Immich; Self-Hosted Photos & Videos Backup (Case Study)

Hi Everyone,

Here at 45Drives, we’re homelab hobbyists and enthusiasts. And we love to tinker just as much as you all do. So, in the spirit of knowledge-sharing the open source way, we’re going to be releasing a few case studies, we’ll call them. These case studies are related to some amazing software applications that we have been testing and using at home—a few 45Drives Support team members have been interviewed exclusively for this forum about the applications they have chosen, and why.

It is our hope that you may find some of these software applications helpful too, and may also choose to deploy them on your HL15. If you have any questions specific to the application highlighted here, please do not hesitate to include them in a reply below and we will be sure to answer them based on our knowledge and experience thus far.

Do you have a useful app you’re running? Feel free to create your own topic to share your experience.

Why I chose IMMICH
by Brandon MacInnis, Data Storage Specialist

As an iOS user I’ve often faced challenges when attempting to transfer photos and videos from my iPhone to my PC or server. My existing methods such as emailing images to myself or relying on cloud services like Google Drive or Dropbox, have proven frustrating due to potential quality loss through compression. This process is also inefficient.

Recently, I returned from a memorable trip to Alberta and British Columbia with my girlfriend, and we captured a substantial number of beautiful photos. Unfortunately, my girlfriend did not have an upgraded iCloud plan like I did, leading her to delete some of these photos to free up storage space. This situation prompted us to explore alternatives, and even had us transferring photos via Airdrop between our devices which was rather inconvenient at times.

My project aims to address these challenges by an easy to use and high-quality photo/video backup solution specifically tailored for mobile users. By simplifying the process of transferring media to a PC or server, we hope to enhance the user experience and preserve the quality of these photos/videos and to take control of files and not have to rely on cloud services or monthly fees.

Upon returning home, I realized the importance of setting up a reliable backup solution for our mobile devices. While exploring various options, I discovered an application called IMMICH, which not only provided the latest features but also maintained a user-friendly and straightforward interface, making it accessible for both me and my girlfriend. This application is actively developed and has a range of impressive features, including:

  • Automatic backup while the device is charging and connected to the home network, ensuring seamless and effortless backups.
  • Advanced search powered by ChatGPT for efficient photo and video retrieval.
  • Facial recognition for effortless organization.
  • Geolocation capabilities, allowing us to view our photos on a world map.
  • Seamless sharing with other users.
  • And much more.

IMMICH has proven to be a comprehensive solution to our photo and video backup needs, offering both convenience and advanced functionality for preserving our memories, while also clearing up our iPhone storage.

I was very surprised by how straightforward the installation and setup process was. The user interface proved to be exceptionally user-friendly, even for my girlfriend, who isn’t very tech-savvy. She had no trouble uploading her photos, creating albums, and sharing them with others using IMMICH’s built-in sharing features. What I particularly appreciated was the flexibility to customize how the files were organized. Personally, I prefer to have all my photos stored in a single large directory rather than divided into subdirectories. Additionally, IMMICH offers a wide range of settings that allow you to tailor your photo/video backup to your preferences, making it even more user-friendly.


What a cool solution to iOS self-hosted backups. I have been looking for a way to do this for quite a while! I will be checking this out in depth once I get my HL15!

Here is a link to the project in case anyone else reading this wants to look into IMMICH.