How does iCloud Photo Library REALLY work?

Discussion in 'iOS 9' started by daijholt, Sep 27, 2015.

  1. daijholt macrumors 65816

    daijholt

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2013
    Location:
    Wales, UK
    #1
    So there's a complete lack of clarity on this topic, but im hoping someone's figured it out in practice.

    Say i have a 16gb device, and 10gb of photos in iCloud Photo Library. I set my new device up and turn on "optimise iPhone storage" in settings.

    Question 1:
    How much storage will that 10gb actually translate to with the optimise option turned on? (Or does it keep as much as it can locally but delete files as necessary to save space)

    Question 2:
    What happens if the device is full even with "optimise iPhone storage" and I try to take a photo or a hefty video? Does it automatically adjust and allow me to take the photo, or am I dead in the water until I delete something myself?

    Any insight is appreciated.
     
  2. ZEEN0j macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2014
    #2
    It will only download the thumbnail when you choose optimize. 20gb of photos was maybe 2gb on my phone if I remember correctly. This increased when I browsed my photos and it downloaded the full version. And all photos I took after also stayed in full quality. I think it starts to delete full photos when you are almost full and replaces them with thumbnails again.
     
  3. gwhizkids macrumors 68020

    gwhizkids

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2013
    #3
    I have to say I dislike Apple's implementation of this. As far as I can tell, there's no way to remove one or more photos from your phone without also having it be deleted from the cloud as well. There are times I'd like to have a fresh start in my phone without losing all the photos I've already taken. Would love to have someone tell me I'm wrong about this...
     
  4. Falcon16 macrumors member

    Falcon16

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2015
    #4
    No you are not wrong. The only way to do this is turn off icloud photo library restore your phone to factory and then sign back in and turn icloud photo library back on. It will download the resized photos that were uploaded.
     
  5. gordon1234 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2010
    #5
    Unless I'm not understanding you…the whole point of Cloud Library is that you have a single unified library that you can access and modify from any device. Same as with iCloud documents, Dropbox, etc.
     
  6. gwhizkids macrumors 68020

    gwhizkids

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2013
    #6
    Yes, but with photos numbering in the 10s of thousands, even the reduced size versions use valuable space on my 16GB phone. I would prefer an option where the photos are in the cloud and I can access them, like files stored remotely, without having vestiges on my device.
     
  7. Falcon16 macrumors member

    Falcon16

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2015
    #7
    There is no way to do that unfortunately with leaving the library turned on. That's what I always advise to buy the largest capacity phone you can afford no expansion on iPhone
     
  8. tejaykay macrumors 6502

    tejaykay

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2008
    Location:
    Edinburgh
    #8
    I have a question which I believe is in the same vein.
    • I have an 86GB OS X Photos library. I am yet to turn on iCloud Photo Library (iCPL) on my Mac.
    • I have about 4GB of photos on my iPhone - where iCPL is switched on.
    • I also have an iPad Air 2 which does not have iCPL switched on, and not many photos as I don't use the camera on it.

    I want to be able to backup my OS X Photos Library to iCPL, but I don't want my iPhone to download all of the photos from the Cloud and fill up the remaining usable space (about 40GB on a 64GB phone). Is this how it works, or will it just download all of the OS X based photos as thumbnails and hence use a significantly smaller amount of space?

    The iPad is also 64GB. I would like to see all my OS X and iPhone photos on it at optimised resolution, but also keen for it not to fill the remaining free space. I just want the condensed, optimised photo library.

    Thanks in advance chaps! Tim
     
  9. Falcon16 macrumors member

    Falcon16

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2015
    #9
    It will upload the os x photos to icpl and then download them as resized images specific to each devices resolution for devices that do not have those photos locally stored.
     
  10. tejaykay macrumors 6502

    tejaykay

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2008
    Location:
    Edinburgh
    #10
    But will it 'optimise' the initial resolution to take up as little space as possible, or as much as possible for better quality photos?

    Thanks
     
  11. Falcon16 macrumors member

    Falcon16

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2015
    #11
    As little place as possible while still looking great on that device.
     
  12. gordon1234 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2010
    #12
    This doesn't appear to be the case. As far as I can tell, iCloud Photo Library has just two sizes: "full resolution", and "thumbnail."

    For instance, on my iPhone, if I find a photo that currently only has a thumbnail, I can tap it and the full version is downloaded. Now, I put my phone in airplane mode, so whatever version is on the device is what it's stuck with. I then use an app that lets me browse locally stored photos and see their actual resolution (Documents 5 in this case, but there are others.) Documents 5 identifies all the photos I've just downloaded as being 8 megapixels in size - in other words, the max resolution of the camera. Repeating for any photo yields the same result. In no case is it downloading anything but the full-resolution original.

