How to Use iCloud Photo Library in Photos to Sync Pictures Between Devices

MacRumors

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Original poster
Apr 12, 2001
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iCloud Photo Library was introduced with iOS 8, but with the launch of the Photos for OS X app, it's now available on the Mac. In a nutshell, iCloud Photo Library is Apple's newest photo service that lets you sync all of your images across all your devices and to iCloud.


iCloud Photo Library supports several photo and video formats, storing photos in their original format, and it makes all of your media available on any device that has iCloud Photo Library turned on. This how-to will walk you through how to turn iCloud Photo Library on for each of your devices and how to minimize the space your photos take up on each device.

Tips Before Getting Started

In order to fully take advantage of iCloud Photo Library, you should turn it on for multiple computers, if necessary, as well as your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch. It is compatible with iOS 8.3 or later and OS X Yosemite 10.10.3 or later.

You must be connected to the Internet via Wi-Fi in order to begin the iCloud Photo Library upload process. Additionally, your device batteries must be fully charged, or at least connected to a power source.

Apple provides 5GB of iCloud storage for free. It is highly likely you will need more than that to store all of your pictures and videos. If you go over the 5GB limit, Apple will prompt you to upgrade to a larger storage capacity before continuing. iCloud storage starts at $0.99 per month for 20 GB of storage. The 200GB storage plan costs $3.99 per month, while the 500GB plan costs $9.99 per month and the 1TB plan costs $19.99 per month.

Be sure that all devices you wish to sync photos and videos on are signed in using the same Apple ID.


Click here to read more...

Article Link: How to Use iCloud Photo Library in Photos to Sync Pictures Between Devices
 

2457282

Suspended
Dec 6, 2012
3,327
3,014
I am liking this new app over iphotos. It is not as powerful as aperature, but it has enough for the basic stuff that i use most of the time. for pros this is not the tool for sure. Having said that, for the non-pros there are still features I would love to see added --

1. photo de-duplication (at a minimum identify photos with the same file name)

2. option to forget multiple faces at a time (i am struggling with this one face at a time approach when I have 15000 photos with multiple faces that I do not want to tag)

3. geo-tagging (not as important these days since most photos are auto geo tagged when the picture is taken, but should not be left out)

4. ways to automatically share accross accounts not just devices (my wife and i have seperate accounts and can auto share apps and music, but not photos)
 

seamer

macrumors 6502
Jul 24, 2009
426
164
Can this be achieved if you're using a Family plan (two adults and a child) so all three IDs under the plan consolidate photos to within one paid icloud plan?
 

extricated

macrumors 6502
Jul 14, 2011
438
55
Arkansas
iCloud Photo Library Kills Internet for Some Users

I wanted to warn our forum members of an isolated, but significant, bug that I (and some others) encountered.
When I started the upload process, my Internet died and would not respond until I reset my modem. It only took a couple of times for me to link this problem to my new iCloud/Photo settings.
And, no, it has nothing to do with my upload speed or internet connection.

I found a post in Apple Support Communities that speaks to this and one of the users offered a workaround.
Definitely worth visiting if you run into this issue and can't figure out what the heck is going on! It was maddening for me (still is, honestly).

Walt Mossberg ran into the exact same bug, detailed in his Photos review. Comments about the bug are near the end, under the section on iCloud Photo Library.
 

KingZorb

macrumors newbie
May 9, 2011
21
3
I've gotten almost all of my 21,000 family photos uploaded to my iCloud library. It's taken several days and many stops & restarts of the photo app. It appears to go unresponsive after a while and sometimes needs to be force-quit. Once restarted, it picks up nicely where it left off.

My iPhone 6 displays the 13 years worth of photos very nicely. I can scroll through them amazingly fast and select a thumbnail version very quickly. Once I request a bigger version, the photo is downloaded. I'm very happy with how this works.

However, on my iPad mini (v2) the photo app is much more unstable. It doesn't take more than a few scrolls and picture selections to make it become unstable and crash. Once crashed, it needs to rebuild the large table of thumbnails for all 13 years. This is very annoying.
 

dancochran

macrumors newbie
Apr 27, 2011
16
1
Can this be achieved if you're using a Family plan (two adults and a child) so all three IDs under the plan consolidate photos to within one paid icloud plan?
This isn't possible given Apple's current implementation of "Family Plans". My wife and I would like to share all our photos in my 200 GB iCloud Photo Library. But since she has her own Apple Id for mail, contacts, calendars, etc, this can't happen. You can "share" photos with any family and friends but you have to select them manually and place them in a "shared" album.

Basically, Apple needs to change things to allow family members with their own Apple Id's to share my iCloud Photo Library seamlessly.

