A Rural Photos.app Experience

Let me start by saying that I live on a farm. The best internet service available to me is beamed from the top of a water tower in a nearby town to a pole on the top of our machine shed. In order for it to work, those two things have to be within each other’s line of sight. I get 6 Mbps download speed and, on a good day, 0.73 Mbps upload speed.

All of the photos on my iPhone have been uploaded to iCloud since iOS 8.1 came out in October. I had 6,482 photos and 84 videos in my Aperture library, which I imported to Photos.app when the OS X 10.10.3 Public Beta came out on March 2. None, I repeat none of my iPhone’s photos have downloaded from iCloud into Photos.app yet. I have no idea why. Perhaps it has to finish uploading before it will download anything? At any rate, I probably have about 1,000 photos on my phone that aren’t on my Mac, but that I can see on iCloud.com. Here’s some stats:

  • By March 24, after 22 days of uploading, I had 2,863 photos on my iPhone and 39 videos. Keep in mind that about 1,000 photos were already on my iPhone, so only about 1,800 had uploaded.
  • By April 2 (a full month), I had 3,336 photos on my iPhone.
  • As of today, April 19, there are 4,991 photos on my iPhone and 57 videos (and that’s after I spent a few hours at a place with blazing fast internet).

Oddly, the constant uploading hasn’t seemed to slow down my Internet connection in any noticeable way. I’ve watched Netflix, played games on Xbox Live, downloaded large files…no problem.

My biggest question about the syncing process is: Why aren’t any of the pictures I take on my iPhone showing up on my Mac? I have iCloud Photo Library enabled everywhere. My iPhone photos are showing up on iCloud.com. Why have they not downloaded into my Photos.app library? I imagine that I’m not the only person in this situation. There are lots of people in rural areas with crappy Internet connections who probably have way more photos than I do.

My suggestion to Apple is: show me what’s really going on. Sure, there are “1,956 Items” uploading, but what about how many items need to download? Why can I only pause the process for a day, and not, say, an hour? Why can’t I choose to prioritize the download of my iPhone photos over the upload of my Mac photos? If this keeps up, it could be another month before I can see my latest iPhone photos in my library, assuming that they will, in fact, show up someday.

Otherwise, though, Photos.app is a great 1.0. I look forward to seeing what features Apple will add as time goes on! I’ll post about this again when my Photos library has fully uploaded everything…probably in a couple months. :\