I'm Not Using iCloud Photos, but You Probably Should

Over the years, I've talked a lot about photo management in the smart phone era. I'm not going to recap that here other than to say:

  1. We are taking a ton of photos
  2. No one has a clue how to organize them

With the release of Mac OS X 10.10.3 , Apple has unified their photo management solution. It's called iCloud Photos, and they have apps for iOS and Mac. The simple version is that all your photos are in sync everywhere without requiring you to store them locally. With that feature alone, I am going to recommend that everyone I know use it. That solves most of the photo managements issues for iOS and Mac users.

I have a very specific method for organizing my photo library (2015 Folder with a 2015-04 inside of it), and I want to keep that. I've got every photo since 2005 (when I got a digital camera) organized with that method. It's backed up in multiple places, and I feel very secure with the safety of my most treasured items. Photos.app is similar to iPhoto in that the photos are stored inside a database file. I know you can link them on the initial import, but new photos would have to be added to the database. My concern is that I'd have to give up my preferred organization method, and it would be a pain to break it back up again if I ever wanted to leave. My method will easily scale up for 20-30 years. One area that it really needs to address is sharing your entire library with a spouse. I imagine this will eventually be a feature of Family Sharing, though.

If you've got more than 5 GB of photos, iCloud Photos isn't going to be free. The pricing is a bit high in my opinion. I'd like to see 20 GB be the free trier and 200 GB be closer to $1.99/month. We can argue about hardware margins vs cloud storage costs, but Apple is not in that business. They are in the business of solutions.

Overall, Apple has provided a solution that will work for 99% of its customers. They took the guesswork out of syncing and backing up. In my experiences, the syncing worked very well. I'm just in the 1% that takes the time to organize their photos. I have zero complaints against Photos.app and iCloud Photos, other than that say that it wasn't built for my needs.

I'm not using iCloud Photos, but you probably should.