Photos 'Optimised Storage'?

Discussion in 'iOS 8' started by 576316, Mar 28, 2015.

  1. 576316 macrumors 601

    May 19, 2011
    Hello! I've recently been thinking about photo editing in iOS and, more specifically, the use of high resolution files via Photos. I've noticed there's two options when it comes to the new iCloud Photo Library, either you can have your device download a full resolution copy of all of the images in there, or you can have everything stored solely in iCloud and only ever view lower resolution so-called 'optimised' versions of your images. But here's where my confusion starts.

    If you have this optimised storage feature enabled, how then would you access your full resolution files? If you were to 'export' or share a photo (or open it within another app, via Photos) from within Photos, under this setting, would said exported/shared photo be high resolution or would it be this optimised version they speak of?

    If I want to work with high resolution images, is the 'download originals' setting gonna be the only option for me? In which case, would the purchase of a 128GB iPad Air 2 be a necessary investment if I were planning to use it as my primary photo editing device (Sony A6000, SD reader, VSCO Cam)? I'm happy to purchase as much iCloud space as necessary to cover my needs (not really for long term photo storage) but if it's physical storage I'm gonna need, I'd rather know that now.

    Ps. Slightly off topic but related, I have iCloud Photo Library set on both my iPhone and iPad with the optimised feature enabled, yet my iPad is reporting 1.7GB of photos stored physically on my device. Surely this should not be the case if I've told the device to use iCloud as its photo storage?
  2. AustinIllini macrumors demi-god


    Oct 20, 2011
    Austin, TX
    I think the idea is Photo library minimizes the number of high resolution photos on your phone. If you click on one, your phone downloads it. I believe the slider is set to active by default. Every once in a while when I have bad network, this is a bit of a hassle, but I'm only using 900 MB of storage. You may have many more pictures than I do.
  3. gordon1234 macrumors 6502a

    Jun 23, 2010

    A couple points. First, the "optimized" option says it will only use the optimized version if the device is low on space. I'm not sure what sort of internal logic Apple is using for this feature. I have a 128 GB iPhone which has more than enough space for all my photos. With "Optimized" selected, the vast majority of my photos are stored in their full resolution, but some (mostly older ones) are only stored "optimized". There seems to be more to Apple's logic than they're explaining.

    To answer your question about which version is used: it turns out Apple's whole description is pretty misleading. They make it sound like "optimized" stores a version of the photo optimized for the device's screen size. In my experience, this doesn't seem to be how it actually works at all. The "optimized" versions are just very low resolution thumbnails. They look fine in the browser view, but if you actually try to view a photo, they are highly pixelated and not suitable for viewing. When you view a photo, Apple attempts to retrieve the full-resolution version on-the-fly. There will be a little progress bar indicating this in the bottom right corner of the photo.

    So, what happens if Apple can't retrieve this full resolution version? If you're trying to just look at the photo in the Photos app, you get a little exclamation point in the corner and are stuck looking at a small, pixelated version. If you on the other hand try to share a photo and it can't retrieve the full version, it doesn't even let you share it. You just get an error message saying there was an error preparing to share.

    In other words, don't worry about sharing a low quality version. It looks like it is impossible to share anything but the full version of the photo.
  4. 576316 thread starter macrumors 601

    May 19, 2011
    Oh that's great news then! Thanks for your response. Any idea why my iPad is showing 1.7GB of stored photos outside of iCloud storage? Also, although perfectly synced, my iPhone reports to have 1,300 photos in the Photos app, while my iPad claims to have just over 900?? I can't see that any photos are missing, however.

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