Someone correct me if I'm wrong...
 

gorbok

macrumors member
Sep 11, 2004
56
0
Auckland, New Zealand
Can this be achieved if you're using a Family plan (two adults and a child) so all three IDs under the plan consolidate photos to within one paid icloud plan?
That would be the obvious implementation of the Family scheme, and one that many people are calling for. I'd say Apple are considering it, but iCloud has always been so buggy, and they have only just got it working how it should have when it was first released, so combining photo libraries is probably too difficult to implement at this time.
 

rkRusty

macrumors member
Sep 6, 2014
49
250
UK
Can this be achieved if you're using a Family plan (two adults and a child) so all three IDs under the plan consolidate photos to within one paid icloud plan?
No.

You cannot consolidate photos into one plan that is then shared by everybody who joins. You can only share individual photos by either right-clicking an image in Photos for OS X, hovering over 'share', selecting 'iCloud photo sharing' and adding it to your Family, or by selecting 'iCloud photo sharing' under the share button on images in iOS. As yet, there is no other way to allow all members of your Family plan to view your photos.

Ridiculous really. Apple seem unaware of what the term 'family' means.
 

elmateo487

macrumors 6502a
Jun 12, 2008
707
328
This isn't possible given Apple's current implementation of "Family Plans". My wife and I would like to share all our photos in my 200 GB iCloud Photo Library. But since she has her own Apple Id for mail, contacts, calendars, etc, this can't happen. You can "share" photos with any family and friends but you have to select them manually and place them in a "shared" album.

Basically, Apple needs to change things to allow family members with their own Apple Id's to share my iCloud Photo Library seamlessly.

Someone correct me if I'm wrong...
Agreed. This is BADLY needed.

Also. An "Edit In.." mechanism to edit a photo inside of Pixelmator or something and upon save or exit that photo being saved in Photos.
 

SteveW928

macrumors 68000
May 28, 2010
1,640
1,204
Victoria, B.C. Canada
This isn't possible given Apple's current implementation of "Family Plans". My wife and I would like to share all our photos in my 200 GB iCloud Photo Library. But since she has her own Apple Id for mail, contacts, calendars, etc, this can't happen. You can "share" photos with any family and friends but you have to select them manually and place them in a "shared" album.

Basically, Apple needs to change things to allow family members with their own Apple Id's to share my iCloud Photo Library seamlessly.

Someone correct me if I'm wrong...
Yes, a very obvious oversight. Simple features are missing too. It's another example of a v1 Apple software... which usually means it's kind of in beta for the next couple of years until they get around to adding just the minimal obvious stuff.

Another thing that isn't implemented well is how much of the library to download... I don't want to fill up my device, leaving just a bit of operating space. I'd like to have all the thumbnails available and only DL the ones I indicate or need to work on.

(That said, Apple isn't the only one that doesn't think this stuff through. I was excited about Dropbox until I realized it includes EVERY graphic, including the zillions of graphics I use as a website designer.)

How about someone make a shared photo app where they put more than 15 minutes into the planning? Sheesh!
 
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theBB

macrumors 68020
Jan 3, 2006
2,453
3
I wanted to warn our forum members of an isolated, but significant, bug that I (and some others) encountered.
When I started the upload process, my Internet died and would not respond until I reset my modem.
There are a lot of routers and cable/DSL modems out there that seem to work fine under intermittent loads, but hang when there is a sustained amount of networking traffic. It may have nothing to do with Photos, just the rare use case scenario of uploading so much data at a high sustained rate over hours and even days. I bet most people were never stressing their routers and modems in the upload direction until they had to do their first Photos on Mac sync.

----------

I've gotten almost all of my 21,000 family photos uploaded to my iCloud library. It's taken several days and many stops & restarts of the photo app. It appears to go unresponsive after a while and sometimes needs to be force-quit. Once restarted, it picks up nicely where it left off.
Photos only tell you how many items are left to upload. Unfortunately, videos take far more time to upload while pictures sync in a matter of seconds. It sometimes seems like the upload is stuck for an hour or more when it gets to a video in the chronological order, but it is simply due to a 3 minute 400MB video that takes hours to sync. (At 1Mbps sustained upload rate would require almost an hour to upload. Many people in the US get less than that rate in real life.) Of course, if your broadband provider conks out with your upload amount, your upload rate may go down even further for some time.
 

