iCloud Photo Library

Having updated to OS X 10.10.3 and iOS 8.3, I’ve finally had the opportunity to start using iCloud Photo Library, and here are my initial observations:

  • I shipped my 90GB Aperture library to the provider of my internet-hosted Mac mini, on a thumb drive, in order to seed iCloud Photo Library from a computer with a fat pipe. Even still, it took several days for all the data to upload to Apple. But it all finally did, and without getting stuck. I’m glad I skipped the betas and waited for the final release.

  • It was interesting to see that all the data was uploaded to Amazon S3.

  • My iPhone saw the Library data quite quickly, but my iPad didn’t, even after a toggling of iCloud Photo Library. Ben Brooks recommended toggling it on all my devices. I would have never considered doing that, but somehow it worked.

  • My family love having all our photos and videos in one place now, and are constantly gathered around my MacBook Air—especially watch the videos. Given that I’ve setup an iCloud Family plan, I presume Apple will at some point provide a mechanism to provide family members with access to one’s iCloud Photo Library.

  • Since family member access doesn’t currently exist, I expected the next best thing would be the AppleTV. But we discovered that the iCloud Photos app on our second generation AppleTV doesn’t provide access to the library, just the “Photo Stream” and shared albums. Since the second-generation AppleTV isn’t receiving updates any longer, I went purchased the latest model AppleTV, but was disappointed to find that its iCloud Photos app also doesn’t provide access to the entire library. The AppleTV would be the perfect channel through which a family can enjoy its media, but I’m wondering if Apple are holding off on this (maybe due to bandwidth costs?) In any case, I’ll be returning this AppleTV, as rumors are a new one will be released soon.

  • Although I have “Optimize Library” set on all my devices and my MacBook Air, I think I’m going to allow a full copy of the data to remain on my Mac mini, so that at least I have one backup of all my data at CrashPlan. It’d be kind of scary to imagine that the entirety of my photos and videos only exists in Apple’s storage.

  • Watching videos in Photos on my Mac is very slow (over my Spanish ADSL connection), since the entire video has to download before viewing can begin. I wish there was an option to just stream them.

  • Non-destructive photo editing that propagates to other devices is magic.

  • When editing photos, I seemed to have gotten Photos in a mode where it would apply auto-enhance whenever I simply cropped a photo.

  • When cropping photos, I wish there were an option in the Setting to preserve the original aspect ratio. I almost never want a free-form aspect ratio when cropping (which is the default).

  • Apple have a couple of issues to work out with sharing. When sharing photos to Flickr, you can choose an Album in which to publish, but you can’t create a new one. I always publish to a new album, so that’s a real pain currently. And when sharing multiple photos to Facebook, rather than including all the photos in single post (like a gallery), each photo ends up in its own independent post with a copy of the description.

  • Apple still have some conceptual clean-up to do. Currently I need to put videos in Photos on the Mac, but on iOS devices I watch them in Photos instead of Videos. And “Photo Stream”? How does that fit into the picture any more?

  • One of the biggest concerns of mine, is that evidently Faces smart album data does not sync across multiple Macs. This is terribly disappointing, as years of accumulating Faces data is now sitting on my internet-hosted, headless Mac mini, where I don’t need it, and unavailable on my MacBook Air, where I do need it. What @tverschoren noticed, however, is that faces tagging does seem to sync; e.g. if I search for a name, that name is found under a type “Face” (which had to have come from my other machine.)

  • Above all, iCloud Photo Library, and Photos on Mac and iOS seem to be a great start to how photos and video management and experience should work. Despite some initial issues that are not-so-ideal, Apple definitely seem to be on the right path.

Agree? Disagree? What do you think?

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