How to avoid deleting photos from iCloud while traveling

“Nina Waite writes in on behalf of her traveling daughter, who is running out of storage while on the road,” Glenn Fleishman writes for Macworld. “Her daughter set up iCloud Photo Library before she left, and now wants to get rid of images — she didn’t realize that deleting media now would delete it everywhere.”

“I’d first recommend reviewing my two columns about deleting media from iOS and macOS with iCloud Photo Library enabled: ‘Don’t delete your photos after turning on iCloud Photo Library‘ and ‘Yes, if you delete your photos from iCloud Photo Library, they’re deleted everywhere,'” Fleishman writes. “And I recognize that there’s a problem with Apple’s ease of use if I have to write two columns about this issue and people continue to send in questions when they can’t predict the outcome.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Apple, does managing photos really have to be so convoluted and confusing?

How to use iCloud Photo Library selectively: Keep a photo locally and not in iCloud – July 15, 2016


    1. Apple, Microsoft, Google, and Amazon are all pushing the cloud based thin client subscription model as hard as they can. But as we all know, the cloud is a fragile expensive mess. If you want to keep your photos safe, you really need to maintain master copies on local storage that YOU manage. Sharing over the interwebs is great and all, but Apple doesn’t seem to have a clue how to make it reliable and user friendly.

      1. Wrong. If you want to really protect and back up your photos correctly, you need a backup that is geographically off site from your devices. iCloud satisfies that.

        If I only have a local backup, something could happen to both my computer, iPhone, and backup. What if a flood/fire/natural disaster occurs? What if a thief breaks in and takes everything?

        The cloud is much more secure, has much more redundancy than any local backup I could make.

        1. How would you know how redundant any consumer cloud is? None of them tell you. None of them explain how they work or where your files actually are. None guarantee fast access, privacy, or security. But you can install a RAID at home in no time at all. Then if you are worried about fire, do yourself a big favor and encrypt your own data YOURSELF before renting someone’s cloud.

          1. You are correct: I am assuming/trusting Apple that they will be more secure and offer more redundancies than my own local backup.

            But I will stand by that assumption. I bet Apple with all of their resources will set up a better server and cloud system than I can.

            1. Interesting assumption, considering Apple doesn’t manage its iCloud servers. It rents server space from Akamai, Amazon, and Google. Do you know where your data is?

  1. Those who trust any Cloud service with their pics as their only repository deserves what happens to them. (Hell I’ve never even trusted syncing music in iTunes. On manual control or local storage then I’ve only myself to blame if something goes wrong.)

  2. What else should happen with a photo if you delete it? Should you have to manually remove it from all your devices? I guess many people simply do not understand the cloud.

    Apple clearly states in the delete dialogue “this will remove the picture from all your devices”. Further, you get 30 days to undo any mistakes. What more could they possibly do without ruining the experience for the 99% other people, who really want to delete what they delete.

    1. Thank you for pointing this out. It is a convenience that if I want to delete an unwanted photo, I simply delete on one device and it deletes on all. Just like with deleting a contact, calendar entry, etc.

      But what people are not getting is this: with iCloud photo library, the software will manage the space used on the device so you never have to delete photos to free up space.

      If you choose Optimize Storage, then the software will, if you start running out of space, manage it for you. From Apple: Your original photos and videos are stored in iCloud and space-saving versions are kept on your device. Your library is optimized only when you need space, starting with the photos and videos you access least.

      I have seen this work. I have seen people have far larger libraries in the cloud than on the iPhone. Just let the software work.

      1. I am a good example of the possibilities of an optimized library. My 585 GB photo library takes up that much space on my iMac and on iCloud. The exact same library only takes up 35 GB on my iPad Air and 14 GB on my iPhone 6S. I love knowing that I have access to every single image from anywhere that I am and that I can make changes on the fly. Searching using keywords is wonderful (although you can only assign keywords on the Mac) but the new “categories” search on every device is amazing. Creating a regular album or a shared album of anything on any device is synced across all devices although I have noticed that old smart albums are only present on the iMac (which makes sense). The biggest thing to note that I have tested, is that if I take a lot of footage (photos and video) and run in to the “you cannot take any more video, storage is full” notice – I just have to wait a few hours with access to WiFi – more space becomes available as the footage is sent up to the cloud and my iPhone is optimized for keeping a copy of it – (although I understand that this is not a practical solution for someone who is traveling and already has limited soace left on their iOS device – as they may have unreliable access to WiFi and be continually running out of space at a critical time – the idea that this happens is still pretty cool!

    2. I think a sloution where Apple gives one a choice is much more user friendly and clear.
      It can simply prompt you:
      Delete from this device, Delete from all devices… etc….
      and the user can makes the choice.
      All it tajes is one little prompt.
      Wouldnt u agree?

      Imo, same can be done to the spell check and dictionary on ios .. rather than automatically add misspelled/unrecognized words/names to the dictionary using whatever logic it does , it can simply promet the user before adding the word ; would u like to add the word to the dictionary ?

      This way the dictionary will not get filled up with garbage.. garbage words which the spell checker later suggests as corrections/suggestion for mispeled words.
      As is … in my case… every month or so i have to resort to resetting the dictionary to Clean up the mess . Which throws the baby out with the bath water .

      Apples automations are too restricting and annoying. …. at least give us a choice Apple

  3. I won’t use any cloud service. Sorry….simply don’t trust any of them. Yea some cloud storage happens with Notes, Reminders, etc. But nothing confidential is kept there! I’ll keep the stuff local and backed up myself. The problem with that is a fire or something.

