How to Backup External Hard Drive to iCloud on Mac/PC/iPhone

Is there a good way to backup external hard drive to iCloud? Luckily, this post will show you effective ways to back up your files from your external hard drive to your iCloud on Mac/PC easily.

May by May Updated December 8, 2023
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Can I backup an external hard drive to iCloud?

My photos are taking up too much room on my Mac. I have therefore bought an external hard drive and moved the photos from the Mac to the external hard drive. I would now like to use iCloud to back up the external hard drive, just in case anything goes wrong with the drive. Can you please tell me how I should go about doing this?

- Question from Apple Community

External hard drives are a convenient tool for users to store important data, allowing them to keep vital information separate from their mobile devices and computers. However, challenges arise when you attempt to backup external hard drive to iCloud. Is there a good way to accomplish this task without consuming too much time? Let’s dive into the top methods for copying an external drive to iCloud.

How to Backup External Hard Drive to iCloud

Part 1. How to Backup External Hard Drive to iCloud on Mac

Mac users can easily streamline the process by connecting an external drive and utilizing the integrated Photos app. However, it’s important to ensure that the Mac’s battery level is above 80% before embarking on this task, and you’ll need a functional USB cable to connect your external hard drive to the Mac. Here are some photos as an example:

Step 1: Begin by connecting the external hard drive to your Mac > Access the Photos app from your desktop.

Step 2: Navigate to the File menu and select Import > Proceed to import photos from the external hard drive into your iCloud.

Import Photos from External Hard Drive to iCloud

This method enables seamless file transfer from your external device to iCloud. Keep in mind that you must be logged into your iCloud account on your Mac and monitor your available storage space in iCloud as well.

Part 2. How to Backup External Hard Drive to iCloud on PC

Another method is to utilize iCloud on Windows to facilitate importing or transferring images from an external hard drive. This method provides better accessibility for users who primarily use Windows PCs, so they must have a suitable USB external drive cable to connect to the PC. To execute this procedure, here is a full guide on how to backup external hard drive to iCloud:

Step 1: Download iCloud for Windows > Initiate iCloud on the Windows PC and log in to your Apple ID/iCloud account.

Step 2: Navigate to Settings and locate the Photos tab > Access the Photos’ Options.

Select Photos

Step 3: Select the iCloud Photos option and confirm by clicking Done > Then, navigate to Documents > iCloud Photos.

Tick iCloud Photos

Step 4: Proceed to copy and paste the photos from the external hard drive into this designated location.

Tip: You can also copy other files (such as contacts, calendars, bookmarks, and more) if you have selected iCloud Drive and others.

This method proves expedient, as it directly transfers files from the external drive to a shared folder. However, the pace of photo synchronization with iCloud hinges on the internet speed. Otherwise, you may encounter the “iCloud Drive not syncing”  issue.

Part 3. How to Backup External Hard Drive to iCloud on iPhone

It’s worth emphasizing that backing up an external hard drive to iCloud without a PC or Mac can be a challenging task. To achieve this, you need to acquire and employ a Lightning adapter designed for iPhones. Besides, you should make sure that your iPhone is fully charged at 100%, as it can place a significant demand on the iPhone battery. Here are the requisite steps to follow once you’ve prepared:

Step 1: Connect the external hard drive to the USB port on the Lightning Adapter.

Step 2: Access the Files app on your iPhone and navigate to the On My iPhone location > Create a new folder to house the incoming photos.

Select On My iPhone

Step 3: Proceed to the Locations section and tap the external hard drive > Select the photos you wish to transfer and copy them to the new folder created in Step 2.

Step 4: Go to the Settings app on your iPhone and tap Apple ID > iCloud > Photos. Then, enable iCloud Photos and Shared Albums.

Enable iCloud Photos and Shared Albums

Bouns: Sync Files Among External Hard Drive, PC, and iPhone

If you don’t have enough iCloud storage space, you will encounter the issue of “iPhone won’t backup to iCloud”. In this case, if you don’t want to buy iCloud storage space, FoneTool is a good alternative tool for you to back up your data on your iPhone, iPad, PC, and external hard drive.

FoneTool is a free, safe, and professional backup and transfer tool that can help you back up and transfer data (including photos, videos, contacts, messages, and more) from your iPhone to your PC or external hard drive and vice versa. Why choose FoneTool? Some advantages of this tool are listed below:

Two-Way Transfer: FoneTool supports both one-way and two-way data transfers between the iPhone and PC, giving you flexibility in managing your data.
Data Preview: You can preview and select the specific data you want to transfer before initiating the process.
Selective Transfer: FoneTool allows you to transfer data selectively, so you don't have to move everything if you only need specific files.
High Speed: Data transfer is fast and efficient, ensuring that you can move large files quickly and without hassle.

Below are detailed steps on how to transfer data from an iPhone to a PC:

Step 1: Free download and install FoneTool on your Windows PC > Connect your iPhone to your computer using a USB cable.

Download Freeware Win 10/8.1/8/7/XP
Secure Download

Step 2: Once connected, launch FoneTool and select the Phone Transfer option > Then, hover your mouse over the iPhone to PC and click Start Transfer.

iPhone to PC

Step 3: Click the plus icon to preview and select the desired data to transfer > Once you’re satisfied, confirm by clicking OK.

Select Data to Transfer

Step 4: Click Transfer Settings to designate a destination for your transferred data > Finally, initiate the transfer process by clicking Start Transfer.

Start Transfer

In addition to transfer files among iPhones, PCs, and external hard drives, you can use FoneTool to controls your iCloud files on your PC, including uploads, downloads, and deletions. To do that, you just need to: navigate to FoneTool’s main interface, go to My iCloud, sign in with your Apple ID, and then easily access the Manage iCloud feature.

Click Manage iCloud

The Bottom Line

That’s all about how to backup external hard drive to iCloud. Whether you use a PC or Mac, you can follow these methods in this post to back up your data from an external hard drive to iCloud. To be honest, protecting your data, including the contents of your external hard drive, is a top priority for file security and accessibility. This post also introduces you to a free and safe backup tool called FoneTool to make backups on various devices. With FoneTool, you can also one-click transfer iPhone to iPhone without iCloud. Why not try it out? Download and use it now!

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