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Opinion: Even with lower iCloud prices, iCloud Photo Library still isn’t worth the hassles


Yesterday, a reader named Lesley asked me for an update on my earlier opinion piece, “Google’s new Photos may just have won my library away from Apple.” As you may know, Apple considerably lowered its iCloud storage prices last week. Consequently, the choice between Apple’s paid and Google’s free photo syncing services has become more difficult than it was when I wrote that article.

Lesley wrote, “I read your article on Google Photos possibly stealing you away from iCloud photo sync, and I would love an update to that article – if you chose to migrate, how did it go, and how is it functioning so far?… I am teaching a class on photo management in a retirement community – I am deciding which to recommend for cross-platform syncing, and which service to recommend for lower income seniors who are Apple based.”

I would much rather not share this particular tale of woe, but the topic of digital photo storage is important to me, and as Lesley indicates, many other people. What happened with my photo library turned out to be my biggest computer-related headache of the past year. So to help spare you a similar set of experiences, I’ll tell you what happened, so you can decide whether to pick Google Photos, Apple’s iCloud Photo Library, or — as I’ve reluctantly decided — neither

Trying Google

As mentioned in my prior article, I have a very large photo library, currently exceeding 1.4TB without including business photos or home videos. Up until last week, the idea of uploading that library to iCloud was unthinkably expensive. Apple’s cost for even 1TB was $240 per year, and I wouldn’t consider paying that much to store all of my library, let alone part of it. At a far more attractive price of “free” for basically unlimited storage, Google Photos was extremely appealing.

[This is the part where I politely ask Google and Apple partisans to refrain from using the comments section below for yet another fight over the companies’ respective privacy policies and business models. Neither one wins here.]

Lesley’s email asked a few pertinent questions about Google Photos. “I have read that there are several problems with it, such as duplicate, space hogging libraries and other strange issues. Did you run into any of these? If you did not migrate, why not?”

To make a long story short: Yes, I tried Google Photos. No, I’m not still using it. The uploading process from a Mac wasn’t great — slow and somewhat confusing — and after getting a test batch of images online, I decided that I didn’t want to continue the process with the rest of my library. Although Google’s cross-device apps worked pretty much as expected once photos were on Google’s servers, I wouldn’t consider going through the uploading experience again without improved Mac software. Having said that, the issues I experienced were acceptable for a free service, and for users with much smaller photo libraries, surmountable.


Trying iCloud

Last week, Apple sliced the cost of 1TB of iCloud storage down to $10 a month or $120 per year. While I still don’t think that’s a reasonable price to pay annually for access to a photo library, it’s getting closer. So for professional reasons, I decided to give iCloud Photo Library a try, even though it would require several major changes to my 1.4TB photo collection: moving 800GB of RAW images into a separate library, transferring the remaining 600GB of JPEGs from Aperture into OS X Photos, and coming up with some strategy for handling new or old photos once I exceeded iCloud’s 1TB limit.

Another long story, short: I went through all of that. Migrating from a wholly referenced Aperture library to a completely consolidated Photos library was a painful process, requiring three full days of manual day-and-night monitoring for Aperture and Photos, plus splitting a completely fine unified library in two. I can’t emphasize this enough: do not put yourself through this if you have a large photo library. In the end, the new Photos library wound up needing to sit on an external hard drive, because it couldn’t fit on my MacBook Pro. Optimistically, I thought everything would be OK once my collection was uploaded to iCloud.

It turned out that it wasn’t OK. The uploading process to iCloud was nearly as bad as Google’s. Even with better-than-basic broadband service, OS X Photos effectively killed my Internet connection during the uploading process, completely crippling all of the devices on my network while sluggishly sending photos to iCloud. A quick search online revealed that early iCloud Photo Library adopters had discovered the same problem months ago, and given up. At the rate things were going, I calculated that it would take around 45 days just to upload all of my photos to iCloud, assuming that I was willing to live with awful Internet service for a month and a half (and pay $10 per month for iCloud during the uploading process).

Giving Up

So, like many other people who found the reality of iCloud Photo Library to be far less appealing than the marketing, I stopped the iCloud experiment. Worse yet, I found myself stuck with a split-in-two Photos library I could no longer keep on my MacBook Pro, all of my RAW images stored separately, and no great option for getting everything in the cloud.

If I could, I would just reverse all of the changes and go back to having a unified Aperture photo library — a process I’m probably going to manually attempt after a day or two of recovering from the OS X Photos experience. Particularly in light of Apple’s abandonment of Aperture, I’m not going to tell you that this is a great or particularly forward-thinking option. But it’s better for my needs than Photos, which is at best underdeveloped and at worst a dead end for users with large libraries like mine.

What should you do? Based on my experience, if you have a small photo library, the choice between using Google or Apple really comes down to whether or not you want to pay for an unripe cloud-based solution. If you have a large photo library, you’re probably best off keeping it away from the cloud unless you’re willing to deal with uploading and other hassles. I personally wouldn’t be willing to pay for either of the photo services based on my experiences, which makes Google’s imperfect free service better for me than Apple’s imperfect paid one. But you can make the choice that’s best for your own photo library. My personal collection continues to reside on a G-Technology G-Drive USB, which I love.

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  1. Jonny - 8 years ago

    I have a feeling that if you have a 1TB Photo library that exists in Aperture and iPhoto and is for (quasi) professional use, the Photos app and iCloud Library might not be built for you. Someone who takes most of their photos on the iPhone though? Or who has less than a few hundred GBs of photos they’ve collected over time? I don’t think the hassles outlined here would necessarily apply. (And that probably goes for Google’s approach as well)

    • Jeremy Horwitz - 8 years ago

      Apple has been offering 1TB of iCloud storage for a while now. It’s currently one of only three tiers of paid iCloud storage Apple offers. So you’re saying that if someone has a library at the top storage tier Apple offers, it’s reasonable to accept that Apple’s Photos app and related photo service “might not be built for you?”

  2. I got iCloud Photos all set up and pushed all my Photos into it a few weeks before Google Photos was released as a standalone product. It took entirely too long and really bogged down performance on my iOS devices (not to mention storage space locally on those devices). I was done with iCloud Photos when I realized it was taking 2 GB of storage on my iPhone just to store thumbnails. Google has all my photos now.

  3. 1.4TB is not the average library. In my opinion, it is too large to maintain. Cut back on it, get rid of some pics, and then enjoy your best pics in a lightweight library.

    I only have about 20gb in pics and chose the cheapest options. It allows me to keep everything in sync across all my devices.
    Besides the pictures, I still have a lot of space for documents, files & backups.

    What apple should let you do: Give me the option to choose my own storage service, like Google Drive.

    What everybody should do: Make their client independent from the storage service.
    Why wouldn’t they do it? Because the client is what makes the money and the storage service is what costs them money.
    Final solution: Please let me provide my own storage service which I pay for.

    • Jeremy Horwitz - 8 years ago

      My photo library contains over 16 years of photographs. I’m not really interested in going through and choosing the months or years I like best so I can shoehorn them into another small library for syncing to iCloud. But I’m glad your library is so manageable.

  4. Drew (@gettysburg11s) - 8 years ago

    Yep, sounds like people with large libraries are better off investing in a good, large capacity, USB 3.0 external drive for backup, and then use Time Machine to backup those photos. I suppose it doesn’t matter what you use, if you have a smaller library.

