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How to back up photos on iPhone and iPad outside of iCloud

The default place for saving photos on iPhone and iPad is iCloud. With this Shortcut you create an extra backup for your photos.

The default place for saving photos on iPhone and iPad is iCloud. For many people, this is also their backup. But what if there's a problem with iCloud and you don't have any other backups? I made a Shortcut for iPhone and iPad that creates a monthly backup of all taken photos in the last month.

The idea of the Shortcut is that you have an actual backup of your photos. It creates a ZIP file of your photos in a location you choose. You can download it for free and add it to your Shortcuts gallery.

Below, I'll explain how to set the Shortcut up on your device, including automation. It works both on iPhone and iPad.

Setting up the photos backup

The Shortcut has 4 steps and the set-up starts at step 3 (Save Archive). You can adjust the period of the backup, but for me, one month is fine.

In step for 3 you tap on the location where the Shortcut saves the photos backup. The default is Downloads on iPad (or iPhone). After taping, you select Replace... and select your location. My advice is not to choose a folder in iCloud because in that case, you still only rely on iCloud.

Apple Shortcuts: select folder

The next step is optional, and that is sending an email when a backup fails. Fill in:

  1. Recipients (this is the address where you want to receive the email).
  2. Subject.
  3. From (this is the address you wish to send the email from).

Now toggle Show Compose Sheet off.

Apple Shortcuts: turn of compose sheet

Now run the Shortcut by tapping the play button at the top. You be prompted with some permissions and need to select Always allow. Without these permissions, you can't automate the Shortcut.

That's all for setting up the Shortcut.

Creating the automation

We want the Shortcut to run each month. To set this up, go back to the Shortcuts app and go to Automation.

Tap the plus sign for adding a new Automation and select Create Personal Automation.

Apple Shortcuts: create new personal automation

Now choose the first option (Time of Day). Set 00:01 (0:01 pm) as the Time of Day, Monthly for repeat, and one as the first day of the month.

Apple Shortcuts: set time, frequency and day of the automation

Tap Next and in the search field on the bottom type Shortcuts and select the Shortcuts app. Tap Next and now tap Shortcut. Search for Backup Photos and select it.

Apple Shortcuts: select the Shortcut

As a final step, make sure you toggle Enable This Automation on and toggle Ask Before Running off.

Apple Shortcuts: turn of Ask Before Running

That's it. You have now created an automated backup process for your photos on iPhone or iPad.