek.

Backup basics

A good backup system involves the following:

  1. A central location where the original copies go before they are synced, shared, etc. to your backup locations. Your computer is probably your central location.
  2. Backup locations that can connect somehow to your central location regularly to make sure they have your entire collection. A cloud service or portable hard drive are two user-friendly, popular choices. 
  3. An easy workflow that doesn’t stress you out. If you make the process too complicated, you might not be able to keep up with it over time.

The 3-2-2 rule

There are a few different versions of this rule floating around, most of them meant for businesses with a certain level and volume of data to protect. The average family may not have the same needs or desire the same complexity, so think of it in these terms for your personal photo library:

Three copies of your family photo library

Or rather, one original and two copies. Don’t worry, this doesn’t mean you have to actively create two copies for every photo you take. You can set up a Cloud-based service to automatically make those copies as you add originals, or you can use Time Machine (or the Windows equivalent, Backup) to back up to a portable hard drive. Mylio can also facilitate the process for you. More on that in a minute.

Two different types of storage

Hedge your bets by utilizing different types of storage. For most families, a good portable hard drive and a Cloud-based service are secure enough. If you don’t have access to the internet for some reason (or your Cloud service goes out of business) you have your portable hard drive. If your portable hard drive crashes, the Cloud is still there. And of course, you’ve still got your originals.

Two different locations 

Your two different types of copies should be stored in separate locations. If one of them is in the Cloud, then that copy is located off-site, on a server somewhere that belongs to the company you’re using. That means your portable hard drive and main copy can both be stored at home. If something happens to your home, you still have the full library.

However, it’s not a bad idea to get in the habit of keeping your hard copy (the portable hard drive) off-site. If your portable hard drive is connected to your computer, for example, it’s possible that an event affecting one could also impact the other. 

Remember that all three parts of this rule are “at least” requirements. More is always better with backing up. Some people use two hard copies (one on-site and one in a safe deposit box or a friend’s house) and a Cloud backup, alternating the two hard copies every so often. 

Isn’t this all a little much?

Nope. Your memories are invaluable and irreplaceable. No amount of insurance will get them back if the worst should happen and you are not prepared. 

Keep in mind, we’re not just talking about the photos of your cousin’s daughter’s second wedding last year. A family photo library may include not only historical family photos, but scans of important documents pertaining to your family’s history and personal business. They may contain information you will need at some point, and that information should not only be safe from disasters and accidents, but secure from those who would try to use the information inappropriately.

Now, let’s get into how Mylio can help you with this process.

How does Mylio keep my photo libraries backed up?

Mylio in Map View
Courtesy of Mylio Support

Mylio makes it easy to organize, access, and enjoy your photo library, and we’ve talked about that a lot in other articles. But did you know that it can also simplify and streamline your back up process? 

1. Effortless access 

Mylio is device agnostic, which means you can use it regardless of whether you are a Mac or a PC. In fact, you can be both, and Mylio will still sync between your devices. (Between my husband’s Surface Book 2, my Macbook, and our respective smartphones, we’ve had no issues.) 

This is especially helpful because you don’t need the internet in order to sync your photo library between whichever devices you decide to use. Mylio connects all your devices directly over a local network, which works even without the internet and doesn’t rely on the Cloud. 

It’s seamless organizing, largely due to how Mylio handles folders. When you make changes at the original location of a folder, those changes are reflected within Mylio (and vice versa). This cracks down on duplicates.

2. Flexible back up locations

Let’s go back to the 3-2-2 rule for just a moment. Remember how we said it was important to have different types of storage located in different places?

Mylio uses what they call a “vault” to store full-resolution versions of the images in your library. This can be one of your devices (like your main computer), an external hard drive, a NAS, or a Cloud service. Your vault is a complete collection of the full version of every image.

You can also sync certain existing Cloud services with your Mylio account, so if your external hard drive is your vault (Seagate is offering a great deal right now that comes with three free years of Mylio Create), your main computer is your first copy, and your Cloud service is your second copy, there you go. 

To set up a vault:

  • First, if you are planning to set up a USB device (like a portable hard drive) as your vault, make sure it is connected to your computer. 
  • Go to your dashboard and scroll over to the Devices section. 
  • Click the plus sign at the top right side of that section. 
  • Now, you can select the type of vault you would like to set up.
  • All available vault locations in that category will show up, and you can select the one you want to use. 

Mylio recommends that you have at least 250GB of free space in your vault location, but more is always better when it comes to digital storage. Think of it this way: are you planning to take fewer pictures as it becomes more and more convenient to do so? Then you’re only going to need more and more space as time goes on.

Where to add a protection device
Where to add a protection device

Since you can create more than one vault with Mylio, there’s really no need to compromise. You can have multiple full copies of your library in different locations — while still only using thumbnails or optimized versions on your phone if it has limited space. It’s a very flexible model, considering the security it offers.

3. Less time setting up, more time with your photos 

When you have everything set up the way you like it, you can sit back and enjoy. Mylio offers suggestions so that you can batch tag the faces of your family members in just a few minutes. It draws events from the calendars you link, connects between devices automatically to sync whenever possible, and includes new photos when they appear in the folders you give it permission to access. 

When I return from an event or gathering where I’ve taken a lot of photos on a device that doesn’t automatically sync with Mylio (think DSLR or point and shoot), I have a simple workflow that doesn’t require a lot of my time or thought. I upload the photos to my main vault (an external hard drive, connected to my Macbook) the way I normally would. Then, I make sure Mylio is “on” on all of the devices I want these photos to sync to right away. I leave both devices on long enough so that all of my originals sync.

Backing up your family photo library is a manageable process, even if you don’t consider yourself to be tech-savvy. If you need pointers along the way, Mylio Support has a collection of step-by-step walkthroughs that will help you find what you need. When you’re done, not only will you be better equipped to share, enjoy, and add to your family photo library… You’ll have the peace of mind that comes with a back up plan you understand and trust.