Archiving photos from iOS to a network drive

Written by Ben Wendt

I wrote a while back about a script I wrote to run on my android phone that would sort and archive any photos I had on the device into dated folders I have on a network drive. Privacy and de-googling concerns led me to get an iphone when the time came to upgrade (essential, my old phone’s manufacturer shut down, and faced with an aging battery and a looming lack of support I decided to upgrade). This left me with a problem, how would I sort my images into my archive?

I’ve found it a bit harder to do fun hacks like the photo sorting hack on iOs as compared to android. My new work flow is:

  1. import (and delete) everything into i photo.
  2. export everything from there to a folder on my laptop.
  3. run this script:
    require 'set'

    class Copier

        def initialize(path)
            @path = path
            @created_folders = [].to_set
            @path = ''
            @userhost = 'network-host'
            @destpath = '/mnt/big-disk/photos'

        def get_date(file)
            # some say Modified, other Modification.
            mod_date = `exiftool "#{file}" | grep 'Modif'`
            mod_date = mod_date.split("\n")[0] # first line
                            .split(" : ")[1] # the date time part
                            .split(" ")[0] # the date part

        def create_folder_if_need_be(date)
            year, month, day = date
            unless @created_folders.include?(date)
                puts "creating folder for #{date.join('-')}"
                `ssh #{@userhost} "mkdir #{@destpath}/#{year}" 2> /dev/null`
                `ssh #{@userhost} "mkdir #{@destpath}/#{year}/#{month}" 2> /dev/null`
                `ssh #{@userhost} "mkdir #{@destpath}/#{year}/#{month}/#{day}" 2> /dev/null`
                @created_folders << date

        def transfer_file_to_dated_folder(file, date)
            year, month, day = date
            `scp "#{file}" #{@userhost}:#{@destpath}/#{year}/#{month}/#{day}`
            puts "transferred #{file}"

        def delete_local_file(file)
            `rm "#{file}"`

    path = "./photos/"
    files = Dir["#{path}*"].sort_by(&:downcase)
    c =
    files.each do |file|
        date = c.get_date(file)
        c.transfer_file_to_dated_folder(file, date)

Looking at this now, it would be great to move the core of the files.each block into the class, and read the path and host from argv but it works so I’m happy with it.