    Personally, I use a hybrid approach. We upload all our iPhone photos to Dropbox, and then transfer them to our Mac, which backs them up to an external drive. Digital Camera photos go direct to the Mac, and are then backed up to the external drive. Dropbox is just a go between, and doesn’t normally contain tons of photos. In this case, the free amount they give you is fine.

    iCloud Photo library is fine, I guess, but its less flexible than Dropbox. Apple has some good cloud services, like iCloud device backups, but this one might need work.

    • Jonny - 8 years ago

      I’m always interested in how people manage photos. Using Dropbox as the go-between seems to work well! If interested, here’s mine:

      All of my photos go through the phone – photos taken on the phone or digital camera photos imported to iOS phone via the digital camera’s app. This pushes all photos to our Mac via iCloud. The Mac Photos library is backed-up on a local USB box and to Backblaze. My wife’s iPhone photos are saved to her iCloud Photo library but also to Dropbox on her phone which syncs them to our Mac. I have to manually add those photos into on the Mac (for now).

      I haven’t noticed much difference in using Dropbox or iCloud Photo Library as a go-between with the phones and the mac.

  5. Andrew Messenger - 8 years ago

    Been using iCloud Photo Library for months with a 23GB library and no hassles here.

    • Jonny - 8 years ago

      I think mine is around 60GB… also no issues. It took a while to upload everything but as new photos are being added it has been great.

      • Mike Tyson Rudolph - 8 years ago

        same, but with ~140 GB of photos.

      • same as you – I’ve uploaded 32GB last week when the icloud storage tiers updated. Took about 1 1/2 days with not too slow connection, but no works great. Only issue I have and couldn’t solve until now – the thumbnails on iPhone and iPad are not really up-to-date now. I just see blanc thumbnails and they will just download if I choose a date and wait some seconds. But with several thousand pics, this is not the way I want to go.
        Anybody ideas how to force iOS/Photos to download all of them?

    • Same here, although my library is larger at around 103GB. Yes, the initial upload sucks and I mainly did it overnight so it wouldn’t interrupt my bandwidth during the day, but after you get passed that it’s really convenient to have all your photos on every device. Plus the added benefit of an off-site backup in case anything should happen.

    • jennandbrandon22 - 8 years ago

      I have around 430GB in my iCloud Photo Library and it works great. We have 6 iOS devices and they all sync up fine. I will say that it did take multiple days to upload them all. It did not cripple my network though or even reduce it enough to notice. It did slow the iMac down for those few days. Patience was the key to that. Well worth it for us.

      • Juho Syrjä - 7 years ago

        How do you manage 6 iOS devices into one iCloud Photos library? Using the same Apple ID is not really an option, but is there some other way?
        Thanks for your reply!

  6. Michael A. Spikes - 8 years ago

    I’m wondering what constitutes a “Small” library?

    I have somewhere around 38,000 photos in my archive, at a total of about 200GB. None of the photos are in the RAW format, being that I think it’s insane to have a still photo take up 34-40mb of space, and I’m never all that concerned with more than light retouching of photos that I decide to print.

    I never considered using iCloud Photo after seeing how badly Apple handles online services, and the price. I wanted to upload all of my photos to Google Photos, but like the author, I don’t like that there’s no good software solution for getting the photos uploaded when those photos are on a mac. I use Flickr as my main online archive and have been very happy with it.

  7. Vann (@VannSmall) - 8 years ago

    OneDrive is another option. Offers cross device at the same cost of $10/month for 1TB. But it also include the Office suite and up to 5 users each getting their own TB. Between the 5 users the Office apps can be installed on up to 10 devices (5 mac/pc and 5 mobile).

  8. winmaciek - 8 years ago

    I’ve been using iCloud Photo Library for a couple of months and I really like it. Even though I have a PC I decided to pay €1 a month for it. There are two things that are great about iCloud Photo Library. 1, it’s another backup for my stuff. 2, I love the fact that I can have access to all the photos on my iPhone without the need to actually have them on it. For me that’s more than enough to be happy.

  9. Josie (@josie) - 8 years ago

    Still to expensive when you consider Google and Amazon (with Prime) are hosting all photos forever for free in the cloud. Even Yahoo gives you 1TB for Free. Apple didn’t drop the most used plans that dramatically.

    • Google sells your personal data, Apple doesn’t.

      • epicflyingcat - 8 years ago

        Yes it does? Ever heard of iAds?

      • Chris Cooper (@clcooper) - 8 years ago

        Did you read an entire article? …Clearly stated mid-post.. [This is the part where I politely ask Google and Apple partisans to refrain from using the comments section below for yet another fight over the companies’ respective privacy policies and business models. Neither one wins here.].. geesh —

    • taoprophet420 - 8 years ago

      I think Apple should would unlimited on photos to match Google and Amazon and should also made the 20 GB tier free for other data, considering they are still selling 16 GB phones that are full in no time.

  10. Rickman Rights - 8 years ago

    I prefer my @OWC 2TB local hard drive for backup. Way easier.

  11. If you are having RAW and over a TB of images, I guess you must be a media professional. Perhaps a RAID storage like Drobo or Pegasus would be more suitable for your needs?

  12. Oleksandr Skrypnyk - 8 years ago

    You forgot to mention that Google’s free plan downsampling your photos down to 16 megapixels – pretty much ok for mobile photos, but not for professional usage.

    • Samn Dammett - 7 years ago

      Yes, but upgrading the HD storage runs you about the same amount as iCloud. The thing no one mentions is that Googles free curating features are absolutely awesome! The searchability, tagging, creative applications, ease of use, people-centered sentimental value, integration and backing up features blow iCloud out of the water. I’m actually upset about how apple dropped the ball on this one. They are lagging so far behind and are relying on a large section of their customers who never look beyond native apps. So even if one were to pay for the service, Google simply offer more and works better on all my Apple devices.

  13. I’ve been using Yahoo’s Flickr recently. Upload for a large library (300 GB) is time-consuming, but didn’t kill my network connection. It seems to work for me as a backup of my photos (videos are limited to a small file). Anyone else try this?

  14. It’s such a shame because I tried it several times with my 20gb of photos, but it stalls, loses sync, mysterious ‘fantom’ libraries end up being made, and the numbers don’t match up from one device to the other. I just gave up.

    Google Photos (which I upload in their original quality etc, and pay for the storage) seems to work so much more smoothly – god knows how but for me it just works, on both the iPhone and the Mac. It hurts to see Apple not seem to manage to do so well on their own platform.

  15. I use both iphoto library and dropbox with both Photos and lightroom. I have about a 400gb library. The pluses and minuses are many. Dropbox’s Carousel is really a solid app for the purpose of backing up photos. But it just doesn’t cut it for general photo management and manupulation. iCloud does a great job of gretting the photos I want to see across my devices but eats up space more than it probably shoot even after adjusting the seetings on the phone. So I decided to use both. Dropbox efficiently backs up my photos to both the cloud and an external harddrive with a folder that syncs with lightroom. iCloud syncs across devices and with another drive that stores my photos library. So when I just want to look at photos or do simple prints for the family or friends I turn to Photos and when I want to do real photo work with lightroom I turn there. I also have the added comfort that my photos are reliably backed up in four separate locations two hard drives and two different clouds with different service agreements. Yes, it is not cheap. But the pain of losing 400+gb of photos is worth $220/year. (To get dropbox to download to different locations on the same mac with different folders sync’d to each location you need to use an app like dropbox Encore which allows you to have two instances of dropbox running simultaneously – one for pictures and videos and one for everything else. It also helps with storage on computers.)

