migrating large folder-based photo library to iCloud Photo Library

Discussion in 'Apple Music, Apple Pay, iCloud, Apple Services' started by btownguy, Oct 30, 2017.

  1. btownguy macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2009
    #1
    I currently have about a 150 GB photo library stored on disk in a file structure such as:

    • Pictures
      • 2001
        • Christmas
        • Thanksgiving
        • Beach Vacation
        • That Race I Did
      • 2002
        • Christmas
        • Thanksgiving
        • Disney Trip
      • 2003
        • You get the picture
    They may go one more level deeper for certain events, but not much deeper than that.

    I'm considering moving everything to iCloud Photo Library but my OCD is making it hard to give up the folder structure. My impression of iCloud Photo Library is that it is one huge container in which every single one of my photos goes. If I want any type of structure, I then create Albums and photos can live within multiple Albums if desired (not desired btw).

    Does anyone have any hints/tips/assurances that can help me embrace going whole-hog with iCloud Photo Library?
     
  2. kylew1212 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2017
    Location:
    Huntsville, AL
    #2
    I have a structure like you mentioned replicated in my iCloud photo album.

    You can create folders and albums.
    Albums contain only photos or videos.
    Folders contain more folders and albums.

    The easiest way to replicate your setup is to create a folder called <year>. Open the year folder and then create an album for the event that occurred that year. Drag all your photos (select all is a game changer) from the on disk folder album to the iCloud photos album. Repeat process until you're done. If the year contains more events then continue creating albums inside the year folder until you've added all of the events.
    • Folder <year>
      • Album <event>
      • Album <event>
      • So on
    • Folder <year>


    I hope my write up explains how to solve your question. It is possible to do what you're describing!
     
  3. btownguy thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2009
    #3
    Yep, that absolutely explains it and that's what I've settled on. I'm in the process of importing everything in (18 years worth of pics in this structure) and it's going very well. My only concern at this point is if I ever want to migrate away from "Photos" it will be difficult to get everything back out into a folder structure. Unless there's a good way to export albums as folders that I'm not aware of.
     
  4. kylew1212 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2017
    Location:
    Huntsville, AL
    #4
    You can always select all in each album then export it. Rearrange it on the file system as you see fit. Basically the reverse of what you're doing to import.

    However I've been very happy with the photos program and am not anticipating the need to change for hopefully many years.
     
  5. btownguy thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2009
    #5
    Just an update that I finally got everything into Photos. Ended up being about 150 GB of data. Everything is working perfectly now though and I have my folder structure just as I want it. I'm very pleased with the outcome. I also have a smart album on my Mac that shows me all photos not currently in any album. Periodically I will put EVERY picture into an album (analogous to a folder for me) so that the goal is to have no photos show up in the smart album.
     
  6. kylew1212 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2017
    Location:
    Huntsville, AL
    #6

    The smart albums are pretty cool. I try to geotag all of my photos and so I have a smart album that detects if geolocation is missing. If I do it soon enough after taking the picture I can always add the location. Then years from now I will know where the photo was taken.
     

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5 October 30, 2017