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Syncing Between iPhones
June 24, 2023
10:11 am
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Dick
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September 5, 2010
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I have an old iPhone 7 without a sym card that I use in remote, rough back country situations where there is no cell coverage for its capabilities such as a camera, GPS and for Apps like Map.me, (with pre downloaded maps).  It’s in my Apple account.

When at home, this iPhone 7 is logged into my network via WiFi so that I can update Apps and maps, etc.  I was surprised to find recent photos that I had taken with my “everyday” iPhone 12 had synched and been added to the camera roll on my iPhone 7.  My concern was for the 128 GB of memory space on the iPhone 7.  (No worries since its using only 24GB for now so I can take lots of pictures on my trip.)

I use Google Photos and apparently when I return home with lots of pictures and connect to the WiFi all my photos will be uploaded and appear on my “everyday” iPhone.  GREAT!

But all this says I don’t understand how syncing works between “the cloud”, my Apple account with multiple devices, Google Photos, and between my devices.

Where is all this explained along with how to manage it or set options?  

June 24, 2023
12:35 pm
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MrsGeek
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Yes! Isn’t cloud backup and sync great? What you describe is exactly how it works.

With Google Photos

  • You take pictures with one device
  • they get copied to the cloud (in your Google account)
  • they are then viewable from any other connected device using Google Photos with the same account
  • they don’t actually ‘sync’ to other devices. Photos taken with your ‘everyday phone’ don’t get copied down to your old iPhone 7 BUT, as long as the iPhone 7 is connected to the Internet, you can open the Google Photos app and see all the photos in the cloud. AND, as you view them while connected, little thumbnails are created that you will be able to see on the old phone even when not connected. 

Now, you mentioned that photos had been added to your iPhone 7’s “Camera Roll” – Does that mean you see those photos when using the Apple Photos app? the flowery icon? If so, that tells me that you are using iCloud backup as well as Google. That’s fine, an extra backup is a good thing. Google Photos uploads to your Google account in the cloud, iCloud uploads to your Apple account in the cloud.

With iCloud Photos

  • you take pictures with one Apple device
  • They get copied to the cloud (in your Apple iCloud account)
  • They also get copied (synced) to all other Apple devices using the same account
  • This will take up a lot of space, unless you check the box in the iCloud Photos setting to ‘Optimize iPhone Storage.’ Turning on that setting means that, when your iPhone needs more storage it will reduce the photo size on the iPhone to near thumbnails size, leaving the full-size original in iCloud. 

I hope this answers your question. As for where to find more information … there is no one place – your situation covers several issues. In the Learn Google Photos book (members can download the .pdf here) These issues are covered in chapters 1, 2, 6, and especially 12.

And, here is a Tip that covers some of your question:

Tip049: Don’t lose your photos when you lose your phone.

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