Large iCloud Photo Libraries on iPhone

pedz

macrumors regular
Original poster
Jul 2, 2007
186
14
Looking to move from Aperture to Photos. I have about 25,000 photos and videos, curious as to how much space the library would take up on my iPhone in optimized mode. Does anyone have a really large library synced to iCloud? If so how does it translate onto an iPhone in optimized mode? I don't believe there is a way to selectively store things on your phone, it is all or nothing right? I would love to have the whole library on my phone but afraid it will use up all of my storage.

Thanks,
Peter
 

zorinlynx

macrumors 603
May 31, 2007
6,216
9,395
Florida, USA
In my experience iCloud Photo Library in optimized mode keeps about 10GB free. It varies, but I use it heavily and also sync lots of music and have tons of app data on my 64GB phone, and it always seems to have around 10GB free.
 

pedz

macrumors regular
Original poster
Jul 2, 2007
186
14
In my experience iCloud Photo Library in optimized mode keeps about 10GB free. It varies, but I use it heavily and also sync lots of music and have tons of app data on my 64GB phone, and it always seems to have around 10GB free.
Sounds good. Thanks for the reply.
Peter
 

ApfelKuchen

macrumors 68040
Aug 28, 2012
3,805
2,365
Between the coasts
Looking to move from Aperture to Photos. I have about 25,000 photos and videos, curious as to how much space the library would take up on my iPhone in optimized mode. Does anyone have a really large library synced to iCloud? If so how does it translate onto an iPhone in optimized mode? I don't believe there is a way to selectively store things on your phone, it is all or nothing right? I would love to have the whole library on my phone but afraid it will use up all of my storage.

Thanks,
Peter
There's no hard-and-fast answer. With iCloud Photo Library enabled, the library on the iPhone becomes a dynamically-managed cache that takes available storage space into account. The design goal is to make it so that people don't have to actively manage photo storage on their devices (actively managing iCloud storage is another matter ;)).

If you're uploading images from your Mac to iCloud, I'm fairly certain that, initially, only thumbnails will be downloaded to the iPhone - the "optimized resolution" image would only be downloaded when you choose to view an image. If space is tight on the iPhone, then those optimized resolution images may eventually be deleted from the iPhone, leaving behind only the thumbnails (images that have gone un-viewed for the longest time would be the first to be deleted).

Meantime, for images you've taken with the iPhone, the answer is even more complex. If storage space is plentiful, the iPhone may keep the full-resolution images for a while (at a minimum, they have to be retained until they can be uploaded to iCloud, which doesn't take place, at a minimum, until you switch out of the camera app). I don't think they convert from full-resolution to reduced-resolution unless space has to be conserved, as the conversion process burns battery. When space gets really tight, the iPhone may again keep only thumbnails (again, starting with images that have gone un-viewed for the longest time), re-downloading optimized-resolution versions of the images when you choose to view them.
 
Last edited:

zorinlynx

macrumors 603
May 31, 2007
6,216
9,395
Florida, USA
There's no hard-and-fast answer. With iCloud Photo Library enabled, the library on the iPhone becomes a dynamically-managed cache that takes available storage space into account. The design goal is to make it so that people don't have to actively manage photo storage on their devices (actively managing iCloud storage is another matter ;)).

If you're uploading images from your Mac to iCloud, I'm fairly certain that, initially, only thumbnails will be downloaded to the iPhone - the "optimized resolution" image would only be downloaded when you choose to view an image. If space is tight on the iPhone, then those optimized resolution images may eventually be deleted from the iPhone, leaving behind only the thumbnails (images that have gone un-viewed for the longest time would be the first to be deleted).

Meantime, for images you've taken with the iPhone, the answer is even more complex. If storage space is plentiful, the iPhone may keep the full-resolution images for a while (at a minimum, they have to be retained until they can be uploaded to iCloud, which doesn't take place, at a minimum, until you switch out of the camera app). I don't think they convert from full-resolution to reduced-resolution unless space has to be conserved, as the conversion process burns battery. When space gets really tight, the iPhone may again keep only thumbnails (again, starting with images that have gone un-viewed for the longest time), re-downloading optimized-resolution versions of the images when you choose to view them.
This is true; I was only sharing my own experience.

When I turned on iCloud Photo Library with optimize enabled on my 64GB iPad, which had like 50GB free since there's not much on it, it proceeded to download about 40GB of photos overnight, leaving me with that magic 10GB free number I mentioned above.

It's quite nice, because if you have a lot of free space you'll often be able to view 90% of your library in decent quality without requiring downloads.
 

ApfelKuchen

macrumors 68040
Aug 28, 2012
3,805
2,365
Between the coasts
This is true; I was only sharing my own experience.

When I turned on iCloud Photo Library with optimize enabled on my 64GB iPad, which had like 50GB free since there's not much on it, it proceeded to download about 40GB of photos overnight, leaving me with that magic 10GB free number I mentioned above.

It's quite nice, because if you have a lot of free space you'll often be able to view 90% of your library in decent quality without requiring downloads.
Knowing that it did download 40GB of images initially is a very useful bit of info - definitely goes contrary to my understanding (thumbnails-only at first). Thanks for sharing!
 
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