Photo Sticks?

I’ve recently been seeing ads for photo sticks that will back up your photos, skipping duplicates. I like the idea of having an offline backup. Has anyone used one? Can you recommend one?

Depends on how many photos you have but most the sticks have Windows programs for back up. A small hard drive or SSD and backup with Carbon Copy Cloner set up for automatic back up when you plug in.

You could have two disks with copies, one fir keeping at home in case of a crash and the other can keep offsite (safe deposit or other site away from home in worse case of fire, etc)

Are you talking about this product:

The product descriptions look like they are ordinary (and expensive) USB thumb drives (or in the case of the PhotoStick Plus, an SSD or hard drive) that include bundled software to automatically search for and back up images from your computer or phone.

I’m pretty sure you could do the same thing yourself by buying a high quality USB storage device and drag/drop your photos to it. If you use Photos or some other photo management app, just copy your library to it. If you don’t, you should be able to use Spotlight or other search tool to locate your images and copy them to the device.

But you might find its software convenient and worth the price. Since I’ve never heard of it until now, I have no opinion about this.

Hi Betty,

I tell my family, friends and clients not to use these devices… instead focus on using Apple’s iCloud Photo Library to merge all your photos across devices. That makes it easy to clean them up.

Then Make sure to enable on your computer (Mac or PC!) the setting to keep a copy of all images locally.

Lastly: backup your computer to an external drive (or two or three). You can then rotate the drives through a safety deposit box, for example, and have a useful and complete offsite backup. Encrypt the drives when you setup Time Machine backups. If you do lose a drive you will not lose any data.

If you do buy one of those sticks do let us know how it works out! If you’re doing all the above there’s no harm in trying it out.



FWIW, several years ago I was on a cruise that offered WiFi connectivity on the ship, but the network blocked connectivity to iCloud Photo Library (probably for very good reason.) I was taking tons of photos, both on the iPhone and on a camera, and loading the camera’s photos to my iPad, but there was no way to get those photos backed up besides the devices I had, and I was concerned that if I lost one of the devices, I’d have lost some photos. (When I was in Aix-en-Provence, in some spare time I was standing outside the Apple Store in town using the store’s WiFi just to connect to upload my photo library, but that was less than halfway through the trip.)

For my next trip on the same cruise line, I bought a thumb drive called Picture Keeper Connect. It has both a USB-A connector and a lightning connector, and there is an iOS app for the device, so it allowed me to easily back up photos from the Photos app onto the device so at least I had a secondary backup.

It was expensive per GB, but it gave me an easy way to back up photos from my iPhone when I didn’t have a reliable network connection.

I agree that using iCloud Photo Library is a great solution, but there is that weird use case where using a device like this was worthwhile.

I bought a compact wireless hard drive a few years back, worked great. Before that, I had a connector that worked with my iPad 3 Retina, I can’t remember if it went both ways though and no idea if it was ever updated past the dock connector. It would read the SD card.

The drive is a Western Digital MyPassport wireless, 1TB. I think I bought it in 2015. It has a built-in SD card slot.