All Devices photos - ready for (advanced) prime time?

Discussion in 'iOS 13' started by 537635, Jun 28, 2019.

  1. 537635 macrumors 6502a

    Mar 7, 2009
    Slovenia, EU
    Each year I contemplate moving my photo library to iCloud. Security, privacy being main concerns.

    My main issues are:

    1. How do I "take my photos out" if I decide to leave? This one being like number one. Online services are failing all the time and each time something big goes down I look at my trustworthy Synology NAS and think this is never ever ever going away. Being left with an unusable "library file" or 100.000 weirdly renamed files with EXIF stripped away is a no-no. For now my Apple experience in this regard has been pretty appalling (iTunes libraries, etc.).
    2. How does it handle 300GB amount of photos and videos?
    3. How does face-recog compare to Google Photos? Hope not like Siri.

    My current setup. Pretty bulletproof in my opinion.
    - I use stock camera app, DJI app and Filmic Pro. Try to aggregate everything in camera roll.
    - Google Photos (free tier, compressed) takes care of primary backup. I also mainly use it to browse my photos.
    - Every 6M or so I dump all recent photos to my Synology into the Dropbox folder and it uploads them (originals) to the cloud. They are accessible there, and I have all 300GB of them sorted by years. They also get backuped to external hard drive (two of them, incremental) every 6M.

    Google Photos are nice, but I would prefer to move the browsing experience to Apple Photos. Even when browsing current photos on my Phone it seems much nicer. Still it's just 6 months of photos and everything is on the phone. No idea what will happen if I fill it up with 300GB, most of it being in the cloud.

    I would really appreciate any comments, ideas, experiences how you handle your photo libraries. I always try to compare this to really bullet-proof paper photo albums and for me a digital solution has to be as good as that. In 10, 20, 30 years I want to have absolute access to this data, barring some global cataclysm.
  2. orbital~debris macrumors 6502a


    Mar 3, 2004
    England, UK, Europe
    iCloud settings informs me I have almost 650 GB storage currently allocated to Photos.

    I’ve used iCloud photos for a while now, with no issues. The syncing across my iOS devices and iMac is impeccable.

    I have all bar one devices/computers set to the optimise storage option, so thumbnails only when local storage gets tight.

    For backup, I have a Mac mini (running Photos on High Sierra) set to download all originals to the internal hard disk. This is then periodically cloned to an external drive/backed up via WiFi to an AirPort Time Capsule.
  3. 537635 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Mar 7, 2009
    Slovenia, EU
    Thank you for the info.

    Could you please share how original photos are located inside the library on the mini. Easy to upload to an external drive?
  4. orbital~debris, Jul 30, 2019
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2019

    orbital~debris macrumors 6502a


    Mar 3, 2004
    England, UK, Europe
    You’re welcome.

    I haven’t looked at the internal workings lately, but I’m pretty sure the originals (+ edits) are stored in the standard ‘Photos Library’ inside the Home folder’s ‘Pictures’ folder, using whatever structure Apple have come up with (similar to how it was done in the days of iPhoto).
    (You can inspect the contents of the Photos Library via right-click & “Show Package Contents”, but I don’t mess around with that in case of library corruption).

    I think backup to an external drive could be achieved easily by manually copying the Photos Library package at whatever interval you choose. It might be even easier if a backup app could be pointed at the package and run incremental backups on only the changed data.
  5. MEJHarrison macrumors 65816

    Feb 2, 2009
    I have a number of Apples devices and rely on them (to a degree) for backups. My library is roughly half the size of yours. Everything is full resolution on my iMac and MacBook. So that's two separate systems with the full copies. The cloud of course has full copies as well. My phone and iPad use the optimize storage settings with amazing success (130GB takes less than 7GB on my phone). I also use Time Machine to make regular copies from my iMac. So I feel I'm safe on backups.

    I'm less worried about iCloud going away like so many online services have than about me moving away from Apple. It's Apple. I don't think iCloud is going to shut down business without Apple having a solution in place. The more likely scenario is that I decide to leave Apple. But I've been diligent adding keywords to all my photos. As long as I don't loose metadata, I should be in ok shape there. But it would still suck.

    Can't compare anything I've done to Google Photos as I don't use them.

    I'd say the only major problem I have with photos as of today is that there is still no way to add/modify/remove keywords from iOS/iPadOS. Unless I'm missing something, that must be done on my Mac. And as of iOS 12 (I've yet to test 13), there's still no way to read those keywords from the phone either. That's a huge disappointment as I have an app I'd like to write (for personal use) that needs the keywords.
  6. 537635 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Mar 7, 2009
    Slovenia, EU
    What do you mean by "keywords"? Like image labels?
  7. MEJHarrison, Jul 30, 2019
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2019

    MEJHarrison macrumors 65816

    Feb 2, 2009
    Tags. In Photos, they're called keywords, but I think of them as tags. So if I search for Fred, I can find all photos of Fred. If I search for Fred and Wilma, I can find all the photos that have those two people. If I search for Zoo and Fred, I can find all the photos taken of Fred at the zoo. I know the phone does some of that for you these days with image/facial recognition, but I still prefer setting up my own keywords that are meaningful to me.
  8. Molcroft macrumors newbie


    Feb 13, 2016
    I have around 500 GB of photos and videos in my iCloud library but I also use Google Photos mainly because Photos on iOS is lacking (to my knowledge and as MEJHarrison mentions) the ability to add/change tags/keywords and it lacks the feature to show EXIF information (again in iOS)

    So, I mainly use Photos for recently taken photos and Google Photos when I need to search for a specific photo.

