Baffled by family share iCloud and photos


macrumors 6502
Original poster
Jan 13, 2007
I think I'm fairly smart, and I'm in the IT industry in a technical role, but... Seriously, this iCloud storage and family plan and photos business has be absolutely baffled. Here's where I'm at and if any of you guys have a magical solution that isn't a hack, I'd love to hear it:

Home computer: iMac signed in with our main family icloud/appleid account (my wife's). It holds our entire photo album from the past 16 years. I back it up via Time Machine to an SSD weekly.
Wife's iphone: signed in as her icloud/appleid.
My iPhone: signed is as MY icloud/appleid, i am a member of the icloud family with my wife.
Son's iphone: signed in as HIS icloud/appleid, he is a member of the icloud family.

Normally, to make each of our phones' photos join the "giant collection" on our iMac, we plug in our phone and sync them to Photos and then check the box "Delete from phone after uploading". And we're good.

But recently I decided to pony up to the 200Gig or 2TB shared family icloud storage in hopes this would make it so our phones would sync their photos to cloud and those would show up on our computer and we would also be able to see them on our phones even after the sync (unlike our previous method of clearing them off so our phones don't fill up).

That only seems to work for my wife's phone. MY phone I seem to have to plug in and sync the photos to Photos on iMac, and then I have to MANUALLY delete them from my phone, or else the same photos will be taking up iCloud space from my sub-icloud-account in the family, *and* hers! Or I could manually add them to the shared family account but then they'd be reduced resolution!

Seriously, Apple. What's the deal here?
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Reactions: rdav


macrumors 68040
Feb 15, 2008
shared family icloud storage
in fairness to apple, they don't make any representations that shared storage = shared icloud photo library.

would you want to family share your messages? emails? web browsing history? keychain?

would people like apple to improve icloud photos to make it work like you want? yes, i've seen repeated requests for that over the years. will it do what you want right now? no, there's no magical solution.
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