    Honestly, this makes sense. If I'm using pinch to zoom or just want to edit the photo, the phone needs the highest resolution version for these things to work properly. Better to control for the number of photos stored locally than for the size of each individual photo.
     
  13. Falcon16 macrumors member

    Falcon16

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2015
    #13
    The thumbnail resolution resizes to the device it's being downloaded to
     
  14. bushido Suspended

    bushido

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2008
    Location:
    Germany
    #14
    i disable iCloud Photo on my iPhone every few months. you will see all the pics it downloaded so i delete those and enable iCloud Photo again. this way i only have thumbnails on the phone until i open some again
     
  15. gordon1234 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2010
    #15
    This shouldn't be necessary. Why are you doing this? Are you running out of space?
     
  16. XTheLancerX macrumors 68000

    XTheLancerX

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2014
    Location:
    NY, USA
    #16
    I agree with you, but iCPL was designed to keep photos in sync, it was not designed to primarily to store photos off of the device (although it does technically do that).

    It should still primarily sync stuff I think, but you should be able to select a bunch of photos and move them completely off the device and onto iCloud only.
     
  17. megalaser macrumors 6502

    megalaser

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2009
    #17
    If it helps I can tell you that I have 42,000 iCloud photo library pics and it's using up about 8GB on my iPhone, this is a combination of mostly optimized thumbnails and whatever photos have been downloaded back to the phone. I also have 'upload to My Photo Stream' enabled although I am not sure if there's any point in having this switched on or if it's causing any space to be wasted.
     
  18. EJ8 macrumors 6502a

    EJ8

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2010
    #18
    No Dropbox is not like iCloud Photo Library. Dropbox and others like Amazon Cloud and Google Photos are true offline storage space. For all your photos. If you delete a photo on your phone Apple will delete it from your iCloud Photo Library. That will not happen if you are using a true offline storage space (Dropbox, Amazon, etc). All iCloud Photo Library does is sync your devices. It's basically useless in my mind.
     
  19. gordon1234 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2010
    #19
    I think you're confused. If I open up the Dropbox app and delete a file, it's gone from my phone, the cloud, my desktop Mac, and any other devices I use Dropbox with. Exactly what happens if I delete a photo in iPhoto Cloud Library.
     
  20. EJ8 macrumors 6502a

    EJ8

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2010
    #20
    No I'm not. Read my post. I said if you delete a picture on your phone it will be deleted from iCloud. This does not happen with Dropbox or any of the others. As it shouldn't. It acts as storage. You can keep all your photos there forever.
     
  21. Che Castro macrumors 603

    Joined:
    May 21, 2009
    #21
    If you shoot a 4K video , when you go iCloud.com on your computer and download the video
    Will it be 4K or does iCloud downgrade the video ?
     
  22. gordon1234 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2010
    #22
    I have no idea what you mean. iCloud is permanent storage. Your files and photos are in the cloud and on any synced devices until you delete them from any device, at which point they are removed from all devices. Dropbox works the same way. If I open the Dropbox photo folder and delete a photo, it's removed everywhere.

    The only thing I can think of that you could be talking about is that Dropbox is not integrated as tightly with your phone's camera roll. Removing a photo from the camera roll won't remove it from Dropbox. This is more due to API limitations than anything, and Dropbox offers a feature that will automatically remove photos from your phone's camera roll when space gets low.

    So yeah, I'm thoroughly confused what you're thinking. All these cloud services have the same approach: your data is in the cloud and can be accessed from any device. What data is local vs remote is largely irrelevant. Apple's solution integrates very tightly with the built-in photos app, as you would expect, while third-parties don't have the same level of seamless access.
     
  23. Merkie macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2008
    #23
    Then don't use iCloud Photo Library? The whole point of iCloud Photo Library is that you have all your photos with you, all the time.

    I'm not following you. iCloud Photo Library is really great in my opinion.
     
  24. Merkie macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2008
    #24
    iCloud isn't supposed to downgrade anything.
     
  25. Statusnone88 macrumors 65816

    Statusnone88

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2010
    Location:
    Orlando, Florida
    #25
    Like others have said, I wish I could offload pictures to iCloud Photo Library. I like how it is now, but would like the option to delete a file off my phones local storage without also deleting it from my cloud storage. I think this is why I have a backup of my stuff in Google Photos as well.

    Technically, if someone rifles through my phone and deletes pictures, because I have it synced to iCloud Photo Library it wouldn't be "saved to the cloud", whereas Google Photos it would.
     

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