    For me, bottom lime is if Apple adds these two features I’d probably stick to iCloud only!
  9. richpjr macrumors 68040


    May 9, 2006
    Browse around the Apple forums and you'll see lots of people with sync issues (lost files, duplicates, lost edits, etc). Of course, that is the same with Capture One, Lightroom and about every other service that syncs. There is a reason we all back up!

    I don't see where you say what you edit your photos with - the Photos app itself? Or do you do your editing before you import into Photos? One of my big problems with Photos is the editing tools (along with lack of a Windows version). They are fine for very basic edits, but if you use extensions you can only use one per photo as explained by the former lead developer of Aperture in this very excellent article:

    One extension is probably fine for most people but if you like to tweak your pictures it could be a problem. I could live with it.

    I'm going back and forth between using Photos and Lightroom (cloud version, not classic). The big advantage for me for Lightroom is cross platform versions (I have a Mac, Windows PC, 2 iPad Pros and an iPhone) and full cloud backups. I already have the Photography plan and the subscription cost doesn't bother me. I'd have to spend the same amount on extra iCloud storage each month so that evens out (but some people have a very adverse reaction to Adobe's subscriptions). I'm leaning towards Lightroom for use on my PC but haven't decided yet. The backup strategy also needs to be taken into account with both, but I'll likely copy the files onto my NAS (and a clone of it for backups) and import into Lightroom/Photos.
  10. nappes macrumors newbie

    Sep 9, 2016
    Personally, I've been having some issues ~300GB library ~150k photos.

    Sometimes when I take a photo on my iphone xs, it can take ~30 seconds for the photo to appear in the photos app on my phone / for me to be able to see the photo to text it etc. I'm thinking of trying to cull some pics from my icloud library (I have another copy in Gphotos/Gdrive)

    I'm considering doing a reset on my phone, more so now that it seems people above aren't having issues. But I guess my point is I'd be careful and make sure you can back out if you also get issues. I think potentially my photos library database is a bit of a mess since I did multiple merge imports of lots of photos on my mac and not in chronological order
  11. pookitoo macrumors regular


    Apr 16, 2015
    I have 80 GB of photo in iCloud, download in full resolution on iPad Pro and iPhone and dsphoto on my iPhone with backup enable for my Synology (basically this app from Synology take all your photo from your photo app and copy them into the NAS, like that it’s not the the Apple format). And use Lightroom CC for my photo take with my DSLR with photo subscription. I feel safe about my backup ;)
  12. timm1027 macrumors newbie


    Jan 26, 2017
    Mid Ohio Valley
    Hey all. This is my general response after skimming through everything.

    Starting with iPhoto, I created the strategy of segregating years into separate libraries.

    Come Photos with iCloud, and the ease of taking photos, leaving them there, and having them sync everywhere, I wanted a different approach. Especially since I could tap out and see all the years on my iPhone. I got the idea to merge all my previous libraries (already upgraded to Photos libraries from iPhoto) into one master library stored on iCloud. I would open a library, enable iCloud photos, let it upload, then move on to the next one. In this way, all my libraries became unified through iCloud synching.

    I'm not going to lie … this created a cluster****. Saving and accessing photos on my phone was fine, but I couldn't use the library on my Mac. It would freeze and stutter and take ages to load anything. It actually kept me from sharing photos from a trip to Switzerland! It was so demotivating I ignored it for a month or two.

    Finally I deleted the local merged library, leaving everything in iCloud. Then I let it download a brand new unified library to my Mac. Then I repaired* that library, and everything has been working since.

    In fact, yesterday I began going through my earliest photos to organize them and add geo-tagging. I was flying through with only a few hiccups. My library totals 433GB on iCloud with about 80k in photos and videos. Once I get a drone I expect to be using tons more videos with it, and intend to expand to working with Pixelmator Pro and Lightroom for editing as well.

    So it does work. But it may take some troubleshooting if you encounter bugs. Just do your diligence in setting it all up correctly and patiently the first time.

    Keep in mind, I feel the iCloud Photos solution is best for a momentos or keepsakes-oriented approach. If you're editing photo projects professionally and don't care about looking back on old times, a more traditional setup will probably be better. For example as I get into drone and video editing, I'll still have projects outside Photos. But whatever good moments and shots I have, I'll add to photos in order to have that memory with me wherever I go.

    *I feel like it would've made more sense for me to repair the library I already had, but I'm pretty sure the newly downloaded library had similar issues, until I repaired it. Either way, if you've got issues, I highly recommend repairing your library on the Mac side. If you ever experience a crash of your Photos library, whether due to a Photos bug or your Mac losing power while it's open for example, I would recommend repairing the library for good measure. Any time I interrupted the library's initial download and setup, it didn't end well. I had to let it do its thing, then really take care of it since.

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11 June 28, 2019