Marvin1379

macrumors 6502
Jun 25, 2007
336
1
New York
Having said that, for the non-pros there are still features I would love to see added --

1. photo de-duplication (at a minimum identify photos with the same file name)
I have iCloud Photo Library on my iPhone and iPad. I haven't yet found my external hard five of the bulk of my photos. If I understand the above post, any duplicates will in fact show two photos? I had hoped that it would be smarter!
 

theBB

macrumors 68020
Jan 3, 2006
2,453
3
Another thing that isn't implemented well is how much of the library to download... I don't want to fill up my device, leaving just a bit of operating space. I'd like to have all the thumbnails available and only DL the ones I indicate or need to work on.
Isn't it better that the app automatically removes the full size photos when you need space and redownloads them if you need to actually view them? Do you really want to keep track of what to remove and what to keep manually for the rest of your life?
 

cameronjpu

macrumors 65816
Aug 24, 2007
1,292
65
I think what the original poster is saying is that it would be very nice to have the option to say "I would like no more than 4 GB used by the library".
 

H3LL5P4WN

macrumors 68020
Jun 19, 2010
2,478
2,679
Pittsburgh PA
It'd be nice if this article had told me how to get this to work on my PC.

iCloud Phototream hasn't worked on my PC since somewhere around October 2013, and it's one of the main reasons I want to ditch iOS for Android.
 

theBB

macrumors 68020
Jan 3, 2006
2,453
3
option to forget multiple faces at a time (i am struggling with this one face at a time approach when I have 15000 photos with multiple faces that I do not want to tag)
Identifying one face at a time is extremely user hostile. I cannot believe they are not letting me select multiple pictures to identify at once.

In any case, I am surprised that Photos is no better at identifying people than iPhoto some years ago. Some of these faces are from a sequence of images taken moments apart, same clothes, same people, same placement in a group... Identifying one should be enough of a teaching experience. It was exciting when this feature first came out, but I feel underwhelmed now.

3. geo-tagging (not as important these days since most photos are auto geo tagged when the picture is taken, but should not be left out)
I hardly ever use it, but it still bothers me that it is missing.

4. ways to automatically share accross accounts not just devices (my wife and i have seperate accounts and can auto share apps and music, but not photos)
This is probably "coming soon", but it's a bit of a mixed bag. When that day comes, I will have a lot more duplicates to worry about. :)
 

paulfnyc

macrumors newbie
Feb 28, 2012
5
0
But what if you don't want to use your iCloud storage for photos? My photo library is HUGE. I'm quite happy with it on my Mac Mini that is backed up on Time Machine. But how do I sync now? I seem to have mixed results with photos automatically syncing over wifi. Sometimes they appear in one album or another or both! And when I do connect my iPhone, I have to import them again in order to clear down my iPhone, creating duplicates that have to be manually deleted. Am I missing something or is this how it works now? Previous photo stream implementation worked quite well. Frustrated as I take lots of photos with my devices.
 

jnjbrewer

macrumors newbie
Apr 28, 2015
7
5
Photo sharing for our family in 10 (easy) steps

Long time reader, first time caller...

I waited a while before pulling the trigger on photo sharing because my wife has an iPhone with a separate iCloud account that is different than mine for contacts, etc.

This might be obvious to everyone but me, but I just realized how to do it this last week in a way that works for us, so maybe it will be helpful for you.

Here is how we achieved sharing one photo library between two phones in 10 easy steps:
1. Backup phones to the mac.
2. remove the secondary phone from their iCloud account (in this case, my wife's phone) and have contacts,etc deleted so that duplicates don't appear.
3. On the mac, make sure the primary iCloud account is active.
4. Turn on photo sharing on the mac
5. Add the primary iCloud account to the secondary iPhone and enable photo sharing BUT disable Mail, contacts, reminders, etc. (VERY IMPORTANT)
6. AGAIN, VERY IMPORTANT: Make sure that contacts are disabled so that your wife doesn't flip her lid when she realizes you filled her perfectly manicured contacts with your messy, duplicate-laden contacts.
7. Turn on photo sharing on the secondary iPhone.
8. on the secondary iPhone, under mail, contacts, etc. make sure all other email accounts are inactive or deleted.
9. On the secondary iPhone add secondary iCloud account for mail, contacts, calendars, etc...
10. Wait for fifteen years for your 19,500 photos to upload into the cloud and download onto the phone(s).

This worked for us and enables us to share photos between phones, have them automatically upload/download, and each have our own contacts and mail accounts.
 

iMerik

macrumors 6502a
May 3, 2011
581
354
Upper Midwest
So I guess my wife and I will just continue manually uploading our photos to a single Photo library on our Mac. If only there was a family solutions... we just aren't interested in maintaining separate libraries of photos, music, and videos.

Edit: Wait, maybe I'll give jnjbrewer's steps a shot.

----------

Long time reader, first time caller...

I waited a while before pulling the trigger on photo sharing because my wife has an iPhone with a separate iCloud account that is different than mine for contacts, etc.