  4. If you have the luxury of a desktop Mac with hard drive space at home, don’t waste your money and do the following:
    1. Turn on your Photo Stream on your iDevices and Macs.
    2. As you take photos with your iPhone, they’ll automatically upload to the Photo Stream.
    3. As you import photos from your camera, they’ll also upload to your Photo Stream.
    4. When you run out of local space, just delete. Your Mac at home will keep them safe.

  5. And Apple has made the process of backing up (downloading) files from iCloud Photos to your computer even more impossible recently. Prior to the latest OSX Sierra update you could select a range of photos from by clicking on a photo at the top of a range, then scroll to the last photo and clicking again. You could dowload them (through a horrible process that spewed photo after photo to only your downloads folder). Now, you actually are required to CMD-Click each photo you want to download – but the same spewing takes place to the downloads folder.

    Using the Photos program on OSX makes the process a bit easier because you can select the download folder but either way, trying to backup your photos from iCloud to your Mac is a nightmare. Heck, even Microsoft has made the job easier in OneDrive. You can select a range of photos (using a web browser) that have been backed up to OneDrive , click on download and they all are downloaded to the folder of your choice in a .zip file. It’s a very neat process that Apple should have implemented.

    The dilemma of trying to free storage space on an iOS device by removing photos and videos is an unforgiveablely complex and frustrating process. The SanDisk iXpand drive is probably the simplest non-Apple solution since you get your media off the iPhone/iPad and on to an external device from which you can easily access the files.

    1. Exactly right. Apple has totally lost vision of superior usability of its products. This is just one of many examples showing how clunky and backward Apple has become.

      Apple is so focused on renting you server space but they are completely clueless of how it works in the real world. So while it is nice you can take 4K video from your new iPhone, the 256 GB drive in it will fill up fast. No problem, right, just save it to your Mac. Well there again we have the problem of too little storage at too high prices. After you buy the dongle to connect your iPhone to your new MacBook Pro with soldered-on overpriced SSD, that drive will fill up in no time at all. So you are forced to either buy external storage or rent iCloud. But as poor as the cloud works, I recommend to everyone to buy a local disk or NAS. Invest in your own cloud today, don’t rent one. As Apple continues to flounder writing software and creating hardware that just works, at least you will know that you can save all your digital stuff in one place securely and use any software you want to manage it. Another example of where Apple has totally lost focus.

  6. Apple, does managing photos really have to be so convoluted and confusing?

    Sadly, you can replace “managing photos” with just about any task these days and the question will not be out of place.

  7. Title improvement process:

    1. current headline:
    “How to avoid deleting photos from iCloud while traveling”

    2: better:
    “How to avoid deleting photos from iCloud”

    3. mo’ betta:
    “Avoid deleting photos from iCloud”

    4. best:
    “Avoid deleting from iCloud”

    5. bestest of all:
    “Avoid iCloud”

    I choose #5.

  8. iCloud… yet another Eddy Cue product that is a total mess and totally convoluted …. on top of itunes and Apple TV…. all total mess !

    Managing files on ios in general is some voodoo science .
    Managing files … something simple that has existed since computers have been around… and it worked .
    Yet Apple has managed to make a convoluted mess out of ….
    I thought simple and it just works is the mantra there Tim.

    Do u guys have to reinvent everything just to say its Apples way … even if it turns out shit…. !?
    Does apple run on dogma or logic?

    Would you make a wheel square Apple ? It seens you would and then insist that we are all wrong in not recognizing what its benefits are.

    Its a freakin place to save files and orgnize info…..Apple… stop dictating shitty ways…and allow us to manage thing if choose to do so . Its our files, our devices, our work.
    Keep it simple and straightforward for god’s sake…. icloud, itunes…. TV………… Eddy Cue is a mess … and he is still there… preplexing.

    Anyone. ….If im wrong please enlighten me !

    (I lose songs left and right… and im not going to waste 1 hour of my time each time contacting apple to recover it… is this on purpose so ill end up buying the song again? Or wtf…
    I keep loosing photos… or some photos get locked in and i can delete or move them from one device…. . Some photos i have no idea where they are stored/where they exist.. …
    Its F-ing Mess and it has been for years..

    WTF Apple… whats up with this garbage… why arent u fixing it? Solution has been around for decades..

      1. Well there is a file sys… but its invisible to the user and has no native core managment system for the user. ..its too limiting… too cumbersome.
        Without a user manageable file sys and capabilty to run full blown application… no ios device should be called pro. Imo

        Or there should be an ios-pro upgrade version that allows for these.
        If macos can be secure enough as Apple claims it is … so can ios.

      2. I don’t believe iOS is any more secure than OSX. Er, macOS. Sandboxes have nothing to do with the lack of proper file system. Apple chose to make iOS constrained in order to lock users into the App Store and forced reliance on the iCloud. That is all.

        Anyone who has to work cross platform or do any local file sharing or work offline at any point, you’re better off avoiding iOS altogether.

  9. This gets it all wrong.

    If you use iCloud photo library and choose “Optimize iPhone Storage”…you will not run out of storage on your iPhone due to photos/videos.

    From Apple: If you turn on Optimize Storage, iCloud Photo Library automatically manages the size of your library on your device. Your original photos and videos are stored in iCloud and space-saving versions are kept on your device. Your library is optimized only when you need space, starting with the photos and videos you access least.
    /end of quote.
    The idea is that you should only have to delete photos if you don’t want them…not to free up space. I have seen people have a 30+ GB library in the cloud and only use up about 3 GB on their device. I have seen someone have over 100GB in the cloud and use only a few GB on their iPhone.

    Granted, Apple needs to explain this better. But this article misses the whole point.

  10. My best solution? I just use Google Photos app and have it set to upload all photos taken with my iPhone. I never worry about deleting anything and since the free photos storage on Google is unlimited, I can always be sure to find them there.

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