  16. RP - 8 years ago

    Besides being free, Google’s photo storage implementation is far simpler. On the web, or on an app, the UI is as intuitive and slick as Apple should one day hope to be, It really is a matter of Apple looking like an antiquated small time player trying to catch up.

    If anyone is going to recommend a service to novices, The Google option is not only the obvious choice, but really the only choice. Recommending anything else would be more than questionable.

  17. Mike Tyson Rudolph - 8 years ago

    I think you gave up too soon. Uploading 140 GB of photos to iCloud took almost 1 week, but after that it seems to be quite seamless. I am able to store all my images in iCloud and have access to them on all my devices. I love the option to optimize storage on my devices, reducing the need to have a growing local drive (especially since solid state drives are so expensive right now). All of the images can be stored locally at a lower resolution, and only when you want to access the images are they downloaded full resolution. Exceeding the 1TB limit is not an issue for me yet, but it could definitely be a concern for some people. For $36/year (for the 200GB plan) I have the peace of mind that my most treasured files are constantly being backed up.

  18. Fred Ni - 8 years ago

    I am using Yahoo Flickr with free 1TB. I don’t see any reason to use iCloud for my photos.

  19. Lesley (@lesnla) - 8 years ago

    Thank you so much for this!

    I have spent hours researching this and deciding and what I came up with is the following issues:
    1) No affordable replacement for Aperture that I know of. My friends who can afford it switched to Lightroom, but that is far more than I need, and I don’t want to pay for it.
    2) All the work one has done creating events and albums? Poof. Gone if you go to iCloud Photo Library. This rather sucks if you put some photos on iPad, and different ones on iPhone- for example, wallpaper. Thus arises the need for a second app for albums management. Blugh.
    3) Nightmare upload time
    4) Large library issues -> creation & management of another Photos library to use with iCloud is most likely no better than the epic and often tragic battles related to iTunes library management. Oh holy horror of external music storage…
    5) If, after one actually accepts all of these issues, one *still* will need a redundant system, so for most of us, external drive storage is not actually going away anyway.

    So I came to the conclusion that this is WAY too much work for me, let alone a non-tech person/senior citizen. It’s been an ever present fantasy (for 15 years now) that Apple would do something about iTunes, and adding another futile fantasy about Photos is a deal breaker. Considerations of alternatives have been abandoned.

    For my class, I am recommending Google Photos for cross compatibility challenges. Seems to be the easiest given the current state of app development.

    • Joshua - 8 years ago

      Lesley, I hadn’t expected to see you comment here, but your use-case scenario stayed with me throughout the reading of an article that seemed to have ignored that use-case scenario.

      I keep trying to say this in a way that is really long-winded, so I’ll just spit it out — for your Seniors, Photos and iCloud Photo Library and Google Photos and Flickr (I don’t think you mentioned it; not sure why) all make great, easy-to-use options.

      I think everyone is vastly overthinking this issue. I have several years of photos in my iDevices and my Mac, but my storage dedicated to them is less than 10g. My parents probably have less. They find Photos easy to use. My mother gets confused about having Google Photos and Flickr to automatically updated her photos, which I try to explain every few month; mostly, she just doesn’t care — so as a pure Apple consumer-user, Apple’s solutions work great for my mother, who, by the way, hasn’t touched a laptop since Dad and I bought her an iPad four or five years ago.

      From the little bit revealed about your use-case from the above article, I’d bet my mom would be a classic case study. The most important thing you teach them is to backup-backup-backup — whether it’s iCloud Library, Google Photos, Flickr (or all three).

  20. Hassle? What hassle? Ive used it for a few months, and its basically requires brainless input. I like it because Facebook and Instagram pull it from the cloud on demand if i want to upload an old photo (I guess theres an API that allows that). I just like having all my photos on demand, and not having to worry about the space constraint on my phone

  21. I use Aperture for all the photos from my big Nikon Camera (RAW) and iCloud Photo Library is used to upload all photos I have shot on my iPad and iPhone and then i have set my mac pro to download all original photos in Photos app on my mac pro. i pay for the 20GB iCloud storage now it’s 50gb.

    I think iCloud Photo Library is meant for those who just shoot photos on the phone and want them on the mac or another idevice that don’t fiddle around with a cable and have easy access to the photos.

  22. Cory Imdieke - 8 years ago

    My photo library is a little over 200GB (migrated from Aperture) mostly RAW files. I’m very happy with iCloud for storage. I didn’t like the idea of Google recompressing my photos, and I really didn’t like having to manually launch the Dropbox app to sync photos I’ve taken on my phone. With iCloud the photos I take from any of my devices just show up in my library without having to think about it. To me it’s the only solution.

    It did take a week or to for everything to upload, and that was annoying. But now that the upload process is complete everything has been extremely smooth, and I love having all my photos on all my devices without needing to think about storage requirements of each device. And if my house burns down my photos are safe in their full resolution.

  23. ericesque - 8 years ago

    At 1.4TB it seems like it’s maybe time to start asking yourself what you are keeping and why. It’s almost like those home organization shows where the host has to drag people’s stuff out on the front lawn and get them to have that come-to-Jesus moment.

    800GB of 38MP raw photos would be about 14,000 pictures. If you have 15 years worth of photos that’s nearly 3 photos for every day.

    I’m not judging here. I’m not even a photographer. I’m certainly not saying you shouldn’t keep all of that. Just offering some food for thought.

    • macnificentseven48 - 8 years ago

      I always shake my head at the 1% user who has these huge libraries and some average service is not suited for them. I wonder who has the time to look at 14,000 photos especially when they’re using so much time to shoot those photos. I would think it’s time for them to get some personal co-location server set up simply to archive photos. Why would a non-professional need to shoot so many photos isn’t my question? Why not set up a personal cloud server NAS if you don’t want to do co-location or use Apple’s marginal iCloud service? I feel certain Apple did not set up iCloud for this sort of use to the point that it would be completely painless. He would have to be a fringe user and is probably asking too much out of Apple’s service.

      • Jeremy Horwitz - 8 years ago

        Likewise, I always shake my head at comments like yours, which conveniently ignore both the specific content of the articles they follow and whatever external references (such as Apple’s marketing materials) they’re discussing.

        Apple’s OS X Photos page ( claims that “with iCloud Photo Library, a lifetime’s worth of photos and videos can be stored in the cloud — so you can access your entire collection from your Mac and iOS devices anytime.” In the end, I’m talking about practical, real-world problems someone would face when syncing a 600GB photo collection to the 1TB iCloud storage service Apple is selling. If you can’t understand why that would be worth discussing — why it’s an issue if someone can’t easily use Apple’s paid service to accomplish exactly what it claims to do, well under the ceiling/storage limit Apple itself has defined — I just don’t get why you’re reading articles on this topic, at all.

