iCloud Photo Library - Large Library questions

Discussion in 'macOS Sierra (10.12)' started by redman042, Sep 21, 2016.

  1. redman042 macrumors 68020

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    Jun 13, 2008
    #1
    So I'm a first-time Mac owner (but have owned iOS devices for years). My family has a large photo library, around 400 GB of photos and videos. We've had iCloud Photo Library (IPL) activated on our iPhones for several years and have a good amount of media there already (around 100 GB each for my wife and I). Now that we have a Mac, I want to go all-in on Apple's photo ecosystem by importing our older photos & videos (at least the best ones out of that additional 400 GB of media) into our iCloud accounts to make the available on all our devices.

    My questions:
    1. With the latest update to Sierra, how reliable is IPL for large libraries now?
    2. I will need to turn "Optimize Storage" on in Sierra (I have a 2016 rMB with a 512 GB drive). How will Time Machine handle photo backups? I don't like the idea of only relying on Apple to do my backups (what if my account gets wiped for some reason). I would like a local backup of everything, including my recent iPhone media that is only in iCloud right now. Is Time Machine smart about this, or do I have to go through a manual "download all" procedure?
    3. When I import our older media into iCloud, I will use my account, but then want to use iCloud Photo Sharing to allow my wife to see them. I've found in the past that I can't reliably share too many photos this way at once - I have to break them up into chunks of 50 or so, or else my phone's photo app hangs. Haven't tried after the recent OS updates. Do others have this same experience? Any suggestions on this workflow?
     
  2. sibcc macrumors member

    sibcc

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    Oct 5, 2015
    Location:
    La Jolla CA
    #2
    I'd be looking at Lightroom for that much data and an onsite backup system.
     
  3. ahostmadsen macrumors 6502a

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    Dec 28, 2009
    #3
    I have an 150Gb icloud photo library. I feel this is one thing Apple has gotten right. While I have not always found Apple cloud services and sync reliable in the past, for me IPL has been super reliable, and quite amazing.

    If you want TM to backup, I'm pretty sure you have to download all pictures, i.e., do not "optimize storage." I don't trust the cloud either, so I want to have local copies and backup. Of course this is easier with 150Gb than 500 Gb.
     
  4. sibcc macrumors member

    sibcc

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    Oct 5, 2015
    Location:
    La Jolla CA
    #4
    Yep, I'm so data paranoid that I can't stand a database system mucking about with my carefully organized files. Sadly, what is made to look easy can cause data loss when something goes wrong. A good example is proprietary backup algorithms that completely fail when one part becomes unreadable. Another, more obvious problem, is the replication of data errors throughout an automated backup scheme. My point is that, aside from the convenience, relying only on iCloud is not a good way to have guaranteed access to your data.

    I also suggest reading Apple's Terms and Conditions to see how well they'll stand behind their system.
     
  5. redman042 thread starter macrumors 68020

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    Jun 13, 2008
    #5
    I will probably pare down the 400 GB to around 150-200 GB of files worth uploading to iCloud. Those I will back up first before importing. The rest (photos I'm less likely to want to view on a regular basis) will stay local and be backed up in two places.

    As for the data already in iCloud only (last two years of photos and videos shot with our iPhones), sounds like I will have to go through some kind of manual download process. Maybe one of our devices has enough onboard storage to allow me to turn off "optimize storage" which downloads everything, then I'll connect to my Mac to back those up, then I'll turn that setting back on again.

    Once I get a local copy of all my current iCloud data (before I add anything more to iCloud), I'll put all that in a local backup folder with a date range on it (ie. "iCloud photos backup 2014-Sept 2016"). Then once every 6 months or so, I'll repeat for just the newer photos in iCloud.

    Hopefully I've thought of everything here. This type of thing requires pre-planning to avoid headaches or "uh-oh's" later.
     
