Photo Backup for Geeks, iOS and S3 Revisited

I wrote a blog post back in 2017 about my method of archiving iPhone photos to Amazon S3. Today, I had someone ask me about what my current workflow is, since The Archivist iOS app doesn’t work any more.

I use the Dropbox app to sync photos from my iPhone, and then periodically use Multcloud to copy the photos to my own Amazon S3 bucket. Multcloud is fine, but completely handing over your cloud login credentials to a service like this isn’t great.

And then I don’t do anything with them, so they really are just backup at this point.

I’m calling this post “for Geeks”, because most people will just use a paid iCloud, Google, or Dropbox account and be done with it.

Here are some further thoughts on photo sharing related items:


I linked to Ferdy Christant’s The rise, fall and resurrection of Flickr which does a great job of defining some tiers of photo sharing:

  • Tier 0, Personal local storage: “source” material on your local computer or smartphone

  • Tier 1, Personal online storage: “backup” storage, such as Dropbox or iCloud, not for sharing

  • Tier 2, Public online sharing: this is the tier I’m interested in for self-hosting under my own domain name

  • Tier 3, Exposure and community: amateur and professional sharing on a larger platform for distribution, from Instagram to Twitter and everything else in between

  • Tier 4, Portfolio: for professional usage

Notes added by me

It is overly focused on amateur-to-professional photographers, and I don’t really agree with the conclusion about shuffling physical hard drives. Given the expense, time, manual nature, and general complexity, I believe that paid cloud backups – or multiple clouds – is going to be a better solution for anyone other than professional photographers.


My most prolific photos (that I actually share publicly) are probably still food and cooking pictures. Since I run allthebest.recipes as a Discourse forum, photo uploading from mobile works quite well.


I am in the midst of updating my blog with a Micropub endpoint that supports media uploads (IndieKit), so I can easily upload photos for short blog posts. It supports multiple photos, I’ll need to add some “gallery” styles so they display nicely.


Dropshare, mentioned in the original post, supports S3, but you can only upload one photo at a time, otherwise it will compress multiple files and upload a single Zip file. So not ideal for albums.


My company, Fission, is going to be launching Fission Drive, which will provide end-to-end encrypted files and support for public web hosting and apps. I’m looking at support for Dropbox sync directly. People really liked my post on exporting from Facebook to Fission so that’s another app to consider.

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