    • Jeremy Horwitz - 8 years ago

      I’m keeping over 16 years worth of photos, taken by both my wife and myself, primarily (but not exclusively) of our family, the places we’ve visited, and the things we enjoy. I mentioned early on that I have a “very large” photo library — something I’m aware of, because I personally prioritized high-resolution full frame photography years ago and have since amassed a large collection of very high-quality images. They’re photos I look at when snuggling with my kids on weekend mornings. Photos that help me remember things I’ve seen on trips. Photos that occasionally wind up being extremely important for business. Yeah, those kinds of things.

      The suggestion that you’re not judging (but hey, it’s like hoarding) is pretty transparently untrue, and frankly pretty obnoxious. Storing years worth of family photos on a hard drive isn’t even close to that sort of scenario. Post-physical photo albums, this is already becoming common, and will become so much so over the next 20 years that virtually everyone reading this article is going to have many terabytes worth of videos, photos, and probably other next-gen media formats to worry about keeping for years to come.

      Right now, Apple promises a solution to bring “your entire photo collection,” namely “a lifetime’s worth of photos and videos” into the cloud. It’s not selling (underscore selling) a solution for your “life’s greatest hits” or “a handful of photos.” Rather, Apple says that iCloud Photo Library “gives you access to your entire Mac photo and video library from all your devices.” If you rely upon an iPhone (or, uh, an iPad) to take all of your pictures, cool. I take a lot of pictures using iPhones. But iPhone photography wasn’t a thing for most people until a few years ago. Before then, millions of Mac owners used powerful cameras with more than 8-Megapixel sensors. And believe it or not, they still do.

      Without even getting into the incredible amount of storage space demanded by home videos, I can tell you that what Apple has created is an absolutely inadequate solution for _some people right now._ It lulls people into converting their libraries from Aperture into Photos without disclosing the latter’s issues with referenced content. It sells you “upgraded storage” to hold your library which (if you choose and can fill 1TB) will probably take more days to transfer than the first or maybe second month you’ve paid for. And it offers basically nothing compared with iPhoto and Aperture, except for a streamlined code base for Apple’s programming team.

      I’ve had plenty of time to ask myself what I am keeping and why. This is my personal photo library. I keep the images because they’re important to me. And because I have a lot of great pictures that I get real value out of, all the time. And because I’m not going to throw away years worth of memories to fit some arbitrary cloud storage quota. In light of Aperture’s discontinuation, it’s OS X Photos and iCloud Photo Library that need to grow to fit photographers’ needs, rather than photographers who need to strip back their collections to fit Apple’s needs.

      • stevgrn - 7 years ago

        Jeremy – you completely nailed the issue here. Everyone takes a ton of pictures now, especially people with small children. Apple has no problem putting a 12-megapixel camera with burst mode that also shoots 4K video in everyone’s hands, but then it’s apparently our responsibility to spend hours of our lives cultivating those pictures and videos down to some essential set BEFORE we start using this shiny new cloud service that’s supposed to solve all of our problems. I guess all of the iCloud Photos fans have, since owning a digital camera, gone through their photos at the outset and immediately deleted the ones they didn’t want, but I have to believe that the vast majority of people out there are like you and me.

        Storage is so, so cheap – we know this because other companies are giving tons of it away for free, because our desktops all had a TB years ago before we crippled ourselves with these tiny MacBook SSDs, because (as long as you’re not looking for a Lightning connection) you can pick up several TB on an external for less than $100. The hoarding analogy is ridiculous – you can put a billion digital photos in something the size of a shoebox and still have the neatest house in the world. It’s completely backwards for someone to defend a poorly-conceived service by shaming the disappointed people who would happily be its most grateful paying users – if only it worked.

        A good photo solution would actually help users instead of creating more problems for them. In every other digital realm, we are moving away from pre-organizing everything and toward a save-and-search workflow. We’ve discovered that creating perfect organizing systems take too much time, and search (Spotlight, Google) has gotten so good that pre-organizing is unnecessary. Why should I have to spend any time at all making decisions whether or not to delete family photos? They cost nothing to store, even if the current state of software renders them fairly inaccessible.

        I have to believe that us photo-savers will be rewarded some day in the near future with an amazing app and service that makes everything super-easy for us. It will seamlessly weave beautiful stories out of the countless memories that we refused to callously delete just to make its half-witted predecessors work somewhat properly. Apple’s marketing might have you believe Photos and iCloud are already it, but it definitely isn’t. Google Photos looks like it might be closer, but I’m not willing to make the time investment to find out until people like you are saying we’ve made it.

  24. Jonathan (@Jon889) - 8 years ago

    Yeah these photo syncing services aren’t designed for such massive libraries. They work well for the average user who just wants to take photos on their phone and not have to plug their phone in to view them on their PC. I’m surprised your ISP is happy with you uploading 600GB of data and isn’t charging you for it.

  25. glecko - 8 years ago

    My $.02 … backup your photos to Crash Plan and say good bye to the cloud for photo storage. Yes, it’s not synced and availble on every device, everywhere. As the author notes, no one is really doing that “well” for large libraries of photos.

    For a small library, like the commenters with 23GB/60GB … those are relatively small. I’m well over 200GB and I have had to restore from Crash Plan twice … once when a migration from iPhoto to Photos failed (deleting my whole library) and another when my external drive died.

    Good luck … and there really is no simple solution.

  26. My Photo Library is around 300GB and consists of raw images from my Nikon and anything shot on my iPhones. Videos recorded on camcorders or my wife’s iPhone go directly into Final Cut Pro. That’s how I keep the Photo Library size somewhat manageable.

    That being said, reinstalling OS X or setting up a new computer still kills my 100mbit down/20mbit up business internet connection for at least 2 days and I have to stop and resume often. That’s really been the only pain with Apple’s new Photo Library. Once synced everything is smooth and a pleasure to work with.

  27. taoprophet420 - 8 years ago

    I wish the Photos App for OS X would get yearly feature updates like iPhoto used to.

    • PhilBoogie - 8 years ago

      Since it’d baked into OSX, we can assume this. Though v1.1 in 10.11 GM hardly has new features. Oh yeah, you now can add a location to a photo.

  28. bojennett - 8 years ago

    I know this will inevitably turn into a flame war and then eventually Godwin’s Law will be invoked. But anyway…

    I have tried both Google Photos and iCloud Photo Library. I’m on the 200GB plan. Like the author, I found the Google upload process to be… horrendous. Sooooo manual. Also, like the author, I wasn’t thrilled with merging all my Aperture and iPhoto libraries into one library just to then have them synced. (I had split my iPhoto libraries into different years, and had Aperture libraries for my more “high end” DSLR stuff).

    With both things synced, however, I think iCloud Photo Library is by far and away superior. The mobile app for Google Photos, in my mind, sucks, and I hate that the only interface on a PC/Mac is through a web browser. I simply cannot stand web based software. It is awful. While I haven’t used it in about 2 months now, at the time I was using it, I couldn’t create my own “people”, nor “name” them. And things like “statues” were silly. Like, the Statue of Liberty was in statues, but also monuments, and some statues it couldn’t even find. And then every now and again I’ll get an alert because Google Photos decided to create something on its own and invariably it is something I could care less about. Yet I can’t seem to create my own moments or whatever.

    Certainly, the price for 200GB of photo storage seems a little ridiculous, and Photos is currently missing features that I came to take for granted in iPhoto (like creating custom “events” as opposed to Moments that I have no apparent control over). And it also won’t let me just say “this is a face” when it couldn’t find a face, so some photos are tagged as faces. And going through faces seems slower than it did on iPhoto (but then again, it is now operating on a very large library, whereas before I was repeating the process only on a single year in iPhoto).