This might be obvious to everyone but me, but I just realized how to do it this last week in a way that works for us, so maybe it will be helpful for you.

Here is how we achieved sharing one photo library between two phones in 10 easy steps:
1. Backup phones to the mac.
2. remove the secondary phone from their iCloud account (in this case, my wife's phone) and have contacts,etc deleted so that duplicates don't appear.
3. On the mac, make sure the primary iCloud account is active.
4. Turn on photo sharing on the mac
5. Add the primary iCloud account to the secondary iPhone and enable photo sharing BUT disable Mail, contacts, reminders, etc. (VERY IMPORTANT)
6. AGAIN, VERY IMPORTANT: Make sure that contacts are disabled so that your wife doesn't flip her lid when she realizes you filled her perfectly manicured contacts with your messy, duplicate-laden contacts.
7. Turn on photo sharing on the secondary iPhone.
8. on the secondary iPhone, under mail, contacts, etc. make sure all other email accounts are inactive or deleted.
9. On the secondary iPhone add secondary iCloud account for mail, contacts, calendars, etc...
10. Wait for fifteen years for your 19,500 photos to upload into the cloud and download onto the phone(s).

This worked for us and enables us to share photos between phones, have them automatically upload/download, and each have our own contacts and mail accounts.
Can you just leave the secondary / wife's iCloud account set up on the secondary / wife's iPhone but just disable Photos? Then set up the primary / husband's iCloud account on the secondary / wife's iPhone and only enable Photos: iCloud Photo Library?
 

extricated

macrumors 6502
Jul 14, 2011
438
55
Arkansas
There are a lot of routers and cable/DSL modems out there that seem to work fine under intermittent loads, but hang when there is a sustained amount of networking traffic. It may have nothing to do with Photos, just the rare use case scenario of uploading so much data at a high sustained rate over hours and even days. I bet most people were never stressing their routers and modems in the upload direction until they had to do their first Photos on Mac sync.

I agree with what you're saying, but this bug is different. As soon as Photos is launched, Internet crashes. When it happened the first time, I called my ISP. They saw that I had no connection, but couldn't figure out why.
The link I posted from Apple Support talks about this in depth. There were a few heated discussions as folks were trying to narrow down the causes. Haha
That said, I would be curious as to whether certain modems are part of the issue here.
 

avanpelt

macrumors 68030
Jun 2, 2010
2,917
3,674
I finally got nearly 16,000 photos and almost 400 videos uploaded to iCloud. My biggest gripe with the process has nothing to do with Apple but rather with my ISP (Charter). Charter is absolutely insane for offering a 100 Mbps down plan with only 5 Mbps up. Charter's internet plans are stuck in 2007 when people didn't upload anything to the Cloud. Times have changed and Charter needs to get with it.
 

avanpelt

macrumors 68030
Jun 2, 2010
2,917
3,674
I agree with what you're saying, but this bug is different. As soon as Photos is launched, Internet crashes. When it happened the first time, I called my ISP. They saw that I had no connection, but couldn't figure out why.
The link I posted from Apple Support talks about this in depth. There were a few heated discussions as folks were trying to narrow down the causes. Haha
That said, I would be curious as to whether certain modems are part of the issue here.
Do you have Charter? I had this same problem while uploads to iCloud were in progress. I suspect that the problem in my case was caused by the fact that Charter caps the upstream speed at 5 Mbps on my 100 Mbps downstream connection.

When the iCloud Photo upload was going, it was completely saturating my upstream connection to the point that the connection was almost unusable. I let it run during the night and paused it during the day while I worked from home for this reason. When I paused the iCloud upload, the connection returned to normal instantly.

The internet is a two-way street -- which the folks at Charter obviously don't understand. If you have 100 Mbps down, it's worthless with a 5 Mbps upstream connection if you're uploading large amounts of data unless you're doing some serious QoS on your router. In my case, I'm using an Airport Extreme so QoS is not an option.

I will say that when I had Comcast before I moved, I had a 105 Mbps down and 20 Mbps up connection using the same Airport Extreme router and I had no issues with uploads killing the connection. My modem has changed because Charter forced one of their Arris DOCSIS 3 modems on me when I signed up for their service. They wouldn't allow me to bring my own, perfectly functional DOCSIS 3 modem that I had used with Comcast with no problems. That's just Charter's policy to require that you use the modem they give you.

Can you tell that I'm not a fan of Charter? :)
 

dancochran

macrumors newbie
Apr 27, 2011
16
1
Another quirk about Apple's 1st generation Photo Cloud Library. It's not yet accessible on your Apple TV! Combined with no true "family sharing" a couple of big holes to fill.