Transferring iCloud Photo Library to a new Apple ID

Discussion in 'Apple Music, Apple Pay, iCloud, Apple Services' started by Daranx, Oct 26, 2016.

  1. Daranx macrumors regular

    Daranx

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2016
    Location:
    London
    #1
    I've searched a lot when I was contemplating creating a new Apple ID on how I could transfer all my data from one account to another. I have around 35,000 photos on my original iCloud account and found a neat way to transfer them all, as is, to a new iCloud account.

    First, you will need to be logged into your Mac with your original iCloud account. In the Photos.app, you should have your full library downloaded to this Mac (not optimised Mac storage option). If it isn't fully downloaded, then wait until it is before proceeding.

    This will leave you with a complete local backup of your photos on your hard drive, usually stored in your $User$>Pictures folder.

    Close
    Now sign out of your iCloud account under Settings > iCloud (bottom left option). Keep in mind that by turning off iCloud will affect other iCloud services such as iCloud Drive, notes, reminders etc, so make sure those are backed up/transferred before you do this. I'm just focussing on photos for now, but if anyone needs help with those other features then let me know.

    Now sign into your new iCloud account (the one where you want the photos to be transferred to).

    Open up Photo.app. You should see all your photos and albums as you left it. If not, then close Photos and [Option]+click the Photos.app icon to select the library if you have it saved elsewhere.

    Now for the lengthy part - uploading all your photos to the new iCloud account. Once that's done (many many years later), you should be left with the exact same photo library as your previous account.

    Done!

    -----

    The alternatives I almost tried (and glad I didn't) were to export all the photos and videos and then import them to the new account. I tried a few photos but found that not all the meta data was being preserved and you only get the option to keep edited files or their originals, without the option to roll-back. This would have been a NIGHTMARE to manage for 30,000+ photos!

    The other alternative was to buy a license for PowerPhotos and have it copy the library to another account. Same drawbacks in terms of only being able to store edited files OR originals, and burst photos were not preserved amongst other things. Not to mention the license for the full version was coming up to $30 or so.

    End of the day, I think my method above is the best despite it taking days/weeks/months to complete and hope that it helps someone else. With Apple's restrictions on changing apple ID's, merging ID's, you needn't worry about transferring photos from one account to another.

    Any questions, please ask!
     
  2. robertk328 macrumors regular

    robertk328

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2010
    #2
    by upload your photos, did you mean enable iCloud photo library for the new account and let them sync?
     
  3. Daranx thread starter macrumors regular

    Daranx

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2016
    Location:
    London
    #3
    Yes that's right, it'll upload all the photos stored in your local copy of Photos Library to the newly enabled iCloud account, or merge them if there are already photos in the new account. I forgot to mention that you need to enable iCloud Photo Library under iCloud in System Settings before it'll sync.

    I used to think that the Photo Library stored on the local drive was 'linked' to the iCloud account it was created with, but that's not the case. This may be a security/privacy issue for those who save their photo library on an unencrypted drive as anyone can plug it into their Mac and sync it with a new iCloud account.
     
  4. Daranx thread starter macrumors regular

    Daranx

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2016
    Location:
    London
    #4
    UPDATE: It turns out that albums and folder data isn't transferred, but every single photo, video and 'items' will be synced to the new account. Might be a pain to re-create your albums and organise photos but it's a darn easier solution to anything else if you're in the same boat.
     
  5. robertk328 macrumors regular

    robertk328

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2010
    #5
    That's good to know - thank you! I do have some albums I would like to keep but maybe I can at least do it on my laptop vs on my phone.
     
  6. Tmvineyard2 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2017
    #6
    --- Post Merged, Aug 14, 2017 ---
    is this still the best way ?
     
  7. iso667 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2016
    #7
    Hi,

    I don't know why do you want to create a new Apple ID. Several months ago I had to change my e-mail address and I Updated my Apple ID to the new address with no problem.

    I mean, you can do several things before doing this...

    Maybe your problem is that you were sharing this ID and want two identical copies of the iCloud Photo Library?

    Anyway, another way to do it could be:

    - Download a local copy of the iCloud Photo Library to your Mac. If you have the "opitimize storage" option marked, you have to do this step, if not, you can avoid it.
    - Copy this "Photo Library" to an external drive or to a shared folder on the Mac.
    - Log in to the Mac with (or create) a new user and log in this user with the new Apple ID.
    - Copy your Photo Library on the correct folder or open it from it's current location.
    - Make this Photo Library your "system library" and enable iCloud Photo Library.

    All your pictures will upload to iCloud on this new Apple ID. If you already have some pictures, them will be merged.

    Try this at your own risk :) I didn't try it exactly in this way but more or less yes, and it worked.

    It is your same procedure, but I would use a new user account to avoid these problems you commented about contacts, reminders, calendars, etc, etc.

    Best regards!

    ISO
     
  8. Tech198 macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2011
    Location:
    Australia, Perth
    #8
    I reckon don't merge,..... may take longer, but upload to new account would be best way,, if u merge, u could have duplicates..


    Could be a security concern, but that's the price u pay, if u don't sign out of iCloud after u use it either. You trade convenience for security.

    That's a a fair trade :)
     
  9. Daranx thread starter macrumors regular

    Daranx

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2016
    Location:
    London
    #9
    I haven't needed to try any other method since the last time I did this, but I haven't yet come across any other way to achieve this. Just to update that all is still going well with the new Apple ID, but as with most cloud services YMMV.

    Unfortunately my original Apple ID was created with an iCloud email address and Apple doesn't allow you to change those addresses (unless that's been changed since I last posted in this tread). By all means it's a much easier to live with having your primary email address as a secondary address under your Apple ID but I was dealing with multiple accounts across multiple devices & users so had to do this to simplify my setup and despite the initial headaches and LOOOOOONG upload times, I'm glad I did it!

    Having said that, if all you wanted to do was change an iCloud.com/me.com address on your Apple ID... don't bother with the headache, just use your main email address as a secondary one in your Apple ID.
     
  10. iso667 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2016
    #10
    Ok thanks! It was just curiosity :) didn't know that!

    Regards!
     
  11. etaf macrumors member

    etaf

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2008
    Location:
    Surrey, UK
    #11
    i was told that with the new photos app and icloud photolibrary all the albums sync across all devices

    so albums created on IOS or OSX photos should all sync between imac, iphone ipad etc

    However, your experience is that albums do not sync
    I dont have the kit to try this , but an elderly colleague of mine has just upgrade to a 256gb iphone , taking photos and putting into albums - wanted advice on whether to get a apple imac or another windows PC (old desktop is old now)
    I thought buying a imac would transfer all the albums from the iphone onto the OSX photos app via icloud photo library
    and visa versa anything created on OSX photos albums (apart from smart albums) would sync to iphone
     
  12. Mike Boreham macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2006
    Location:
    UK
    #12
    This is how it supposed to work and always has for me, across two Macs, two phones and an iPad.
     
  13. etaf macrumors member

    etaf

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2008
    Location:
    Surrey, UK
    #13
    thanks for the reply
    and that albums will sync across all devices with icloud photo library
     
  14. KUKitch macrumors 6502

    KUKitch

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2008
    Location:
    England
    #14
    Everything should sync across just as it is on the other devices - that's how it's always worked for me as well... photo stream monthly folders from years ago that I didn't even want for that matter!
     

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