    And being totally in the Apple ecosystem, taking a photo on my iPhone and then it just shows up on my Mac (with the original downloaded), and my iPad, is simply awesome. Something Google Photos didn’t do nearly as well.

    I think both these services need radical improvement, and history tends to favor somebody like Google in the services department over Apple. But I think I’m going to be sticking with iCloud Photos.

    • mockery17 - 8 years ago

      You can actually add or remove faces by hitting Cmd-I in the Mac Photos app.

  29. PhilBoogie - 8 years ago

    0) I, too, have been contemplating on using Photos. Ever since it was announced and we got a beta to test, I kept on asking myself if Photos would ‘work out’ for me. What am I supposed to do if they abandon Aperture updates/features? So yes, I looked at other software. Adobe’s Lightroom was the first for me to checkout, but I really can’t stand the program, even though it has almost all of Aperture’s features. Others we ‘nice’ but there was simply no Aperture to be found. In the end, I think it’s best to surrender to the changes Apple makes. These things tend to work out, for me.

    1) I’ve never tried Google. Yes, I am a ‘Google out’ person and somehow don’t trust them with something _this_ personal as photos. Private photos. Not that I think they’ll be viewing them, but the fact that Apple encrypts them, both in transit and on iCloud, makes me choose Apple over Google. Plus they compress them down if they’re over a certain amount of pixels, I believe anything over 16MP. Not that one should use an online service for backup, but…

    2) So I gave iCloud a try, with a small library. The thing that works for me is the one thing I really wanted: access photos in a webbrowser. Why? I want to share them with colleagues at work, and viewing them on a large screen is something where photo’s get to shine. My 4.7” iPhone screen doesn’t cut it. Handy, for sure, but not to show holiday pictures over lunch.

    So I’ve surrendered. Aperture works just fine, but it won’t see features. And the world moves on. Take Apple, with their Live Photos. I won’t be able to view those in Aperture (unless someone creates a plugin for it). So my Mac is happily uploading. I can shut it down if I want to, it’ll pick up again, no worries there. Yes, it takes weeks, but it’s not something that I have to do manually.

    3) Your ≈600GB library taking 44 days leads me to believe you’re on a ≈2Mb/s upload DSL, which is what I have as well. My library is ≈150GB, so I’m looking at around 11 days of uploading. With a MacPro on 24/7 this shouldn’t be a problem. I simply turn off the screen when I’m done using it. A laptop my overcook itself leaving it on. I wouldn’t know, but that’s something I’d be afraid of.

    4) Some things I don’t understand from your story:

    4a) if uploading to Google is slow, and Apple is the same, then these are simply the facts. Nothing to be done about it, no better’ choice to be made

    4b) the upload doesn’t block any of my other upload bandwidth, emails get send through, iMessages with a short video happily fly out, long rants from me get posted on 9to5… I really don’t see the problem here.

    4c) why do you wish for RAW files to be readily available on all devices? If you convert all that to JPG for iCloud, I don’t think you will see any degrade in quality on an iPad or iPhone. The originals will still be on your main OSX machine.

    4d) Referenced libs vs Managed is a subject for discussion, but not in this thread. What surprises me is that you can’t reverse the process of going back to Referenced. When trying things out, I always do it on a copy, not ‘my main’. Of course, with 1.4TB of data this isn’t ‘as easy’, but if you do it on a HDD as opposed to SSD this shouldn’t matter.

    4e) If we take a look at the releases of Aperture updates, they are slower than what we will get if Apple updates Photos with yearly OSX releases:

    Aperture 3.5 – Released on October 22, 2013.
    Aperture 3.0 – Released on February 9, 2010.
    Aperture 2.0 – Released on February 12, 2008.
    Aperture 1.0 – Released on November 30, 2005.

    That’s not to say that OSX Photos is a replacement for Aperture, it’s not. It’s meant for the casual photos, made on an iPhone. It’ll evolve, but it won’t ever become a full blown Aperture cousin.

    • jorheu - 8 years ago

      Google photos is on desktop too

    • Jeremy Horwitz - 8 years ago

      4a) Upload thumbnails first, then full files later on user-set schedule.
      4b) It literally choked my entire network. See linked Apple Discussions page within the article for others reporting the exact same issue.
      4c) I don’t. I pulled the RAW files entirely from the upload. There were zero RAW files being sent to iCloud. The only problem is that I would like to have them in the same library as my JPEGS, but I have no way to tell Photos for OS X to only send JPEGs to iCloud.
      4d) I used a copy of my library, which was 100% referenced. Unfortunately, Photos would only send images to iCloud if they were consolidated within the Photos library.
      4e) Don’t even get me started on this topic.

      • PhilBoogie - 8 years ago

        4b) Strange, as my upload speed gets fully used bij iCPL uploading pics, but when another program, like email with a large attachment, needs to go through as well it ‘simply works’. Meaning the iCPL uploading gets less bandwidth and my email gets send. I’m on DSL (copper) and don’t have a fancy modem. It does have .1q so it can prioritise packages. iCPL is considered ‘normal application traffic’ so only uses what is available. If I were to use a real-time app, like FaceTime, that gets prioritised over iCPL uploading.

        4c) Ok, I missed that part. Good thinking of only uploading JPG, and while I fully understand your wish for one unified Library I guess we all need to have our RAW files in a different Library. I do that, still in Aperture (I love that program, use it 4 times a week for hours on end)

        4d) Ok, a copy, good thinking. Yeah it only works with a managed lib. Aperture wouldn’t upload referenced video’s (I used to have all my photos on SSD, managed, and all videos on HDD, referenced. Worked like a charm, but couldn’t include videos in shared photo streams, which sucked)

        4e) I know. I feel you. I won’t.

  30. This article doesn’t cover any of the features, benefits or drawbacks of using the iCloud Photo Library service. All it covers is how, if you have a much larger library than most people have, the initial setup process is painful.

    I’m a user of the service and can tell you that if you are a multi user household, this probably isn’t for you. Yes, the initial setup of uploading files from multiple computers/devices can take days, even for a smaller number of files, but once that’s done, it’s mostly seamless. You take a picture or video somewhere or import from a digital camera, and voila, the image/video is available to your other devices right away.

    Where the service falls down:

    To use the “Optimize storage” options on your devices means you don’t have access to high res versions of the files until you need them on demand (and not using this feature means you run out of space quickly, even for larger capacity devices). For most photos, this takes a few seconds. So swiping through images means looking at a lot of blurry photos or waiting a few seconds for each to show up in high quality. Not ideal. For videos, it’s worse. Imagine telling someone about a cool video you took, locating it on your phone, pressing play and then waiting 5, 10, 15 or even 20 seconds before it starts to play, depending on the connection. Yes, it can be that bad. Be prepared to make small talk about why they should still be staring at your phone waiting for the video to start instead of moving on to the next topic.

