Mac, a software engineer in his mid-30s, happened across a YouTube video in 2019 of nature photographer Daniel J. Cox demonstrating a speed test with the photo management application Mylio. What caught Mac’s attention was that Mylio could readily manage more than 1 million photos — the sort of file processing capacity that would blow anyone’s mind.

At the time, Mac was frustrated enough with the poor performance of other photo management apps that he was considering designing his own software. Instead, he saved his time and money, and he has been using Mylio ever since. 

What’s Mylio? Mylio is an app with unlimited storage options that helps manage your photos privately from multiple synced devices like your phone, laptop, and external hard drive.

Test-driving photo management apps

Let’s find out more about how Mac tried out several photo management apps before choosing Mylio, a process he describes in “The Search for a Private Photo Manager” post on his blog, Thought Function.

Desk with a computer, tablet, camera, and notebook

Q. What made you choose Mylio for photo management?*

I have a very large photo library: 80,000 images, including some in RAW format. I was searching for photo management software that didn’t freeze or slow down to a crawl at scale. With my huge photo collection, other software just … died.

A second, more personal requirement: I won’t upload my pictures to a cloud where the provider has access to those photos implicitly.

Finally, Mylio syncs to my phone.

These three things combined made me choose Mylio as my photo management app.

When I wrote my blog post, I had just completed a comprehensive shopping trip, trying out all the digital photo apps like test driving a car.

For instance, Google Photos is very well made. But the privacy aspect really makes me uncomfortable. Mylio’s technology is built around a core principle of providing privacy, which is something most major competitors are unwilling to do. 

Q. How did you get interested in photography?

I’m not a professional photographer. I got into photography in 2008, when I was in college and when the smartphone really became a thing. I wanted to decorate my walls with images that were meaningful and memorable. My photos are the memories of my life. They tell my story.

Q. What do you like most about Mylio? 

Speed and privacy. I also like that it’s a catalog. I don’t use it for photo editing, but I use it for browsing. It’s extremely snappy.

Even better, using Mylio allows me to have all my photos of my entire life on my phone. So if I’m with someone and want to tell them, ‘I went to Japan five years ago,’ I can quickly go to the Calendar view and navigate to five years ago. Or, I can simply search the geo-tag `Japan’ and show my trip photos.

The way that Mylio does organization is very smart. I really appreciate that. Mylio does a better job as a catalog of your entire photo collection. It showcases your memories in a unique way, and makes it easy to find photos fast.

Red pagoda-style shrine in Japan with Mount Fuji in the background

Q. What is your photo backup system?

I use a PC, an external drive for my MacBook, and Amazon Photos cloud service.

Q. How many photos are in your collection? 

Around 90,000 now.

Q. How do you take photos? 

Most of the time, I’m taking photos with my phone. I also have a few cameras like the Ricoh GR III Digital Compact Camera. I can put it in my pocket.

When I’m going to special places or vacations, I take the Ricoh — and I take thousands of photos across a week. If I want to take photos of my cat, I use my phone. 

Recently, I borrowed my friend’s photo scanner, went to my mom’s house, and scanned about 5,000 family photo prints. Now those are all imported and stored in a folder in Mylio, too.

Black and white photo prints showing old fashioned family portraits

Q: What are your photo-curating habits?

I don’t like to delete photos because they represent the memory of my life. The older you get, the more your photos keep accumulating and accumulating. It’s like mileage on a car: 10,000 photos a week, 100,000 photos in a decade can happen very easily.

People delete photos because they’re kind of implicitly forced to — especially if they have to deal with storage limits on their phones, or with cloud-based photo services like Google or Apple Photos. If they knew they could have the freedom to not delete those memories, I think they would stop deleting so many photos.

With my Mylio Premium subscription, the only limit to the number of photos and videos I can import, backup, and sync might be a limit with my own storage devices.

But with 5TB external hard drives running around $100, like this Seagate model, backup capacity is simply not a problem. Cloud storage services can also be affordable: Amazon Prime members get unlimited full-resolution photo storage plus 5GB for video free.

Download Mylio today to test out its performance for yourself. 

•This Q&A has been edited for clarity and brevity purposes.