A few iCloud Photo Library observations

Somewhat related: Photo stats and observations.

I began the switch to iCloud Photo Library a few days ago and so far it has been a mixed experience. Since weaving a good narrative is not in my wheelhouse, here is a laundry list of observations that I’ve made over the last few days.

  • iCloud Photo Library brings the Internet crashing down. While syncing my library using the Internet for anything else is impossible. And, last night, it brought my Airport Extreme down. Actually down. No devices were connected to it when I woke up this morning. Something that has only happened once or twice since owning the device. I can only imagine this is a bug of some sort that I’ve found.
  • After tens-of-hours (since I let Photos sync at night only) I’ve only managed to back up less than 15GB out of 220GB. I think I will call Apple Support today, not because I think they can help me fix it, but because I hope they will write down the issue and perhaps issue a patch in the future.
  • Photo editing on any device and then the edits appearing on all devices is a miracle of modern technology. For the last several years I’ve been editing exclusively on my iPhone or iPad since doing so was cumbersome on the Mac. Photos for OS X doesn’t have every editing feature Photos for iOS does but I hope these will continue to improve. But nothing beats editing a photo full-screen on a 27-inch display and I haven’t been able to do this in years.
  • One of my biggest hangups with Picturelife was the speed of perusing my library or finding a specific photo. It didn’t matter if I was using the web site or the mobile apps. It was impossibly slow. Photos on iOS is much, much faster. I don’t think this is a fair comparison just yet (since I only have ~5,000 images on iCloud Photo Library so far) but I hope Photos is still snappy with 65,000 photos.
  • Searching is pretty great on Photos for iOS. I can type in a location, name, date, and they all return results. And very quickly. Imagine being in a conversation at a bar with friends and they mention a trip you took 4 years ago and how awesome this one night was. Two or three taps and you’re there. Something that should be possible on Picturelife but in practice wasn’t.
  • Photos including “Faces” is great. Like I said in my previous post, I really hope they make facial recognition 10 times better in an update (because it is very poor now compared to say Google Photos). Picturelife didn’t have facial recognition at all though so I’ll take what I can get. Even if I have to do it manually.
  • Having a copy of all of the originals in the cloud gives a lot of peace of mind. But, even more so, having an application on my desktop which stores the originals on an external drive makes accessing them very quick and painless. Both Picturelife and Google Photos merely piggyback on top of Photos and so would never be able to provide that complete seamless experience.

As you can see, so far it has been a mixed bag. Uploading has been horrendous. Impossible even. Yet, every other part of the experience has been pretty great. Sometime in the near future I’d like to write up specific comparisons between Picturelife, iCloud Photo Library, and Google Photos since I’ve tried all three.

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