    Where it really falls down is if you are a multi-person household. Family sharing works well for music and apps in this environment, but Photos is left out. My wife and I each have iPhones and iPads and we share a Mac with a Photos library of around 20,000 photos. We have a digital camera we use, and we take photos and videos with our phones. In an ideal world, we’d each have our devices set to optimize storage, and if we import our digital camera photos to Mac OS X Photos, they’d show up in all other devices, and when we take a photo or video, it would instantly be available to all devices. That’s kind of how it works now, but for iCloud Photo Library to work, it has to be set up as the primary iCloud account on the device. So now, my wife’s iCloud account for mail, contacts, calendars, notes and reminders has to be the secondary account and iCloud Photo Library, Find My iPhone and all other iCloud services have to be tied to my account.

    They also got rid of the camera roll, meaning we can’t search through photos and videos taken from our own device. Everything is in an “All Photos” album. And Photos doesn’t sync smart albums to iDevices. And even if it did, you can’t make a smart album that recognizes photos from “Scott’s iPhone” or anything like that. And you can’t sync Faces from Photos and look for specific faces.

    What Apple needs to do is allow family sharing to work with Photos so my wife can have her own phone set up this way and with one checkbox, she joins the family and gets access to my iCloud library and contributes to it. Or they need to allow multiple devices to be part of this system without mashing it all together like everyone in the world is a single person with one Mac and one iPhone. And They need to allow smart albums to sync and also be created on iDevices. And they need to allow photos taken on individual devices to have their own folder/camera roll (and ideally, permissions, in case I don’t want my wife’s iPad screenshots showing up anywhere else, or I don’t want her to have access to my iPhone camera roll, etc.).

    Any initial setup is going to be more complicated than ongoing usage. They do need to improve the import process and speed, but they need to improve the service significantly before it’s usable for what I assume is a large percentage of their users: multi-device families who want to share their photos but have significantly better sorting and organizational options.


  31. Jake Becker - 8 years ago

    I love Photo Library, except that I really want to go into Photos and be able to choose which folder or album syncs cross-device and which just stay in Photo Library. I want to manage my entire library in Photos but I don’t want every little thing to show up on every device all the time.

    • Graham J - 8 years ago

      Exactly! This is one of my main problems with all of these services – they assume you want to upload every single photo you take. I do not. I want to star the ones I like, tag people, add keywords, build smart albums, and only upload the albums I choose. I think I might have to write this service myself.

  32. nonameisme - 8 years ago

    Not sure why Mr. Horowitz would work on his Mater photo Libraries instead of cloning them to other drives and dividing them for his test? Then he doesn’t like the test results then he’s done.

    I’ve been using iCloud Photos for a long time – with about 800GB of photos. I used to use Aperture until Apple announced it’s dead I instantly moved to Lightroom. I do a lot of photography with my DLSR’s shooting only RAW. But I have my devices to use iCloud fully and also to Flickr as a redundant cloud backup so to speak. Those uploads are usually pretty fast even ATT LTE no less. And I have a very fast cable internet download/upload connection at home so it is relatively instant. And in Lightroom I can upload right to Flickr – then download on my iPhone or iPad right from Flickr app which then goes into Photos. All pretty easy. I also have Amazon Prime but don’t use it for photos – shipping only.

    Overall I haven’t had any issues with iCloud Photos. Works very well for me – but yes Apple needs to offer more space for those prices. Also I do wish Apple would allow a setting on the iPhone to shoot in RAW or TIFF. I do use some camera’s app allowing to take TIFF on the iPhone though.

  33. DG Spin - 8 years ago

    I cannot say that it was easy but after a week of uploading, mostly at night, I was able to migrate my 250gb+ library to iCloud. The main reason to migrate was a security one. It was a long process but definitely worth it at the end. I really like the seamless felling you get from all the apple devices, iPhone – macbook – iPad. All photos are available at all times. So do not despair, only requirement is a good internet connection and some patience. Maybe this is the time to start a Meditation practice. Good Luck

  34. Kirby Knight - 8 years ago

    I hate both the Apple and Google approaches. I found both to be a nightmare.

    I decided to use Dropbox for all my photos (as well as other files I want access to anywhere). After a little bit of organizing into folders, everything synced easily between all my devices. As I add new photos, I have them automatically synced with DB from my iPhone and iPad. When I have the chance, I move those new photos into the desired folders. Once they’re secure, I delete the photos from my iDevices, freeing up space on them in the process.

    When I wish to show photos to others from any of my devices, I simply open the DB app, find the right folder, and show the pics I want.

    Yes, I went with a TB of DB storage, at a cost of $99 a year, but it’s the best solution I’ve found, and it’s worth every penny.

  35. jorheu - 8 years ago

    I upload pictures straight from my phone to Google Photos and it’s flawless. I haven’t had a problem with it unless I’m uploading from my computer, that makes my entire internet sluggish.

  36. Isn’t this really just a bad review for your ISP?

    I have a 750GB photo library that I uploaded from on a separate drive. I keep a fully synched version on that drive so I have all the RAW files at home and I turned on library ‘slimming’ on my laptop. I uploaded everything in under week and now I have 40k images (20 shot in RAW) and 1k videos on my phone and laptop. The ability to search them all for location or people is great. The ability to curate and edit them on any device and sync the edits anywhere really fast makes it outright fantastic. Sure, there are some pro features missing at the moment, but with the recent addition of location (which allows you to tag images without GPS data) I am optimistic that the they are working on bringing the important features back.

    • Jeremy Horwitz - 8 years ago

      No, the ISP part is only a fraction of the story. The entire experience going from Aperture->Photos->iCloud sucked. For the sake of brevity, I left out most of the details about how terrible the Aperture to Photos transition was with the large library.

  37. ZS (@RocketsonDeck) - 8 years ago

    Going to a 6s from a Sammy GS6. Have no doubts I’ll still be using the majority of Google’s services, especially Gmail and Photos. If you haven’t used Google Photos, I’d give it a shot. It’s pretty amazing and definitely one of Google’s best products

  38. SkyscrpR (@SkyscrpR) - 8 years ago

    I have a Lightroom CC-Photoshop subscription at 10 EUR/m and
    I use Flickr as a back-up of my Lightroom Lib. 1 TB free, user friendly and pretty good upload with the Flickr uploader Beta.

  39. shawncordell - 8 years ago

    Ugh… Hoarder!!

  40. triankar - 8 years ago

    With the iCloud drive it’s nice to be able to store all your files online. Photos, I’m not sure it’s the killer feature of iCloud drive. The Drive will make the dent when the iOS client allows proper file management, and when the iOS apps get the ability to open a file without having to copy it into their file space.

    The current approach, having your files sprinkled across multiple iOS app folders depending of file type, is prohibitive from organising your work effectively. Unless all your work is under one or maybe two apps.

  41. Graham J - 8 years ago

    You didn’t back up your main library before you started all this? That’s crazy!

    Anyway personally I have no interest in uploading my entire 600GB collection so what I do is star and keyword in Aperture, build smart albums, and upload selected albums to Flickr for sharing with family and friends. I don’t pay a dime for this, my pix are filtered and organized, and no corporations get a complete photo record of the last x years of my life.

    I set my wife up with iCloud Photo Library just to keep her iPhone pix synced with her iPad and I’ve found it to be flaky at best. Same with my mother-in-law with the same setup. I don’t know what they’re doing with that fancy data center of theirs but they better up their game soon. Apple’s cloud services have always been wonky and I’ve seen little evidence of change lately.

    • Jeremy Horwitz - 8 years ago

      I used a copy of the main library, but as noted above, needed to consolidate referenced files for Photos. Yeah, it’s a mess.

