Friday, January 26, 2018 [Tweets] [Favorites]

iCloud Photo Library Re-uploading

Adam C. Engst:

Messages wasn’t getting or sending messages, Wi-Fi calling wasn’t working, and after upgrading to 10.13.3, I was unable to enable auto-unlock with my Apple Watch. To solve these problems, I turned iCloud off and back on. Despite the iCloud preference pane throwing an ominous error, the problems did indeed disappear.

However, there’s a nasty side effect of turning iCloud off and back on: iCloud Photo Library needs to re-upload all your photos. It does this in order to compare the library’s contents to the synchronization “truth” at iCloud. Fair enough, except that this process can take days, depending on the size of your Photos library and the speed of your Internet connection. Bad Apple! We don’t see that sort of poor performance with Dropbox or Google Drive, and this behavior is both unnecessary and driving people away from iCloud Photo Library.

It turns out that there are quite a few actions that can cause your entire Photos library to be re-uploaded to iCloud[…]

[…]

Why should Photos say at one point that my library is 113.03 GB, and then 94.6 GB at another? And do I have 30,875 photos, 30,879 photos, or some larger number that caused the iCloud progress count at the bottom of the Photos screen to report that it had 33,726 items to go, even though adding the number of photos and videos together never results in a number higher than 31,471. Come on, Apple, this is basic math, and discrepancies like this reduce user confidence.

Kirk McElhearn:

Adam suggests that not all the data is uploaded, but I watched it cripple my internet access for a week, since I could only allow it to upload overnight.

8 Comments

iCloud photo library re-uploads are the bane of my family's existence at times. My wife has a photo library approaching 100,000 images and I've fallen into this trap several times. Also worthy of mention is the photosanalysisd daemon process that scans all the images to tag them based on their content for the Photos search feature. The results of photoanalysisd for a very long time didn't sync via iCloud, meaning it had to run from scratch on every device, regardless of whether another machine had finished it. On large photo libraries this can take weeks, and there is no progress indicator presented to the user at all. I'm not even sure if it syncs today, I vaguely recall reading somewhere it was coming eventually. For all the privacy concerns, I do love that Google photos performs this analysis server side rather than on my computer.

Surely the upload problem can be solved with checksums or similar rather than a full re-upload!

[…] Apple’s documentation indicates that it is a “re-upload”, and Kirk McElhearn (via Michael Tsai) also says that his library was re-uploaded as […]

I toggled iCloud off and on to fix a problem after installing High Sierra, and it ended up ruining my keychain by turning on iCloud Keychain, which I haven't used since it lost data for me at the time it was initially released. It took an hour of restoring backups, fighting the checkbox, and rebooting to get iCloud Keychain disabled and my old password data back.

For extra fun, turning off iCloud also reset Mail, so I lost all local mailboxes and had to redownload ~20,000 messages over imap, even though the cached data is still on the drive. Now I need to grope around in some UUID-named folder and restore my local mailboxes. This is a poor user experience, to say the least, and I'm glad that I never used iCloud Photo Library apart from the photo stream.

This is similar to iCloud Drive with Whatsapp Backup. I reported the bug three years ago and I last time I check it was still there. But of course three /four years ago no body knew Whatsapp in US so no one gives a damn.

The problem is Whatsapp backup itself using iCloud Drive. For many users the backup is multiple GBs large.
MacOSX has an iCloud Sync feature, so desprite there is no use of Whatsapp Backup Data in iCloud Drives, iCloud Sync still download its news Whatsapp backup files everytime you have a newer backup, which is everyday.

Since Apple's Cloud is possibly the slowest out of FAAG, your computer wasted so much bandwidth and time trying to download it every day.

And to make the matter worst, Apple doesn't do QoS on these traffic, and it may hamper your Internet Experience while it does this silently in the background.

I forgot to mention, imagine there is only 50 million user who own both a Mac and iPhone with Whatsapp, that is 50PB of transfer EVERY DAY. Wasted.

Another point about iCloud Photo Library, it consistently have problem downloading photos if you have it on Save Space in iPhone. Many Apps requires you to download the original photos for it to be sent or processed, but it either cant do it automatically or the photo cant be accessed due to error on iCloud's side.

Somehow I wonder why we continue to put up with all these crap.

@Ed I just straight-up refuse to sign into iCloud on my Mac to avoid these kinds of issues. The one exception was when I accidentally signed in with my Apple account while upgrading to High Sierra, and after logging in I discovered that all my local calendars, contacts, and bookmarks were gone. Never again.

I am so baffled as to what iCloud is doing with my photo stream. I hesitate to use iCloud for anything - device backups, photos, contacts - because I can't figure out what it is doing. (Nevermind that I lost access to my old document data in Numbers and Pages - triggered by either toggleing iCloud, app updates, or iOS updates.)

I just don't have a testable hypothesis about what Apple is doing with my data.

It's boggling that Apple appears to have not heard of this thing called checksums. If the account is the same as before, and there's a local cache of the cloud data, why the heck do they download it all over again instead of doing a checksum comparison to determine if the data in the cache is still valid or not? Oh, right, because the developers at Apple never have to worry about bandwidth constraints or download caps.

Apple is legendary for its user-friendliness. Whatever that reputation it is based on, nobody at Apple seems to be checking to make sure that they continue to think of ordinary users and their situation, because the user friendliness and the user centred-ness of Apple software has been eroding continuously for several years now. Failing to consider the ordinary user's data caps and bandwidth limitations is just one more little failure in the ever growing pile of user unfriendly features and implementations in Apple's software.

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