  6. sibcc macrumors member

    sibcc

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    Oct 5, 2015
    Location:
    La Jolla CA
    #6
    You'd be surprised how many people backed up the thumbnails and not the masters when working with DB photo systems. Even a casual glance at the old Iphotos directory structure is enough to scare a lot of people. I like things to be nicely ordered, thus, I like my photos in directories with an easily sortable date using the standard year month day format. I can then add a suitable description or shoot number if needed. I also do not let iTunes muck about in my music directories.

    Oh, and yes, I do know and understand the advantages of databases, but unfortunately a lot of them are simple and are not robust IMHO.

    Good luck and be careful with the data—pictures.
     
  7. ahostmadsen macrumors 6502a

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    Dec 28, 2009
    #7
    One possibility could be to put the IPL on an external large HD. I used to do that with iPhoto -- I'm not sure how well it would work with IPL.
     
  8. FreakinEurekan macrumors 68040

    FreakinEurekan

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    Sep 8, 2011
    Location:
    Eureka Springs, Arkansas
    #8
    Time Machine can't back up what isn't on your computer. I have my iMac set to "Download Originals" so the Time Machine on that computer gets everything, my MacBook is optimized.
     
  9. redman042 thread starter macrumors 68020

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    Jun 13, 2008
    #9
    I'd do that if my Mac were a desktop computer, but it's a MacBook. If I take the laptop out of the house, I don't want to lose the ability to use Photos if I don't take the external drive with me.

    I figured that. Would be nice if Time Machine reached out to the cloud to grab local copies of iCloud photos, but haven't heard anything from Apple about a feature like that.

    I only have a MacBook. No iMac.
     
  10. redman042 thread starter macrumors 68020

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    Jun 13, 2008
    #10
    Just came across this article which seems to answer a lot of my questions:

    http://taoofmac.com/space/blog/2016/09/25/1050

    Unfortunately the news is not good. iCloud Photo Library really needs some more work before we should go and upload several hundred gigabytes of photos to it. I particularly don't like that any exporting from iCloud strips metadata. That is not acceptable.
     
  11. HarryPot macrumors 6502a

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    Sep 5, 2009
    #11
    I have moved my whole library from Aperture. I had around 400GB worth of photos, and reduced it to around 200GB after deleting endless junk I had.

    Photos is not perfect, but for me, it is the best option. I have a dSLR, just for family/friends/hobby reasons, no comercial work.

    What I like about Photos?
    1. It is extremely simple to import photos and keep them organized. I preferred Aperture, but Photos is good enough, and in my opinion, much, much better than other solutions.
    2. All my photos in all my devices.
    3. It is extremely easy to share photos with my family and friends.
    4. I still keep a backup of my photos (masters), but having everything on the cloud gives me an additional peace of mind.
    What I don't like?
    1. Editing is still very far from what Aperture offered, and extensions have not proved to be worth it.
    2. Photos does not work well with referenced files.
    3. Currently in macOS Sierra, it is extremely buggy, to the point it is almost unusable.
    4. No stars system. Like/Love is not enough for me, I would like to give 1-5 stars.
    I would still recommend Photos to anyone, unless you take photos for comercial purposes, I think it offers the best values when you take into account simplicity and ease of use.
     
  12. redman042 thread starter macrumors 68020

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    Jun 13, 2008
    #12
    Do you find the large database bogs down your devices when viewing? That's what my linked article reports.
     
  13. HarryPot macrumors 6502a

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    Sep 5, 2009
    #13
    In my iPad Air (original) and iPhone SE, it works perfectly.

    In my MacBook Pro 15" Late 2011, which works perfectly with the same library in Aperture or Lightroom, it is slow. But it got worse with macOS Sierra. I hope Apple is able to fix this in the upcoming updates.

    I do believe down the road, in maybe 1-2 years, Photos will become a much more better product. Design wise, it is much much better than most other DAM products I have used. I also like its simplicity a lot.
     

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