      Your solution is a lot better, all things considered.

  42. Joshua Record - 8 years ago

    I use a Synology NAS. Having my own ‘cloud’ is a much better solution than relying on the attempts of others.

    • PhilBoogie - 8 years ago

      …for which you’ll need a fast uplink. Jeremy’s isn’t. Mine isn’t. In the US, the FCC defines “Basic Broadband” as at least 25 down 3 up (Mbit/s). The world is averaging 3.9Mbit/s. Wiki List_of_countries_by_Internet_connection_speeds.

      LOL at your “…the attempts of others”

  43. Drew Post (@drewpost) - 8 years ago

    The big thing people seem to be missing in these comments is that this isn’t primarily a backup service. It’s a tool to keep one single photo library with all of your photos and videos available across all of your apple devices taking into consideration the differing storage capacities between them. The online backup functionality is a lovely bi-product of the library existing in one central online place.

    I have about 800GB of photos AND videos in my library. These span back to 1999. Obviously the amount of photos in recent years exceeds the earlier years. What iCloud photos gives me is an integrated way of having a single library with changes/edits/imports automatically pushed out to all of my devices no matter which one I’m using. ie If I take a picture with my iPhone, then it’s instantly on my iMac, macbook pro and iPad. If I take a picture with my Canon 7D MkII, I import it onto my laptop, do all of my edits and it then uploads and syncs those to all of my devices.

    The fact that I have the ability to recall and photo or video in my library, irrespective of which of my devices I’m using and then being able to send/share/etc that photo or video is HUGE.

    I think the complaint about the storage cap is valid. We’re about to get an iPhone with 4K video. That video takes apx 375 MB/minute – that’s 21.9 GB /hour (375*60)/1024. You don’t have to have a ton of pictures to start pushing these limits – video will get you there even quicker. For people saying that you should just cull your library, I’d ask “why”. I don’t want the memories I keep to be artificially limited by a storage cap. I want to keep what I want!

    I am a big fan of iCloud photo library. It certainly has it’s flaws but on the whole, if you’re in the apple ecosystem, it’s the best system out there and provides heaps of functionality.

  44. Guido - 8 years ago

    Well I went through the upload hassle and, yes, it was painful. I had some 90.000 photos divided over an iPhoto and Aperture library, but you can only upload one of the two to icloud. My attempt to merge both libraries before uploading failed miserably several times, leaving me with corrupted libraries. I did back ups first, so I could put them back in their original state, but it took already a few days of failed merges and copying huge library files back and forth before I could start the actual upload to icloud. I limited the upload to the iPhoto library of about 30.000 photos which took a very long time. I was tempted to give up, but had spent so much time already that I just hung in there.

    Would I do it again. Not sure, but it is so nice to have all those photos available on all my devices. Without icloud I would not have embarked on my current project of putting together a photo book of the best family photos of the last ten years. Yes I can do that on a Mac alone, but you know, I wouldn’t have done it. Being able to to through my 30.000 photos on my iPad in addition to my Mac and select and even edit them on it, makes this project feasible for me.

    For me it worked out ok, but I don’t think I would recommend to others with large libraries.

  45. Matthew Fox - 8 years ago

    did anyone mention that comcast or AT&T might have an issue of you uploading more then 500 gb in one month and charge you an overage?

  46. virtualstorm - 8 years ago

    I totally agree. It seems a half a$$ solution.

  47. Jen Latham (@JenJenMi) - 8 years ago

    I don’t agree at all. My library isn’t as sizeable as yours, but I wouldn’t call it small. Close to 30K of photos, several thousand scanned, and the rest digital (and many thousand recent taken with my iPhone).

    Years ago, I moved off Windows and organization in Adobe Photoshop Elements. I went to iPhoto, and keyword tagged, date/time stamped, face identified, and GPS tagged. My library was wonderfully organized. By syncing via cable, I could perfectly retrieve this organization on the Macbook Pro, my iPhone, or iPad.

    Now down to $2.99/mo, I have the 200GB plan and my library takes up 100GB in iCloud. I migrated to Photos. I can edit or delete from any device and they are always up to date. I am slightly dismayed that the old face tagging isn’t always searchable on the iPhone/iPad, but new organization is coming across properly. (I was also sad they took away the GPS edit features in Photos from iPhoto.)

    It was a little problematic on the initial sync. I found some good workarounds to help the process and documented my experience:

    I’ve tried Google Photos. It has some niceties but other problems. I can’t fix when it miscategorizes things. As I delete and edit photos, it has odd behaviors between deletes and updates that aren’t working well.

    I don’t face the issues of RAW photos and multiple cameras. I only have older scans (and many of them so old they are JPGs because they were done when I couldn’t afford the disk space for TIFF) and iPhone photos (or high quality photos exported to JPG).

    It works wonderfully.

  48. snokiedeath - 8 years ago

    I love iCloud photolibrary! I have a 200 gb library and can access all my photo’s anywhere, all the time. The setup was indeed a bit of a hassle, mostly because of the uploading taking so long. Once I found out this was the case I started feeding it my remaining library in chunks of 10-25 Gb and only before I went to bed. This worked fine! The result is definitely worth it. The usability of being able to access all photo’s is great!
    I haven’t tried Google because I hated Picasa and generally find their app interfaces counterintuitive. I do think the pricing of Apple’s offering is steep, but it’s worth noting that the space you buy can also be used for other stuff. So if you compare to Dropbox’ prices then it’s actually quite cheap.

  49. Jeremy, I understand your situation, my collection is close approaching the 1 TB limit. I was never able to find a good flow for either iCloud or Google Photos. For pretty much the same reasons you listed, I also had bad experiences with Google Photos due to the metadata being ripped from my photos once they got to Google Photos. My workflow that works for me, maybe it will work for you. I have all my photos sit on my Synology NAS, they have a great collection of iOS and Android apps that I can connect and utilize. Photos App on Synology allows me to share my collections with family and friends. All photos are maintained, edited, cataloged, etc through Adobe Lightroom. A secondary backup for my photos from my NAS to Crashplan is also in place. Hope any of this info helps!

  50. Forza World - 8 years ago

    I have a 4GB Library. Going from iPhoto to Photos was as easy as one click, and iCloud Photo Library keeps everything between my phone, mac, macbook and iPad in sync. Its effortless and its how it should have been years ago. My question is, do you seriously need cloud access to TB’s of photos? Just put it on a hard drive. Same kind of people who “need” 20,000 songs in the cloud too, its absurd, just be normal and take whats truly necessary.

  51. Archimo (@archimo) - 8 years ago

    What about Flickr. They have 1TB of storage and an uploader app for Mac.

  52. @iPhoneVeneno - 8 years ago

    Jeremy, have you tried Flickr? It gives you 1TB free and you can organize your library in albums. The only hassle is uploading the photos and organize them, but if you do it 1 day at a time, you will eventually end up with a nice giant photo album.

  53. Chris Hanson (@mdmx716) - 8 years ago

    My iCloud Photo library is 466.76GB currently and I have no issues. Sure, it looks weeks to upload the photos but I have an iMac connected via ethernet cable. I just prevented my PC from sleeping and left it alone to do it’s thing.

