If you'll ask me today, after a few months, how do I feel about Photos and iCloud Photo Library, I have just one answer: I'm pissed off, give me my money back!
I can honestly state that I use full Apple setup. Macbooks, iMac, iPhones, iPad, apple tv - it's all here. And I expect it to "just works". Where should I keep pictures? of course, on my Mac like thousands of others.
Until recently, my setup looked like this: iMac on my desk, with external disk attached, where I aggregate all my photos from all of my devices. Not automatically. From time to time I just attach device and download new photos to the iPhoto. It's all there, on my desk, locally. Wouldn't be good if my HDD break, and my Backup would fail. Ohhgggrrr... nooo. But it is there (unmanageable by iPhoto anyway).
Then Apple, last year, introduced iCloud Photo Library. WOW. I thought that THIS is the solution to the problem of storing images forever. In the cloud. Apple is not a startup that will shut down as soon as Google decide to go shopping.
I started to use it. Within a few months all my photos from my device uploaded automatically to the brand new iCloud Photo Library storage. I was able to access library with the web interface http://icloud.com/photos. This all looks so exciting and promising.
So, I bought 200 GB of storage (monthly) and decided to put all my photos to iCloud.
Photos is advertised as this
Photos has been engineered from the ground up to help you keep your growing library organized and accessible. Powerful and intuitive editing tools help you perfect your images as well as create beautiful gifts for sharing. And with iCloud Photo Library, a lifetime’s worth of photos and videos can be stored in the cloud — so you can access your entire collection from your Mac and iOS devices anytime.
then reality comes up
very often, after I login to the web interface I see "Preparing your library".
Why, oh why it has to wait for me to login, to prepare the library? If I log in to access my photos, and my welcome screen looks like this, it's too late. it's too late!
Then I've tried to upload some videos to my library using web interface. Not possible. All I can do is upload JPEG files (no PNG, no RAW, no nothing, only JPEG). And upload is extremely slow (comparing to let's say Google Drive web based upload)
Photos - new setup
I bought new computer. Not the slow :) MacBook 12", but decent Macbook. First setup is a disaster. As soon as I type my iCloud password, my computer is 100% busy, fan makes noise, and overall responsiveness is crappy.
This is all thanks to the background Photos activity. What is it doing? it's downloading my photos to my hard drive. My tiny hard drive. Today it is 6608 photos and 544 videos. It took 2 or 3 days do download it all. Did I say it download it all? no? ok. it is in fact!
Photos have two modes of operation
- "Download Originals to this Mac" - Store original ptohos and videos on this Mac. Choose this option if you want to access full-resolution versions of your entire library, even when offline
- "Optimize Mac Storage" - Store full-resolution photos and videos in iCloud. Originals will also be stored on this Mac if you have enough storage space
I go with the second one, from the beginning. I checked that, and changed at the very beginning (is it typical that by default it is "Download Originals to this Mac"?)
Optimized library of photos looks like this:
almost 50 GB. At some point I checked how much space is needed to have all of my iCloud Photo Library. I checked my iCloud
and I felt pissed off for the first time. My locally stored, optimized library is 3 GB shorter than my library in total.
Behaves as intended
At this point I was sure this is a bug. Something went wrong. I'm a developer and it is common here to report such bugs. So I filed the issue to the Apple with Bug Reporting tool. After few days I got the most unexpected response
"The issue behaves as intended" they say, because you have a plenty of space on HDD (yet, new machine right?) so we'll fill all of the space with photos. Don't worry, it's all good here. Just wait until you storage will run out of space, then we'll figure something out.
Can you see the trap here? For large library (or smaller HDD) most of my storage would be overtaken by Photos, and graciously left some free space to other activity, like documents and whatever I may need on the computer right? And when I run into almost out of space, Photos will eventually start optimize the library. It's too late.
I want to scream out loud: NOOOOOOO. Why can't you care about my local storage, my tiny and expensive local storage, and focus on storing most of my data on iCloud drive? CLOUD DRIVE.
Sharing is a disaster. I have a family. I have Family Sharing setup with my wife. Feature advertised as
"A new way to bring harmony to your family’s digital life."
bullshit (sorry, but it really is). Think of sharing photos? yea... try it on your own. For every album, I have to create separated album just for sharing, then share it to the ones who use some Apple device (because nothing else will really work).
"The whole family can contribute to the family photo album."
they say, yea, manual work! Adding photo by photo to new, and new albums. Can't simply share photos. Have a photos from the trip? ok, I'll upload it to MY Photo Library, next day (when upload finish) I can select them all, create new album and share it. Few hours later it is available on my wife phone, downloaded to the phone. Think about it.
How so many, so clever developers, can come up with so bad design decision? I don't know how but they did it. This is just one piece of terrible cloud solutions by Apple. Be serious... nobody really use iCloud Drive to store files. People use "iCloud Photo Library" just because it is enabled by default, nothing more. Apple never knew how to do network services, and in 2015 they still failing on that.
My conclusion is: I'm looking for new home for my photos. Sorry Apple. Actually, Google Drive is very promising. I can store all my photos and videos very fast. Very easy sharing. And fast preview right from the web.