How to Automatically Backup iPhoto using Dropbox?

Shreyas Patil SEO
Shreyas PatilUpdated :
How to Automatically Backup iPhoto using Dropbox

Dropbox is an incredibly useful tool for backing up your photos from iPhoto automatically. By linking your iPhoto library to a Dropbox folder, you can continuously and effortlessly sync your photo library to the cloud. This prevents data loss if your local storage fails and also makes your photos accessible from any device. In this comprehensive guide, we'll walk through step-by-step how to set up automatic iPhoto backups to Dropbox and maintain your photo library backups seamlessly.


Before we begin with the setup, make sure you have the following:

  • The latest version of iPhoto installed on your Mac

    iPhoto installed on your Mac

  • A Dropbox account with enough storage space for your iPhoto library
  • A consistent Internet connection for continuous backup

Step 1 - Move Your iPhoto Library to Dropbox

The first step is to move your existing iPhoto library into your Dropbox folder. Here is how to do this:

  • Open your Dropbox folder on your Mac. If you don't have it added to Finder, open Dropbox from your Applications folder.

  • Find your iPhoto Library file. This is typically located in your Pictures folder. It will be named something like iPhoto Library.photolibrary.

  • Drag and drop this iPhoto Library file into your Dropbox folder.

This will begin uploading your entire photo library to Dropbox. The initial upload may take some time depending on your Internet speed and library size.

Once completed, your iPhoto library will now reside within Dropbox, and any changes will be automatically synced.

Step 2 - Redirect iPhoto to New Location

Next, you need to tell iPhoto to look for the library in its new Dropbox location rather than the old local folder. Here's how:

  • Open iPhoto on your Mac, but hold down the Option key while launching.

  • A dialog will appear asking you to choose your iPhoto library. Click 'Choose Library'.

  • Now navigate to your Dropbox folder and select the iPhoto library file that you moved earlier.

  • Click Open.

This will point iPhoto to the new Dropbox folder location. From now on, it will reference the library here rather than the old location.

Step 3 - Enable iPhoto Importing to Dropbox

With the library now in Dropbox, any new photos you import into iPhoto will be saved there automatically. But let's double check that the import settings are configured correctly:

  • In iPhoto, click iPhoto -> Preferences

  • Go to the Advanced tab

  • Under Importing, set 'Copy items to the iPhoto Library' to the Dropbox folder location of your library.

  • Check 'Delete items from camera after successful import'.

This will move new items directly to the Dropbox folder on import rather than a local folder first.

Step 4 - Manage Storage Space

One downside of storing your library on Dropbox is that the service has storage limits. Here are some tips to manage space:

  • Upgrade your Dropbox plan if needed to accommodate your full library plus future growth.

  • Remove duplicate photos in your library using iPhoto's find duplicates option.

  • Export bulky originals to an external drive and store optimized versions on Dropbox.

  • Delete unwanted photos you no longer need backed up.

Step 5 - Enable Dropbox Camera Upload

For immediate backup of new photos from your smartphone, enable the Camera Upload feature in the Dropbox mobile apps. This will automatically add device photos to the same Dropbox folder as your iPhoto library. Just make sure you have enough space!

Troubleshooting Issues

If you encounter any problems setting up or maintaining your iPhoto to Dropbox backup system, here are some troubleshooting tips:

  • Restart iPhoto after moving the library to refresh locations.

  • Check library file permissions to ensure Dropbox can access the library.

  • If uploads stall, pause and resume sync in Dropbox Preferences.

  • Free up bandwidth on your network if sync is lagging.

  • Update Dropbox and iPhoto to latest versions if issues persist.

  • Contact Dropbox Support via web ticket if troubleshooting does not resolve.

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Automatically backing up iPhoto to Dropbox provides a seamless way to protect your irreplaceable photo memories. Following this guide's simple steps to move your library, configure import settings, and enable camera uploads, you can sleep easy knowing your images are safe in the cloud. Just be sure to manage storage space diligently. With a few occasional tweaks, your photo backup system should run smoothly for years to come.

So safeguard your memories and get peace of mind by setting up iPhoto backup to Dropbox today. Your photos are priceless, so put safe storage systems in place.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does the initial iPhoto backup to Dropbox take?

The initial backup time will vary based on your Internet connection speed and total library size. For reference, a 50GB library on a 50Mbps connection can take around 4-5 hours for the first backup. Subsequent syncing only uploads new changes, which is much quicker.

Does moving my library to Dropbox delete it locally?

No, when you move your iPhoto library to Dropbox, it does not delete the original local version. You will now have two copies - the working version in Dropbox that iPhoto reads/writes to, and the original local archive. You can delete the local archive if you need to reclaim space.

What happens if I don't have enough Dropbox space for my library?

If your library exceeds the storage limits of your Dropbox account, uploads may stall. You will need to upgrade your Dropbox plan for more space or manually manage your library size by removing unwanted photos or exporting originals to external storage.

Can I revert my library to a local folder if needed?

Yes, you can follow the same steps above to redirect iPhoto to read/write to a local folder again if needed. Just remember to copy the Dropbox library back to your local Pictures folder.

Does Camera Upload work on both iOS and Android devices?

Yes, Dropbox Camera Upload functionality works seamlessly on both iOS and Android smartphones and tablets. Just install the Dropbox mobile app and enable Camera Upload in the app settings.

What if my upload bandwidth impacting other Internet usage?

If the initial iPhoto backup is using all your upload bandwidth and impacting other tasks, you can pause the Dropbox desktop app sync for a while. On the Dropbox menu bar icon, click the Pause Sync option. This will pause transfers so you can resume later when more bandwidth is available.

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