After years, I haven’t figured out how to use my iCloud Photos library.

in iCloud

After years, I haven’t figured out how to use my iCloud Photos library.    My goal is to have the same photos on my iMac, my iPad, and my iPhone.   

When I connect my iPhone to my iMac and open Photos, I connect to my iPhone and watch numbers increase showing “Already imported (10,491 items)” and “New Items (10,765 items)”.   As far as I can tell, they are the same photos.   I have the option to “Import All New Items”, but that appears to be a way to duplicate all of my photos.   My wife’s iPhone does the same thing.    On my iPhone Settings/Photos has everything set to on, and Transfer to Mac or PC checked.    

Both my iPhone and iPad use iCloud Photos, but my iPhone is using 36.67 GB of Photos and my iPad is using 4.54 GB of Photos.    Why are they different?

Photos don’t upload automatically to our Macs (at least not into the Photos app).   I have to go into my camera app and text them to myself.    

I realize that we can’t share the same Photos library, as much as I want to do that.  (I forget the name of the plan that we use for family sharing of iCloud, Apple Arcade, & Apple Music) 

I don’t know where “My Photo Stream” is.   

I used to synchronize my Photos library with my devices, but thought using iCloud would give me something more instead of something less.   I expect I'm doing something wrong.  


  • Reply 1 of 2
    sphericspheric Posts: 2,242member
    How much space is used by photos on iCloud Storage? 

    It sounds like you have optimisation setting Switches on on the iPad. This will keep only previews locally and offload/delete content until you view it, at which point it’s downloaded from the cloud again. 
    howard brazee
  • Reply 2 of 2
    Since I posted this, my family 200GB iCloud storage got full, so I unchecked iCloud storage.   I now have my finder showing that I sync photos to my device from photos, but when I open that device in Photos, tells me that I have "Already Imported (10,499 items)" with "New Items (10,747 items).
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