  54. Chris Hanson (@mdmx716) - 8 years ago

    I forgot to mention. While uploading my 500GB of photos, it WILL indeed kill your internet connection. If you’re using an ubiquiti router, it’s a simple fix, Enable fq_codel. fq_codel solves the issue with zero effort!

    • PhilBoogie - 8 years ago

      It would seem to me, from reading comments from people in different parts of the world, the ICKI (Internet Connection Killing Issue) is a localised one. Many have it in the US, but the people I talk to over in The Netherlands, Belgium, Germany & France don’t have this problem. A total of 8 people doesn’t make this a fact, but it’s an observation. Fortunately my Internet is simply working, also uploading to other sites, sending email, iMessage et cetera. YMMV

      • Chris Hanson (@mdmx716) - 8 years ago

        Yes Phil, what you’ll experience is that it will consume 100% of your upload bandwidth making everything almost unusable, It’s not just a photos/icloud issue. If you upload to other fast servers just as amazon cloud backups, S3, etc. it will so the same thing. All that’s needed to correct it is a simple QoS policy on your router. Instead of uploading at my capped 6 bit/sec, it’ll upload at 5.5mbit and I don’t notice it at all. Cannot praise fq_codel enough!

  55. John - 8 years ago

    I’m in the UK where I’m currently on a £2.49pm 200GB plan (they skimmed 50p p/m off the old price). I currently use 73Gb of iCloud space for my photos so they’re too big for the 50Gb plan (a 100Gb plan would be great!).

    I like the idea of having all my photos in iCloud so I can easily access them on my Mac and iPhone but I’ve found that even the thumbnails can take up vast amounts of space after a while – Photos was taking nearly 3Gb on my iPhone and would reduce in size. I’m now trying to upload everything to Flickr so I can turn off iCloud photos and reduce my iCloud to the free tier.

  56. Because I also have many RAW files I’m using Lightroom CC (& Photoshop CC) on a monthly basis I tried out to use their cloud service. It is appealing because they also have unlimited upload capacity on Creative Cloud and you will be able to edit even your RAW files from mobile devices. But I also could not use that solution because Adobe is not providing two factor authentication and I have the feeling my photos are not safe on Creative Cloud (remember… Adobe’s service got hacked in the past entirely, but they have not learned).

  57. Jenna Ashley Winder - 8 years ago

    I have been wasting the past week trying to figure this crappy system out so I could free up space on my hard drive. Half of the photos that finally uploaded (lets say 20% of my entire library and after going through in entirety and deleting everything that was not a .jpeg) are now dated/and located incorrectly!! I am so sick of this – back to the external hard drive….. what a waste of my time.

  58. So, Can I upload my RAW files and access them on all devices?
    Currently, I use Aperture and love using RAW with lossless editing.

    I understand RAW takes more space but the point of RAW and Aperture for me is to have all access to image info and ability to update my post processing as I see fit. When I learn a better way to process, and go back and edit previous 4-5 Stars. (i wish there was a better option than just Favorites within Photos)

  59. I am so very glad that you post your findings here. I am in the same boat as yours (approx. same size of library etcetera) but have struggled with finding a decent option for migrating away from Aperture. I did the switch some years back from Lightroom because I wanted the iCloud sharing primarily taking pictures of and for my family. But close to 40% of all images are “professionally edited”, therefore, Aperture was my perfect choice. Now having being axed by Apple, I am worried that one day the app will not work, and I have tried to wrap my head around a way to have a professional tool to work with but still have the iCloud sharing opportunities. And this without having to have several “in between steps” here and there.

    What I am truly missing here is a unified solution where a family can bring and share a lifetime of photos into one coherent hub that offers the opportunity to work with images on a professional level. No such thing exist so far no matter the platform, and I have nightmares about my still growing collection of photos dissolving into a digital oblivion or forcing me to adapt to a lousy time-consuming, expensive workaround…

    • St.G - 7 years ago

      I’m hoping Photos evolves to that point, but I’m not holding my breath. The decision to kill Aperture without providing a new home is just ridiculous.

  60. macbob1240 - 7 years ago

    I hate that I ever turned iCloud on for photos! Response time to do any thing rapidly is completely gone! Want to take a photo for use in the next five minutes? Forget it! Photos have to upload to iCloud , then download a smaller size image to your phone (3-10 minutes), then when you send or do any thing else with it, it has to download again.
    Right now I’m not sure if I would loose my pictures that are there, or I would turn it OFF!

  61. St.G - 7 years ago

    A different use case: Joe Average iPhone Owner, also with a pro-sumer level camera. In the field, I can hook up my camera to my iPad and dump photos into the pile. I’m absolutely loving this service living with it day-to-day, especially after once losing 10 years worth of photos and nearly losing another 5 in yet another hard drive crash. Peace of mind is great. Access across my devices is wonderful. Edits on the iPad sync everywhere else.

    The initial upload of my 30 gigs worth of media took some time, even on my high-end internet connection however I’m the guy to set it to go before I go to bed, and return to it about 20 hours later after work. Once it was all done, the incremental updates to my library are a piece of cake. Between this and iTunes Match, I feel as far as media goes my life has achieved a degree of stability. It’s a pretty package with a bow on it.

  62. Samn Dammett - 7 years ago

    It comes down to money and features for me. My family has tons of photos. We share albums. If you have a wife or girlfriend, maybe kids who all love to photograph and share in each other’s lives (granted you don’t want to share everything with your kids and vice versa, but sometimes one of you took better photos of an event), then Google’s free unlimited storage (and so many gigs of high quality storage if you link to a gold drive account ) is a Godsend. Old photos from computers and cameras past and present? All in the cloud. Some peop,e say just get rid of a ton, but here’s the thing – Google is a better curator than I am. Facial recognition, automatic tags, creating scrapbooks of a particular day – it does it all. Automatically. For free. I open Google photos and get a notification that says, “Hey, remember this day?” And it gives me a little scrapbook of a moment in time that I’d forgotten. A little excursion down memory lane. Do I Want to edit it? Add more photos to that memento? Erase some, replace some? Easily done in minutes. Do I want to free up space on my IPad? Done! Oh, except that I will get a notification from iOS that threatens to “erase photos from all devices”. Gee, thanks, Apple. Thanks for reminding me of the inferiority of your free iCloud service. Fine, you don’t get my pictures. Google Photos has my back anyway. Of course, the free space won’t keep my photos in HD, but I could pay for the upgrade and still get more out of it than iCloud offers. So now our iPads, iPhones and Mac Pro all have Google Photos installed.

  63. Martti O Suomivuori - 7 years ago

    Whichever way you choose, the first thing is to make a backup copy of your functioning library on an external disc.
    It takes a while, to bake, of course, but there is no way you should touch anything that you have up and running unless you have backed it up on a disc image or TimeMachine or something.
    I use Lightroom catalogs to organize my pictures. It is quite a complicated way of doing things but in the end you can manipulate and share your pictures as ‘smart previews’ from two different computers even though your hard disk is not with you.
    Now I am thinking about actually getting a PhotoMechanic to organize the shots as LR is hopelessly clumsy and slow. There is a new light Mac-only app called Lyn also for this purpose but I have no experience of it as yet
    Apple’s new Photo App I only tried first time yesterday. It is light and fast compared to Lightroom but…well…another ball game totally. To port part of my .jpgs to iCloud, why not. I give it a try.